Background and Problem
Inspired by a great adventurer, Royal Robbins designs outdoor + travel apparel that’s versatile, fashionable and eco-friendly. For their customers it means looking good with minimal effort, whether they’re in the conference room, the airport, or hiking in Yosemite.
The company had managed modest year over year growth for six years running by focusing on product development and customer service. But in 2013 the landscape was changing. Brick and mortar specialty retailers were increasingly giving way to direct-to-consumer websites, where the margins were significantly higher (approaching 50 percent). The company wanted a piece if this market share and the high-profit margins that came with them.
Joe was brought in as marketing director to provide strategy, direction and execution.
A quick look at the site’s analytics revealed that the company was spending $9k a month on Google AdWords campaigns, with no tracking in place. This meant there was no way to know which campaigns were performing and which weren’t. Working in concert with an e-commerce manager, step 1 was to put the tracking in place. Once done, it was evident that they were receiving just a 2:1 rate of return. The bulk of the spend was going to their branded keyword campaigns, and they were overbidding on them. Joe changed their bid strategy and extended it to non-branded terms as well. Within a month they were achieving an 8:1 ROI on a reduced spend of just $5K.
The company’s email lists were stagnant, with very few new email addresses added monthly. Joe added a homepage pop-up that enticed visitors to sign up for new offers and sales, awarding them free shipping on their first order with a unique promo code. The pop-up doubled Royal’s list in the first year, and more than doubled revenue they were generating from email. For the emails themselves, Joe tried, whenever possible, to call out the features and benefits of each product being highlighted.
There was a lot that wasn’t right with the site itself, particularly on the product pages. To begin, the product window was too small, without a zoom that enabled visitors to truly see the details of the products. Furthermore, the quality of the on-model product photos was substandard, and there was a high shopping cart abandonment rate at check out.
Joe worked to increase the size and functionality of the product window, and to change the photo capture process – adding on-form images in addition to model shots, selecting a more experienced photographer, and selecting more appropriate models.
The company’s free shipping threshold was set at $75, and its average order value was $85, indicating that customers were adding just enough product to qualify for the free shipping. Returns were only free if the product was defective, and didn’t apply to sizing issues.
Joe worked with the product design team and a graphic designer to simplify the fit chart, and installed a chat window if visitors spent over a minute on a specific product’s page. We also changed the free-shipping threshold to $99 while emphasizing free returns and exchanges, which increased conversion rates without significantly eroding profit margins.
Additional tactics included:
- Improving and adding to a series of automated welcome emails
- Discounted loyalty offers stuffed into outgoing shipments
- The introduction of an affiliate marketing program
- Significantly expanded Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns, and much more
In 2014 Royal Robbins experienced record online growth for their direct to consumer website. Revenue increased 65% year over year to $1.61M. Traffic rose by 43%, orders by 50%, and average order values were up 7%. This revenue made it possible for the company to design and build a new, mobile friendly site, which is continuing to drive profits and deliver a world class user experience to those who visit.