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Tuff ecommerce case study.

How We Boosted Koala’s eCommerce Conversion Rate by 153%

Tuff case study image.

New Mexico based Hangtime Gear is an early stage startup designing innovative mobile accessories. 

Their core product is the KOALA Super Grip Phone Harness – a smartphone holder with a leash and clasp that secures to any fabric keeping your phone safe from drops, damage, and loss. 

The KOALA was originally a 2019 IndieGoGo Campaign that raised over $500K. It has been featured in Outside Magazine, The New York Times, Gear Patrol, The Boston Globe, and on CBS’ Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca. 

From crowdfunded campaign to eCommerce Growth Strategy

Hangtime Gear reached out to our team in March 2020 to help them build and execute an eCommerce growth strategy. After doing foundational research and reviewing the full user journey, we immediately got started on getting quality traffic to the site. This included: 

  • Google Ads
  • Google Shopping
  • Facebook and Instagram Ads
  • YouTube

As traffic increased, we turned our focus to conversion rate optimization. When it comes to increasing revenue, we knew it would take more than clicks. 

In this post, we’re going to break down how our website optimizations increased the eCommerce conversion rate by 153% by:

  1. Differentiating between a crowdfund backer vs eCommerce customer.
  2. Rewriting, redesigning, and rebuilding key sections of the site. 

Crowdfunding Campaign Design eCommerce Website Design 

A great crowdfunding campaign can pave the way for your eCommerce business by giving you access to the capital you need, market validation, PR, and product reviews. 

What it can’t do is provide a verbatim model of how to advertise to your customers and optimize your eCommerce website. 

Hangtime Gear’s existing website featured design elements that were pulled from their crowdfunding page, which didn’t translate into a high enough conversion rate for our paid advertising strategy to produce a high ROAS. 

This is a common situation for founders that launch with crowdfunded campaigns – what works for a backer audience doesn’t always translate.

A crowdfunding backer is supporting an idea – more times than not this idea isn’t fully realized or completed – which is okay. The point of the crowdfunding campaign is to give you a platform to test your assumptions. 

On the contrary, an eCommerce customer is buying a fully functional product to use for a specific need. 

Due to this distinction, the two audiences require different customer journeys and user experiences, especially when it comes to a website. 

Here are the four main changes we implemented to increase Hangtime’s eCommerce conversion rate from 1.36%  to 3.46%. 

Data from Google Analytics showing an increase in conversion rate.

We started with the homepage.  

The first step in the redesign process was the homepage section. Originally, the site featured all product information on one page like you would do for a crowdfunding campaign page or for an Amazon listing. 

You could learn about the product, read customer reviews, look through top-tier publisher testimonials, and add the product to your cart, all from the homepage. 

The strategy behind this is smart – lots of the world’s leading platforms utilize it from Amazon to IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. This design centers on the assumption that the conversion rate will be higher if people have to navigate to fewer pages. 

For Amazon and crowdfunding platforms it works for two reasons: 

  1. High levels of trust with those platforms. 
  2. Those platforms have spent thousands of hours and millions upon millions of dollars optimizing their single page layouts to perform at the highest conversion rates the world has ever seen. 

However, for early-stage startup brands with very little recognition and no resources to properly optimize a single home page and product page website, getting the conversion rate results to scale can be incredibly tricky. 

To help clean up the user experience, we started by breaking out the home page from the product page and utilizing a product benefit banner structure on the homepage featuring different creatives with product specific copy and different CTAs (Calls To Action) on each banner. 

We introduced a separate product page.

For the product page, we utilized the product page section from the original website but broke it out onto its own page for the above-the-fold content. Here’s what this looks like: 

Shopify website product page design.

Below the fold of the product page, we added a customer product review section using Stamped.io’s widget that highlights top reviews with user-generated content and chronologically ordered reviews. With Stamped.io, users can filter through the reviews using a query function as well as preset tags to see all reviews featuring a term like “iPhone.” 

After the review section, we added an additional product information section that dives deep into exactly how the product is used, how it was made, and why you should use it. We used an app designed for Shopify websites called PageFly Page Builder to build this custom section. The app also allowed us to utilize a feature called lazy loading which made the product page’s loading speed faster.

We built a dedicated review page. 

One of the great things about Hangtime Gear’s KOALA product, especially for an early-stage brand, is that it has over 400 reviews.  Given that they’ve only been around for a few months – this is amazing and speaks to their customer satisfaction. 

However with 400 reviews, we didn’t want to crowd the home page or product page showcasing all of the user-generated content. We decided to break out the reviews onto their own page using generated code that we injected into the Shopify page using Stamped.io.

Example of ecommerce reviews page using the stamped.io plugin for shopify.

The start of this page features a YouTube Video testimonial of the KOALA in action and is preceded by a scrolling page of the reviews. 

We restructured the header navigation to provide easy pathways to find the product, product proof, or helpful answers about the product.

The final change that we made to the KOALA Website was to reformat the header and footer navigation menus. We wanted to control the UX journey flow, so we took out specific menu items to push non-purchasers to either learn more about the product, read user reviews, or learn about the product on the FAQ page.

We removed: 

  • About 
  • Blog 


We kept: 

  • Shop
  • Reviews
  • FAQs

Website Optimization Results 

We launched the new version of Hangtime’s website on April 23 and instantly saw an increase in conversion rate that leveled out over the next 12 days.  

In addition to bumping up conversion rate, we saw added benefits: 

  • The average session duration increased by 299% 
  • Revenue increased by 36% 
  • Bounce rate decreased by 28% 
  • Page speed increased by 29% 

Not a one and done solution. 

At Tuff, ongoing optimization is part of our conversion rate optimization website design process. It can also be used for our clients who already have high conversion rates and would like us to test new variables in a safe testing environment. 

