Testing Is Part of L'Occitane's Regimen

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The skincare and beauty brand runs A/B tests and tracks customer behavior to optimize the online experience and conversion




Photo source: L’Occitane

With about 3,000 stores around the world and more than 60 international websites, L’Occitane en Provence (L’Occitane) has a significant global presence. The natural skincare and beauty brand needed a central solution to help its international teams work towards common goals. These included redesigning its websites and better identifying different markets’ needs and preferences to drive engagement and conversion.

“We wanted to anticipate and understand the different behaviors of customers across countries,” L’Occitane’s VP of international digital transformation Thalie Farinaud stated in an emailed interview, “and we wanted our new website to reflect the preferences per country.”

In addition to these goals, Farinaud said she wanted to optimize the cost of acquisition, create a continuous optimization cycle, empower her teams with data and optimization, and strengthen the brand’s digital transformation. So after researching different vendors, L’Occitane settled on UX analytics solution provider ContentSquare and had its team in France implement the solution in 2013. It then proceeded to expand the solution across its teams in the U.S., U.K., Japan, Russia, and Brazil.

Testing and learning

By implementing a line of code on its websites, L’Occitane could track and analyze customers’ behaviors. In Q1 2016, it used this technology to run a series of tests on each of its countries’ websites.

For instance, Farinaud said the brand ran A/B tests on the order options on the top navigation bar. Based on these insights, L’Occitane ended up shifting its “special offers” tab to the left, Farinaud said, and removed the “what’s new” feature from the bar to a more highlighted place on the homepage. She also said that the brand experimented with different filtering options on its product listing pages.

“They are a key element in the navigation because visitors use the sidebar filters to refine their search,” Farinaud stated.

In addition to these tests, L’Occitane did a bit of analysis on its shopping cart pages. Farinaud said the pages encouraged people to spend time there—two minutes and 57 seconds on average—by showing them complementary products, gift wrapping options, and free samples. The team found particularly interesting findings around its free sample section. Farinaud said customers liked to see all of their sample options before adding them to their cart. In fact, she said nearly 76% of customers who looked at the samples expanded the box. What’s more, the brand’s tests revealed that it needed more sample options, she said, and that it had to make some layout changes, including moving the sample box higher on the page, expanding the box, and doing more dynamic sampling.

A ContentSquare case study also describes how L’Occitane used the solution to detect a discrepancy between Russia’s checkout page conversion rates (13%) and those of other markets, like the U.K. (45%). The brand used the technology to pinpoint high drop-off points — such as its shipments page, which had an 18% drop-off rate, according to the case study — and leveraged these insights to make appropriate modifications.

Continuing to optimize

Testing and learning from these insights seems to have paid off for L’Occitane, too. Moving the “special offers” tab in the navigation bar resulted in a 5% increase in conversion, according to ContentSquare, and running the tests on the Russian website revealed insights that led to a 15% increase in mobile sales. However, Farinaud admits that it took a bit of time for the brand’s teams to get used to using the solution.

“As any tool, it requires a little bit of training so the team feels comfortable with using it,” she said. “Then the team just needs to use it regularly if you want to create the most value out of it.”

As for future improvements, Farinaud said L’Occitane has created a plan with ContentSquare to help analyze its apps and create more personalized experiences. “This is the next step in our continuous optimization,” she said. 





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