Website Optimisation for a local online meat retailer

“The Dorset Meat Company” came to us looking to optimise their website and internal order handling process; with a two-year goal of octupling (8x) their business.

The business

Working closely with a handful of small, family run farms; The Dorset Meat Company know all their products are reared using traditional animal husbandry techniques, that match their ethics, values and standards.

Not only do they boast 100% grass-fed meats, but customers are delighted to learn that everything comes from a sustainable source and is the highest quality.

Founders of The Dorset Meat Company, Jane & Nick

The goals

When “The Dorset Meat Company,” told us they wanted to octuple (8x) their business within the next two years; we were excited to see how we could make it happen.

Confident in our ability to go beyond their expectations, we broke everything down into smaller, trackable targets; consisting of:

  • Increasing customer conversion rates
  • Increasing the number of recovered carts
  • Reducing the number of abandoned carts
  • Reducing the time required to prepare & despatch orders

The plan

With our targets set and motivation high we began to analyse their website, emails and internal processes; looking at what could be improved to boost our carnivorous friends business and achieve their goals.

By the end of the first day we had a list of over forty tasks, ranging from fixing small design inconsistencies, redesigning key pages and implementing brand new features.

Our solutions

With over forty tasks, a detailed overview of everything would be boring to read. So we’ll focus on the more prominent changes.

Changing the font for the main text

The first thing that needed to change was the font used throughout the site. Though not a bad font in moderation, it was being over used making everything feel cluttered, and hard to read.

By changing the font we hoped for a decrease in bounce rates

By switching the font from Bitter to Lato, we saw an immediate increase in the time spent on page and a reduction in bounce rates; so more people were navigating the site while engaging with the content.

Now the site uses Lato for the main content and Bitter for headings.

Lazy loaded images

Speed is key for any website, with a statistic of “1 second delay in page load times means 11% loss of page views” it’s clear why. Noticing that the sites loading time was over 3 seconds, it was obvious something needed to be done.

One solution we came up with was “Lazy Loading”; by blocking images not visible to the customer on page load, we reduced the time by 1 second.

The way this works is by telling the website to load a small, blurry image as a placeholder; then when needed changing to the full picture.

By lazy loading the images on the site we decreased load times by 1s. taking the total time from 3.5s to 2.5s

Checkout process

Every eCommerce site owner knows a great checkout process is vital. Too complicated and customers leave before completing their purchase, so simplifying is a must!

Our aim was to keep everything on a single page while ensuring customers wouldn’t be overwhelmed. To this end, we took the design back to basics; considering what was needed, and what wasn’t. Here’s some of changes we made.

We optimised, the form fields

To make the form as easy to complete as possible we looked to see how it was already being used.

The analytics showed the “Address Line Two” field was rarely used; with customers adding everything to “Address Line One”. This revelation highlighted that the extra field was likely causing confusion and so we removed it.

Continuing to look at the form; we noticed lots of customers filled both the billing and shipping fields with the same details. I’m sure everyone agrees it’s a pointless, time-consuming hassle.

Now, it’s not uncommon to order items to a different address; so removing the option was out of the question. Instead, we decided to hide the extra fields and allowed the customer to show them if needed.

By hiding the shipping fields by default we saw a decrease in duplicated addresses.

Reworking the Checkout form saw a 25.58% increase in customers filling it out.

Added shipping descriptions

“The Dorset Meat Company” offer three shipping methods consisting of “Standard”, “Express” and “Click & Collect”. While they were displayed, we noticed they didn’t show much information about what they were; Just the name and a price.

That’s not good. After all, if I’m paying extra for “Express” shipping; I’d like to know what I’m getting for my money, wouldn’t you? Likewise, if I want to collect, my mouthwatering box of deliciousness; then I’d need to know where to pick it up from, and how far away it is.

It was clear; we needed to overhaul how the site was displaying the options.

We created a new section that showed customers a short description and price for each method; as well as the journey time and directions if they wanted to collect it. This change saw an immediate increase in people choosing “Click & Collect”.

Highlighting the different shipping options saw a 50% increase in people choosing “Click & Collect”

Showing a description of each shipping method, allows customers to make better informed decisions.

Delivery Date Selection

The last significant modification to the checkout was the ability for customers to select their delivery dates.

This feature came about due to the confusing delivery times that “The Dorset Meat Company” have to follow.it took writing it down several times, for us to fully understand how it worked, and at the time the website showed a shipping table that looked like it needed a cypher to decrypt.

Your customers shouldn’t have to think too much, make things simple!

Product page optimisation

The next prominent set of changes came to the product page.

Looking at the design it was clear we could add a significant amount of value, by making it easier for the customers and “The Dorset Meat Company” team.

