Continual testing on Tafford Uniforms' e-commerce site lifts conversion rates
Tafford tested its homepage and landing pages to deliver more targeted marketing
Client: Tafford Uniforms
Outtake: Medical uniform supplier wanted to improve its e-commerce sales as it continued to shift more of its business from catalog to online.
The Tafford Uniforms brand has sold nurses' scrubs and other medical uniforms to healthcare workers for nearly 25 years. While other brands focused on a b-to-b model by negotiating bulk contracts with healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, Tafford remained committed to selling directly to the individual worker.
Catalog once made up the bulk of its business, but today Internet purchases account for 70% of Tafford's sales, according to David Kaplan, VP of marketing. Recognizing the continued shift in customer behavior toward online, the brand wanted to improve the sophistication of its e-commerce site and the marketing around its online channel.
"With postage increases and the Internet, we had to right-size catalog [strategy] with online," he said.
Tafford was purchased in late 2006 by new management. The new team, including Kaplan, continued to lessen the catalog's dominance in favor of online marketing.
"We did email marketing, but had virtually no online marketing," explained Kaplan. "There were no other channels to get people to the website besides email and the catalog. There was no search marketing. One of our big initiatives was to diversify."
Tafford works with a number of vendors to coordinate its marketing. Silverpop is its email services provider; RR Donnelley prints its catalog; Alterian provides social analytics; and consulting firm Lenser handles database marketing.
STRATEGY: Two years ago, Tafford began working with Monetate, a marketing technology company that helps retailers optimize their e-commerce sites through segmenting, testing and targeting.
"We wanted to be able to test on our website," said Kaplan. "The technology we had was antiquated. They gave us the ability to test on the website, and we can make these changes quickly through the marketing department rather than going to the IT department. [Now] we test virtually every change we make to the website to show how it affects conversion or average order size before we roll it out."
One of the first things Tafford noticed was that conversion rates were lower at night. Nurses working the late shift were perusing the site, but not buying. That knowledge allowed it to run a nighttime promotion to grow revenues during a part of the day that generally saw weaker sales.
Separately, it also found "meaningful lift" in its conversion rate by showing location-based testimonials. In this way, a dental hygienist shopping in North Carolina would see reviews of Tafford Uniforms from someone in Durham rather than Seattle.
It also brought back a "bill me later" feature to the site after its removal set off a conversion rate drop of "a meaningful percentage" (less than 5%), Tafford said.
More recently, it began adding product videos to the website.
This February, it started testing product videos on the site with Monetate. Pleased with the initial results, Kaplan said the company increased the number of product videos for March by "two or threefold."
RESULTS: The order size among new customers who viewed the videos increased by "double-digits," while the conversion rate also improved. A split test that showed videos to 50% of returning customers and a non-video product page to the other 50% of returning customers, netted a 5% lift in conversions for those who had viewed the video, but not the same increase in order size.
"For new customers it was an immediate win," Kaplan said.
Tafford expects to continue using the Monetate platform, including monthly split tests of homepage creative and landing pages, such as its plus-size landing page. It has an email acquisition test coming up and it is experimenting with the badges it displays next to products on the site, such as "best seller" and "new."
Overall, Tafford has tested and altered hundreds of site pages to deliver more targeted marketing.
"We love Tafford as a client because they really are using the product," added Stephen Cobb, marketing evangelist at Monetate. "They come up with ideas for our team, which challenges us and allows us to provide some input. Testing has become part of the culture at Tafford."