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JanSport’s Online Presence Packs a Punch with Clicktale
With insights gleaned from the customer experience software, the backpack company revamps its website's home page
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Best known for its ubiquitous backpacks, JanSport is a 50-year-old brand with deep roots in collegiate apparel, but despite its solid foundation, it was late to the game with e-commerce. According to Carolina Gomes, director of e-commerce at JanSport, the company didn’t launch a website until May 2013.

By early 2015, JanSport (a VF Corp. company) realized the site needed revamping to meet its young customers’ high expectations. What was needed, Gomes says, was a better “understanding of how users interacted” with its sites, and that called for tools that extended beyond the segment and performance indicators offered by Google Analytics. “We needed to have more insights, to understand what the pain points and opportunities were,” she says.

To better understand how users were interacting with its online properties and the creative content posted there, JanSport enlisted the aid of ClickTale, a provider of digital customer experience solutions.

Clicktale’s software, explains Jacob Makler, a product consultant and customer success manager at Clicktale, aims to help users understand the activity and behavior of the people browsing their sites, and to reveal trends and preferences. On the web, mouse movements serve as an 85 percent to 90 percent proxy for eye movements, he says. The software captures “every tilt, tap, and zoom” from the browser and gives users access to data that can be rendered and analyzed in different ways, via heat maps and session replays, for instance.

An advantage for JanSport was that several outfits within the VF Corp. conglomerate, including The North Face and Vans, were already using Clicktale, so it had experience to draw from in implementing the software; it was up and running by June 2015.

The technology revealed that Jan-Sport’s site wasn’t satisfying the demands of mobile visitors, who now drive 60 percent of online traffic and 35 percent of its online revenue. In its early analysis, the company found that user engagement on its home page in general was “pretty low,” Gomes says. “We realized people weren’t scrolling down and interacting with the other creative at the bottom of the home page.”

JanSport relaunched its site in August 2015 to align with back-to-school season, its peak sales period. By the same time the following year, it was ready to relaunch yet again, for the 2016 school year.

“Even though we developed the site for mobile, we were also getting better engagement on the web,” Gomes says. “The time people spend on the site has increased dramatically, in a good way.” Click-through rates on the home page had jumped from under 2 percent to 6 percent. Beyond the home page, users have begun spending more time on various parts of the site and engaging with different products, she says.

“The fact that we’re improving the home page is helping us across the board.” For one thing, it has helped JanSport increase the returns on investments in mobile marketing campaigns. JanSport’s mobile conversions are up by more than 21 percent, with the overall online year-over-year conversion rate up by 7 percent, Gomes says.

In the future, JanSport will work on improving online engagement in other stages of the funnel, including account pages, cart and checkout pages, and product and category pages, to cut drop-off rates.

“The way we talk about Clicktale internally is they are an extension of our team,” Gomes says. She notes that theirs is “a long-term partnership,” as devices and users will continue to change at a rapid and unpredictable pace and call for constant attention. The company is now working on making updates for the holiday season. 

The Payoff

Since revamping its website home page in 2016 with the aid of Clicktale's web activity tracking tools, JanSport has seen:

  • its home page click-through rate jump from under 2 percent to 6 percent;
  • online conversions climb 7 percent year-over-year; and
  • mobile conversions increase by more than 21 percent.

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