Brooks Brothers Adds Value Through Advanced Testing

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As the self-proclaimed oldest clothing retailer in the United States, Brooks Brothers takes pride in its long history of offering well-tailored suits and being attuned to the needs of its customers.

The company, for example, introduced the concept of ready-to-wear suits to pioneers of the California Gold Rush, who did not have time to wait for a tailor. Brooks Brothers also introduced ready-made button-down polo shirts, polo coats, lightweight summer suits, and other designs that were innovative for their times.

But in the age of advanced technology, Brooks Brothers needed an additional edge, which they could achieve by employing testing capabilities and analytics to better understand their customers and accurately target their marketing campaigns and products.

Cindy Lincks, Brooks Brothers' director of analytics, says she and her team had been conducting their own consumer tests in-house, but the effort was time-consuming.

"We had difficulty with being able to run the tests smoothly and get [them] off the ground. One of the challenges we had was making sure the message was consistent," Lincks recalls.

Having heard good things about Monetate, a Web site testing and ad services provider, Lincks contacted the vendor.

It didn't take long before Lincks knew that Monetate was the right fit for her company's needs.

"Many salespeople tell you [they] can get you live in just a day or a week. Many times that's not the case," Lincks notes. "Literally after we signed the contract, we had a welcome email in my inbox with a [Monetate Express] Tag that we had to put on our site and we were up and running."

Lincks had selected the Monetate Agility Suite, a cloud-based platform that is installed on the client's Web site with one line of code that allows marketers to test specific segments of its audience and make instant changes to its Web site based on real-time data results.

In addition, Monetate also provided Lincks with a team of e-commerce professionals who work as an extension of her marketing team. "The client's Success Team are people who are seasoned professionals who have been in Cindy's shoes," explains Monetate's content marketing director, Rob Yoegel. "Using their experience in the e-commerce space and from working with other clients, they can share [nonproprietary] ideas from their peers and other e-commerce retailers."

One of the first tests that interested Lincks involved badging—the method of tagging online products with small signs to let customers know that the item is a best-seller, newly arrived, etc.

With Monetate's help, Brooks Brothers started badging products with attributes like New Arrival, Made in America, and Collegiate.

"When we presented our ideas [to Monetate's Success Team], they said 'Let's test them all,'" Lincks says. "The first test [was] in November, and we quickly started seeing results. We ran a test for badging and some of the things we noticed [were] the conversion rate increased twenty-six percent on the most successful product badge, revenue per visit went up thirty-four percent, and the add-to-cart rate went up by nearly five percent."

Lincks also plans to explore the use of weather-based geo-targeting applications to further personalize the company's mobile site. Customers who visit Brooks Brothers' site on their smartphones would be shown items that best match the weather in their location, based on the IP address of their smartphones.

"It's much more challenging to have a brick-and-mortar and a dot-com type of environment, where you have to get everyone on board," Lincks says. "That's the value of Monetate. You have an opportunity to do things like localize your Web site with weather patterns—things that…add wonderful value for our customers."

The Payoff:

After teaming up with Monetate, Brooks Brothers has:

  • seen the conversion rate on its Web site increase 26 percent on the most successful product badge;
  • watched revenue per visit go up by 34 percent; and
  • increased the add-to-cart rate by nearly 5 percent.

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