Optimizing conversion with content strategy

Understanding key priorities for optimizing ecommerce checkout and conversion

The Story

In preparation to move ecommerce to a Responsive mobile-friendly design, Pendleton Woolen Mills wanted to know if the current site and content were supporting ecommerce goals to fullest. Were any design elements, technical or usability issues causing checkout abandonment? Was there any content or navigation tweak that could aid purchase decisions and improve site flow?

The Challenge​

Pendleton Woolen Mills, like most ecommerce brands, use third party ecommerce software. Gaining behavioral usability insight into the entire customer journey would provide a better understand of customer priorities, that if fixed, could better serve the ecommerce site and brand experience. However, not everything was “edit-able”, much of the navigation for example was hard coded. Page templates and layouts were also fixed. Before deciding what to rip out or custom build, Pendleton Woolen Mills needed to know what customers were finding problematic or irritating.

The Turning Point​

Experience Dynamics conducted usability testing in our lab with 15 users representing the varied buyer types (current and potential customers). The results from having users interact with the site (on desktop and mobile) revealed issues with the site, including small fonts, excessive category navigation and product pages lacking key ecommerce features users found familiar on competitor sites.

The usability testing allowed Pendleton and their development partner to align internally over which fixes were critical vs nice to have. At the same time, Experience Dynamics dug deeper into user needs and persona roles with a four-city field study aimed at profiling customers in different markets.

The Execution

While the Pendleton team were acting upon the usability testing data, Experience Dynamics was busy interviewing ecommerce customers about their clothing purchasing habits and values, needs and desires.

During the 3-week long ethnographic field study, we were able to keep the team abreast of findings with shared artifacts (photos and field notes detailing key insights). This allowed insights to “stream” back to the team, so they could follow along.

The Result

The field study revealed purchase behaviors and buying characteristics that validated the internal team’s thinking, but went beyond in many areas. Qualitative insights, observations and user pain points regarding the entire customer journey including: mobile behaviors, catalog shopping and even reactions to specific wardrobe and clothing lines, gave Pendleton a birds eye view of how customers were thinking and buying. Details rooted in consumer behavior revealed how customers understood the brand, value proposition, product copy and category navigation, for example. The team was able to take Buyer Personas and use them to plan and prioritize the redesign and responsive mobile ecommerce offerings.

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