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BuildDirect sees a sales lift of $1 Million a month

Through Evolutionary Site Redesign applied to the homepage and search results

Last updated: December 9, 2014


Optimized conversion Qualified leads and e-commerce sales
Solution Marketing optimization system
Website http://www.builddirect.com/
Case study BuildDirect_CaseStudy PDF

BuildDirect sells sell heavyweight home renovation products – like flooring and decking – directly to consumers. They are a fast-growth e-commerce technology company using big data as a competitive advantage within an industry that is usually low-tech.

BuildDirect has an integrated supply chain and big data information system that is disrupting the retail building supplies industry – and saving their customers up to 80% compared to traditional retailers! The BuildDirect website offers shoppers free samples and the company knows the value of each type of website interaction. The website was getting a ton of visitors every month, but too many were leaving without ordering samples or products. The management team brought in BuildDirect to develop a strategy to optimize their website.

Here’s how we did it.

The business need: qualified leads and sales

The BuildDirect website, at www.builddirect.com, offers shoppers free samples and the company knows the value of each type of website interaction. The two main goals for the site are:

  • Lead generation sample request
  • Direct sales

Even though the BuildDirect website at builddirect.com was getting hundreds of thousands of visitors every month, too many were leaving without ordering samples or products.

That meant BuildDirect’s significant investment in paid search wasn’t giving them the return they needed. The management team knew they needed to optimize their website as effectively as they had optimized their supply chain.

Challenges faced: missing a conversion strategy

BuildDirect had made data-driven decision-making their competitive advantage. So it’s no surprise that they were one of the first companies to invest in a conversion optimization. But their early attempts were disappointing. The tests their A/B testing and targeting software vendors proposed often did a better job showing the features of the tools than addressing BuildDirect’s unique challenges. A conversion strategy was missing. BuildDirect took the leap of developing an in-house testing department, but they didn’t have an overall conversion optimization plan to prioritize their efforts. Nor did they have access to deep testing experience and a history of proven winning tests to draw from as a starting point. They felt like they were re-creating the wheel and their conversion optimization results had plateaued. That’s when they decided to bring in expert services. The company needed an experienced conversion optimization team that could do it all: analyze pages, create a conversion optimization strategy, design innovative page variations, take care of the technical implementation, and then analyze the test results to get the most value out of each experiment. Most of all, BuildDirect needed a long-term strategy for continuous improvement – not just tactics for ad hoc tests that were providing limited results.

The solution: revenue per visitor optimization

BuildDirect engaged WiderFunnel, the full service Conversion Optimization firm, to develop and execute a long term conversion optimization strategy that would deliver the revenue-per-visitor gains the company needed. BuildDirect opted for WiderFunnel’s all-inclusive Marketing Optimization System. This program is specifically designed for high traffic websites for companies that appreciate data-driven decision-making. Unlike project-based testing packages, where a single page or series of pages is improved with a limited scope of work – the WiderFunnel System is a flexible process that executes an ongoing series of rapid, iterative tests with insights that build upon one another. Since each test leverages the insights gained in previous rounds, the results are even more dramatic and lasting. Not only do clients like BuildDirect gain substantial conversion rate lift, they also acquire proven marketing insights that positively impact future tests – and their entire marketing strategy.

WiderFunnel’s marketing optimization system for BuildDirect included five key elements:

1. Strategy

WiderFunnel started with its Kaizen Method for developing a conversion optimization strategy. This involves an in-depth workshop to align business goals, roles, and a rich understanding of their target market and previous research. Each test opportunity was ranked within the PIE Framework by its Potential for improvement, the Importance of its traffic, and the Ease with which the test could be implemented. This crucial step directed a prioritized list of tests to focus the team’s attention where it will have the most impact.


2. Voice-of-customer research

The long-term nature of their relationship with BuildDirect also meant WiderFunnel could invest in a range of qualitative data-gathering techniques. These included online user testing, click heatmap analysis, surveys and customer feedback, along with WiderFunnel’s own expert heuristic analyses.

