Closing the Sale

Why CRO is essential in the emerging ecommerce era

The largest mattress retailer in country had a problem. And it was a big one.

Like many other retail companies, Mattress Firm was committed to upgrading its digital capabilities. But something wasn’t clicking—or more specifically, there weren’t enough clicks on the Buy button. People were coming to the company’s website and they were browsing the product line—but sales weren’t meeting goals. Where was the bottleneck? The company hired Astound Commerce to investigate.

Mattress Firm’s issue, of course, wasn’t unique. Conversion rate—the percentage of visitors to a website who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a service—is a perennial concern in the ecommerce realm. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is therefore an evergreen goal; the higher the conversion rate, the more robust the revenue stream.

But while the impacts of low conversion rate are only too obvious, the friction points can be difficult to identify. On some sites, visitors may be discouraged by inelegant design—or worse, balky performance, particularly in regard to mobile. Content may be less than compelling. The journey from landing page to Buy button may be circuitous and difficult to negotiate. Every site, in short, presents novel challenges—meaning the most effective solutions are customized. Cookie-cutter approaches are doomed to eventual failure.

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Some ecommerce companies base their CRO solutions on analytics, focusing on quantitative data that include website entry, the devices and browsers employed, site feature preference, customer demographics, and points of abandonment in the marketing/sales funnel.

Other firms focus more heavily on qualitative analysis, basing their solutions on customer profiles that include personal interests, product and service preferences, motivation for visiting particular sites or navigating to specific pages, and perspectives on site aesthetics and pain points.

Astound, however, does it all. Our company differentiates itself through our prowess in both analytics and UX, leveraging both approaches to arrive at bespoke CRO solutions that precisely target each client’s conversion rate issues. CRO, in short, is a foundational service for Astound, something our deep bench of analysts and engineers address every working day.

Working CRO Magic for Our Clients

Response speed is of the essence for CRO crises, and Mattress Firm was no exception. The company needed to increase conversion rapidly and enhance the customer experience. Astound’s analysts quickly determined the solution: an iterative and incremental approach to CX and design improvements, focusing on pages that had the greatest ROI potential. We created a clean, strong tile design with enhanced iconography, and we streamlined the information hierarchy on Mattress Firm’s platform, using design to cue functionality.

The payoff: a $3.5 million jump in sitewide revenue year over year (YoY), $506,000 mobile revenue increase YoY, and more than 20 percent sale page conversion YoY.

Astound worked similar magic for John Varvatos, a premier men’s lifestyle brand. The company needed to increase clicks on its top-selling categories, increase visibility of nested categories, streamline checkout, and remedy CX gaps. Astound optimized navigation by reducing subcategory taps, adding a leather category to boost leather product awareness across associated categories such as shoes and jackets, and surfacing popular subcategories. Our engineers also streamlined purchases by instituting single-page progressive checkout and fixing button placement, form fields, and field error messaging.

An elegant site isn’t enough.

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Following implementation of Astound’s solutions, John Varvatos saw a 55 percent mobile revenue increase YoY, a 22 percent mobile conversion increase YoY, and a 45 percent page-view increase for top-selling categories.

No CRO solution, however, is permanent. To be truly effective, it must be an ongoing process. A site that has been effectively optimized today won’t necessarily see enhanced conversion rates next month or next year. Tastes shift. Products and services evolve. Technologies advance inexorably. And all these changes must be accommodated in a progressive, seamless, and fluid fashion on retail platforms to ensure that customers continue to make easy, enjoyable—and for the company, profitable— journeys from landing page to Buy button.

This points to another CRO necessity: targeted redesign. Brands and retailers can’t wait for—or afford—complete platform overhauls that eat up months of precious time and require massive infusions of capital. Astound’s CRO solutions instead address specific pain points, weak spots, and dead weight in each platform. We create design and content solutions that not only fix the particular problems but supercharge the site as a whole, creating a virtual shopping experience that is every bit as compelling as the most alluring physical retail outlet.

Moreover, Astound’s CRO expertise dovetails with our mastery of mobile. It’s not a matter of mobile defining the future of digital commerce—it already dominates the present. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated ecommerce generally, and mobile devices are by far the preferred means of digital retail access for world consumers. This plays to Astound’s strength: mobile is and will remain our wheelhouse.

When Astound takes on a client, we bring the full power and passion of our 1,200 engineers, analysts, marketers, and content producers to bear on any issue. Over the past 20 years, we have concluded more than 3,000 successful projects. And as retail moves ever deeper into the ecommerce era, we stand ready to address any and all CRO issues, guided as always by our company mission: adding business value.

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Vanessa Cartwright

Vanessa Cartwright is chief client success officer at Astound Commerce.

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