We typically implement 2x tests per week to optimize the conversion rate. We do either a copy or creative test followed by an offer based test. The process uses 72-hour testing increments to let us measure the success rate of the test. 

If the first test increases or perpetuates the baseline conversion rate, then we leave it and add a second variable into the mix. If the test decreases the conversion rate, then we pull the test variable and move the original variable back into place. Then we move onto the second test of the week. 

This testing process allows us to test new variables regularly without adding too many variables at once which makes it difficult for us to measure what contributed to an increase or decrease in conversion rate.

If you want to explore more about how to increase your eCommerce conversion rate with Tuff or want a first-hand look at the data showcased above, touch base to set up a free, 30-minute growth strategy session with our team. We’d love to learn more about who you are and what you do so that we can help you find your way to the next level.

 

Email onboarding flow computer.

Onboarding Emails: Three things that increased clicks by 50%

Email onboarding flow computer.

Installs, sign-ups, trials, and demos mean nothing if you can’t keep your users. Which makes your onboarding email campaign incredibly important. 

It’s your first impression. But, it’s also your opportunity to guide new users to take the action that will increase their lifetime value. 

Before you start working on getting more people to your site, you need to make sure you have an onboarding experience that motivates your users to take that action you care most about. Otherwise, you’re throwing money out the window.

Onboarding Emails In Action

Earlier this year we started partnering with Felt, a company building an app that sends your personal, handwritten cards and photos from your phone. Our goals were to increase reach, installs, and revenue by running data-driven campaigns on different channels. 

 

Felt app screenshot.

While our full strategy was a mix of campaigns and channels (Facebook Ads, Google, YouTube, Apple Search Ads, etc), in this post, we’re going to focus on just one of the tactics: onboarding emails. We were able to increase clicks by 50% through these three steps:

  • Step 1: Mapping out the existing flow and setting benchmarks
  • Step 2: Figuring out the “aha” moment (using data)
  • Step 3: Rewriting, redesigning, and rebuilding each email to focus on that “aha” moment

But, first, we’ll set the stage.

The Results: A look inside the numbers

On average, 600 – 700 people install Felt every day. Each person who downloads the app and doesn’t immediately send a card, gets put into the new user onboarding email flow. 

Here’s what the numbers looked like before and after we made adjustments based on our research, learnings and experience. On the left, you have the original onboarding flow and on the right, you have the updated flow.

Email onboarding flow case study.

With our first round of improvements, we were able to increase the ‘Clicks per unique opens’ from 7.5% to 11.3%. This action (getting people back in the app and sending cards) immediately gave us a sustainable increase in daily revenue.

At this point, we’re only scratching the surface. 

Holistically mapping the user journey 

With every client, we analyze each piece of the conversion puzzle so we can spend our time focused on the areas with the highest impact on revenue.

In the first two months of partnership, we: 

  1. Configured Branch for better campaign analytics 
  2. Produced copy and creative (videos and images) 
  3. Set up Facebook/Instagram ads
  4. Set up Google Ads
  5. Set up Pinterest ads
  6. Built and launched an influencer program 

With the combination of these tactics, install volume skyrocketed. It’s also worth noting that sending handwritten cards from your phone is a helpful resource while the country sheltered in place.

With the spike in users, it was even more important to make sure they were adopting the Felt app, sending cards, and having an awesome experience. 

So we conducted a full funnel analysis. We asked key questions and mapped data to the user journey to identify where we could improve. We started with: 

  1. How does a user get from install to paying subscriber? 
    • For Felt, it’s when the user sends their first card. If a new user sends a card, they 2x their spend in the subsequent 5 day period. 
  1. What’s our “aha” moment? When do users really get the value of Felt? 
    • When the person they sent a card to actually gets it in the mail. Which speaks to the “do good, feel good” aspect of Felt. When people send cards it makes them feel happy. 
  1. What touchpoints can we leverage to guide our users down the funnel? 
    • For us, this came down to triggered emails, retargeting ads, and app-based onboarding cues. The first, and quickest win was email, so we started there. 

Here’s what we did: 

Step 1: Mapping out the existing flow and setting benchmarks

The 5-series email flow for new installs was in good shape. It was already set up in Mailchimp and had been running for months. We liked the timing but wanted to see if we could increase the number of users who click on each email in the sequence. 

We started by mapping out the entire email flow: 

Email onboarding map.

(There are tools to visualize this type of work but I still love good ol’ fashion spreadsheets).  

Step 2: Figuring out the “aha” moment (using data)

When we conducted the full funnel analysis we uncovered one of the most critical moments for a Felt user. The first card in Felt is always free. When a user sends that free card within the first week of downloading the app, they are 4x more likely to become a paying customer. 

So, how do we get someone who downloads the app to send a card quicker?

Step 3: Rewriting, redesigning, and rebuilding each email to focus on that “aha” moment

Now that we were crystal clear on the one action we wanted our users to take (CTA was “send a free card”) we rebuilt the email flow to focus users on taking this action in a few ways:

  • We stripped out extra images (removed 4 total) 
  • We removed any marketing copy that wasn’t about our sole CTA (cut the word count by 505) 
  • We outlined the user journey so it was clear exactly what the next steps with Felt looked like 
  • We acknowledged that they had already done something huge (install the app) and so only had one more thing to do 
  • We linked the “send free card” twice – in the primary CTA and in the text of the email

To put it more directly, we removed anything that would distract the user from sending the free card.

Before and after email examples.

Up Next

We mentioned these adjustments are just scratching the surface. We’re lucky that the Felt team had already been sending onboarding emails, giving us a benchmark to start from. 

As we continue with our goals to increase reach, installs, and revenue we’ll want to continue updating and testing emails so the next post is about how we increased conversion by 50%.