Spreadshirt Draws New Sellers—and Sales—with Targeted Testing

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An online T-shirt store and marketplace, Spreadshirt caters to both buyers and sellers, but relies primarily on the latter for the bulk of its revenue. Its marketplace model is simple: The e-commerce company invites visitors to create unique designs and sell them via the marketplace, allowing others to purchase T-shirts, bags, and other merchandise featuring the designs. Founded in 2001, Spreadshirt has become an international community for creating, sharing, and selling apparel.

When conversions from the company's primary call to action began to stagnate, Spreadshirt hired a new creative director, Do Kil, to launch a rebranding effort and Web site redesign. The main objective, says David Gorman, head of content management at Spreadshirt, was to boost activity on the homepage by attracting new users and encouraging existing customers to re-engage.

As more designers contribute to the marketplace, they're likely to draw a new clientele of buyers. "Because both Spreadshirt and each individual seller earn a commission on every sale, accumulating a vast network of designers is the first–and perhaps main–step toward increasing revenue," Gorman explains. The next step, he says, was teaming up with Optimizely.

Optimizely, a San Francisco-based Web site optimization platform, worked with Spreadshirt to define a conversion goal–in this case, a click on the "Start Selling" call to action–and determine the site design elements that would need to be altered to reach that goal.

The company then designed a new homepage to serve as a more visually appealing and navigable alternative. "The original Web site had great images, but they were small and cluttered. There was too much text, too many graphics, and the call to action wasn't clearly identified," Matt Althauser, general manager of EMEA at Optimizely, says. With an experimental page ready, Optimizely launched an A/B test using a simple redirect link, sending some visitors to Spreadshirt's original homepage and some to the redesigned page.

The results, Althauser says, confirmed his and Kil's theory: The redesigned, decluttered page with a clear call to action performed better. "There really was no competition," Althauser says. "The new page delivered a 606 percent higher conversion and was the way to go, in terms of Web site redesign," he adds. Since redesigning the full Web site with this data in mind, Spreadshirt has experienced an 8 percent increase in overall engagement. The company also reports an 11.2 percent increase in total views of the order confirmation page, which it correlates with overall purchases, as well as a 4 percent increase in T-shirt sales.

Spreadshirt will continue to test new ways to engage users with a reaffirmed commitment to tracking macro- and micro-conversions. Much of the testing that Spreadshirt has done with Optimizely demonstrated that although monitoring actions that drive a business' bottom line is important, keeping an eye on seemingly more trivial actions can pay off too.

"Sales are always a telltale factor, but clicks and engagement are tremendously relevant as well," Gorman says. "These types of conversions can paint a much fuller picture of customer behavior, and ultimately add up in a major way."


The Payoff

Since implementing Optimizely's A/B testing solution, Spreadshirt has seen:

  • a 606 percent increase in conversions;
  • an 8 percent increase in engagement;
  • an 11.2 percent increase in overall purchases; and
  • a 4 percent increase in T-shirt sales.

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