Case Study: Yankee Candle Customizes in a Flash
Problem: Yankee Candle’s Web site made placing custom orders so difficult that many customers had to call the company to finish the transaction.
Solution: Redesign the Web site (above) and install Flash technology.
Results: The average sale of customer orders increased by 25 percent.
Since 1996, Yankee Candle had generated profits through its Web site’s Custom Candles program, which lets customers choose the fragrance, message and message label for a personalized candle. Its business mainly came from people buying favors for weddings and bridal showers.
But the site’s static ordering page presented problems. For example, it prevented customers from viewing all of their color and label options when customizing their candles, often forcing them to call the company for help. This process averaged 20 minutes per call in the call center, says Dennis Shockro, Yankee Candle’s vice president of information systems. And the process tied up phone lines, displacing calls from customers with simpler queries.
Compounding this, a customer could see an example of the finished product only if the company created and sent to him or her a sample.
All in all, the costs associated with this program were high.
Rather than further increase overhead by adding to its call center staff, Yankee Candle overhauled its ordering process within a larger Web site redesign. After working with Molecular, a digital solutions advisor that employed Macro-media’s latest Flash application (MX technologies) for the project, Yankee Candle relaunched the application in October 2002 as the Make a Memory program.
The program’s new order form allows customers to view all their options for candle customization without having to refresh the Web page, and it offers several upsell products. Shockro says the application took about 90 days to implement. The only time-consuming processes were assuring that the correct design pieces were built into the system and conducting regression testing to be sure none of the new software hampered any other pages on the site.