Brooks Running sees 80% decrease in return rate
When considering the challenge to decrease return-rate among the segment of shoppers buying similar sizes of the same shoe, the team channeled the in-store experience for inspiration. What do you do when you need help with sizing? You speak to a sales associate. So they decided to bring the real life experience online.
Brooks showed this pop-up message to shoppers who had 2 or more pairs of shoes in a cart that were half size apart.
The Brooks team used Optimizely to solve this challenge. They built an audience of shoppers who matched this criteria: 2 or more pairs of shoes in cart a half size apart. They created a special pop-up message for this segment that read, ‘Not sure what size to get? Our expert customer service can help you figure out the one for you so you don't have to return one later. Call 1-800-2-BROOKS or chat with them now to get fitted.’
The campaign performed incredibly well. For the test segment, return rate declined nearly 80%. Not only did Brooks have more product in stock, but customers appreciated the personal touch, with 88% saying they appreciated the customer service offer to help.
Conversion rate increased slightly by 2% which the team believes is due to less webrooming—when shoppers look up products online, then choose to buy them in a physical store—since the customer service reps were able to address size concerns upfront. In line with their expectations, AOV decreased, yet add-on rate of ancillary products increased, perhaps due to purchasers not having to wait on return credit to complete their running gear collection.
Brooks also measured the cost of customer service time — is having humans answer shoppers’ questions more expensive than the cost of returns? They found the answer to be no. Customer service engagements averaged five minutes, which was less expensive than the hard costs of fulfillment and return shipping on every returned order.
“Rather than accepting our return rates as a constant, we were able to challenge the widely accepted rate and reallocate the dollars budgeted towards returns to fund new programs and initiatives.” Kornfield added.
As a result of this campaign:
- Customers are happy knowing that the Brooks team is there to help with customer service
- Customers don’t need to spend time on returns
- More product are available to sell to others
Retail and consumer
Brooks Running Decreases Return Rate
The Hidden Costs of Big Orders
For Brooks, optimizing beyond the conversion rate means focusing on the customer experience to protect the bottom line. It’s a shift from A/B testing to personalized experiences for different customer segments.
“After addressing basic site improvements, A/B Testing becomes less of a broad stroke tactic and more focused on user level and behavioral conditions,” Kornfield said. “You need to dig into your performance data and address specific needs of customer cohorts.”
- Optimize for end-to-end experience, not just clicks
- Identify a meaningful segment, understand their behavior by asking who are my customer segments? What are they trying to do? Where is the experience falling short?
- Target a real-time intervention and as always, measure the impact