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Ecwid sees a 21% lift in paid plan upgrades in one month

Adding clarity to e-commerce software company's on-boarding process leads to higher engagement and an increase in paid upgrades

Last updated: June 13, 2017

Ecwid logo

Business need: Increased sign-ups & paid upgrades
Solution: Optimization of on-boarding wizard and dashboard
Website: www.ecwid.com
Case study PDF: Ecwid Case Study PDF

The company

Ecwid is a SaaS company that provides easy-to-use online store setup, management, and payment solutions. The company was founded in 2009, with the goal of enabling business-owners to add online stores to their existing websites, quickly and without hassle.

Today, Ecwid provides the world’s most popular ‘add-on store builder’ for small businesses, with over one million merchants, served across 175 countries.

WiderFunnel Case Study - Ecwid homepage.
Ecwid homepage.

Ecwid’s growth goals:

Ecwid began working with WiderFunnel in November 2016 with two primary goals:

  1. To increase initial sign-ups for their free plan through marketing optimization, and
  2. To increase the rate of paid upgrades, through platform optimization
WiderFunnel case study - Ecwid goals
Ecwid’s main growth goals include: 1) increasing initial signups, and 2) increasing paid upgrades.

Note: Ecwid has a freemium business model. Users can sign up for free, and unlock more features as they upgrade to paid packages.

This case study will focus on a particular experimentation cycle that ran on Ecwid’s step-by-step onboarding wizard for new users. The goal of this experiment was to increase paid upgrades.

Here’s what we did…

The methodology

At WiderFunnel, one of the first steps we take when developing a new experiment hypothesis is to examine the client’s website through the lens of the LIFT Model®.

Dennis Pavlina

The LIFT Model forces you to put yourself in the mind of a visitor. It asks you to look at the page through their eyes and think about what you are reading: Is it confusing, distracting, or causing anxiety? That is what makes it so valuable.

Dennis Pavlina, Optimization Strategist, WiderFunnel

Using this framework, our Strategy team performs a LIFT analysis on the client’s webpage; they identify potential user experience issues or opportunities for improvement related to the six crucial conversion factors.

conversion rate optimization framework
WiderFunnel’s LIFT Model.

For this experiment, the team analyzed the user experience within Ecwid’s onboarding wizard. Here are a few of the key points that they found:

1. Too many to-do’s (Anxiety)

In order to set up a store for their website, a new Ecwid user had to complete a long, potentially overwhelming list of to-do’s:

  1. Create an Account
  2. Add Products
  3. Create Store
  4. Geo Setting
  5. Configure Shipping
  6. Get Paid
  7. Share

To provide motivation for users to complete this task list, Ecwid was using a form of gamification: a progress bar.

Progress bars are often effective motivators because humans have an innate need to set goals and complete them.

This need to achieve is ingrained in us at a physical level: in fact, studies have shown that “when you finish a complex task, your brain releases massive quantities of endorphins.”

However, Ecwid’s progress bar was not functioning at an optimal level.

For example, the first real task that a new Ecwid user had to complete was to sign up and create an account. But, when the user had completed this task, the progress bar remained at 0%. It was as if they hadn’t started the process at all.

Our Strategy team theorized that this version of the progress bar was actually making the setup process seem longer than it had to.

WiderFunnel case study - Ecwid progress bar
In this sample progress bar, users are 15% complete after finishing the first step.

2. Confusing icons (Clarity)

To navigate the Ecwid onboarding wizard, users could click through icons that represented the stages of the setup process.

However, these icons were not necessarily self-explanatory, which may have been confusing for users, leading them to abandon the setup process.

Without text labels, users had to play a guessing game when they wanted to navigate within the wizard. Users needed to click on each icon just to see what it was, adding half a dozen more clicks to the information-gathering process.

WiderFunnel case study - Ecwid icons
Label-less icons may have been causing visitor confusion…

And for new users―the main audience for the wizard―this was likely making the setup process seem complicated.

We wanted to know if adding text labels to the icons on the wizard would enhance the user’s experience, and keep them moving through the setup process.

The Progress Clarity Test

With the (so-called) Progress Clarity Test, the goal was to make the onboarding process smoother. The team hoped that enhancing the initial user experience, and exposing users to the wide range of Ecwid’s features, would result in more users upgrading to paid plans.

