Maximizing Revenues with a Solid Domain Strategy

2011-02-24by Jeremiah Johnston

Retailers are all too familiar with the fact that over 71% of all U.S. adults shop online. However, with more and more shoppers beginning their online shopping on search engines and marketplaces, retailers need to be more creative about how they maximize their online presence and motivate customers and prospects to visit their sites.

One simple and cost-effective way to do this is by integrating a domain strategy into promotional campaigns. Much like OfficeMax did with its holiday Elf Yourself (www.elfyourself.com) campaign, retailers big and small can purchase a unique domain name at an affordable price to help create winning campaigns.

So, whether you’re a huge retailer like Macy’s with an extensive marketing budget, or a mom-and-pop store with limited funds, here are a few expert tips on purchasing the right domain name to support your promotional campaigns:

1. Cast a Wide Net – Premium domain names are prioritized on search engines. For instance, if you type “shoes” into Google the first site that pops up is Shoes.com. Premium domain names also provide value by capturing direct navigation traffic – when shoppers type “shoes.com” directly into the address bar to see what pops up. If you have the capital to spend on a premium domain, it is a worthy investment that also makes your company exponentially more discoverable.

2. Be Descriptive – Of course not everyone can afford a premium domain name, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of hope for a domain that is still SEO-friendly. Descriptive domains can have a similar effect. Take a look at some of the other top results for “shoes”: Shoebuy.com, Aldoshoes.com and Bakersshoes.com.  Including a descriptor in your domain name can help speed you to the top of search queries without the cost of springing for a premium name.

3. Be Memorable – What is the value of being discoverable if shoppers can’t remember how to find you? Besides being discoverable, your domain should also be memorable; something pithy, brandable, quirky or easy to recall, encouraging repeat business. Valassis, one of the nation’s leading media and marketing services, experienced the benefits of a memorable domain name firsthand when it decided to create a consumer-facing brand offering discount coupons and shopping advice. Valassis was a well-known industry name, but it didn’t resonate well with consumers. To rectify this, the company chose the domain Redplum.com, which had performed well in market research studies and focus groups. Now, in a span of less than two years, Redplum.com receives 3 million unique visitors every month, and sourced over 160 million coupons just last year.

4. Remember Nobody is Perfect – Shoppers may be interested in your wares, but if they’re looking for you at MyWheres.com instead of MyWares.com, you’re going to miss out on their business. Obtaining possible misspellings or misinterpretations of your company name or website can cut down these missed connections. Once you purchase those misspellings, it is easy to redirect them to your main website. 

5. Create a Traffic Jam – Aside from misspellings of your domain name, you can also redirect traffic from other websites to your main page. Lane Bryant does this with Therightfit.com, H&R Block with Taxcut.com and Calvin Klein with Bras.com and Underwear.com. Aggregating traffic from multiple domains is an excellent way to boost visits to your main site. Consider purchasing holiday or seasonally-themed domain names that direct shoppers to your site during the different times of year.

6. Be Personalized – Domains can also be used to target visitors searching for specific products as subsets of your main website. For example, if your main site sells electronics, you could create individual sites for computers, cameras, televisions and games. These “microsites” can help consumers focus down on one type of product, and gives you the opportunity to show your expertise in that category. Microsites also tend to lead to higher conversion rates. Headsets.com, for instance, recently reported that its new Office Runner wireless headset was converting at a 40% higher rate on its OfficeRunner.com microsite than on the Office Runners landing page at Headsets.com.

7. Have No Fear – Domain brokerage firms or online domain marketplaces offer hundreds of available domains at all different prices. With the average domain price running at around $2000, just about anyone can afford to invest in the domain name of their choice – even those that are already taken. Domain brokerage companies exist to help speed up the process of acquiring already purchased domain names and help remove any associated risks. For example, Dynamic Network Services worked with a domain brokerage firm to acquire the DYN.com domain name which was previously registered. The company tried unsuccessfully to acquire the domain on its own for six months, and then turned to the firm for help.  Within three to four weeks, the firm brokered the sale of DYN.com to Dynamic Network Services.


Whether your business is new or known, it’s never too late to invest in a domain name that will help you stand out from other retailers in the crowded internet marketplace. And whether you use your domain name to maximize SEO, redirect traffic to your main site or increase conversion rates with a microsite, implementing a domain name strategy will be one of the best investments your organization will make this year.

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Jeremiah Johnston

Website marketplace Sedo.com

Jeremiah Johnston is Chief Operating Officer of the online domain name and Website marketplace Sedo.com.  He represents Sedo as a founding member of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and sits on the Board of Directors in the role of association President, helping to shape the future of domain names in the political space.  For more information, visit http://www.sedo.com/retail.

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