Feeling limited by the original design, we decided to make a start from scratch. We wanted to show:

  • The next available delivery date to reduced the number of phone calls and emails that “The Dorset Meat Company” received asking about delivery times.
  • Customer Testimonials to boosted trust, helping to convince customers to purchase.
  • Cost per weight to highlight the value of the products, while matching how supermarket’s and butchers show their product costs.
  • Recommended Products based on what items are typically purchased together, to allow customers to save time, while also promoting other products.
  • Recipe Idea’s to promote other aspects of the website and provide additional value to the service.
  • How much the customer had to spend to get free shipping to highlight that by buying more, they would qualify for a discount. (seriously, if you’re £3 away you might as well).

We saw a 31.43% increase in customers adding products to their cart from the new product page design.

Cart abandonment optimisation

Using MailChimp, “The Dorset Meat Company” had created plenty of email campaigns, along with a cart abandonment email. Unfortunately the cart abandonment email wasn’t performing as well as it could.

Looking at other emails for inspiration, and analysing the successful email campaigns that they had sent out previously, we created a new series of cart abandonment emails.

The new emails contained:

  • A unique and fun subject heading, & preview text
  • A list of the products in their cart
  • Optimised and personal email body
  • A follow up the next day

By reworking the content and adding a second follow up email we increased recovered carts by 43.75%

Optimising the internal process

Any business would be overjoyed to grow 800%, however despite it being their long term goal “The Dorset Meat Company” were a little hesitant.

Like any business there’s a lot of time-consuming tasks that need doing; in this case, it was the 3+ hours spent each day, preparing lists for their butcher and then shipping of orders.

When they first approached us they wanted to find a way to automate some of their daily tasks; to free their time so they can focus on the business. That’s what we did.

Pick list Generation

To save them a daily headache, we decided to create an automated pick list; it would get all products that needed to be prepared by the butcher for a specified day, then print them off as a list. A task that used to be manual; and couldn’t be automated without creating the delivery date selector on the checkout. Don’t you love it when things fit into place?

Turning a 3+ hour task into a one-click button

Shipping Label process

With the daily pick list now saving time, we turned our attention to another annoyance. Shipping Labels! Anyone that uses Parcelforce knows the system is antiquated and time-consuming.

First, we recommended enabling Parcelforce’s “Bulk Shipments” feature. It would have allowed us to export the orders from the website and import them into the shipment manager. Unfortunately, after setting it up, we found that Parcelforce only supports this feature in Internet Explorer; so it was back to the drawing board..

We spoke about it with “The Dorset Meat Company” who decided to reach out to DPD as an alternative. Honestly, DPD’s system is so much better than Parcelforce and allows direct integration with the website.

They can now print shipment labels by clicking a button on their website saving countless hours.

The Optimisation Results

What’s been mentioned in this study is just a handful of the optimisations that we made, but they give a great overview of some of the big, and small changes that can affect website conversions.

The proof is in the pudding, so let’s compare the results from our goals.

Increasing customer conversion rates. By optimising the checkout flow, and product pages we saw a boost of 45.85% in conversions. Showing that more people were completing their orders.

Reducing the number of abandoned carts. After the initial launch of changes, we saw an increase of 60.18% of carts being abandoned. Needless to say we started looking into why.

We discovered that “Stripe” our chosen payment gateway had added another step to the checkout process. By changing some settings we got the simplified payment process we were after and the cart abandonment rate was reduced by 23.2% of the original figure.

Decrease in number of visitors by 5.09%

Increasing the number of recovered carts. By optimising the content, title and subject heading in cart abandonment emails we saw a 43.75% increase of people returning to complete checkout.

Reducing the time required to prepare & despatch orders. By automating the two long and repetitive tasks, we’ve save the Dorset Meat Company over 3 hours a day.

Reduction in bounce rates by 49.85%

Increase in transactions by 34.04%

Increase in pages per visit by 8.57%

What’s Next?

With the successful website optimisations, “The Dorset Meat Company” are about to start refocusing their marketing strategy.

Their new short term goal is to boost their organic rankings on Google, while continuing to monitor the website analytics, listen to customer feedback and make ongoing improvements to their site.

As for us, we’re committed to supporting “The Dorset Meat Company” achieve their long running goals. We’ll be continuing to look over their analytics, and to make suggestions.

What our customer said

I have been working with Toby for over a year and he has delivered significant improvements to our online presence in a very short time. He just gets it and is able to understand our commercial and operational objectives in a way that I have not seen with previous web developers we have used. It’s a really important relationship and he adds a whole lot of value. I would highly recommend him.  

Read the full review

See it to believe it

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