/ Faces of Growth

Personalization specifics that helped grow Moosejaw to 3x its original size

Personalization: What tactics are getting conversions, and what is considered going too far...creepy? Dan Pingree talks about what has been happening with the marketing at outdoor retailer Moosejaw Mountaineering that has grown the company to three times its original size in the 6 years he’s been there.

Listen to our full conversation in the audio version below.

Moosejaw's funnel, like most, is wide at the top with lots of first-time visitors that are procured using programmatic display, video, and key value propositions. As far as affiliates are concerned, Brad’s Deals brings traffic volume with conversions that happen at a lower price point. This multi-touchpoint attribution can happen over a long period of time and be infrequent in terms of conversions. It's also more expensive, which is why Moosejaw is doing some deep reflection, asking themselves what is that first, second and third touch actually worth? To grow the 20’s-50’s +, you have to grow new users.

At the lower end of the funnel, Moosejaw fights with their competitors, big-name retailers (i.e. Macy’s or Nordstrom’s), over the acquisition of customers who already know what brand or product they want. This competition increases the cost per click, but they’re good, loyal customers. Ebates has been a successful affiliate partner for repeat customers. This growth stays in the low to mid teens unless untraditional tactics like direct mail are used for re-engagement and prospecting.

Personalization
Dan, like every other marketer I talk with, admits that personalization still has so very far to go before it is skillfully wielded as a conversion tool. Even Amazon still can’t pin Pingree (oh yes, embrace that) for what he likes. He says Amazon's personalization is hung up on a single Harry Potter purchase he made for his daughter - years ago. And he's made no other Potter purchases, since.

On the other hand, many websites' personalization reflects too much on recency. Dan shares that Moosejaw started out with basic personalization that was based on same session page views and click history, instead of an entire purchase history being taken into account.

“Personalization is something that has to be constantly tested, there’s no point of arrival because humans are complex and change and we have to change with it and all over again. Nailing someone’s persona at one point of their life isn’t a sure thing for the rest of their life due to the complex, changing nature of human beings,” he says.

So now they test personalization all over the Moosejaw website. They use certain page types, like the home page, a product detail page, the search results page - testing many different variations based on the 7 personas they attribute to their customers (ranging from a badass rock-climber to the haute snow bunny). They use cookies to help identify these personas, based on what they know (purchase history, device, IP address, weather in that geo, household income, etc.).

What’s the personalization creep factor for Moosejaw?

Personalize to the max when customers are on site - without fear of coming across as creepy. Dan says,

“Why wouldn’t we make it as close to ideal for you as possible? And our view is the customers appreciate that. They’re not creeped by that, they love that! In fact, there’s an emotional high if you can put curated content that really matches with their brand preferences and the types of activities that they do outside. If you can do that, I think it engenders a tremendous amount of loyalty.”

While re-marketing using snail mail is a tactic Moosejaw relies upon heavily for re-engagement, creepy is mailing things to people’s homes based on their browsing history. Customers find it intrusive when a mailer with a Moosejaw product they just browsed ends up in their home. They feel like they’re being tracked.

Dan recounts a similar growing pain with great candidness. One customer was on the Moosejaw site, browsing sports bras. Later on, when the customer was at work showing something to their boss, a re-marketed Moosejaw sports bra came up on the screen. The customer was none too happy about the poor timing of this attempt and made Moosejaw very aware. Needless to say, Moosejaw does not re-target ads for sports bras.

Moosejaw’s biggest challenge is that conversion between browsing and adding to cart. To get over that common hurdle, here are some of Dan's bonus website optimization pointers:

Mobile
Page load speed has to be lightning fast. Ain’t nobody got time for slow. They use caching tech to facilitate this.
Remove extraneous links, buttons, etc. that hinder adding to cart easily. “Less is more when it comes to mobile, so simplify,” Dan says.
Ensure easy flow to find products without having to type a search.

Desktop
Ensure the onsite search capability is easy to use.
Price competitively. Moosejaw has to be within 10% of the average price point to avoid bounces.

Watch the full conversation with Dan Pingree of Moosejaw by clicking the video below.

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