by David Kirkpatrick
, Senior Reporter
Redesigning a website can improve results, and rethinking a particular aspect of the site directly impacting conversion-to-sale can dramatically increase performance.
This case study looks at how Company Folders, a firm that provides custom folders for businesses, redesigned the company's website. With that stage accomplished, the team then took one element of the site — an online quote form — and completely changed the entire process and created a form with a new design and brand-new functionality.
Continue reading to find out the process Company Folders used to refine and improve its website and eventually reach a 67.68% increase in overall quotes from the website form.
The entire effort began with a redesign of a company website
, which dated back to 2007.
Step #1. Redesign the entire website
Vladimir Gendelman, CEO, Company Folders, said the old design of the website was "obviously 'last year,'" and there were two main reasons to redesign the site:
- It was five years old, and out-of-date
- More importantly, the way people shop online changed over that time frame and the old website didn't reflect the ease-of-use online shoppers had come to expect
He explained the multi-step process the team used for the redesign began with a wireframe detailing the basic user design and user experience.
The early version of the new website was then shown to friends and family, particularly people that could be considered part of Company Folders' target audience. This feedback was used to make the new design user-friendly.
The next step was creating an attractive look and feel for the new site, and once again, the team sought input from friends and family.
Once the new website
launched, Gendelman stated the site was not static. The team would listen to feedback from customers and site users to make small changes that improved the overall user experience.
Step #2. Recognize the importance of specific website elements
Company Folders understood the online quote form was a key element on its website. It was also an element requiring an optimized design because it was so complex.
The product involved multiple steps of choices, with many options at each stage.
For example, the company offered over 100 folder styles, such as one pocket, two pockets, with windows, without windows, with fold-down tabs, without tabs, pocket orientation could be vertical or horizontal.
After the folder style is chosen, there were 70 different paper options. Beyond those choices, there were a number of different printing options.
There are some limitations within those options, because if someone chose very dark paper, it could only be printed by embossed foil. A four-color printing process simply wouldn't show up on dark paper.
"You can see how the complexity gets out of hand really quickly," Gendelman said.
He continued, "We actually calculated at one point that if we take all the different options that we have, we ended up with 15 million combinations."
This only applied to presentation folders — only one of the product lines Company Folders offered on its website.
The team also understood the online quote form needed to address two separate audiences. Designers who are buying from Company Folders typically have purchased this type of product before and understand the basic process of making a series of choices resulting in the end product they have in mind.
Business owners and office managers are another key audience for Company Folders, and these prospects often go to the quote form not understanding the process, and possibly purchasing custom folders for the first time.
Recognizing the online quote form was complex, needed to serve two distinct audiences, and was a key website element in conversion-to-sale — the team decided to tackle a redesign of the quote form once the entire website redesign was complete.
Step #3. Review the history of the key website element
Gendelman said the online quote form evolved over time:
- On the first website dating back to 2003, the site provided product information and asked visitors to call for more information or a quote rather than beginning with an online form.
- To accommodate visitors who didn't want to call, a form was added to the site asking for name, contact information and a comment box to explain what the visitor was looking for.
- The next version of the form was one page asking for the main information about the folder, such as product, paper, print method and number of folders needed.
This final version of the form remained in place through the redesign of the website, although Gendelman described a few tweaks which were tested along the way.
"At one point, we even tried to have a pricing calculator on the product detail page," he said. "That was the absolute worst conversion we had."
One problem with the final online quote form was even though it asked for a lot of information about the potential order, Company Folders was still having to call most of the prospects for additional details about the quote request and clear up orders with conflicts such as four-color printing on dark paper.
Step #4. Redesign the key website element
The online quote form redesign needed to meet two challenges: Company Folders needed a great deal of information to generate a quote, and because there was some complexity to the process the team did not want people filling out the form stopping in the middle of the process to find more information.
"We don't want them to stop in the middle of the process and go look for answers, whether it could be on our website, somebody else's website, or maybe it would be stepping off of the computer and just seeing a co-worker," Gendelman said. "Because once people leave like that, chances are that they are not coming back."
The first decision in redesigning the online quote form was to make the form a multi-step process in order to get away from the single-page form and provide additional relevant information for form users.
Step "zero" was when a website visitor comes to a product detail page where they can enter a quantity and click on the "quote" button.
The visitor was then taken to the online quote form with the quantity and product pre-populated since that information was already provided.
The first step of the online form
was choosing the print method. The page included check boxes next to each option with a brief description of the print method along with the image of a flower showing how that flower looks with each of the print methods.
There was no information overload for the prospect who came to the form understanding the process, but the page did provide both descriptive and visual information for visitors who might not fully understand how each print option affected the final product.
The next step was choosing the paper type. The options included texture, color and weight of the paper stock.
Gendelman likened the naming of paper colors to the nomenclature of nail polish colors, such as "ivory," "sand" and "waxed" colors. To help visitors choose the exact shade, colors in a similar group, such as brown papers, would be shown together ranging from off-white to dark brown.
If visitors begin the paper section choosing the style or texture, only colors available in those options would be presented helping the process by eliminating some of the choices.
The next step was flap options, such as flaps for business cards. Because this option was difficult to describe, each type of flap was illustrated with an image to show the visitor exactly how the final product would look.
The final folder option was for spine attachments, or in the case of binders, the ring style.
The final step was asking for contact information, and from there the form was submitted.
Once the form was submitted to Company Folders, the website visitor was then asked to submit artwork, if applicable, for the potential order.
Receiving artwork along with a quote was important to Company Folders because it helped create a more accurate quote, and gave the team the opportunity to find possible issues with combining the artwork with folder options chosen.
An immediate result of the redesigned online quote form was seen in the website exit survey. Gendelman said previous to the new quote form, the feedback was often, "everything is great, however hard to understand and difficult to select [from all the folder options]."
The new exit survey feedback
included, "I like the ease of which to choose options."
"We did not want to cut down on the amount of options," Gendelman said, "and, we wanted to really offer as much as possible and then do it in a proper way. That is exactly what I feel we were able to achieve with this."
Simply redesigning the entire website improved the performance of the old online quote form:
- 13.96% increase in total quotes
- 12.98% increase in website visitors requesting quotes
But, redesigning the online quote form produced even more dramatic improvements:
- 67.68% increase in total quotes
- 59.53% increase in website visitors requesting quotes
- 65.16% increase in visitors uploading artwork
"In order to tackle this, and do all this, we had to think just like a customer would," Gendelman explained. "A redesign is not just like making [the website] look pretty. It is about making it extremely easy for [website] function."
On website redesign, he said, "Definitely think like a customer. Look through the eyes of a customer to understand [the redesigned website]."
- Old website
- New website
- Old quote form
- New quote form, step one
- New exit survey feedback
Related ResourcesWebsite Redesign: Customer surveys and testing help increase conversion by 21.6%Marketing Research Chart: Average website conversion rates, by industrySEO: How to launch a website redesign without hurting search rankings and trafficConversion Optimization: The MarketingExperiments year in review
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