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Clarks boosts online conversions through testing what its customers really, really want

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Clarks has reported a boost to online conversions after carrying out testing to find out what its customers really, really want.

The shoe manufacturer and retailer has to date run about 36 major tests in partnership with Maxymiser, the most recent with 160 variants. Each test has examined a range of characteristics within the sales funnel, from language, design to email sign-ups. One checkout test looked at different wordings with regard to delivery charges – and the result that emerged has resulted in a 4.2% uplift in conversion.

Another test that resulted in Maxymiser swapping its previous closed basket for an open one that showed users the items they had chosen to buy during the checkout process delivered a 1.99% in conversion. “In financial terms,” said Mark Carlock, web analytics manager at Clarks, “that’s a massive uplift for us.”

The testing programme has also resulted in the Clarks team questioning their assumptions in order to put the customer first.

“Instread of simply guessing, we now have a clearer understanding of the customer,” said Carlock. “As a result we’re seeing definite conversion uplifts and improved metrics right across the site.”

Clarks teamed up with Maxymiser in 2010 in order to put a testing programme into place that would show what its customers wanted from its website.

“Clarks has always been very customer-focused – it’s a major part of our ethos,” said Carlock. “The site was how we wanted it – but we needed to establish whether it was how our customers wanted it. Multivariate testing was seen as the best way to measure – and even disprove – our internal assumptions. The results were immediate and exciting. After just one test, the outputs from Maxymiser were so significant and the benefits so obvious, that we’ve been testing non-stop ever since.”

The main aim of the testing strategy was to boost conversion by improving the customer experience. “We knew people were coming onto the site and viewing products, but we weren’t clear on why people were leaving without purchasing,” said Carlock. “What’s more, we didn’t understand whether changes we were making to the site were helping or hindering us. Maxymiser has helped us guide customers through our site more effectively, and made the process of buying shoes online much more user-friendly. And we are reaping the benefits.”

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