Or How To Get Over 220% More Sales With A Better Web Site…
Or How To Have Your Web Site Pay For Itself In Just A Few Months…
This is a story about serving clients best by saying “No”.
They asked us to do a job: When Company A first came to us they were doing $8 million a year in combined wholesale and retail sales, had done roughly $14,000-$19,000 per month on their consumer website for EIGHT YEARS (!!!) AND had set aside $15,000 every three or four years to redo said website. To them, that was just how they did it. It was part of their fixed budget set by the accounting department. So they came to us one fine Spring Day and said, “Put together a proposal for fifteen thousand dollars.”
We said “No”: We sat down with them for a while and started thinking about who they were, and what they wanted, and we looked them in the eye, and we said “No.”
They said “What tha?”: And of course their first response was “Wha-wha-wha-what? Who would say no to that?”
We explained a better way: So we came back to them and said “Look, you have a series of issues with your ‘website’ that go deeper than just the website. We can help you figure out what all of those things are and fix more than just the website. And maybe even put you in a position where you can choose how much you’re going to invest in the website based on an actual expected return on investment. So rather than your web site being a fixed line item budget, you’re actually projecting with some degree of certainty that an investment of many thousands of dollars will net you a return on that investment in some reasonable amount of time. Wouldn’t you rather, if you could, make a highly educated guess that you will make a profit off this very important investment?”
We learned: We stress tested their website for the summer over three months using Adwords to run extra traffic to the website. And their conversion rate was about 1.8%. We knew that this conversion rate was way too low for branded products such as theirs and the qualified traffic that they were getting. And specifically, the reason we used Adwords is we knew that we were getting very specific targeted traffic and that and therefore we knew that the conversion rate we were getting inside Adwords should be about 6% when it was about 3%. We also extrapolated that they should be selling at a conversion rate of 4% for their organic traffic.
We learned more: It was really easy to look at the website and say that it wasn’t doing very well. It had a five page check out that was slow. Additionally, we learned that it didn’t connect to their point of sale system very well or their ERP. And it was a worse situation than having someone enter information into their system that had already been entered elsewhere (on the site!). The orders from the website were synced, but so poorly that employees had to copy and paste content on every order that was being inserted into the wrong fields. We calculated that they were, conservatively, wasting between $80-120K in payroll every year from people waiting and or standing around or doing jobs that didn’t need to be done because of the way it was integrated.
We collaborated and educated and did the math: We eventually all sat down and asked ourselves, “What conversion rate could we get to if we pegged our Confidence Interval at 90%?” And the answer we landed on was the aforementioned 4%. I’ll do the math from above for you, all other things being equal, a jump from 1.8% to 4% would be result in an increase of, at minimum, $17,000 in sales every month. One way of looking at this is that they could invest in building a $40,000 enterprise level web site that truly supported their marketing opportunities and have a 90% confidence that they would make their money back within less than three months. So even if we were collectively off in our confidence interval and target conversion rate ALOT, they would still get their return on investment in 4-6 months.
This was a company that, as I mentioned above, if you looked at their google analytics for eight years, they had had a website that had done between $14000-$19,000 every month for all those eight years. So for 100+ months, their traffic had been steadily going up, and the conversion rate had been steadily going down, and sales stayed the same.
They made an educated “Yes!” decision: We built them an enterprise level Magento website. While in the process of stress testing their website over the summer months, we also were sitting down with them to talk about branding and the needs of the website. And we got them to commit to developing all the pieces of branding, and all of the concepts and language and imagery that was necessary for the website before we even went to build it. Then we mapped out and architected the entire website before we built it. And we helped them generate the content including new branding language around who they are and how they represented themselves to the retail market, which they had never really done before, and we had all that ready to go before we even went to build the website
Their website paid for itself: We didn’t get to 4% right away, but we did end up at 4% for the entire first year. And the increase in sales on their web site paid for the upgrade in less than six months.
Because of our focus on preparation, we launched this enterprise level website with complete integration into their in-house systems in thirty one days!
Side Story: Just to give you an example of how fast that is, we had another client (Company B) for many years who decided that we were from a small town and too small to deal with their “big town needs”. They left our family of clients (a very rare occasion) and went to a big gun in Kansas City who services large companies like CNN, major universities, etc. After over eighteen months of slogging away on their websites (there were three of them), Company B came back to us to help them figure out why they could not get over the finish line with their project. They inserted us as consultants to communicate with ‘Big City’, and we learned that they were hiring multiple teams of what we call “undevelopers” out of India who were hacking Magento’s core code to make updates – and those hacks were being overwritten every time there was an update from the other “undeveloper”. Pretty quickly Company B hired us back.