Icebreaker a leading outdoor merino wool brand sold online only in the US and several other countries. It grew from a solo entrepreneur to an international brand, sold across 30 countries. The e-commerce sites needed to catch up and roll out to at least half of those countries with online, not just store sales. This is why Icebreaker looked to Experience Dynamics. Also, their GM had worked with us on several projects at other companies over the past decade and trusted our work.
The challenge for Icebreaker was to effectively use good user experience in ecommerce to convert shoppers online.
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Experience Dynamics was tasked to apply Human Centered Design techniques to understand shopper motivations, brand affiliations, and familiarity with the product. We would look online and offline, in-store, and to mobile and desktop shoppers.
To create this experience, we began researching competitors, visiting stores, and talking to consumers.
The field study Ethnography spanned the US, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, France and the UK.
We learned that Icebreaker was a differentiated clothing item, and shopping for it (think luxury sportswear) required validation of eg cloth fabric strength, an understanding of usage scenarios of the product, and more.
The Field Studies and an online survey, and competitor review helped us understand content and layout differentiation – which outperformed the competition. Users were very clear about what they needed to buy Icebreaker online. Even the brand story was clarified from the user research.
Armed with that knowledge, we created wireframe concepts of new easy-to-use e-commerce layouts.
Testing design directions with users is a key conversion rate optimization step because it exposes weak conversion areas before development – saving time and money so the entire team can stay on schedule. The user testing showed us what worked (eg confusing category pages) and details that made a difference (eg What kind of person is writing the product reviews?).
With close collaboration, an a deep understanding of user needs, Experience Dynamics provided fast answers and UX direction to all stakeholders involved: the branding agency, the e-commerce development partner and the internal team. Providing rapid usability feedback also gave the Visual Design team immediate “no go” guidance.
Several years after its launch, Icebreaker.com has enjoyed a 315% increase in revenue, largely due to online sales. The site user experience now seamlessly touches customers in 17 countries—a major success for a global roll-out.