Challenge:

Optimize Cabela's complex, high-volume web site with the ability to quickly test different variations of content and functionality — without the need to change the site's source code or make process changes, which would be too time-consuming and complicated.

Solution:

SiteSpect enabled Cabela's to conduct A/B and multivariate tests on its web site at any time without needing to engage valuable IT resources, helping the retailer test new features and functionality to increase its conversion rate and optimize its resources.

Cabela's is the nation's largest direct marketer, and a leading specialty retailer, of hunting, fishing, camping, and related outdoor merchandise. From its humble beginnings in 1961, the company has grown to become recognized as the World's Foremost Outfitter with a thriving web site that helps drive its sales. With continuously updated new products, offers, and features, leveraging best practices for online marketing and merchandising has been a key to the success of Cabela's web site. So when it came to testing and optimization, the company examined numerous options by carefully reviewing the capabilities of leading testing providers as well as its own in-house services.

Cabela's goal was to have the ability to quickly test the functionality of new features and determine the best ways to present content. But as an experienced multi-channel retailer with retail stores, catalog, and Internet businesses, its processes were well-established and required a system with the flexibility to test on the fly without needing to change the web site's source code which would be a complicated and time-consuming process.

Only one solution offered that flexibility, enabling Cabela's to quickly structure and execute A/B and multivariate tests consisting of various content and functionality — all without needing to change its site and work with its existing processes. That solution was SiteSpect.

An optimal solution.

"We needed a testing provider that not only provided us with the flexibility to test whatever we wanted, but could provide the expertise, training, and technical support to help us learn how to use this new capability to optimize our site," said Vince Stephens, Manager of Internet Planning and Analytics at Cabela's. "SiteSpect provided amazing support and they were always there for us. As a result, we were able to quickly get our staff up to speed and start even very complicated tests right away."

Stephens explained that with SiteSpect, it's easy to set up a test and execute it in a matter of hours. "We've tested variations of shopping cart features, gained insight on payment options, and tested a variety of merchandising features to increase our conversion rates," he noted.

While many tests have revealed valuable ways to help make Cabela's web site more effective and profitable, Stephens finds results that show changes that have no impact or a negative impact on visitor behavior are just as valuable — saving the company from expending resources to engineer and implement unnecessary changes and avoid potential lost sales.

Testing that yields a wealth of knowledge.

With SiteSpect, Cabela's was able to get up and running quickly with a wide array of tests that have helped make its web site more productive and efficient. Here are just some of the ways the retailer is benefiting from SiteSpect's technology and support:

  • Through SiteSpect's ability to test dynamic site content, Cabela's has improved its ability to add-on and up-sell products related to those in a visitor's shopping cart by testing different versions of copy instructions. The most persuasive approach tested, showed add-on item click-throughs increased 7% and average order value increased nearly 2%.
  • Cabela's has successfully tested products from third-party providers. A test of a new payment option showed the potential of this service and the results were used to build a business case. Additional testing revealed the optimal ad presentations and promotional offers. SiteSpect testing also enabled Cabela's to determine the effect of various locations for the security feature's logo to provide reassurance for its customers.
  • Cabela's used SiteSpect to realize savings and avoid lost sales through testing that discouraged the company from expending resources to make modifications to the search results page that wouldn't have been effective.
  • Through a split test of product videos, Cabela's compared product detail pages that featured product videos to versions without videos. The results showed a double-digit increase in item view-to-order conversion when the product video was featured.
  • Because SiteSpect testing doesn't interfere with organic search results, Cabela's is able to run sophisticated tests while protecting its investment in search engine optimization.

Making resources go further.

"We're impressed that we've been able to conduct as many tests as we have in such a short period of time," said Stephens. Trent Minneman, Cabela's Internet Information Analyst who uses SiteSpect on a daily basis put it this way, "Regardless of a test's complexity and sample size requirements, it still wouldn't be unreasonable for us to conduct multiple tests per week. SiteSpect also makes it easy for us to run multiple tests concurrently. We're really only limited by our ability to take action on the results."

Cabela's has found real value in SiteSpect's ability to quickly measure various web site features to determine which ones should be introduced and which ones shouldn't — and there are plans for many more tests. Cabela's sees it not just as a tool that helps the company optimize its web site, but one that helps management optimize business and technical resources. Either way, it's clear that for this leading outfitter, SiteSpect is a very good fit.