April 6, 2022

Case study: how Peak Design boosted online revenue, rev per visitor and widened the purchase funnel through a/b testing

Like many other wise, perfectly bearded marketers, Adam Saraceno knew a/b testing and personalization were critical pieces of a successful e-commerce toolkit.  But starting out, he didn’t have the resources or time to think about them.

We’re entirely crowdfunded through Kickstarter,” said Adam, chief marketing officer of Peak Design. “Because we don’t take outside investment, we have more control over how we run the business.”  

Peak Design launched in 2011 with a focus on camera accessories, after founder Peter Dering realized that the only person who was going to build a user-friendly DSLR camera carrier was him.  Since then, the company has cumulatively raised a hefty $15M across 7 Kickstarter campaigns. Impressive, dont’cha think? Adam succinctly sums up Peak Design in the following words: “We help people carry their stuff.”

Peak Design is now the leader in carry products, but unlike similar businesses with venture capital funding, they’re very frugal in their spending.  This frequently led to resource constraints and “shooting from the hip” in all areas of the business.

“We always made every decision about the website based on our gut,” said Adam.  “In many ways, it helped us move efficiently early on. But as our business grew, it became more difficult to operate solely on instinct.”

A chance meeting leads to a shift from gut-based decisions to informed choices in 4 short months

Before surefoot came onto the scene, Peak Design was collecting data on website performance (sweet!).  Management flipped through the reports occasionally, but without knowing industry benchmarks they lacked confidence in their own interpretations (not so sweet).

What did comparable website conversion rates look like? How about add-to-cart rates? They just didn’t know.

Data or no data, their attempts to change the website frequently ran into roadblocks with their tech team and/or their e-commerce platform.  Requests for what seemed like straightforward changes were met with “Dude, this is not easy to do. How much is it worth?” And there the conversation stopped.

One random day in March, the conversion gods rewarded surefoot’s many offerings when Laura Stude, co-founder of surefoot, won a Peak Design backpack in a raffle Adam hosted. This chance meeting opened the doors to a more data-informed, effective process for Peak Design (and a really killer new backpack for Laura).  The rest is history.

Adam and Laura met the second time over a beer or 3 and he learned a ton about surefoot’s immersive, strategic approach to working with clients.  After checking with a few peers and running the numbers, Adam and the management team at Peak Design decided to move forward with a surefoot engagement. “We have better relationships with small partners that we can work intimately with,” said Adam.

The fun kicked off with a deep dive into all things Peak Design.  Laura and Brian spent several weeks eating, sleeping, and breathing Peak Design’s website, analytics, and customer data.  The result of the deep dive was a snapshot of the business, including target personas, overall health, and biggest areas of opportunity. Oh, and significantly smaller bank accounts for the entire surefoot team, who instantly became enamored with the entire Peak Design product line.

“The work we’ve done with surefoot is one of the most fascinating, enlightening, and exciting things that we’ve gotten to do as a marketing team in recent memory,” said Adam. “It’s the first time we’ve had a third party use data to paint a picture of our website and customer experience.  We’re like kids in a candy store.”

Data-driven approach returns ROI quickly for Peak Design

Peak Design’s excitement around this new level of visibility into their data was palpable. After reviewing the list of test ideas, Adam, Laura, and Brian decided on a series of 9 hypotheses as the initial testing roadmap.  surefoot performed the heavy lifting of implementing each test in Convert.com, monitoring and collecting data, and interpreting the results in the form of data stories.

Because you look like someone who likes facts and pretty pictures, here’s a sampling of tests and results for the top 4 performers to date:

Redesigning a key homepage section to focus on product categories widened the entire funnel, with a 19% increase in category page visits, a 5% increase in checkout visits, and $2.2K more in monthly revenue.

Simplifying Peak Design’s Magento cart page with a reduced number of CTAs, restructured promo and tax fields, and a few other formatting changes funneled 6% more visitors to checkout and increased revenue by roughly $16K per month.

Adding “commitment guarantees” beneath the add to cart button widened the middle of the funnel by encouraging more visitors to add to cart in both the desktop (+6%) and mobile (+13%) variations.  

Increasing the mini-cart hover time from 2 seconds to 6 seconds (after a product is added to the cart) funneled 40% more visitors to the cart and increased revenue by approximately $36.5K per month. Yes, seriously.

A/B testing and personalization reach Peak importance (see what we did there?)

As the relationship with surefoot progressed, Peak Design opened their eyes to customer behavior and skyrocketed their revenues in the process (#winning – literally!). The results of each test spurred new hypotheses for future tests, as the team thought, “What if we tried this?”

“surefoot has given us a process that eliminates gut-based decision-making.  Now, anytime an employee has an idea for a website change, we say, let’s test it!  It allows us to concentrate on other areas of the business that aren’t responsible for millions of dollars in revenue.”

And it isn’t just the process and the results that Adam adores.  His experience with Laura and Brian at surefoot was exactly what he was searching for. “Laura and Brian are super high-touch, and extremely empathetic to our business needs and how we do things.  They’re like part of our team – in our Slack channel, on our weekly marketing reports, you name it. They are a dream partner for us – the kind that we very rarely find.”

Well shucks, Adam, thanks for the kind words. We feel the same about you and Peak Design!

Want to know more about how Laura and Brian’s strategic approach to a/b testing and personalization can help return similar results?  Contact us and let’s talk!

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