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Even wine companies use A/B testing: 201% increase in conversions

Being in business since 1980, Majestic Wines (MW) is a known name in UK’s very-competitive retail wine market. With the desire to increase the reach of their business, the company launched their online store,, to cater to their global clientele.

Majestic WinesThis case study deals with a series of optimization tests they recently concluded, which netted them some major conversion wins.

The Business Goal

The question was how to increase the conversion rate of their wedding services page, especially because these will be the customers who are more likely to place larger orders for their weddings. And this of course would have meant a higher average order value and easily escalating profit margins for the company.

Testing Hypotheses

The MW people knew that changes have to be made on their website but they were not really sure about what these changes should be. Like any other business, they knew one thing for sure, i.e they wanted results.

To start, they attempted to understand the thought process of their target audience better before they began testing. This they did by getting in touch with customers and collecting feedback from their support executives & store staff. At the conclusion of this process the team were a lot clearer about what their potential customers are looking for and the possible reasons why their Weddings page was not answering those questions.

After all this research, the team at Majestic Wines was of the opinion that if they could get their site users to submit enquiries to their trained customer support staff, they might be able to improve their conversion rate. With that in mind, they decided to make some changes to their site and use Visual Website Optimizer to test their hypotheses and see how effective they turn out to be.

Here are the hypotheses that were made by them:

  • Reducing distractions like too many outbound links on the webpage can cause more people to buy from them or submit the enquiry form.
  • Emphasizing and bringing in clarity in the USP of their wedding services will compel more people to place orders or at least submit the enquiry form.
  • A video that explains their services will escalate their conversion rate.

This is how Majestic Wines wedding service page looked like, before they started testing their hypotheses with Visual Website Optimizer (the Control Page):

 Majestic Wines original design

It was evident to them that there was a huge scope of improvement in the webpage.

Re-designing Almost the Entire Webpage

The MW team could have used multivariate testing but with so many changes to be made, they concluded that testing so many elements individually can be very time consuming, considering that they will have to wait even more to check the statistical significance of the data. Backed by their prior research, they believed that it made sense if they launch an entire new, improved design and check that for conversions instead.

Addressing the hypotheses that were talked about, given below is the new design of the webpage that was launched:

Majestic Wines new design version 1

As visible in the image above, the main changes that were made are:

  1. Reduced Clutter with No Left Sidebar – The links included in the right sidebar only distracted the readers and were thereby shifted to the end of the page, where only people interested in that information can find them. It no longer distracted the potential customers by providing too many links on the page.
  2. Interactive and to-the-point Heading and Content – The heading now emphasizes the value proposition of the client in a lot better manner and the content is also a lot more engaging as it tries to empathize with customers and directs them to the enquiry page by stating the exact questions that they might need help with, in placing the order. The increased size of the sub – headings as well as their approach of telling the users “what’s in it for them?” also seems to have resonated well with the target audience of the company.
  3. Better Images – Relevant, contrasting imagery added its share of charm to the webpage.
  4. Clear Call to Actions – The clear call to actions and their right placement in the beginning, middle and the end of the page again makes it easy for people to reach the enquiry page without having to look for it.
  5. Video was Included – An interactive video that elaborates the service of the client is included to visually appeal to the users, telling them in no ambiguous terms how they should proceed.

The Result

The first test resulted in  the 201% improvement in the goal conversion rate (enquiry form submission) with statistical significance of 99.99%.

Further Changes

Further changes were made by the MW management to this new site design and they went ahead and removed one distraction that was still affecting their conversion rates, i.e a PDF download button right next to their enquiry form page button at the end of the page.

As expected, this gave them an additional 36.9% increase in forms submitted (99.99%  statistical significance), making it clear how much eliminating distractions can make a difference to your conversion rate and ROI. You can see the final webpage here:

Majestic Wines final page for "Weddings"

This case study is a great eye opener for webmasters/web analysts who blissfully ignore the most basic elements on the webpage, like to-the-point content, call to action, eliminating distractions, and others.

Below you can see all three variations of the webpage and how Majestic Wines made it to their winner design with their test results. Go right ahead and share it on Pinterest and your other social networks.

[pinit url=”” image_url=”” description=”See how Majestic Wines increased conversion rate of leads generated by 201% after a major website redesign.” float=”left”]

Entire process of Majestic Wines' conversion rate optimization that resulted in 201% increase in leads generated

Comments (9)

Leave a Comment
  1. That original landing page was terrible! Even a monkey could have made some changes and increased the conversion rate, obviously with the help of VWO 🙂

  2. Hi Gareth,

    Thanks for the feedback! I agree that the original landing page had become somewhat dated. The testing process allowed us to understand what elements of the landing page were leading to the improved conversion though, making it easier to make further improvements as the testing progressed.


  3. Not really surprised to see the positive result – the new page was better in so many ways.

    Just a shame that it wasn’t done with MVT, or in more gradual steps, as I’d love to see a more detailed analysis of which changes worked, and which (unbeknownst to them and us) maybe aren’t working so well.

    My personal feeling is that the new page is a little over-designed which in itself could be as distracting as the clutter that was there before…

  4. Completely agree with your point, David. MVT would have given better insights into which elements were most effective in changing visitor behavior. Information that the Majestic Wines team could have leveraged to create a higher converting page.

    But I think, we should not rule out the possibility of the visitor count that the site might be receiving? With limited no. of visitors on the site, MVT would have taken a lot of time and maybe Majestic Wines Team preferred quicker results over detailed analysis. And therefore preferred a redesign.

  5. Yes it’s easy to say the original page was dated, but often designers make changes that look good without measuring the direct impact of said design changes.

    So Gareth is right here, using something like VWO to test elements takes a lot of the guesswork (assumptions) out of the design process.

    Designers don’t particularly like it but data driven A/B is the only real way forward.

  6. Yes, they do. Probably because web designing have always been defined more by aesthetics than results, from the very start.

    But with CRO getting into the limelight, I think designers will also begin to evolve with the changing times very soon. It takes time to change ideologies. They will get there too once they begin to realize the difference in results that can be achieved by A/B testing. 🙂

  7. That’s lot of improvement from the previous design, but sure it was very effective. But the site could still be improve with adding more wine related images, everyone loves pictures.

  8. @WebsiteMBA – Yes, there definitely is a lot of improvement in the variation in so many ways, however I kinda like the minimalist feel of the website. Instead of adding more pictures, I would like to try a new headline in the banner, or use more contrasting color combinations maybe, especially for CTAs?

    What do you say?

  9. I agree with Smriti… Also conversion is great, but removing links to ther pages or adjusting copy could also have impact on the absolute number of visitors. Are we talking about an increase in conversion based on the conversion percentages or absolute conversion (read sales / inquiries)?

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