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Wickes reports 14% increase in on-line conversions

Wickes has revealed that it has seen online conversions rise by 14% since employing Maxymiser to test and optimise its website content nine months ago.

“We wanted to be able to determine, very precisely, which combinations of website content, positioning and design achieve the best levels of customer response,” says Keith Hamilton, general manager at Wickes E-commerce.

“I read a report on Maxymiser, and knew at once that this was what we needed,” says Hamilton. “We have a fantastically creative team here, but we needed to know whether what we thought our customers wanted was what they actually did want. We needed to know whether our website content and design was effective, or whether subtle improvements could improve the completion of sales.”

Maxymiser is designed to facilitate the testing and tweaking of website content to maximise sales conversion rates. It stood out from other products, says Hamilton, because it allows multivariate testing, where the observation and analysis of more than one variable can be carried out at a time.

“The multivariate approach is statistically accurate, taking the emotion out of website testing,” Hamilton notes. “It takes into account multiple interplaying factors, and numerous different combinations thereof. By repeatedly refining these, you end up with an optimised website which improves the customer journey.”

Over the last nine months Wickes has been using Maxymiser to test and refine a number of critical pages on its website, from the all-important home page to, most recently, the checkout page, with the aim of making modifications that will encourage visitors to continue right through to completion of purchase. In each case, proposed new page layouts are tested head-to-head with the original and alternative variations, in order to establish the winning approach.

For Wickes, a common theme among the winning variants has been simplicity and an ease of shopping experience. “Previously we had tried to give the customer lots of information about everything on offer, but it turned out that less is more,” Hamilton explains.

Another discovery concerned the optimum positioning of Wickes’ “best deals” on the home page. “We had put these in what we’d determined to be the right order, but after testing this with Maxymiser, it turned out that the optimum line-up was actually quite different,” he says. And, where Wickes had featured the category-based deals in five small panes across the bottom, Maxymiser found that that the site had much better conversion rates when the spotlights were moved up to the centre. “We’ve also found that rotating images have a bigger impact,” says Hamilton.

Source : Sarah Clark - Internet Retailing

31 March 2009
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