graphical user interface, text, application

We’re glad to welcome Keith Lovgren, director of conversion rate optimization at Incubate, to the Optimizely blog for today’s guest post. Incubate is a boutique digital agency that focuses on using data to rethink relationships and build better brand affinity.

How can you bring warmth to customer experiences on the web? It’s a common problem that many online businesses struggle to overcome every day.

Anyone who’s met Adam Lean, founder of, knows that he’s one of the nicest people you could come across. He’s also a total geek about roller skates and knows more them than just about anyone on the planet.

Even though he enjoys selling roller skates, he’s more interested in getting people to experience the fun of roller skating, even if it might cost him future sales.

One example of this is his advice to parents who call in with sizing questions. Adam advises parents to buy roller skates a size larger than their child’s current shoes size to make them last longer.

His pro-tip: Compensate for the extra room with an additional pair of socks.

In stores and over the phone, Adam has found that providing parents with this genuine advice actually increased sales overall. Adam wondered if providing similar advice to parents shopping on the web would further increase sales (and customer affinity). The Incubate team helped Adam set up an A/B test to find out, pairing the original version of his children’s roller skates page against two variations that included his pro-tip.


The original variation of the page did not show Adam’s pro-tip.

One version showed the tip at the very top of the page. The other variation placed the tip underneath the product details.

tip at top

One variation displayed Adam’s pro-tip at the top of the skate page.

tip at bottom

A second variation showed the tip at the bottom of the page.

The Incubate team set up a conversion goal – purchases (measured by landing on a purchase confirmation page) – to track the success of each variation.

The results are in:

Adding Adam’s pro-tip to the page increased overall purchases by 69%.

The new variation also provided a massive boost in sales for RollerSkateNation – increasing revenue by 99%!

Through testing, Incubate found that the tip’s positioning played a role in the conversions as well, as the variation with the tip at the bottom converted at a significantly better rate than the variation with the tip at the top. They believe the tip at the bottom gave visitors a moment to digest the product details first. The lower placement was more of a soft sell and a nice surprise for the visitor.

Placing a customer’s interest above a brand does not necessarily have a negative impact on revenue. This test showed that when implemented correctly, building brand affinity can have a net positive effect on a brand’s sales.

To implement this test, Incubate used Optimizely’s powerful testing platform. The ease of set up, powerful customer segmentation features, and top notch customer support make the platform an invaluable part of our conversion rate optimization process. It pays to be thorough when conducting conversion optimization. Optimizely makes it easy for us.