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Conversion rate optimization of homepage increases online retailer sales by 15%

Last updated: June 11, 2013

GPS Central WiderFunnel Case Study
Business: E-Commerce
Sector: GPS Products, Services and Accessories
Optimized Conversion: Purchases
Test: A/B/n Split Test
Website: www.gpscentral.ca
Case study: Download Case Study PDF

Discover how GPS Central, an online retailer of Global Positioning System (GPS) products, used conversion optimization testing to identify a winning homepage layout that increased sales conversions by 15%.

The Client: GPS Central

Based in Calgary, Canada, GPS Central has risen to be a major player in the highly competitive GPS retail market space. The company has established strong relationships with top-tier suppliers, carrying an extensive range of leading recreational, automotive and marine GPS products for consumer and business markets.

GPS Central operates the gpscentral.ca online store and an offline retail location. It is also aggressively expanding its online presence in the United States (gpscentral.com ) and internationally.

The Business Need

Widespread adoption of GPS products, the proliferation of GPS technology providers and the ever-growing presence of online retail channels have put severe pressure on end-user prices. Faced with thinning margins and increasingly fickle consumers, GPS Central soon recognized that delivering an impeccable online visitor experience had become a necessity.

The GPS Central management team had hired a creative agency to redesign their website and was about to launch the new design when they were introduced to WiderFunnel. Although the GPS Central team loved the look of the newly designed website, they were concerned about hurting sales by implementing it without testing. The team was particularly nervous about the new homepage and didn’t know how it would affect their sales conversions. They believed that a conversion optimization testing strategy would minimize the risk of hurting their revenue and also provide a reliable method for ongoing improvement.

The Challenges

The GPS Central management team knew they needed expert guidance to tackle their unique challenges:

1. Impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts: The company had invested heavily in SEO for its website and needed to ensure its efforts would not be negatively impacted by conversion optimization testing.

2. Dual role of homepage: The homepage also served as a landing page for the company’s PPC campaigns. The test structure needed to take this dual role into account.

3. Integration with 3rd party ecommerce technology: As a NetSuite user, GPS Central anticipated technical challenges tracking purchases during an A/B or Multivariate test.

Faced with these unique challenges, the GPS Central team acknowledged the need for outsourced conversion optimization expertise.

The Solution

On the advice of their SEO agency, the GPS Central team chose to work with WiderFunnel Marketing Optimization, a full-service conversion optimization agency, to develop and execute a conversion optimization strategy for their homepage. WiderFunnel handled the project from end-to-end, beginning by analyzing website metrics and ad campaigns, then developing test hypotheses, designing, copywriting, coding, assisting with NetSuite technical integration and launching the test – all while ensuring compatibility with SEO efforts.

WiderFunnel planned the test to include the original page in a controlled A/B/n test using Google Website Optimizer as the statistical testing tool. A total of three homepage layouts were created and tested against the original (Control) design. An A/B/n test structure was selected in order to test dramatically different layout approaches and establish a strong baseline.

In order to ensure a consistent visitor experience, WiderFunnel’s variation pages maintained the tone of the existing graphic design treatment. The team focused on layout and copy modifications that improved the effectiveness of merchandising attractiveness, value proposition communication and content relevance to the incoming advertising copy.

Variation A: ‘Category Rows’

This design organized product categories into rows of sub-category thumbnails thereby creating a comparatively long page. The following changes were also made:

Variation B: ‘Images and Tabs’

This Variation made category navigation highly visual with a 4 x 2 grid of large images using up most of the above-the-fold real estate. Other changes made were:

Variation C: ‘Left Column’

In this Variation, category navigation was added to the left and most popular products were featured as a grid of thumbnails. Other changes included:


All three Variations outperformed the original homepage in terms of purchase conversions. The winner, Variation B “Images & Tabs”, lifted purchases by 15%. See Fig.1 for the original home page and winning page variation.

By making Conversion Rate Optimization an integral part of their website redesign process, GPS Central was able to reduce risk and even capture revenue it may not have realized by simply implementing their new designs. The winning Variation is now the new homepage and ongoing testing can continue the improvement.

GPS Central Control

Fig. 1: Original (Control) Home Page

GPS Central Variation

Fig. 2: Winning Home Page Variation 15% Lift in Purchase Conversions

What our client says…

“We were moving forward on the assumption we knew what the best site design would be, absent any market or customer research.

Luckily, we found WiderFunnel before launching. WiderFunnel understood our business needs, differentiators and target market quickly. The conversion optimization test plan they developed with us reduced the risk of the redesign hurting our business and, instead, showed a 15% sales lift!

Plus, the WiderFunnel technical team solved significant challenges with testing on a complex Netsuite and custom-built ecommerce platform.

We won’t do a redesign without A/B testing again.”


David Dominy

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