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Tuesday, May. 12, 2009 at 11:02 am

Conversion Makeover: – Part 1

By Bryan Eisenberg
May 12th, 2009

A week or so before the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Jose, the “company” I was supposed to analyze during my live conversion clinic – review had to cancel.  So Jim Sterne, the conference organizer, challenged me by asking if I’d be willing to “show our magic” (his words) on one of the top converting websites in the industry – a site that supposedly does over a billion dollars in sales.  And to handicap me even more, the analyst who was attending the conference (Michael Helbling) couldn’t really share any data with me.

Over the next 2 posts, I’ll show you how we addressed the conversion challenges on LandsEnd product pages and in the next post start by looking at their category pages. main issues fall in to 3 main categories:

  1. breaks in persuasive momentum
  2. buy flow from product selection to upsell
  3. use of jargon

Let’s look at the page closely:

One of the first things that jumped out to me was the initial separation of sizes into big girl, little girl and toddler radio buttons, that was then broken by color swatches, and then tried to resume the size selection by displaying the actual sizes as boxes.  The entire buying flow felt disconnected and confused – disconnected because of the layout and confused because of jargon and unexplained terms.  How do you define big girl versus little girl, and is there any connection between this and the actual sizes?

The second thing that hit me was the add to cart button’s placement below the fold, which is never recommended.  The add to cart button actually felt displaced from the product.  Making matters worse, the layout of the different buying decision interfaces made each action/selection feel disconnected from one another. It felt more like jumping through 6 separate and uncomfortable hoops than pleasantly browsing and selecting one dress to buy.

First the page shows you price, then you choose the size by type.  After that there is actually a line visually separating the size-by-type selection from the color swatch selector, then another line/separation, then the page displays the actual sizes in boxes, then another line, followed by the gift box selector and the quantity and who are you shipping it to drop down menus, followed by yet another line/visual separation, and finally – sigh! – the actual color name and add to cart button.

Seems like working through these steps requires way too much cognitive energy.  Imagine how this complexity compounds as you start adding multiple items.  And speaking of multiple items and up/cross-sells, the pages display of the recommended item seemed to leave it just hanging on the far right hand side of the page, disconnected from everything else.

So I went ahead and moved the pieces of information on the page around to create a better flow. I did not add anything new at this point.

Notice the separate “ready to buy” area with all the purchasing decision information neatly grouped together and organized in a box on the upper right hand corner.

When I shared this Michael he said:

Amazing. A change along these lines would probably make us millions of dollars in additional demand each year.

I love how this breaks down each phase of buying the product.
First look at the picture and think about colors and size.
Then get more information (if needed).
Then handle the details of putting the item in the cart.
And the cross sells are in a place where you can combine them in your mind with the product you are looking at.

Of course, this new design would need to be A/B tested so they could evaluate the true financial impact.

I would still like to see LandsEnd move their “Guaranteed Period” assurance underneath the “ready to buy” area in the new design and have it above the fold. I asked several of our key analysts at FutureNow what else they would like to do and see next.

Jeff Sexton wanted to see the sizing information tied together and not separated by the color swatches. You can see how he would like to see them grouped for better clarity and to deal with jargon issue:

As the father of 2 beautiful little girls, he had a hard time visually the same dress on both girls, he would have like to have seen more variety in the multiple product images shown.

Jeff also commented about one of the critical bullet points in the product description:

Melissa Burdon added:

1. If visitors are looking for shipping information, there is only a text link at the bottom of the page. You could create a tab next to “more info” that answers the visitor’s questions about shipping.

2. There are no reviews- bring star reviews to the top of the page, you could add it as a tab next to shipping tab and let visitors read reviews if they click on the tab. Also feature reviews below the other info on the product page so that the visitor doesn’t have to click on reviews in order to see this info on the page.

3. Test different language for the call to action and size of call to action. Is add to bag more effective than add to cart. This may work well for current customers, but what about new customers who you may be trying to acquire?

