Bite-sized content tests bring Dick’s impressive results
When many retailers nationwide were forced to operate as e-commerce-only companies in March of 2020 due to pandemic-related lockdowns, Shawn Wilkinson, e-commerce program manager for personalization at Dick’s Sporting Goods, saw an opportunity to launch an initiative that would enhance the company’s ability to reach the right customer. (In Dick’s parlance, the right “athlete”.) Mr. Wilkinson discussed the steps the company took to customize and target its content and the successes it has seen in a session this week at the 2023 NRF Big Show.
Prior to the initiative, Dick’s email communications had been fairly general. By assessing what users were doing on the website, Dick’s undertook a project of customizing email communications to match the interests of the people who were browsing and not converting. This project of segmentation then led to a reassessment of the website content itself.
“I really wanted to focus on getting the right messaging to the right athletes at the right time,” Mr. Wilkinson said.
After determining that the company could segment its web content as necessary and record analytics to determine customer behavior, Mr. Wilkinson’s team implemented its “Art of the Possible” program. The initiative lasted the month of April 2020, and consisted of the team launching as many “lean, scrappy test experiences” as possible on the website to see what worked.
Mr. Wilkinson gave some specific advice for those retailers wanting to undertake similar content customization initiatives:
- Get cross-functional buy-in within the enterprise;
- Think of a mission statement and vision;
- Set clear KPIs to measure success, iterate and demonstrate the value of the program to get further executive buy-in.
He also suggested that retailers can find success with personalization through doing “bite-sized” tests.
“You don’t have to do these giant, grand tests that stretch across your entire shopping journey,” said Mr. Wilkinson. “You can do something very small, very easy, and I think that’s really the part that trips up a lot of people. You’re trying to go after this big idea because you want to… have this big impact. It’s OK to start small and it’s OK for the test not to always work out… it matters what you’re learning.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree with Mr. Wilkinson’s position that bite-sized content tests are a good way to pursue customization and personalization with email, web content, etc.? Do you see content customization as becoming more vital to conversions, and how can retailers most effectively customize and segment their digital content?