Truckstop.com: On Building A Culture of Experimentation

Truckstop.com has been on a formalized CRO mission for a little over a year and has seen some motivating results. The blog talks about the pillars on which Truckstop.com’s experimentation culture stands today.

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While there are a few stalwarts who stand out when it comes to reliance on experimentation to drive growth, honed over many years, some brands are formalizing this process to further root CRO into their DNA, knowing how critical it is in current times. Truckstop.com has been in business for the last 23 years and has been on a formalized CRO mission for a little over a year and has seen some motivating results. To continue reaping the benefits of an ongoing CRO process, here are some of the pillars on which Truckstop.com’s experimentation culture stands today.

About Truckstop.com

Truckstop.com was founded in 1995, when founder Scott Moscrip began offering a better way for truck drivers to find loads than by posting signs on the side of their trucks or gathering around local bulletin boards.

Now, over two decades later, Scott’s digital vision has grown and Truckstop.com’s dedicated partners work to help truck drivers and their trusted freight partners grow their businesses. His guiding idea is still the same—always work to find a better way.

Truckstop.com has 3 distinct goals:

  • Direct online sales
  • Lead generation
  • Organic search volume through content promotion

Truckstop.com is eyeing a double-digit growth in 2019, for both leads and sales, and is testing and optimizing thought leadership content and content promotion.

Truckstop.com audiences and CRO

Truckstop.com has 2 sets of audiences:

  • The freight brokers who are tech-savvy and pressed for time. Truckstop.com needs to ensure that they can provide the information in a timely manner.
  • The carriers who prefer to interact via phone due to timing and preference. Truckstop.com needs to provide a platform, which can make it easy for them to sign up or contact a representative.

In both scenarios, Truckstop.com intends to optimize the platform to understand what minor and major changes affect the business’ bottom line.

Truckstop.com places CRO culture at the core of its growth decision-making strategy with  some of the following salient aspects :

  • Having a CRO Experimentation team and onboarding new members
  • Conducting cyclical fortnightly focus
  • Organically evolving process
  • Keeping personal preferences always at the backseat
  • Maintaining subjective communication with external stakeholders

Having a CRO Experimentation team and onboarding new members

Truckstop.com has a unique CRO program. They have people from content, design, project,  management, analytics, and more that form the core group called the Experimentation team. They have regular brainstorming sessions where everybody is heard.

Last year, they also got on board an email specialist. They have since started experimenting through emails. There is no formal training as such for people who join the CRO team; it is an organic process of learning and development. The core team guides them through and does a lot of brainstorming to get clarity on what the experiment is about, why they are doing it, what results does it aim to achieve, what the success metrics are, and other possible ideas? They work together to create the mindset to run an experiment.

Conducting cyclical fortnightly focus

The Experimentation team run experiments based on the current focus area which are broken down into segments like desktop website, mobile website, paid traffic, and more; and they meet weekly and talk about likely experiments based their observation repository. They focus on each segment for 2 weeks.

This way, they are able to run the experiments targeted within the stipulated 2 weeks. A lot depends on the size of the test as well. Implementation for smaller tests is easier so they sometimes manage multiple tests. However, for larger tests that need page design and content, it may take extra time. In most cases, the team is able to accomplish its fortnightly goals.

Organically Evolving Process

At Truckstop.com, it’s not regimental on when and how to conduct the tests. A general decision is based on the team’s understanding from the observation repository and analytics, which serve as the basis for the next action steps. Their test pipeline is also based on what their upcoming fortnightly focus is going to be. So their experimentation plan is quite fluid, though the fortnightly focus is largely known to them.

Kevin Gamache, Senior Web Analyst, Truckstop.com, shares,

“CRO is a continuous process for us,  we keep at it regularly. We don’t plan out that far in advance as we also have a backlog available of observations throughout 2018 which serve as the foundation for 2019. But, really it is much more organic. We test and see what are the results and then we think ‘Wow! Now let’s do something else and see how that responds’. So, it becomes an organic process that way rather than a methodical schedule.”

Keeping personal preferences always on the backseat  

An experiment that the team at Truckstop.com ran was for a pop-up lead form; everyone on their team hated pop-ups. Although most of the Experimentation team did not fancy the idea, they went ahead and conducted the test. The employees didn’t think it would work, rather hoped it wouldn’t, as the idea was too conventional and tactical for the modern digital age. However, contrary to everyone’s expectation, it worked and the results went through the roof. The pop-up form was then integrated as a part of the website, based on the test’s success.

