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Retailers can facilitate efficiencies, increase margin and drive sustainable growth online, by optimising their customer experience, just like Charles Tyrwhitt

Some of the test results have surprised us, demonstrating how the simplest of readjustments can drive strong

commercial results


harles Tyrwhitt is a menswear retailer, specialising in formal and casual shirts, with a range of accessories and a limited selection

of womenswear. Built on a direct marketing model driven by mail order and brochure-led sales, Charles Tyrwhitt launched its website in 1997 and the business has grown into a global brand.Online sales now represent around 70% of total revenue. In 2010, Charles Tyrwhitt’s e-commerce function began a comprehensive long-term initiative to develop its online store, with a significant focus on optimising the customer experience. Since then, overall online and company revenues have doubled. Its ongoing customer experience optimisation work with Maxymiser using A/B and multivariate testing (MVT) is cited as a key component in helping to drive that growth. “Working with Maxymiser has definitely had a major impact on our business,” said Jennie Blythe, head of web development and trading at Charles Tyrwhitt. “Multivariate testing has become an essential component in what we do. There’s an inherent need to test to make sure we are in line with customer demands. It’s part of our culture. We test, we optimise and we move forward.”

Having launched its redesigned website in October 2010, Blythe explained: “There’s no point investing time and resource in customer acquisition and SEO [search engine optimisation] to drive customers to a site if you are going to neglect them once they’re there.” The retailer chose to deploy the Maxymiser customer experience optimisation suite. “Not only did Maxymiser have a good track record within the industry for delivering solid


technical results, but we were also attracted by the full-service nature of the proposition.Maxymiser could provide the web design and front-end development support that we lacked at the time. They were able to handle the design aspect as well as the technical delivery, as well as advising on testing strategy on what to test and when,” she added. Maxymiser ran its first MVT for Charles Tyrwhitt in

December 2010. “Our initial focus was on the online checkout – the most crucial part of any retailer’s website,” continued Blythe. “We wanted to focus on ‘progressive disclosure,’ a technique that determines how customers are manoeuvred through the checkout. Based on that test we achieved an uplift of 4% in the conversion of customers moving through to the next page of the checkout. In terms of checkout fallout, that’s a significant sales improvement. It immediately demonstrated the value of Maxymiser.” Charles Tyrwhitt has subsequently conducted a

number of MVT and A/B tests using the Maxymiser suite (Charles Tyrwhitt boosts online conversion, 1 December 2011, The campaigns have been wide-ranging, looking not only at transactional optimisation but also more personalised user experiences. For example,Charles Tyrwhitt wanted to optimise its left-hand navigation (LHN) function to improve users’ abilities to find listings and product pages – and ultimately increase conversion. The six-week campaign, based on 64 test variants

across four components, aimed to establish the optimal order of categories in the LHN (collar size, price, item colour), which categories should be expanded, and the colour of the LHN itself. The ‘winning experience,’ which Maxymiser subsequently served, led to a 3% increase in listings page arrivals, a 13.7% increase in purchases and a revenue uplift of 20% per generation. Blythe said: “Being able to measure the bottom line impact of the tests that we are doing is hugely valuable to us. It helps us make decisions based on real data, and on insight rather than intuition.Maxymiser has accelerated our ability to make critical decisions. What’s really interesting is that when you put a left-field variant in, it really polarises results and makes you consider things that you never really anticipated. Some of the test results have surprised us, demonstrating how the simplest of readjustments can drive strong commercial results. The LHN campaign is a perfect example.”

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