Moosejaw Mountaineering relaunched its website June 30 and immediately saw a 20% increase in conversion rate across all devices accessing its site. The results came from switching from responsive to responsive plus dynamic serving design.

The outdoor apparel retailer, No. 260 in Internet Retailer’s 2016 Mobile 500 Guide, started using responsive web design in 2011, says Moosejaw’s CEO Eoin Comerford. Responsive design is a web design technique that automatically adapts the look of a website to the device the consumer is using, eliminating the operational headaches of operating separate sites for mobile phones, tablets and computers. 

Back in 2011, Moosejaw didn’t redesign or update its website, but took the existing design and made it responsive, Comerford says. So by 2015, the core architecture of Moosejaw’s website hadn’t been updated since 2008, and it was time for a ground-up, responsive redesign, he says.

The year-long redesign process began in 2014. Moosejaw hired e-commerce implementation vendor Astound Commerce and website optimization vendor Yottaa, and brought on eight people for its in-house team to manage the site after the launch. Moosejaw invested more than $500,000 in the redesign, Comerford says.

Moosejaw updated its site from a pure responsive design site, to a site that uses responsive design combined with dynamic serving. This technique also tailors the look of a website to the device the consumer is using—but in a way that minimizes the performance impact. Instead of sending the entire website code to a smartphone and letting the smartphone decide what to display to a consumer, as in pure responsive design, Moosejaw’s servers detect the device the consumer is using, and, if it’s a smartphone, and only sends the smartphone-optimized website code. Moosejaw.com now loads 15-20% faster than before, with smartphone speed on the higher end of that range, Comerford says.

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Besides working to make the site faster, Moosejaw also wanted to improve the content on the site. Since Moosejaw typically surveys its customers three times a year, it made one of those surveys—which typically garners 25,000 responses—about the redesign. One of the key questions it asked consumers was if they came to Moosejaw.com intending to buy something and didn’t, why not?

“Reading through those, there was some real gold in there in terms of what people suggested,” Comerford says.

Besides site speed on mobile devices, a lot of the answers were about the content accompanying the product. Customers said they wanted more images, bigger images and more reviews.

Moosejaw listened. It made the product images 70% bigger. It added more specifics in the product descriptions, such as instead of saying this is a Gore-Tex jacket explaining how Gore-Tex works as a waterproof material. It also embedded True Fit technology, which suggests to a shopper which size of an apparel product will fit him best.

Moosejaw also updated its customer reviews, which it had managed in-house since 2004. The retailer now uses customer ratings and reviews firm Bazaarvoice Inc. to show reviews from the brands it works with, alongside Moosejaw’s customer reviews. For example, if a shopper looks at the product page for a YETI Cooler, she sees reviews from Moosejaw and from Yeticoolers.com. Of the 25,000 products Moosejaw sells online, now 31-32% have customer reviews, up from 25-26% of products previously, Comerford says.

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30 days after the site launched, the smartphone conversion rate was almost 50% higher than a year earlier, while the desktop conversion rate was 30% higher, Comerford says.

Moosejaw’s smartphone conversion rate is now “well north of 1%” and desktop conversion rate during the late summer months is in the mid-2% range, he says. Smartphones account for more than 30% of Moosejaw’s traffic and nearly 15% of revenue. 

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