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Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff: Future-proofing on-site search

Why they won

Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff won the Innovation Award for Customer Experience.

For the brand’s ability to “think like a customer” and enable tools that addressed specific pain points in the search experience.

Business stats

  • Founder: Bob Johnson

  • Who submitted (and is quoted below): Ed Lasher, Marketing Director

  • Year founded: 1996

  • Headquartered: Smyrna, DE

  • Ecommerce vertical: Electronics

  • Website

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • YouTube

Business outcomes of the innovation

  • Overall conversion rate up 31%

  • Conversion rate through funnel up 2,000%

  • AOV up 2x the rate in 2016

What they do

We sell refurbished rugged laptops; they’re niche products used by professionals in several different fields, all with different requirements. By necessity, we use a lot of product options.

The challenge behind the innovation

UX presented a particular challenge when dealing with our highly configurable products.

Long lists of options would push essential page elements below the fold and leave shoppers feeling out of their depth when navigating all the choices in front of them.

To top it off, our products are refurbished, so we have to work very hard to instill trust. If a shopper has any apprehensions to begin with, a less-than-optimal UX is a death blow to the sale.

We knew we had to find a way to optimize our product pages.

We also hypothesized that some of our shoppers needed more personal attention, both for technical guidance and for reassurance.

Our first course of action was to install Zendesk Chat (then Zopim) on the website.

For probably too long, I had resisted the idea of having chat on, mainly because I, personally, as a consumer, do not like it.

Chat modules on ecommerce websites are like roaming salespeople in brick-and-mortar stores.

  • Some shoppers zero in on them immediately, eager for guidance.

  • Others make an effort to avoid them, preferring the no-pressure experience of self-service.

  • Some shoppers are frustrated when assistance isn’t readily available, while others feel like they’re being stalked by salespeople.

I fall into the latter category, but I still want access to customer service when I need it.

Overall, the positives of the roaming salesperson outweigh the negatives.

Somewhat reluctantly, I installed a chat module. Chat comes with some significant limitations. For starters, we can only man the chat during office hours.

The rest of the time shoppers have to leave a message. Additionally, as previously mentioned, some shoppers simply do not like chat and will not use it.

While chat could certainly play a role, we needed a more comprehensive strategy.

How they make it work

Using chat, we identified several common questions and concerns.

We also found that some shoppers were getting stuck early in the sales funnel, unsure of where to begin or dealing with unique use cases that would require extra attention.

We developed two solutions:

1. Optimized product pages for self-service shoppers

Inspectlet and common sense had shown me that visitors had to scroll up and down the long list of product options to check how their choices affected the product price.

I knew from chat that shoppers often had questions about certain product options.

All the information the shoppers needed was available elsewhere on the site, but they would have to find it, and in doing so divert their attention away from the order.

So, here’s what I did:

  • Empowered by Stencil’s advanced features and support for local development, I created a custom product page template using JavaScript to make the price stick to the top of the viewport when scrolling down the page.

  • This ensures that you can always see the updated price in real time while selecting different options.

  • I also made information fly-outs explaining our most asked about options.

These improvements are simple by design, meant to be intuitive and distraction-free.

2. A “Selection Assistance” funnel for a more nurtured experience.

Peppered around are CTAs leading to the Selection Assistance form.

The form asks the user a series of questions about their needs and the environment in which they’ll be using the laptop.

Using conditional logic, it digs deeper when necessary, while avoiding irrelevant questions.

  • When a visitor submits the form, the information goes to a team member who then begins working with the prospective customer.

  • That information also goes to Infusionsoft for future reference, lead scoring and automated follow-up.

  • BigCommerce’s Buy Button adds a nice touch to the Selection Assistance funnel. We can now create a SKU for the exact configuration the customer needs and link them straight to the cart.

There you have it. No more friction.

Final word

Since implementing the custom product page template in May 2017, our conversion rate is up 31% over the same period in 2016.

The Selection Assistance funnel helps us cultivate relationships with our visitors, potentially creating brand advocates and lifetime customers.

The year-to-date conversion rate for visitors who submit a Selection Assistance request is over 2,000% higher than the overall conversion rate.

In fact, a visitor who submits a Selection Assistance request on is statistically just as likely to complete a purchase as someone who has already added a product to their cart.

The AOV of customers who requested Selection Assistance in 2017 YTD is nearly double the overall AOV.

Tracey Wallace avatar

Tracey is the Director of Marketing at MarketerHire, the marketplace for fast-growth B2B and DTC brands looking for high-quality, pre-vetted freelance marketing talent. She is also the founder of Doris Sleep and was previously the Head of Marketing at Eterneva, both fast-growth DTC brands marketplaces like MarketerHire aim to help. Before that, she was the Global Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she launched the company’s first online conference (pre-pandemic, nonetheless!), wrote books on How to Sell on Amazon, and worked closely with both ecommerce entrepreneurs and executives at Fortune 1,000 companies to help them scale strategically and profitably. She is a fifth generation Texan, the granddaughter of a depression-era baby turned WWII fighter jet pilot turned self-made millionaire, and wifed up to the truest of heroes, a pediatric trauma nurse, who keeps any of Tracey’s own complaints about business, marketing, or just a seemingly lousy day in perspective.