Another interesting test worthy of mention here was when Truckstop.com aimed at decreasing the number of steps in the sales funnel. While the number of steps were reduced in the test, the end conversion rate, in fact, ended up being lower. The failure of this experiment proved to the team that pushing visitors early into the sales funnel wasn’t a good idea, which in turn gave them confidence on the status quo.  

These two were pivotal experiments as they helped the Experimentation team become more receptive towards ideas irrespective of the members’ personal preferences. They now let test results do the decision making.

Maintaining subjective communication with external stakeholders

Everyone loves and prefers the taste of success. Accepting a successful experiment is easy. However, when testing consistently, most tests either fail – that is, results witnessed are usually not what was hoped – or provide small incremental uplifts. With time, Truckstop.com has opened up about running multiple tests irrespective of the end outcome. While the Experimentation team is aware of all the tests conducted and their results, the larger organization is informed only of the big wins or when there are interesting learnings or validation. This focuses the communication on large changes and results rather than inundating them and having those communications be ignored or lost in the shuffle.

Tara Rowe, Program Manager, Truckstop.com, believes,

“Our experimentation process is about learning how we can make things better for the next time we repeat a similar process. Most of our communication is at the tactical level with our broader marketing team. However, there are those wins that are so extraordinary or that effect the entire business, those specific results are then shared to our executives.”

Truckstop.com now maintains the ideology that no test is a failed test – you either find a winner or validate the current website version.   

Closing Thoughts

Every organization has its own set of challenges. If you have just started out or have been there for a while and haven’t tried ingraining CRO in your growth, then you can take inspiration from Truckstop.com’s experimentation pillars to build and maintain a robust CRO foundation to drive growth. The single solution isn’t to have a CRO team – it is about accepting the fact that both failure and success go hand in hand in an experimentation process and finding what approach works for your organization.



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[Infographic] Turn Your E-commerce Store Into A Conversion Magnet

A comprehensive list of A/B testing ideas to guide you while optimizing your landing pages. It covers all elements of your landing page and will help you turn your e-commerce store into a CONVERSION magnet.

The post [Infographic] Turn Your E-commerce Store Into A Conversion Magnet appeared first on Blog.

[Infographic] Turn Your E-commerce Store Into A Conversion Magnet.

The post [Infographic] Turn Your E-commerce Store Into A Conversion Magnet appeared first on Blog.

A/B Testing Insights Through Ecommerce Customer Journey

A/B testing has evolved from a simple comparative study to a process backed up by a data-driven approach. Here are some some inside tips and tricks which can help you get huge uplifts in your business metrics.

The post A/B Testing Insights Through Ecommerce Customer Journey appeared first on Blog.

A seamless eCommerce customer journey is about transitioning from just “buying” to “experiencing.” The key to growing your online business is to let your customers explore, decide, and share, and then learn from their experience.

Over the years, A/B testing has evolved from a simple comparative study to a process backed up by a data-driven approach. Businesses and website owners can utilize this approach at every stage of their customer journey.

In this blog post, we take you through some inside tips and tricks which helped VWO customers get huge uplifts in business metrics such as conversions and revenues. Take notes as you read this blog, as the next big testing idea for your own ecommerce store could come in from here.

1) Easy Visibility and Access To Relevant Information for Visitors

Customer Interaction: Splash pages

A splash page is a screen that pops up when you first enter a site. As splash pages are the pages visitors see first when visiting a website, these are also an important source of revenue.

Let’s first look at some of the industry best practices regarding splash pages.

  • Make the key message and the exit button both easily visible.
    While interested visitors should be able to move through next steps, the disinterested ones should also be able to move through, that is, exit the splash page easily.
  • Make sure your users interact with your splash page first and then the page they are looking for.
  • Design the user/visitor flow such that those who have already visited your splash page don’t get to see it again.
    This should be spaced out based on factors such as time span, say on a revisit after 7 days.

Case Study

Warner Music Group, an American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate headquartered in New York City, noticed that conversion rates were lower than the industry average.

They redesigned their splash pages, and ran 3 A/B tests before making these live.

In the variation, the image on the left was resized and moved below the content. The purpose was to provide a quick snapshot to the visitor in one go.

The redesigned splash pages showed a 4% improvement in the conversion rate. Look at the comparison of the control (left) and variation (right) below:

Optimizing The Customer Journey: WMG A/B Test

To learn more on how WMG went through with their other tests and execution, you can read the complete case study.

2) Best Possible Customer Experience on the Home Page

Visitor interaction: Home page

Your home page is the entrance to your store. Jazz it up with the very best of what you have got.

