When Oprah Winfrey calls…
You pick up the phone and do exactly what she says – whether you’re ready or not.
“We put ourselves on a hard deadline because of Oprah,” says John Hart, ecommerce manager at Peepers.
Peepers designs and markets a line of innovative and expressive eyewear, especially reading glasses, for both men and women. Oprah had chosen Peepers’ reading glasses as a favorite and decided to include the company in the February 2016 issue of “O” THE OPRAH MAGAZINE.
The Oprah Effect, as it’s known, has transformed tiny previously unheard of companies into multi-million dollar empires seemingly overnight. To prepare for the unfathomable spike in traffic that often accompanies a mention by Oprah, Peepers knew it needed an ecommerce platform with a solid foundation it could trust.“We were so excited but needed to move to a new domain and move to a new ecommerce platform,” Hart says.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
The Oprah deadline was approaching quickly.
The Big Letdown
“We sank a lot of money and time into re-designing an ecommerce platform that never actually went live,” Hart says.
The re-design, which the team at Peepers says it spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on, never actually worked the way Peepers needed it to. “This was a huge time suck that delayed our new platform at Peepers.com by at least a year,” Hart recalls.
Peepers strength is designing and marketing high quality reading glasses at great prices, not heavy web development. Hart says the design was complete, the product catalog was loaded, everything was in place for us to go live.
“The site was unbelievably slow,” Hart recalls. “People don’t want to wait for pages to load and we all know it’s a factor Google considers when ranking pages.”
A slow loading site is extremely harmful to Peepers…
The company has more than 6,000 SKUs which is a lot to load. Customers wanted to view each pair of glasses from different angles and in different colors. Not being able to provide that meant customers, who may be visiting the site on Oprah’s recommendation would be tempted to look elsewhere.
“It was a real pain point we were having,” Hart says. “It was frustrating because every time we wanted to change something the ecommerce platform rep would quote us a price that was tough to swallow. We wound up sitting on so many ideas we just couldn’t do.”
There was no way the team could launch Peepers.com on this platform and no way the company could afford to try to fix it. “Fixing it and moving forward would have cost us close to $100,000, which was unrealistic financially,” Hart says.
Fortunately, Hart and the team found exactly what they needed and just in time...
The Looming Deadline
With the Oprah deadline looming, Hart and the Peepers team decided to cut ties with their old platform and launch anew on January 1st.
“We were so pumped,” Hart recalls. “We had been through so many hurdles and this was two and a half years in the making.”
Peepers chose to replatform with Shopify Plus. To make the switch work, Peepers also partnered with the developers at 3five to successfully import 150,000 customers and install the technical infrastructure necessary to handle a traffic spike and fulfill orders.
“We had a lot of difficult integrations,” Hart says.“It was really stressful and we put a lot of work into making new frames, our order management system, and optimizing everything to improve the customer experience.”
Remember, not only was Peepers replatforming but it was also moving to a new domain. The concern was that the company would lose page rank, traffic, and worst of all customers.
It was time to pull the switch and find out.
Peepers Goes Live
“The biggest thing we couldn’t do on the old platform was allow customers to see multiple images of a single pair of eyeglasses,” Hart says. “It was something our competitors were doing, so it was also something customers had come to expect.”
That wouldn’t be a problem with Shopify though.
With confidence Shopify Plus could help to dramatically improve the customer experience, Hart and the Peepers team reshot every product image, producing larger, more vibrant images customers would be more likely to fall in love with. Combine that with compelling new product descriptions and Peepers was ready to go live.
“We were absolutely ecstatic,” Hart says. “The new site inspires confidence in our brand and the customer response has been absolutely fantastic.”
It was a new day for Peepers and its customers. Not only did they love the new images and variety, customers told the company how much easier it was to find and select the pair of eyeglasses they wanted. The order confirmation emails triggered by each purchase were also met with glowing reviews.
“We needed to keep growing and Shopify allows us to grow,” Hart says. “The Shopify community is so vibrant and everyone is developing stuff to help us do even more.”
Customizing the Checkout
The incentive to spend more money starts early when you visit the new Peepers site.
Once a visitor adds an item to their cart, a free shipping motivator shows the customer how much more they have to spend to qualify for free shipping.
“It’s always a good idea to give customers a little bit of a nudge,” Gina Gregory, the lead Shopify Plus developer at 3five (a Shopify Plus partner agency), says. “It gives customers an incentive to add something else to their cart and increase sales.”
Peepers is running split tests and experimenting with different accessories offerings, say eyeglass cases, to provide additional customer value and optimize upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
To further boost conversions and sales, Peepers is leveraging the ability on Shopify Plus to customize the checkout experience. Now, Shopify Plus merchants can create a seamless transition between the shopping and checkout experiences. Not only does being able to import custom HTML allow merchants to provide a visually consistent customer experience, it also inspires trust.
“The ability to customize with Shopify Plus really allows us to push it to the limit and create a custom checkout experience customers can trust and be confident that their personal and payment information is safe. It really makes customers feel like the site is going to take care of them.”
The Fruits of Checkout Customization
The fears that often come with replatforming are well known.
But Peepers’ organic traffic actually increased, which was one of the company’s key objectives, and resulted in a financial windfall that’s still playing out today. “Organic traffic was our weak point,” Hart says. “But we never took a huge hit when we switched platforms and now we’re seeing an increase in organic traffic.”
Why is new traffic so valuable?
The average order on Peepers is approximately $55. Existing customers generally purchase around three times, meaning CLV is roughly $165. “So new organic traffic is worth its weight in gold,” Hart says. “Customers are responding extremely well.”
Since attracting more traffic and customizing the checkout experience with the Shopify Plus platform, Peepers has seen dramatic increases in key metrics:
- The organic traffic conversion rate has increased 25-30%
- Average order value has increased 15-20%
“We are super optimistic in terms of revenue,” Hart says. “We see huge opportunities in terms of improving conversion rates and making data-driven decisions that give customers exactly what they want.”
“There are no limits anymore,” Hart says. “It’s just a lot of testing. That’s what we are the most excited about, finding out what works and doing more of it.”
Expect Peepers to continue pushing the boundaries on customization.
About The Author
Nick Winkler is a contributor to the Shopify Plus blog. He helps individuals & organizations generate new leads, make more money, and ignite growth with story. Get more from Nick here.