Cashstore is the pioneer in field of online shopping technology, which enables buyers to earn cashback with each purchase. The store started its online operations from 2004 and has grown by leaps and bounds to about 5,50,000 active users today. With its credible and smooth user experience, the site has earned unique reputation from among 20,000 e-Commerce sites.
About 500 carefully selected merchants have registered their products for shopping on Cashstore. There is a stringent process to select merchants based on their financial standing, overall quality of service and promptness of delivery. Just like Amazon or Flipkart, the portal offers rich consumer reviews and advice to potential buyers. As an added convenience, the site provide cash-back to its customers both in form of check or bank transfer.
The process of calculating cashback amount is systematic and methodical. Cashstore has negotiated commission with each of its merchants for each purchase occurring through its portal. A part of this commission, about 20% of the purchase amount, is usually given back to customer. Various logistical charges for shipping, handling and packaging along with applicable taxes are deducted from final amount that consumers get.
Cashstore gives sophisticated personal space to its customers where they can manage their money. They can avail amount up to 15 Euros via PayPal, while amount more than 30 Euros can be directly deposited into bank or via check.
The store also displays various discounts, promotions and special offers given by many merchants. A handful of cases sellers do not allow customers to combine promotional offers with cashback. However, majority of products, about 95% of the total, allow customers to combine both cashback and discounts – thus giving them additional reasons to buy from Cashstore.
Business Objectives of Cashstore
Cashstore needed to further develop their commission based cashback approach. There was a need to expand Cashstore business significantly, which effectively meant it needed more number of new customers to register on its portal and improve the conversion rate.
Cashstore engaged services of AWE (Advertising and Webmarketing for Ecommerce) agency, a Google Adwords and Analytics Certified Partner. AWE is digital consultancy firm based in France and was founded in year 2001. It provides consultancy and technology services in areas such as Adwords Campaign Management, Analytics and Natural referencing. AWE is particularly known for working with clients for optimizing conversion rates on the key pages of their websites. The central strategy of AWE revolves around three key areas:
- Performing performance audits,
- Marketing the content effectively
- Conducing competitive analysis as required
The company has state-of-the-art research and development program. This program deserves a special mention since French Ministry of research and Higher Education has approved it.
Cashstore asked AWE to analyze current situation of homepage click-throughs and recommend ways to improve new registrations in order to boost the business.
Strategy Adopted by Cashstore and AWE
Google offers a key feature named Conversion Funnel in its Analytics toolkit.
When people buy a product from portal such as Cashstore, it is usually a multi-step process to process that order. Funnels give visual representation of each step in the conversion process that led to the final order. This step-by-step click-through data helps analysts determine the trouble spots for customers.
AWE discovered a key problem using Conversion Funnels in Google Analytics. The problem was that even though 90% of people were visiting Cashstore homepage and regularly surfing through it for products, many were not clicking through the link in home page to navigate to registration form.
AWE discovered that click-through rate of new customers leading to sign-up page was as low as 2% while conversion rate for signup form was 23%. Further analysis revealed that the major issue with homepage was its usability.
Homepage visitors found it difficult to comprehend how to use online shopping feature of Cashstore. AWE had a hunch that Flash animation originally present on Cashstore was too complicated that was the main culprit leading to unusability.
Results Achieved by Cashstore and AWE
AWE recommended that Cashstore creates two different homepages; one with Flash Animation leading to signup form, while other with a simplistic presentation of easy to understand information especially from signup perspective. AWE took help of Google Website Optimizer to execute this comparison.
Testing was a crucial part to determine usability of both these home pages. AWE used A/B testing as a key tool for this task. A/B testing is an important testing methodology that helps users test any new changes over baseline and determine efficiency quotient for both baseline and changes.
In case of websites, A/B testing helps validate any new changes to design, or content to webpages. It shows end-users two versions of a webpage and let the users vote for more effective version. It gives solid data to web administrators on various metrics such as number of downloads, click-throughs, new signups and purchase statistics. Using this data, analysts can get valuable insights on visitors and their usage patterns.
As AWS correctly guessed, Flash Animation took full one minute to display navigation commands for signup page. Although homepage with Flash animation actually had 4% click-through rate leading users to signup, the actual conversion rate was as low as 3%. On the contrary, the second homepage led to a 20% conversion rate which was the highest ever recorded.
AWE, Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer together helped Cashstore increase its final conversion-rate significantly. Cashstore was happy to see an incredible 25% increase in new users signups from its homepage and achieve desired business impact.
A fact to note here is that Google has retired its Website Optimizer tool from August 1 2012. This tool helped in multivariate testing of various combinations of content on a website. It was an important aid for web administrators, analysts and marketers to increase visitor loyalty, satisfaction and conversion rates. Since retirement, some of the functionality offered by Optimizer is now integrated into Content Experiments feature of Google Analytics toolkit.
For any e-commerce website, conversion rate i.e. % of visitors who get converted to customers, is the most critical part of generating and growing business.
Cashstore along with AWS made accurate and precise use of Google Analytics Conversion Funnels and Google Website Optimizer which ultimately led to desired increase in business and profit.
Sources: Google Images