3. Expert heuristic analysis

For each optimization priority, WiderFunnel’s conversion strategist team used their LIFT Model to evaluate every page – including site-wide templates and landing pages – to plan tests. Each LIFT Analysis resulted in a Funnel Experiment Map (or test plan) for each test area. The Funnel Experiment Maps detailed the hypotheses and test designs that would maximize both conversion rate lift and learning outcomes from each test.

4. Controlled testing

WiderFunnel ran an ongoing series of controlled A/B split tests where visitors to a page were randomly shown one of several variations and then tracked to find which variation produced the most leads and sales. WiderFunnel managed every element of these tests – from copywriting and design to implementation and post-test analyses.

As an example of the types of tests that were run, a single test on the home page led to a conversion rate lift of 16.9%. But this wasn’t just the lucky outcome of a website redesign. It was the result of a controlled test of four variations against the existing page. In fact, one variation actually saw a reduction in conversion rate by over 10%. If the company has gone ahead with that design without testing, they could have lost sales. Fortunately, WiderFunnel’s daily results monitoring system pruned the variation so the test could proceed without harming business results.

Another test on a major category page delivered a 27% conversion rate lift and also discovered a particular type of value proposition statement that significantly improved results. Surprisingly, certain overall value propositions only worked in some categories, leading the strategy team to create new hypotheses about the unique target audience needs for different products.


5. Strategic feedback loop

Throughout the testing process, WiderFunnel performed an ongoing analysis of each test result to evolve the Kaizen Plan and create ever-improving test plans based on new knowledge the team gained. This evolutionary approach is a cornerstone of WiderFunnel’s full-service Marketing Optimization System. This analysis is a crucial element in BuildDirect’s results. Each new round of tests has an opportunity to get better results than the first test rounds since they build on earlier insights. Plus, each success benefits from the previous conversion lift. It’s like the power of compounded interest with your investment savings: You earn interest on your interest to achieve much faster growth. The same is true with conversion optimization testing when you invest in a well-planned, continuous improvement approach. And since every website in every industry is unique, the ongoing testing also built up BuildDirect’s own bank of learning, giving the retailer a results playbook of what works in their particular industry and environment that is invaluable. BuildDirect ended up with dramatically better results – more quickly – by tapping into the expertise, experience, and proven processes that WiderFunnel brought to the table.

The result: over $1 million additional revenue – per month!

BuildDirect’s investment in an ongoing relationship with WiderFunnel has paid off handsomely! The company now gets more qualified leads for their sales team to follow up with, and higher e-commerce sales. How much higher? So far, they’ve seen over a million dollars in new revenue each month. And as their ongoing tests continue, these results will keep growing. Having seen a proven lift in their important revenue-per-visitor metric, BuildDirect was able to increase their ad budgets, knowing that their return on any new traffic would be higher than ever.

Plus: an evolutionary site redesign strategy

Conversion rate lift wasn’t the only benefit for BuildDirect. While their website drives more leads and revenue, the ongoing testing was also developed to deliver an Evolutionary Site Redesign (which WiderFunnel calls ESR). WiderFunnel ran tests on all major page templates, site-wide columns and the website header with redesigned elements that improve Clarity and reduce Distraction. The resulting design for the entire website dramatically changed its look & feel. The result of this ESR process has given BuildDirect.com a more modern look that also delivers the best results. And, because the new design was achieved through iterative testing rather than one epic re-launch, there was no post-launch conversion rate drop that is so common for traditional website redesigns.

Instead of having to invest in a risky, revolutionary redesign of their website every few years like their competitors – and hoping a new design will also perform well – their key site-wide templates have been totally redesigned based on what works for their business goals, not just what looks good to a designer’s eye. As they continue continuously improving their results through A/B testing, their site will always look fresh and modern. The old days of risky redesigns are gone!

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