June 01, 2005
How To

How to Change Your Web Site to Appeal to Busy Moms Shopping Online: Survey Results From Gymboree

SUMMARY: Last fall Gymboree's marketing team was brainstorming a site revamp, hoping to get more sales from 20- and 30-something moms shopping online. Then they figured, why not just ask moms themselves? So they launched a simple but clever survey campaign to find out what moms really want from an eretail site. Discover the results plus four specific site tweaks Gymboree then implemented to lift conversions \"significantly.\"
"Gosh, I just need to get on, find what I'm looking for, find what's new, and get off."

That's what shopping moms told online retailer Gymboree in a recent survey.

"Our customer is a mom with kids, and she's busy," says Susan Neal, VP Business Development for Gymboree. In fact, she says, these moms are so busy that they're hopping online as they're getting breakfast for the kids (the site shows a major spike in traffic at that time), during the early afternoon when kids are eating lunch/napping (another spike), or after bedtime.

So when Neal and her team wanted to get feedback from their customers last fall before beginning a site redesign, they knew they had to make it simple. Here's how:

Part I. The Survey

"We wanted the feedback, but moms don't have a lot of time, so we said, 'We'll just ask one question,'" says Neal. Her team created an ultra-simple, single-question pop-up: "What one thing would you change on our Web site?" (Link to sample creative below.)

Responses were typed in open-form (no boxes to check). While many responses were several paragraphs in length, most were only a sentence or two.

Tracking was slightly more difficult this way, but it wasn't a major problem, says Neal. "We had a couple of people who went through the responses, grouped ideas together, and kept tallies. When you see the same things repeated over and over again, it isn't that hard."

She adds, "Of course, there were a handful that said, 'We hate pop-ups,' and others that asked for free shipping, but an overriding theme was, make it fast."

When Neal's team realized that Google wasn't allowing ads linking to the home page due to the pop, they changed the offer to a banner-style ad on the site. "We definitely got more response when it was a pop-up," she said. "It didn't bother people because it was just one question."

Part II: Four Site Changes Inspired by Survey Answers

Neal got her team together to brainstorm: what could make the shopping experience faster? They knew moms experienced obstacles that slowed the process when it came to shopping online. For example, it takes extra time to:

--search for a variety of sizes for different children

--put together complete outfits (particularly for girls) with all pieces matching

--search through a large variety of products, from current or previous collections of clothes, for regular prices or discounted prices, etc.

With those challenges in mind, the team came up with four major changes to the site:

o Change #1. My Gymboree

Neal's team created an area called "My Gymboree" that allows moms to enter information on up to four children. Each profile is then named after the child (i.e., Sarah's Gymboree).

In addition to the child's name, the profile asks six questions, each with a drop-down box for ease of answering:

--Gender --Size --Shoe size --Preferred view (category, collection) --Preferred price (regular price only, sale price only, both) --Results per page (20, 50, 100, view all)

"Some people like to shop collections because it's easy to put together an outfit, but for boys, they like to shop categories," Neal says. "Also, we heard from people that they want to see everything on one page. So they hit 'view all,' but then when they went to another page they hated that they had to hit 'view all' again."

When a shopper chooses the view all option in My Gymboree, every item in the categories she has chosen comes up on a single page (shoppers can then scroll down the extra-long page).

If, for example, a mom shops for a six-year-old girl, every girl's item available in the corresponding size and matching the other criteria in the profile shows up on the page. When a visitor clicks on an item, it comes up on the product page in the child's size.

A child's My Gymboree preferences show up on the left-hand side of the page. They can be modified right there (changing a child's size, for example) without having to go back to the My Gymboree profile.

Note: You may be wondering, as we were, if the profile automatically "grows" with the child, moving to a size seven, for example, the following year. But of course, says Neal, all children grow at a different rate. "We did talk about having it grow with the child, but in the end we just made it easy to change the preferences."

When a mom returns to Gymboree.com, she is not directed straight to her child's profile, but instead sees the home page as any visitor would. Neal felt it was important for all visitors to see the promotions and branding on the home page, whether they continued to My Gymboree or not.

Moms "just love" the My Gymboree addition, says Neal, "but now we hear they want more, like sizing; should we break it out so they can enter a size six shirt, size five pants? Or new ways to sort the product once they get the results, like pricing from low to high."

Neal plans to let the My Gymboree addition stay as is for six months or so to see how it performs before she begins fiddling.

o Change #2. Shopping bag

The shopping bag is now a visible bar that is maintained at the bottom of every product page. Whenever a new item is added to the bag, it becomes visible in the view bar, "so they can see what's in the bag when putting an outfit together," Neal explains.

For mothers trying to shop for, say, school outfits for her daughter, this addition is a real time-saver.

o Change #3. "Complete the look"

On the right-hand side of every product page is a box titled "Complete the look."

This box includes products that match the chosen product to complete an outfit. For example, if the product is a blue skirt, the "Complete the look" box contains a white T-shirt, a pair of sunglasses, and a pair of hair clips.

o Change #4. "Gymboree Listens"

The creation of My Gymboree was simply a matter of taking bits and pieces that Neal's team heard from customers. "The survey was so valuable," she says.

With that in mind, her team created a "Gymboree Listens" question on the home page.

It's an unobtrusive, single question that changes every six months or so. (Currently, the question reads: Tell us what you think about our new summer fashions.)

"Part of this is just starting to establish some kind of dialog," Neal explains. "We know that every time we ask them, we get lots of feedback."

Though Neal was unable to share overall numbers, she says that, thanks to the changes on the site, "sales and conversions have gone up. We have gotten tremendous response."

Useful links related to this article

Creative samples - survey pop-up: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/gymboree/study.html

Gymboree: http://www.gymboree.com

Note: Gymboree is a member of Shop.org, a forum for retailing online executives to share information, lessons-learned, new perspectives, insights, and intelligence. More info at http://www.shop.org

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