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INTERVIEW How Moss Bros is developing its ability to test and learn

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Testing and learning has always been at the heart of Moss Bros’ company culture, says its ecommerce head Matthew Henton. Now new technology is enabling it to see not only what works  – but why. 

“We’ve always been a business that’s had a test and learn culture,” says Matthew Henton, head of commerce at Moss Bros, “and we’ve done lots of experimentation, particularly onlie.” In practice that’s meant developing a hypothesis to demonstrate why a part of its website wasn’t working as well as it might be and then testing it using an AB test. “That would either prove the hypothesis and we’d pat ourselves on the back and implement the winning variant, or if it didn’t perform, we’d end up scratching our heads and going away and finding something else to try instead. We never got a particularly deep understanding of why something had won or lost.”

But recently the formalwear retail and hire business, ranked Top50 in IRUK Top500 research, has taken a new approach to its testing. It has now added UX analytics platform Contentsquare to its analytics and testing tools. As a result, it is now able to see not only whether something works, or not –  but why it does or doesn’t work. Now the ecommerce team can see not only where a website visitor has clicked and what happened then, but is also able to track other behaviours.

The platform enabled the team to see, for example, that there was a drop off rate of almost 50% as people moved from the product pages to the checkout. It was able to find that the scroll rate on the product page was not as high as other pages – but those visitors that got as far as the reviews and recommendations on the bottom half of the page were more likely to convert than those who didn’t. 

Henton explains. “I think because Contentsquare tracks all the clicks, all the hovers, that are on the page, not just things that you typically tagged up in a standard analytics package, we were able to see that people were trying to click on things that weren’t clickable, and then you’re like, ‘Oh yeah I get it – I can see why people would think that element was something you could click on.’”

There’s been a tangible result to using the technology. Traffic from one key product page to checkout has risen by 14%, with conversions and revenue both rising by 13% at the same time.  

But it has always helped the team change the way it thinks. “The fact that we can analyse what happens after we make a change I think has given us a little bit more confidence to act in a slightly bolder way,” says Henton. “Where we may have been a little bit nervous about making certain changes on site, I think we’ve been able to take that forward and say we’re going to do it, and look at the behaviour after we’ve made a change. It gives us a little more confidence in doing it and means we don’t have to A/B test everything. We can look at behavioural signals before and after and get a greater sense of if you’re making a positive impact or not.”

It has also encouraged the team to question everything, he adds. “There’s a surprising amount of randomness in what people do on site. People don’t follow nice simple paths, there’s a tendency to think everyone comes and starts on home page, goes to the category page. People don’t move about in that linear fashion and while we all sort of know this in our hearts, when you get a tool that allows you to really see the myriad of journeys that people do take, I guess it prompts you to think a little bit differently to how you’re setting out your website. We might think of this as being a page that sits in the middle of the journey, but actually it needs to perform as a landing page for people who start their journey here. It’s about really trying to think of every page from the perspective of where it sits.”

As a result, the technology is helping Moss Bros to gain new understanding of its audience, and exactly how it uses its website.

Image courtesy of Moss Bros

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