4. What if I want to add this to my wishlist and continue shopping? They might want to offer this here.

Brendan Regan added he would like to see the toll free phone number bigger and see them put live help (from bottom) in right column.

Do you see all the opportunity this page has for improvement. A website is like a leaky bucket and in need of continuous improvement.

We do this work for clients but occasionally we do this type of analysis for teaching purposes. Would you like to suggest your website for this type of review and improvement? If so, then be prepared to have it published. Just let us know in the comments below.

In Part 2, we’ll look at LandsEnd category pages and we’ll examine the results of some usability testing we ran on their website which confirmed LandsEnd may have several jargon related issues.

If you enjoyed this post please consider Tweeting it please.

Add Your Comments

Comments (23)

  1. It is great to get the perspectives from you Bryan and your team. This is a great example of the rule that as far as the web is concerned you can never consider that you have arrived, but must keep struggling to continue the optimization process.

  2. Awesome! I love Lands’ End, but I agree with you that there’s room for improvement there.

    GREAT post…very helpful!

    Mild-Mannered E-Commerce Copywriter for a Great Metropolitan Apparel Company

  3. >>>LandsEnd may have several jargon related issues.

    If you enjoyed this post please consider Tweeting it please.

    Jargonese? :-) How about “If you enjoyed this post please consider sharing it.”

  4. I like this post. It shows how small, subtle changes can yield big results.

  5. Great post Bryan! Would love you to do the same with our website.

  6. Thanks for the very demonstrative post. Please feel free to visit our site and publish your thoughts at any time.

    Best regards from Berlin, Germany,

  7. Complacency is a big barrier to improvements: I’ve lost track of the number of clients and prospects who think their site is great simply because they sell more online than they expected to.

  8. [...] Our Blog BLOG HOME AROUND THE NET ARCHIVES RSS FEEDS EVENTS « Previous Entry Home FutureNow Post Wednesday, May. 13, 2009 at 2:21 [...]

  9. [...] our last post, we looked at LandsEnd product page and showed you how we would change the flow of the page to maximize conversions. Today we’ll [...]

  10. It’s funny how when you look at your own site you will miss many of these issues that seem obvious. The need to consolidate many of the ordering options into as few pages as possible is one I’ve seen many time just as a consumer.

  11. [...] Makeover: – Part 1 – Part 2 (via – Couple post series on how Lands’ End website could be made [...]

  12. [...] Conversion Makeover: Part 1 [Grokdotcom] [...]

  13. Excellent article. It goes way beyond the theoretical and into the practical. These are improvements that can be made today and tested on a handful of products.

    With regards to your invitation to critique another product page, you are welcome to do ours. Our online store offers rare book titles to rare book lovers and collectors.
    Here is an example: Product Code: SFE510


  14. I enjoy reading The Grok each week. I am aware that eventhough we rank in the top 3 for nearly all of our search terms we don’t convert more than 2 out of every 90 visitors (average). I am sure this is because the site was built to rank, not to convert. That’s why I read your weekly newsletter – I want to increase those conversions – if you would like to use us as an example – we would be honoured.

  15. I really enjoyed your article and would like to suggest my site for your review!

  16. GReat content as always.

    I have learned a lot from you and from StomperNet

    Would love if you can study my site and give me some insights that I cannot seem to see

  17. I agree with Jeff on the size layout. I would also consider wrapping the colors into a table that was graphically connected to the order box – or providing some other confirmation that I’ve actually ordered what I wanted (like the way Old Navy does it.)

  18. Interesting to learn of the thought process of the staff and their various contributions.

  19. [...] our last post, we looked at LandsEnd product page and showed you how we would change the flow of the page to maximize conversions. Today we’ll [...]

  20. great article
    It really put theories into the practise. These are great improvements that can be made today and tested.

  21. Great article. I’d love to see something similar for a lower converting site that has higher AOVs. I’ll throw out there as an example.

  22. You still have a LONG way to go. Problems at the Lands’ End website just wasted two weeks of valuable time with a corporate order.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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