RS Components Case Study

Webtrends Optimize powers up RS Components online customer experience

The Client

RS Components is a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, a leading high-service distributor of electronics and maintenance products. It has operations in 32 countries and offers approximately 500,000 products through online, catalogue and in-store sales channels to more than 1 million customers. It ships more than 44,000 parcels on the same day orders are received and sources products from 2,500 leading suppliers.

The Challenge

RS Components now handles around 60 percent of its sales online, meaning it’s imperative the website is optimized to drive conversions and is as simple as possible for customers to use.

Prior to working with Webtrends, the team at RS Components had run some basic manual tests using standard analytics, but this was not delivering the rich insight needed. The company wanted to see what optimisation and testing – something it previously hadn’t done a great deal of – would reveal.

Rob Lynch, Web Testing Manager, RS Components, explains: “With online such an important channel, we want to ensure we are continually optimizing content in key site areas. For instance, while we were happy with our conversion rates with the existing ‘one size fits all’ home page, customer feedback had highlighted a desire for more information for prospects. So we wanted to test if there would be a positive impact on sales and customer satisfaction levels if we personalised our home page for visitors, rather than displaying the same page to everyone.

"The result surprised us as it went against our initial gut feeling – we expected to influence new visitors more than the returning segment. It highlighted the need for testing, rather than relying on assumptions – now every major change is tested before it goes live."

Rob Lynch
Web Testing Manager, RS Components

The Solution

RS Components selected Webtrends Optimize – the global leader in digital marketing optimisation and relevance through real-time, unified analytics and customer intelligence – for its expert consultancy and its Optimize testing, targeting and personalisation platform.

Webtrends Optimize delivers a complete selection of test and target types, including A/B, multivariate tests, advanced segmentation, behavioural targeting and personalisation. It provides reliable results, scalability to grow with success and simple yet comprehensive reporting to provide actionable insights.

Through multi-variate testing, RS Components was able to look at key stages in the purchase process to improve the user experience through effective design.

One of the first areas to test was the home page. With the customer experience top of mind, the company wanted to explore the difference between new and returning visitors, how their behaviour may differ and how best they could use this information to offer more personalised experiences.

A baseline data collection revealed big differences between the two groups when different hero banner content was shown. For new customers, the content prominently showed the benefits of shopping with the company, whereas those returning to the site received a “welcome back” message and search box to help them get to where they needed to be.

While the changes had no effect on new visitors’ behaviour, the results showed a significant 3 percent increase in conversion rates for returning visitors.

Rob says: “The result surprised us as it went against our initial gut feeling – we expected to influence new visitors more than the returning segment. It highlighted the need for testing, rather than relying on assumptions – now every major change is tested before it goes live.”

The second test involved a button on the basket page to encourage purchase of product accessories. RS Components had added a call-to-action to encourage further purchases, but it wasn’t performing as well as predicted. Simple testing with multiple variations revealed how the button could be improved. While the site traditionally used red or grey buttons onsite, blue received the best result with a 22 percent uplift in average order value.

“This gave us a data-driven reason to prioritise the change as soon as we saw the results. And because it was instantly scalable, we rolled it out to other countries,” says Rob.

A further test was issued to increase the average order value of each customer. The hypothesis was that letting a customer know about a reward would increase sales. For customers who had reached a certain basket value, promotional messages were introduced if they were about to check-out without reaching the campaign spend threshold, such as “Spend another £9.96 to receive a free gift”.

RS Components middle

“Whereas initially Webtrends Optimize was a deliverer of our test ideas, now every test is a true collaboration.”

Rob Lynch
Web Testing Manager, RS Components

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The Results

Following testing of the home page, RS Components saw a 3 percent increase in conversion for returning visitors. The basket accessories test saw a 22 percent uplift in average order value, and the test to increase average order value through promotional incentives saw an increase in average order value of £10 per order.

Rob says: “Identifying our issues was easy – working out how to tackle them with the correct solution was the hard part. When we first started working with Webtrends Optimize, we hadn’t done much in the way of optimisation and getting the ball rolling was hard, as it was an unknown quantity for many. However, my team believed strongly in its potential and now, the business sees so much value in it that I have to fight off business units for use of my team’s resource. We have perpetual multi-track testing planned six months in advance.”

“Optimisation is now in the fabric of RS Components, we’re true advocates. What we enjoy about working with Webtrends Optimize is that they know our business inside out and offer invaluable strategic support and consultancy. Whereas initially Webtrends Optimize was a deliverer of our test ideas, now every test is a true collaboration.”

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