Testing Helps Drive Online Revenues for JanSport
A latecomer to the e-commerce party, JanSport has been making up for lost time in large part to an ongoing testing program that's helped to optimize the brand's website. Prior to May 2013, JanSport didn't have an e-commerce site; it sold its backpacks via wholesale partnerships with national retail brands. Upon launching its e-commerce site, JanSport dealt with several challenges transitioning from a branded website to a transactional website. In particular, navigation and effictive use of the site real estate, homepage engagement, and content marketing proved to be early pain points.
We had to get site visitors to shift their mind-set from "I like" to "I want," said Victoria Reuter, vice president of e-commerce at JanSport, in a presentation this week at the Monetate Summit in Philadelphia. To help with that initiative, JanSport partnered with Monetate in April 2014. JanSport is working with Monetate to improve personalization, testing and targeting, and merchandising.
For example, when JanSport launched its e-commerce site, four of the five tabs on the navigation bar were branded, with just one listed "Shop," which happened to drive 98 percent of the clicks. "Backpacks" was far and away the No. 1 term searched on JanSport's site, but it wasn't on the navigation bar. Reuter said Monetate was able to step in and help.
After analyzing the site traffic and their behavior, JanSport's navigation bar was updated to include "Best Sellers," "What's New," "Backpacks," "Bags," "Accessories," "Collections," and "Music & More." In addition, JanSport started testing different elements of its site to optimize performance. For example, the retailer tested showing product in its top slider above the fold vs. showing a branded content marketing message. The slider promoting product saw a 555 percent increase in engagement and a 1,290 percent increase in conversion vs. the branded message.
JanSport also tested being more promotional in the slider at the top of its site. A free shipping message generated a 815 percent increase in engagement and 583 percent increase in conversion rate. In its shift from a branded website to a transactional site, JanSport cut down on the number of "stories" from 12 to seven. Other tests have included using lifestyle images on its homepage vs. product images, and "New Arrivals" vs. "Best Sellers."
Planning for the Future
Reuter identified several areas where JanSport wants to take its e-commerce site in the near future:
- dynamic personalization;
- "attack" new/direct load visitors (JanSport sees minimal repeat traffic because its products don't lend themselves to multiple purchases in a short period of time);
- establish defined customer segments, with different products for different segments; and
- continued use of merchandising and personalization tests.
Right now Reuter is working with a team of just three - she hopes to have a fourth employee by the end of the year. That's not stopping her and her team from having a grand vision for JanSport's e-commerce future. Testing is integral to that future.