Shoplet is an online retailer of over 1,000,000 business products, servicing the continental United States, Canada and United Kingdom. Shoplet’s growth has since proven strong and steady, exceeding sales of $100 million. Shoplet works with over 155 US warehouses to fulfill orders of office supplies, office furniture, technology, promotional products and medical supplies.
When Tony Ellison left his career in investment banking at a major firm in 1994, he wanted to try his hand in entrepreneurship. He concentrated on the office and business products and started “Shoplet”. Tony foresaw the Internet, which was experiencing rapid growth, as a prime launching pad for his new company. Because his products did not need to be touched or felt, and consumers of these products—such as IT buyers—were some of the early adopters of the web.”
Shoplet’s Business Objectives:
- Enhance website design and structure
- Provide a better customer experience online
- Increase conversion rates and lower cost-per conversion
Approach Adopted by Shoplet:
To succeed in his entrepreneurial dreams, Tony knew he needed to devise a sound marketing strategy because; he had 3 competitors who were dominating this industry for long time. Tony began by using “Google AdWords” as a marketing tool in order to bring Shoplet’s name out into the industry. He realized AdWords as a cost-effective means of growing his business and competing online side-by-side with the industry’s big names. As Tony puts it, “AdWords has been a crucial component of our marketing strategy and has helped drive the exponential growth that Shoplet has been able to achieve over the past several years.”
Deeper data insights through Analytics:
As AdWords continued to bring visitors to Shoplet.com, Tony and his team looked to gain greater insights into user behavior on their website with free tools like Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer. “Seeing the success of AdWords and Google’s commitment to e-commerce, we sought to expand to Google’s web analytics tools,” says Tony. “We wanted to further enhance Shoplet’s website
Performance and provide a better experience for our customers.” In the fall of 2009, Tony and his team turned to Google Analytics to obtain deeper insights on landing page performance. They set up a six-month experiment within a small Google AdWords campaign, testing targeted promotional landing pages against generic landing pages.
In reviewing Google Analytics data, the test showed a 663 percent increase in non-branded keyword conversions, with a nine percent decrease in cost-per-conversion, when comparing the targeted promotional landing pages to the original generic landing pages. Witnessing the dramatic success of the targeted promotional landing pages, the Shoplet team quickly adopted these new landing pages across all of their top categories. I
n addition to this landing page test, Tony and his team surveyed Google Analytics data to gather insights into customer purchase patterns by comparing high purchase volume product categories and the highest converting search terms. Their findings drove them to implement a complete restructure of the site navigation menu to create one more attuned to users’ site behavior.
The overall changes made to Shoplet.com, largely as a result of these key Google Analytics insights, led to a 31 percent increase in conversion rate and a 17 percent decrease in cost-per-conversion for Shoplet.
Website Optimizer testing:
For the next phase of Shoplet’s website redesign, Tony and his team used Google Website Optimizer, Google’s free website testing and optimization tool, and developed tests to further improve their targeted promotional landing pages.
They formulated hypotheses around what they felt would improve conversion rates, and then tested them.
Hypothesis 1: The promotional page headline takes up too much space. The graphics are too fancy.
Website Optimizer Test 1: Use plain text and smaller fonts with the promotional product keyword.
Hypothesis 2: The featured categories are messy. The product images take up most of the page and may not motivate visitors to click or scroll down the page.
Website Optimizer Test 2: Replace product images with clickable text for each category. The section will be more organized, easier to read, and save space.
Hypothesis 3: Category links on the left are redundant and may distract visitors from continued browsing.
Website Optimizer Test 3: Remove completely.
Hypothesis 4: Rebates and related products would be beneficial to display on the page.
Website Optimizer Test 4: Shrink the margins for the “Best Sellers Category” to 75% to include current rebate and promotion products on the side.
The Website Optimizer testing proved to be fruitful, leading to an additional 87 percent increase in conversion rate. Combined with the original 31 percent conversion rate increase after adjustments due to Google Analytics insights, the changes resulted in an overall 145 percent increase in Shoplet’s conversion rate.
- 31% increase in conversion rate and 17% decrease in cost-per-conversion due to Google Analytics insights
- Additional 87% increase in conversion rate after Google Website Optimizer tests
- 145% improvement in overall conversion rate
Image Credits: Shoplet