July 15, 2002, 12:00 AM

How small changes made a big difference at CampingWorld.com

After analysis of the differences between customers who checked out and those who abandoned their shopping carts, CampingWorld.com implemented three minor changes in the checkout process, boosting conversions by 8.3%.

As web retailers gain more experience, they’re finding that it doesn’t necessarily take a major site overhaul to make a big difference in sales. Using WebCriteria`s change management tool, Site Analyst, multi-channel retailer Camping World improved conversions on its web site by 8.3%, gaining $19,200 in incremental sales in the first week of implementation.

Using the tool to understand visitors’ behavior on the site, Camping World was able to focus in specifically on what was preventing shoppers from completing purchases on the site. Looking at the site’s checkout process, the tool examined how many visitors progressed through each step and analyzed the difference between visitors who completed the purchases and those that abandoned carts. The analysis gave Camping World a clear picture of where visitors were having problems checking out and suggested several reasons why.

The analysis triggered three small changes in the checkout process to address those issues. It showed, for example, a 10% cart abandonment rate among shoppers who reached information on shipping methods, then the final step in the checkout process, so it started providing shipping method options earlier in the process. Keeping the entire navigation process wrapped around the shopping cart was resulting in too many unintended exits from the shopping process, so Camping World reduced full-site navigation options for visitors already in the shopping cart, while still leaving adequate means to return to other areas of the site. Finally, analysis showed that with larger orders, as customers’ shopping cart lists got longer, the “buy” button dropped lower on the page and was harder to find, so it raised the button higher.

The result of these minor changes was an immediate increase in conversions. “Before WebCriteria, we did a good job of listening to our customers and acting on their requests,” says Camping World vice president of Internet services David Scifres. “Our own metrics could alert us to the fact that site visitor were having trouble reaching their goals, but we had a hard time knowing what specific changes to make that would have the greatest impact on visitor success and the success of Camping World.”

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