February 13, 2008
Case Study

How to Maximize One-Day Shopping Events With 3 Easy Steps & Copywriting Tips

SUMMARY: Special one-day offers are a staple for retailers, but many merchants don’t get the most out of their websites and email lists on those shopping days.

See how a eretailer/manufacturer tested three offers and watched revenue jump 102% and conversions 29% for a Cyber Monday rollout.
Jessica Koster, Director, Ecommerce Marketing, Danskin, and her team were unhappy with their one-day online sales results heading into the year-end holidays. They wanted to map out a strategy to cash in on a really big sales day -- specifically Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving.

“We knew we could improve our copywriting for the site, while making the experience more targeted and personalized,” Koster says. “We were looking to learn how to be more proactive as marketers rather than be so reactive. We kind of had to watch our step, though. We get nervous about looking like we are trying to undercut our retailers.”

Although Danskin manufactures dance gear items and sells online, they have multiple retail partners. Still, Koster and her team wanted to find a way to do better with their one-day sale marketing efforts.

Koster didn’t want to radically change their search marketing approach to edge out their partners in search rankings, so they decided to optimize the traffic they were already receiving.

Here are the three steps Koster and her team took to test offers and what they did once they came up with a winner:

-> Step #1. Conduct an A/B/C test

First, they first mined their site data to discover what past website ads worked best. The findings told them to test three offers with an A/B/C split test for an entire day. Here are the splits with brief explanations on why Koster and her team thought each might work:

- Test A: “Save 25% on ANY purchase”
With the first test, they wondered if the idea of letting subscribers choose between any of their products would prove lucrative.

- Test B: “Save 20% on $100 purchase”
Even though the other discount percentages chosen for the test were higher, they wondered if the idea of saving more on a bigger order might bring serious consideration.

- Test C: “Save 25% on $75 purchase”
Finally, they wondered if the dollar amount on this offer made sense because they had provided free shipping for orders exceeding $75 for quite some time. Customers were already used to spending this amount to get a different benefit.

-> Step #2. Incorporate offer into homepage design

Next, they placed each of the offers in the split test front and center on the Danskin homepage -- in white space at the top of the page between the company and “Hacker Safe” logos. They made each ad fit without having to redesign the entire page.

Each offer was presented as three lines of copy stacked vertically -- all in bold with the middle line in a light purple-hued font and the other two in black (see creative samples below).

-> Step #3. Test on right day of the week

In their They noticed that viewer behavior was often specific to days of the week, so they tested the three offers on a Monday (Oct. 29, in this case) to get the most accurate depiction of what might occur on Cyber Monday. “While there’s a seasonality aspect to Cyber Monday, we wanted to get a feel for what the offers might do on that exact day of the week.”

Once they determined the winning test, they sent that offer in an email to their house list on Cyber Monday. The message was sent text-only or HTML based on preferences indicated by subscribers during the registration process.

The text-only offer consisted of a couple of paragraphs and a link to the homepage.

The HTML version included five elements:
o Eight category products navigation bar
o Banner-style ad pushing the winning offer from the test, including a coupon code
o Hotlinked photos that targeted their top customer demos: Runners & Fitness Buffs, Yoga & Pilates Enthusiasts, Dancers, Young Dancers, Gymnasts and Fashionistas
o Subject line with 38 total characters (including spaces) that included the winning offer
The “Save 25% on $75 purchase” offer soundly defeated the two other tests in terms of conversion rate and average order size. It converted:
o 43% higher than “Save 20% on $100 purchase”
o 32% higher than “Save 25% on ANY purchase”

This suggests that *prettying up* a consistently used offer (i.e, adding 25% off to the existing $75, free shipping offer) can have a big-time sales impact. “We had an internal debate that the ‘discount for any order’ would have done better on Cyber Monday, but the numbers proved us wrong,” Koster says.

Overall site sales for Cyber Monday compared to 2006 climbed 102%, while the average order size increased 29.7%.

Just as important, Koster and her team didn’t hear a peep from any of their retail partners. “It definitely was a no-news-is-good-news response from our retail partners. Even though we do direct sales, we are realistic as a company and do not want to cannibalize anything.”

In addition, opens and clickthroughs for the Cyber Monday email were “considerably higher” compared to average campaigns. With that in mind, Koster says, the tests and the campaign will be used strategically for other one-day sales events in the coming months.

“Finding the best messaging to guide people through the site was a key learning. It teaches us that finding the best words that our customers are looking for cannot only work on Cyber Monday, but it also can help in an ongoing fashion. It’s something we can use everyday throughout the site.”

Useful links related to this article

Creative samples from Danskin:

Sitebrand - helped with the tests:


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