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ShopPBS.com — Redesigned But Still Sucky

— They still don’t let customers review products.
— Generic filter options – price, title and new.  What about – most popular, biggest discount, most gifted, VHS, etc?  They do have a Best Seller list but that sorts all titles, one can’t search best sellers within a category.

They have adopted the lowest common denominator with their eCommerce strategy.  Here is what I would have asked before undertaking the 18 month redesign

– Why do people shop at ShopPBS.com? Why should they?

– Is it fair to charge $30 for a DVD? And if we can’t control price how do we create rich experiences to offset price?

– For someone who bought previously do we provide an incentive to shop again? Do we guide this customer to a product related to their purchase history?

– Why not let customers watch DVD trailers?

– Should we create subcategories for the “Business Management” section? example – Strategy, Change, Inspirational leaders, etc.

– Does the same architecture make sense for every section? No.  Business interviews are time-sensitive – There is a video on “Winning Customers Through Savvy Sports Marketing” with Gary D. Forsee (CEO – Sprint Nextel).  The only problem is that Mr. Forsee has been ousted from the company.

Comments 2


Rishi, another thought-provoking interesting post. I decided to test it myself and as a visitor who has never been to their site, maybe I can provide a fresh perspective from a customer’s point of view.

My first impression was that it is a nicely designed, solid site. I decided to see what DVDs they may have on famous scientists. The primary navigation bar wasn’t where I expected it (on the left) but I’m clever enough to have found it on the top. I clicked “science and nature” and then “general science.” Alas, there were 73 DVDs so I was sure I would find one I might like. But you were right, there was no way to sort deeper and I would have had to sort through several pages reading the title of each. Not many customers would do that.

Next I tried searching for “scientists.” This returned over 90 results, again with no useful way to further sort the list. A search for “physicists” returned only 10 results, but there was only one DVD about scientists.

So really, the only way to find a DVD I want here would be to know a scientist’s name, or the name of the DVD and make my search very specific.

As far as your other questions… creating the rich experiences and adding DVD trailers is probably a significant undertaking. I know if I wanted to do that with my site, it would take more time and money than I have right now. But then again, I’m sure PBS has more of both of those than I do.

Again, nice post. I always look forward to reading about what you have to say regarding the e-commerce world…



Thanks for commenting. Their DVD site should have trailers because I know PBS owns an inventory of video clips. When I was on the ‘CEO Exchange’ DVD section I also went to Google and searched for the term and found their CEO Exchange programming site (https://www.pbs.org/wttw/ceoexchange/). On this site you will see loads of program trailers. So why not use that existing content for their DVD sales channel? The costs should be minimal plus I’m sure it will improve conversion.



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