January 13, 2011, 2:04 PM

Third time’s the charm in upsell test at Tafford.com

Testing and optimization of targeted upsells turns low-value orders into profitable ones.

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Tafford.com, a retailer of nursing uniforms and scrubs, boosted the average value by more than 10% for a targeted group of orders by testing and refining its upsells at checkout. The initiative enabled the retailer to determine which upsells would boost consumers’ order size.

The testing and optimization exercise was part of a larger effort in which Tafford has tested and revamped hundreds of its web pages and campaigns. The result has been a “massive” increase in  conversion, decrease in abandoned carts and increase in purchase frequency, according to vice president of marketing David Kaplan.  

Using the service of vendor Monetate, Tafford increased the average value of the targeted orders without using  promotions such as discounts or free shipping that would have erode its margins on the orders, according to the retailer. Monetate host the testing software and Tafford accesses it via the Internet, a delivery model known as software as a service.

Known for the colorful prints on some of its uniforms and scrubs, Tafford first tested a message that displayed the availability of a selected print—an item that already was on clearance—to any visitor about to check out with less than $25 worth of items in the cart.

The Monetate technology displayed the message to some shoppers in this group and not to others. Results of the test showed no difference in average order value between those who saw the offer and those who did not. That led Tafford to try a different order criteria and attempt to upsell shoppers who were about to check out with a cart holding less than $25 of goods and containing a scrub top, by offering a matching T-shirt.

When this test did not boost order value, Tafford tried a third time.

Shoppers poised to check out with less than $25 of merchandise and whose carts contained a scrub top but not scrub pants were shown a message reminding them the matching pants were available. Over several weeks this test increased the value of the targeted orders by more than 10% on average, proving so successful it was added to the site as a regular merchandising element.

Tafford says it’s also used Monetate’s testing and optimization service to determine whether the e-commerce technologies it was considering worked to increase sales. Those tests helped the retailer avoid investing in technologies that did not deliver significant new sales.

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