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Aug 22, 2007
Case Study

How to Convert Thousands of Online Leads to In-Store Buyers Each Week

SUMMARY: If your latest Web analytics report sets off the alarm for a major site overhaul, do you wait until the next scheduled update or tweak a few things and hope for the best? Or do you call an emergency meeting to get a redesign on the front burner?

See how a major eyewear retailer completely face-lifted their struggling site by adding new features, including a lead generation system that lets consumers schedule appointments online. Page views have doubled, and consumers and stores alike love the new self-service options.
“People were going to the product pages, but they were not finding enough information,” says Pat Sharp, Director Web Services, LensCrafters, part of Luxottica Retail. “After that, they would go to the store locator, and it was ‘over-and-out.’ What we really wanted was for people to stick around to experience the products and get new information on styles.”

Indeed, their analytics reports had turned ugly. Page views were down, and people weren’t interested in learning about their products. Worse, the site -- with lead generation being its main function -- was not driving customers into their 902 store locations for eye exams.

After hearing late last year that a multichannel rebranding effort to attract a younger audience was being called for by top execs, it was academic that an overhaul was on the horizon. Sharp's responsibilities were twofold: to create more real-life utilities with Web-savvy features and to reposition the brand as less medically based and more oriented on fashions.

Since Sharp and her team were not sure how to resolve those issues nor in the mood to take chances, they conducted a large consumer survey to hone in on what needed to be changed.

With findings in hand, they followed six steps to get the site back up to speed:

-> Step #1. Change product category names

To address the homepage’s three product-oriented categories -- “eyewear,” “eyecare” and “buy contacts" -- they created 10 categories that addressed women, men and children as well as types of glasses and accessories.

The new categories:
o Women’s Frames
o Women’s Sunglasses
o Men’s Frames
o Men’s Sunglasses
o Kids’ Frames
o Lenses
o Contact Lenses
o Safety Glasses
o Accessories
o Our Brands

-> Step #2. Add more fashion-related features

The old homepage design often included several fashion-related images, but Sharp knew they didn’t back up this sense of style with any substance.

Consequently, they created four sections on the homepage that took viewers to current fashion and eyewear information:
o Trend Report
o Eyewear 101
o Frame Personality
o Fashion Rocks

Inside those sections were various layers of fashion information and entertaining things to do. In terms of the latter, they allowed consumers to take a personality test to determine what eyeglass brands were a natural fit and upload a headshot photo to see what different frame styles looked like on their face.

-> Step #3. Tie redesign to new look in stores

Sharp’s bosses wanted the site redesign to mirror the shift to a cleaner, more modern ambience being undergone by their brick-and-mortar outlets (think dark wood and brushed steel). In the end, the connection between store and site design was subtle, as the team put together a four-fold layout pattern where the sections visually overlapped one another.

From left to right, the folds in the layout employed solid white, gray, olive and black backgrounds.

-> Step #4. Online lead generation form

To be clear, LensCrafters’ previous lead generation efforts were limited to site promos, such as 50% off lenses or online mentions of offers by affiliate partners. With the new site, Sharp was determined to take this to the next level.

Hence, they added a self-service appointment-setting feature, which in theory would lessen the burden on the stores, who wouldn’t have to process requests over the phone anymore. Then, they developed a software program that allowed the stores to easily plug into the system.

This way, when consumers clicked on the “Schedule an Eye Exam Online” button, they were taken to a dedicated page. Three link options appeared in the right-hand corner of the page:
o Schedule Eye Exam
o View All Exams
o Cancel/Change Exam

Consumers who clicked to schedule needed to search for a local store, select a time, open an email with the details and confirm with a click. The second link allowed them to view their schedule online, while the last link let them change their appointment time.

-> Step #5. Empower consumers with service tools

To connect the Web site to the stores, they created a “Service” area, which included eight sections giving customers an online management tool for activities to do with their accounts:
o My Account
o Eye Exams
o Optometrists
o Guarantees
o Insurance
o Financing
o Offers
o Customer Service

-> Step #6. Recruit stores to use appointment feature

Finally, Sharp had a built-in sales force to get the appointment feature off the ground thanks to an in-house Optometric Relations team who visited the doctors regularly. They used these reps to set up meetings to discuss the lead generation program and distribute print collateral explaining it. Outlets who signed up were given appointment scheduling software and instructions to get plugged in.


Each design/merchandising element that Sharp and her team used to reinvent the site has turned out to be an active piece to a winning combination. The once-dormant activity level of the site has been completely resuscitated.

Page views have doubled compared to the old site. “Consumers are staying on the site to learn more about our products,” Sharp says. “We have heard numerous anecdotes from our stores about customers coming in with sheets of product information that they printed off the Web site.”

The daily number of people uploading photographs is averaging around 450, which has Sharp pleased to no end, considering the completion time involved. And the “Schedule an Eye Exam Online” lead generation initiative raced out of the gate as more than 500 appointments were booked in the first week. “The number of appointments has grown in the tens of thousands, and it’s accelerating.”

Recruitment of doctors has gone nicely, too: 61% of their stores now use the scheduling system, and they like the re-channeling of their appointment inquiries from phone to Web. “We’ve heard nothing but positive things from them.”

They also recently completed post-relaunch surveys, where Sharp says that a key, yes-or-no-styled question was: “LensCrafters offers a wide range of stylish frames for me.” “An overwhelming majority of people answered, ‘Yes.’ That was one of the major things we wanted to accomplish.”

Useful links related to this article

Creative samples from LensCrafters’ site redesign:

Tribal DDB Worldwide - design agency who handled creative:

Brulant Technologies - analytics provider who performed the implementation of the redesign:

InsightExpress LLC - handled the panel-based research:

See Also:

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