How we partnered with HD Supply to lift their A/B testing to the expert level

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TL;DR: This is the story of how we partnered with HD Supply to help them implement a customized optimization program, enhancing their user experience and ultimately increasing their conversions. Read the full conversion optimization case study here.

A partnership is born


Our partnership with HD Supply Facilities Maintenance (who we’ll refer to as ‘HD Supply’) began back in 2012. The relationship began with a long courtship process, and in the end, the testing partnership that blossomed between our teams was a thing of beauty.

HD Supply is a supplier of maintenance, repair, operations (MRO), and property marketing products. They serve multifamily, hospitality, and commercial properties as well as healthcare, and government facilities.

This is the tale of how a giant retailer and a conversion optimization agency joined forces to the benefit of all: client, agency and customers.

A new optimization case study

This new case study looks at the initial challenges that HD Supply faced and how we were able to integrate with them and address those challenges as a team, establishing a true testing partnership.

Together, we tackled a common testing cliché, disproved the idea that Amazon knows best and discovered surprising insights about HD Supply’s customers.

A star-crossed meeting

When Nathan Turnbull, Senior Manager, e-Commerce & Digital Marketing at HD Supply met WiderFunnel Founder & CEO Chris Goward back in 2012, he was looking to improve HD Supply’s overall go-to market strategy.

Little did he know, he would find the solution to his problem sitting next to him at lunch at an online marketing conference. When Nathan heard about WiderFunnel’s great work in conversion rate optimization, he knew that this was the business ally he’d been looking for.

The search bar cliché

HD Supply search bar
The control search bar was fairly standard in size.

One of our early tests with HD Supply focused on the size of the search bar. There was definite skepticism toward this test. Increasing the size of the search bar is often considered a testing cliché.

The assumption in the optimization world is that visitors who use search already know what they want, that they arrive with the intent to search, and thus adjusting the search bar shouldn’t have a cause-and-effect impact on conversion rates. But we pushed ahead none-the-less, discovering unexpected results.

The ‘best practice’ trap

Amazon search bar
This idea was “borrowed” from the Amazon search bar placement (at the time).

At one point, an HD Supply associate decided to make changes to their search bar based on ‘best practices’ they’d gleaned from Amazon. But, as a WiderFunnel client, they’d been primed to respond to a good idea with “You should test that!”.

The data confirmed that just because something works for Amazon, doesn’t mean it’ll work for your company.

Unique customer insights

In a series of tests on HD Supply’s homepage, a curious insight was revealed: their users seemed to respond more to text and information than to imagery. We conducted another series of tests aimed at validating this insight…the results revealed a customer tendency that HD Supply was able to address across their entire business.

HD Supply homepage, var A
Did HD Supply’s customers prefer this variation…
HD Supply homepage, var B
…or did they prefer this variation?

The science of partnership

A few months into the relationship, HD Supply was all-in. They were rapidly building out their internal optimization team, they were pitching their own test ideas and running their own tests. We credit several of WiderFunnel’s consistent process requirements for the partnership’s success, including weekly meetings and extensive collaboration.

HD Supply has now adopted WiderFunnel’s optimization process as their own strategy and continues to build on that expertise with their internal, iterative program. It’s a partnership that’s been a true win, win, win for everyone.

Stephanie Crissey

The partnership with WiderFunnel was crucial to the success of our conversion rate optimization (CRO) efforts. While we had the knowledge and expertise related to our industry and customers’ needs, WiderFunnel are the knowledge experts in A/B testing and optimization, able to enhance the user experience to ultimately increase our conversions.

– Stephanie Crissey, Conversion Optimization Specialist, HD Supply

Read the full case study here

Learn more about how WiderFunnel integrated with HD Supply to create a well-oiled testing partnership that got results. Read the full conversion optimization case study here.

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