April 24, 2007
How To

How Macys.com Lifted Conversions 17% With Easy Tweaks to Landing Pages & Navigation

SUMMARY: In repeated Sherpa studies, landing page optimization has routinely scored as the highest performing test by retail-oriented search marketers, while ecommerce marketers rank effective site navigation as the #1 site-related priority.

But wait until you see how the process of improving landing pages and site navigation led a major retail brand to almost completely rethink the way they look at online marketing ROI.
When Darren Stoll, Director Marketing Analytics, Macys.com conducted a page-by-page analysis of the site’s conversions in 2006, he discovered SEM landing pages weren’t as optimized as the team had hoped. “We had to ask, ‘Is that the page we are fundamentally trying to drive the customer to?’ And the answer in a lot of cases was, ‘No.’ ”

Perhaps that’s why:
o 42% of visitors left immediately after landing on the first page
o 38% abandoned once they proceeded to the second page
o 40% left after going to a third page

So, the team decided to run three sets of tests:

Test #1. Alter category pages depending on type of keywords used

- Those querying with terms indicating a newness to the online brand, such as “Macy’s shoes,” were taken to a landing page where they could easily access shoe information, but also explore the rest of what the site offered.

- Those who arrived after more-specific searches, such as “Calvin Klein shoes,” saw a landing page with the brand’s selections, prices and links to other selections.

Test #2. Test different landing pages for different search engines.

Stoll’s analysis showed Macys.com search clicks acted differently depending upon what search engine they arrived from. So the team began testing different landing pages for their most expensive keyword buys, such as “bed and bath” at Google, Yahoo! and AOL.

Test #3. Fine-tune the navigation bar

Stoll and his team also determined that the left-hand navigation across the site was contributing to abandonment because of too many choices. Consumers engaged in search activity want to see you have exactly what they are looking for … not everything you have.

The design team also wanted to move the major categories above the fold, so they reduced each department’s left-hand navigation by 30 % -- deleting as many as nine categories. For example in the men’s department, they:

- Combined similar categories, such as Polos & Tees
- Removed categories that were basically duplicates, such as Shirts Casual and Shirts Dress into the more-encompassing Shirts
- Removed bottom-performing categories, such as Hoodies & Sweatshirts
- Alphabetized the order of all classification categories

Results of all three tests? “We are doing a better job of landing them in a place that enables the final purchase, but also in some cases, introduces them to the online brand,” says Stoll.

Better landing pages have raised conversion rates as much as 17% in the Men’s Department.

21% of their customers are able to locate their desired products when they land on category pages.

By tweaking the nav bars, the design team reduced what they consider to be time-wasting activity by 30% per user. Getting all of the categories above the fold contributed heavily to the performance increase.

“We are setting better expectations in terms of what we have in that category,” Stoll notes. “The improvements have been spectacular.”

Useful links related to this article

Creative samples from Macys.com:

Coremetrics - which helps Macys.com with Web analytics:


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