At the same time, our Strategy team wanted to get some serious lift, fast. So, Optimization Strategist, Dennis Pavlina, created an A/B cluster test that addressed many of the LIFT points for Ecwid’s onboarding wizard / dashboard.

Dennis Pavlina

Ecwid’s two objectives ended up coming together in this test. We thought that if more new users interacted with the wizard and were shown the whole ‘Ecwid world’ with all the integrations and potential it has, they would be more open to upgrading. People needed to be able to see its potential before they would want to pay for it.

– Dennis Pavlina

Here are the experiment details

Hypothesis: Clarifying elements of the existing wizard and adding a visual indicator of progress will increase initial and post-setup engagement of the wizard, which will lead to increased upgrade rates.


WiderFunnel case study - Ecwid Control
The original Ecwid wizard / dashboard (Control).

The Variation: Progress Clarity

WiderFunnel case study - Ecwid VarA
The variation.

With the variation, we wanted to address the specific barriers to conversion that came out of the LIFT analysis, in order to improve the user experience within the Ecwid wizard.

First, we addressed the potential points of Anxiety by weighting the progress bar differently.

“Create Account” became the first official task, and “Add Products” became the second. Users were now 15% finished with their store setup, where they had previously been unstarted.

We hypothesized that this change would make the initial setup process seem shorter, and that seeing the progress bar move would add a sense of momentum and completion right from the start, keeping Ecwid users going.

With this variation, we also wanted to make the wizard easier to navigate, by adding text labels to each of the steps in the setup process.

WiderFunnel case study - Ecwid labels
In the variation, text labels were applied to navigational icons.

The Results

This experiment ran for four weeks, at which point, we determined that the variation was the winner with 98% confidence.

WiderFunnel case study - Ecwid results

“There was a lot of fluctuation in the conversion rate of the variation in the early stages of the experiment,” explains Dennis. “But, as traffic and conversions accumulated, it became evident that the variation was a statistically significant winner.”

By clarifying elements of the onboarding process and adding a progress indicator, Ecwid saw big increases in engagement with the wizard. This included a 12% increase in views to the steps:

  • “Create Store”
  • “Geo-Settings”
  • “Configure Shipping”

…and a 17% Increase in visits to “Get Paid”. Most significantly, Ecwid saw a 28.4% increase in users completing all of the wizard steps.

In that month, Ecwid saw a 21.3% lift in successful paid account upgrades from English-speaking users.

Other key insights and takeaways

With a cluster test like this, it is important to track secondary metrics; because you cannot rely on isolations, secondary metrics can hint at useful user insights that you can validate in subsequent tests.

During this experiment, Ecwid saw massive increases in visits to the middle four steps of the store setup process.

They also saw large increases (14%+) in the completion rate for all steps, aside from “Add Products” (which experienced a slight increase) and “Configure Shipping” which decreased.

WiderFunnel case study - Ecwid Views
Percent change in visitor views to each step and visitor completions of each step.

Looking at these metrics, we theorized that the new text labels below the icons were allowing users to skip to steps in the signup process that are more attractive to them (as opposed to completing each step progressively).

This may have lead to the decrease in the “Configure Shipping” completions despite the increased rate of views: users may have perceived this step as too complicated or not as useful as other steps.

Dennis Pavlina

It was interesting to see how people began to complete different steps at different rates. The way they were picking and choosing steps could indicate [some steps] are too complicated, not necessary, or in the wrong place.

– Dennis Pavlina

And finally, we observed that the “Share” step was not driving very much engagement, and it may be worth testing other activities in its place.

This test yielded great results for Ecwid, but equally important are the insights gained that can be leveraged in future tests. Optimization is an ongoing process that continually builds upon itself. And with this strong start, Ecwid’s journey looks very promising.

About WiderFunnel

WiderFunnel is a digital agency, specializing in conversion optimization and personalization. We believe the world’s greatest brands are founded on unique insights about their customers, and that the world’s best marketers embrace both the inspirational and rigorous disciplines of marketing to uncover those insights. On average, we achieve 945% ROI for our clients using our proprietary Infinity Optimization Process™.

Here’s what our clients have to say:

Tom Hebert - Ecwid

Working with Widerfunnel has helped us not just increase the complexity and effectiveness of our testing, but has also expanded our fundamental understanding of our customer’s behavior. This is ultimately leading to a better experience for our customers.

Tom Hebert, Sr. Director, Digital Marketing, Ecwid, Inc.

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