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34 caSeSTUDY

Virgin media OpTimiSeS e-cOmmerce SiTe eXperience

A long term e-commerce customer optimisation strategy using multivariate testing continues to reap dividends for quad-play telecoms operator and retailer


We are now able to test a number of different variants and base crucial decisions on real world data…we have increased conversion rates and achieved more sales

s a UK-based entertainment and communications business, Virgin media’s e-commerce website plays a central role in converting new subscribers

in a highly competitive marketplace. The site, which was re-launched in april 2012, presents

the full range of Virgin media services and promotions. it is a key component in the customer journey. in addition to its role as an online sales channel, it also supports engagement across other channels including inbound telesales, retail stores, direct sales and outbound sales via call centres. “customer acquisition journeys are not linear –

 online,” said matt Walton, Virgin media head of online sales. “incremental sales and leads in to other channels are therefore key. We recognised that the website played a fundamental part in the customer journey – and concluded that we could only make each channel bigger if we made the online experience better. So we set about implementing an optimisation strategy.” in 2009, Virgin media chose to partner with

maxymiser to optimise the customer experience using a/B and multivariate (mVT) testing. “Our objectives were simple: to increase conversion rates and grow incremental sales,” said Walton. “We wanted to ensure we were making the most of the opportunities we had when potential customers visited the site – and eradicate the sales we were losing because their website experience

could have been better. We also wanted to take a test and learn approach to developing the site, and needed a partner with whom we could consult to give us ideas and advice on how to do it.” a carefully coordinated and ongoing programme of

a/B and multivariate tests focused initially on improving customer conversion.and the results have been impressive. For example, an early test that looked at the presentation of tariff options led to a design change that saw conversion rates increase by more than 10%. likewise, a subsequent multivariate test that explored

 approaches to the layering of promotional reminders  impact on order conversion. “Using maxymiser, we were able to develop an approach that provides customers with only the relevant promotional information,” commented John hogan, Virgin media research and optimisation lead. “Order conversion from this late stage in the order journey increased by an amazing 5%.” as familiarity with the technology has grown, testing has become more adventurous; Virgin media has begun to run tests concurrently, covering a broader expanse of the site. it has also taken advantage of additional maxymiser tools that enable behavioural targeting and customer segmentation. “Using maxymiser’s segmentation capability, we were able to serve competitor-targeted marketing creative to visitors,” said hogan. “compared to our un- segmented promotional marketing, the targeted creative increased order conversion by almost 20%.” “Working with maxymiser has allowed us to take an

element of ‘gut feel’ out of making site improvements,” added Walton. “We are now able to test a number of different variants and base crucial decisions on real world data. Without a doubt, we have increased conversion rates and achieved more sales because of it.” This ‘test and learn’ approach has also had a positive impact on wider operational strategy at Virgin media. “maxymiser has helped us develop a business case for further investment in optimisation,” Walton concluded. “The incremental sales it’s delivered have been used to justify the creation of a dedicated optimisation team.” This new team will provide Virgin media with an optimisation stream that is able to run tests continuously and provide ongoing insight that informs strategy. “The expansion is a vindication of our optimisation strategy. it’s about ensuring we make the most of our relationship with maxymiser by supporting it with an internal team.”

RETAIL TECHNOLOGY march/april 2013

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