Bakker-hillegom is an international mail order company which deals in plants, flower bulbs and garden accessories. Apart from operating as a web shop, the website also has a huge repository of information on how people can take care of their gardens.
The content being unique and relevant attracts a lot of traffic. According to Ben Vooren, the online marketer at Bakker, the information pages attract a lot of new visitors every day who spend a considerable time going through the content.
Though a lot of visitors used to go to the information pages (which had gardening tips), they would leave soon after consuming the information. “While we were hoping that the visitors would engage with the website and buy from us, they generally left after consuming the relevant information,” Ben said.
The problem was clear. In spite of having a large number of visits to its information pages, Bakker was not able to encash those visits.
Here’s how one of the information pages looked like:
Since Ben wanted to increase the user engagement on his site, he came up with the idea to place commercially-focused banners on top of all the information pages of the website.
Before actually hard coding the change on the site, he wanted to check if this hypothesis would bring any positive results. For this, he set up a quick A/B test using Visual Website Optimizer.
The test was a pattern test. It was run on all the information pages of the website. The challenger had just one major change — two prominent banners were placed on the top. The first banner read “Top Deals” and it sent the visitors to Bakker’s top deals page where they could buy products at discounted rates. The second banner was for newsletter subscription.
The test was run for 12 days on 8,000 visitors. The primary goal was to get more people to the “Top Deals” section of the website (which consequently increased site engagement).
This is how the variation with the top banners looked:
The challenger won hands down with a 104.99% increase in visits to the ‘top deals page’ and a statistical significance of 99.99%.
The results not only made Ben happy, but also inspired him to test further. He is now planning to test the placement of the banners on the information pages.
1) Directing visitors towards a bargain
Ben decided to place two banners and he had a lot of choice as to what would go on those banners. One reason why ‘Top Deals’ page got so much attention is because generally incentives work.
When a visitor clicked on the ‘Top Deals’ banner, he was assured with the wordings on the banner that he would not be directed to a standard product page. Instead, he was tempted into finding out what were the best deals and products being offered on the website.
2) Prominent positioning of the banners
The banners were placed at the top of page and the ‘Top Deals’ message was on the right side. There was no way visitors could have missed that. Even research (read: F-shaped reading pattern) has shown that this placement gets a lot of attention while reading web-content.
Compare that to the usual placement of the ‘Top Deals’ link.
It was buried as a category under a drop down menu and required resolute intent on part of the visitor to be clicked.
3) Clearly defined path of engagement
The common phenomenon of visitors consuming the relevant information and leaving could be explained because the page was essentially missing any prominent call to action or navigation path. Adding the banners gave the visitors an opportunity to engage further.
A parting note
Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” But website optimization wasn’t heard of back then.
Or else, this quote would have read, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 52 minutes thinking about the problem, 5 minutes thinking about solutions and 3 minutes (or may be even less) to A/B test it.”
Did someone just say using Visual Website Optimizer?