How Our Product Thinking Approach Helped Hillarys Boost Revenue by £2.6 million

We’ve been working with Hillarys, the UK’s leading supplier of made-to-measure window blinds, for more than a decade, collaborating with their in-house team to ensure their digital products continue to meet the changing needs of their customers, and keep revenue rolling in too.

Most recently, Hillarys asked us to help upgrade their site from two desktop and two mobile versions (one of each for the UK and Ireland markets) to one responsive platform. Mobile traffic to Hillarys.co.uk was increasing on average 58% year-on-year; moving over to a responsive site would hopefully boost their search rankings, significantly reduce admin and allow them to better tap into this growth area.

Applying product thinking

We took a lean, product thinking-based approach to rolling out the new Umbraco CMS platform we created for Hillarys, using the strangler method of gradual release.

Rather than developing the entire site and putting it live, we worked in cycles, focusing first on the back-end and biggest-volume product pages, and releasing these core elements of the site first.

By working in this way, we were able to take key learnings from real user reactions and immediately identify areas of improvement, applying the insight we gained to the subsequent design and development iterations.

Performance optimisation

The ongoing testing techniques we used included user observation (carried out in Code’s User Testing Lab), A/B testing and split URL testing.

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Not only did this take the guess work out of whether the new site was creating an online experience that was delivering optimum value, it also allowed us to create value where we hadn’t originally expected to.

For example: In the initial release, we had assumed that all users would want to see the same content on desktop as they would on mobile. But we soon learned that mobile users wanted a quicker route to the product pages; by filtering out some of the content, we saw an immediate uplift in appointment-making.

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A similarly notable result was adding a “lines open until 9pm” message on the primary call to action button, which increased actions taken via the “Call Now” prompt by 19.8%. This helped deliver almost 14,000 additional appointments and a staggering £2.6m in additional revenue.

SEO Strategy

Working in tandem with the on-site optimisation was a new SEO/PPC strategy designed to increase volume, as well as improve cost efficiencies. This work was delivered by Code’s sister agency MediaCom North.

Immediately after the launch of the responsive site, search traffic soared; most significantly, organic traffic via mobile devices saw an increase of 203% YOY. Coupled with the optimised on-site user experience, this delivered an uplift in appointments from mobile users by 151%.

The Payoff

By providing users with a better digital experience, Hillarys have achieved some extremely impressive results over the course of the past six months.

Overall Hillarys.co.uk has delivered a 10% YOY increase in revenue, fuelled by a 30% increase in traffic and 20% hike in appointments. The biggest gains were unsurprisingly on mobile, with mobile conversion up a massive 39%.

The key objective to improve SEO positions was also achieved, with Hillarys reaching and maintaining the number one position at the top of Google for its business-critical term “blinds”.

And the internal timesaving on site-management has been estimated at around 80%.

“It’s been a phenomenal year,” says Hillarys web manager Emma Gillings.

“Smashing all targets, Hillarys.co.uk has delivered unprecedented YOY revenue growth.

“With enhanced data-driven decision making and maximizing the effectiveness of a new responsive platform we’re driving an unparalleled level of performance for Hillarys.co.uk.”

Emma added: "But we’re not resting on our laurels. As Code has shown us, brilliant never stops."

“Our digital strategy is about creating a customer-first digital environment that uses the best technology. We will continue our work with Code, applying product thinking focused on creating continued value from the platform.”


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