Some of the home page best practices include:

  • Convey value proposition straight up. What a visitor sees in the first few seconds on your home page is crucial. It’s important that you communicate your value proposition instantly, and don’t come across as just another mom & pop store.
  • Have an easily identifiable Sale section. Fish all the discounted products on your home page, and line those up in a separate section that’s dedicated to them.
  • Organize the navigation bar. Make sure your visitors easily find their way around your website. Place the navigation bar at the standard positions where visitors expect to find them. You can also make your navigation bar persistent.

Case Study

MedienReich ComputerTrainings, a German company which provides various software training courses, also applied the same learning and increased website engagement by 40%.

They replaced the 3 broad category types with 8 of their best-selling courses, such as Photoshop, InDesign, and AutoCAD.

While doing so, they also adhered to another best practice, that is:


Provide right information in right order.


You can refer to the comparison of the control and the variation below:

You can learn more about the MedienReich success story.

3) Connecting Prospective Customers with Products

Visitor interaction point: Category page

When it comes to category pages, every action requires equal caution. For such pages, you need to plan per your product type and page layout and design than following an industry best practice blindly. Be it how your products are displayed, the position of the search box, or the number of filters, every field or option should be used with discretion or should be tested and used accordingly.

For example, Buyakilt.com added filters to increase their revenue by 76%, but UKToolCentre considered filters as a distractor for a particular category and had these removed to increase their engagement by 27%.

When the focus of a website is to have customers sign in and then buy, it’s important to maintain customer focus and continuity.

Case Study

Muc-Off offers a broad range of cleaning products for bicycles, motorcycles, and other motor vehicles, and electronic goods. Its products are sold through major retailers around the world as well as through its website.

When Spot Studio, an agency hired by Muc-Off, also tried applying this learning, they observed that their design caused incongruity in user experience. Visitors came there to purchase products; but after landing on the page, they were finding information resources instead of a shop front.

The test they did after rearranging their departments page (or the category page) gave them 43.78% more product views.

Here’s the control-variation comparison, as noted on VWO Heatmaps.



To find more about what Muc-Off did to improve the customer experience on their category page, here’s the complete case study.

4) Judicious Use of Reviews and Testimonials on Product Pages to Gain Visitor Trust

Visitor interaction point: Product page

According to Local Consumer Review Survey 2018:

  • Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
  • 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars.
  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews.

Case Study

Express Watches, a client of VWO’s Certified Partners, High Position, is an authorized Seiko watch dealer that ships to over 23 countries. They have been in the watch retail industry for more than 21 years and believe in getting the basics right to satisfy their customers.

Considering the challenges related to replicas plaguing their industry, Express Watches also decided to use the above learning to reinforce their brand positioning.

However, to reduce visitor anxiety and achieve the desired results, they included a TrustPilot widget with some great customer reviews. These were tested against the erstwhile section Why Buy From Express Watches?

The variation was declared the winner with a percentage improvement of 58.39% and 99% chance to beat original, as shown below.

To read the Express Watches case study in detail, click here.

5) Resolution of Customer Friction Points at the Checkout Page for Significant Website Conversions

According to 40 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics:

  • 26% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order in a particular quarter solely due to a “too long / complicated checkout process.”
  • $260 billion are recoverable through checkout optimizations of just US and EU e-commerce sales.
  • 34% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order in a particular quarter solely due to the reason “the site wanted me to create an account.”

As an eCommerce business owner, it’s important that you regularly interact with your customers and new visitors to get ongoing feedback about their experience, as you wouldn’t want to lose them at the final gateway, that is, the checkout stage.

Case Study

PayU India is the flagship company of Naspers group, a $93 billion Internet and media conglomerate. Through its proprietary technology, PayU provides state-of-the-art payment gateway solutions to online businesses.

The concern for PayU was checkout page drop-offs. Through VWO’s Visitor Recordings and Heatmaps features, the PayU team found that providing communication information was a key friction point. They hypothesized that dropping the less important of the two fields—the telephone and the email—would help them increase conversions.  

They tested the variation without the email field against the control. The results demonstrated that dropping the email field showed a statistically significant improvement of 5.8% compared to the control.

Look at the comparison of the control and variation below:

Control
Variation

Conclusion

While the above A/B testing ideas worked for these companies, these may not necessarily work for you as well.

These case studies should provide you insights and ideas on how you can create strong hypotheses and test these further.

These examples should give you a good idea as to how A/B testing can be a good starting point for conversion optimization and the extent of results you can achieve through testing.

Do share your A/B testing experiences in the Comments section below.

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