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Case Study: The Ecommerce Growth Strategy that Helped Shackleton Increase YoY Revenue by 74%

Creating a successful ecommerce growth strategy is all about leveraging data to inform decision making and prioritise ideas. This is what our Growth Accelerator team has done for Shackleton, a brand selling expedition clothing for extreme weather. This case study shares some details around our testing and outcomes for CRO, PPC and email marketing.

Written By
Mia Willmott

In 2022, Shackleton employed the skills of Swanky’s Growth Accelerator team to support the brand in reaching its ambitious growth objectives. This case study will take you through how we leveraged our knowledge of ecommerce growth strategy to increase conversions and sales for the Shackleton brand.

TL;DR

  • Through utilising our growth services and 360˚ approach, Shackleton achieved its best month of sales in December 2022.
  • The implementation of a new email marketing template for campaigns saw the average click rate increase by 297%.
  • Our PPC approach saw attributed revenue increase 1,211% year-on-year.
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) testing saw users who engaged with product filters convert at a 362% higher rate.

Read on to learn how we accomplished these results and why they’re important.

Shackleton: Brand overview

In 2017, the first Shackleton Endurance Parka was launched. This release established the brand as a leading technical clothing company, whose products are engineered to the highest standards.

A company ‘built on inspiring, preparing and equipping people for their next challenge’, Shackleton provides expedition experiences that complement its apparel offering. The Shackleton team test clothing items on these expeditions, ensuring their products are suitable for such extreme conditions.

The company embraces Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ‘restless’ and ‘indomitable’ spirit. It is moved by the legacy Shackleton left: a legacy of exploration and innovation. Ian Holdcroft and Martin Brooks, Co-Founders of Shackleton, have shaped their company around these values.

Shackleton began working with Swanky in 2022. As an established brand, it was seeking Swanky’s support with CRO and email marketing. After seeing success in these areas, Shackleton moved to become a full client with the Growth Accelerator team, adding PPC and social media support to its retainer. This allowed the brand to benefit from a full 360˚ approach to ecommerce growth and strategy from our team.

Challenges

As with every Growth Accelerator client, there are unique challenges to overcome. We draw on our team’s experience and creativity, alongside testing and data, to find the best solutions.

One of the challenges for Shackleton was its products’ high price point. Luxury items like Shackleton’s are typically a bigger investment for customers. These types of purchases require online users to have multiple touch-points with a brand in order to build a customer’s confidence and trust.

A second challenge was marketing the Shackleton clothing in a way that appeals to a broader audience. This clothing is very technical, but also has the potential to appeal to the mainstream market – especially with the recent popularity of Gorpcore fashion.1

This is something other luxury outdoor clothing companies have focused on: tapping into mainstream trends whilst maintaining their values of adventure, excellence, and sustainability. Brands such as Canada Goose, Patagonia, Moncler, Arc’teryx, and Snow Peak have done this with great success. In light of this, our marketing concentrated more on lifestyle: a more universal concept than extreme expedition clothing.

Lastly, a challenge particularly unique to Shackleton was that 2022 brought unusually warm weather to Europe, including multiple heatwaves. When the company’s products are all about warmth, it is easy to see how this would present a challenge for the brand, yet it is one they have overcome, as evidenced in their +74% YoY growth in revenue in 2022 (November 2021 vs. November 2022).

Swanky’s ecommerce growth strategy for Shackleton

CRO

We identified that Shackleton users typically visit the site with a particular use case in mind; especially considering the brand’s products are designed to equip people for their next challenge.

Consequently, we focused primarily on improving a user’s ability to find a suitable product based on their needs. This was a function previously unavailable on the store.

Once this was achieved, we could then look at providing confidence in a product’s suitability and therefore encourage a user to add to cart.

Better product discoverability could be achieved through product filters and the promotion of different colour options. Building confidence in a product’s suitability can then be gained through promoting social proof and product USPs.

With this in mind, we designed and implemented a number of tests using Webtrends Optimize to promote use cases and aid product discovery. Here we outline these test variants and some of the results obtained.

1. Collection page filters

Product filters are important for providing a smooth shopping experience on an ecommerce store. Not giving visitors the chance to filter your product catalogue based on the features they’re looking for can leave them feeling overwhelmed, often causing users to bounce from your site.

We hypothesised that the addition of filters to Shackleton’s collection pages would assist shoppers in narrowing down the product range based on their requirements. This would therefore increase the click-through rate (CTR) to product description pages (PDPs).

Our test variant allowed users to filter based on size, colour, warmth rating and level of water resistance.

Screenshot of product page from Shackleton showing how star ratings were used.

2. Ratings and reviews

Social proof (like ratings and reviews) can have a powerful influence on shoppers’ buying behaviour. When we see that our peers rate a product highly and then when we read corresponding positive reviews, we feel better about committing to a purchase – especially with high price point items.

In the test variant mentioned above, we displayed star ratings underneath the individual product listings on the collection page (see previous image).

Shackleton’s reviews contained rich insights from customers, so we wanted to promote them in their entirety. To do this we also added full-length reviews to PDPs. The addition of reviews to a PDP provides more context for users and increases their confidence in the product’s suitability for their needs.

3. Promotion of colours

The inclusion of colour swatches was another element that we tested in our CRO program. We displayed a product’s colour options underneath the item on the collection page, as you can see on the screenshot.

This avoided product duplication, thus streamlining the information given to users. The aim of this is to minimise, or even eliminate, a user’s sense of overwhelm when browsing.

4. Warmth

Through the creation of filters we identified that warmth is a key factor for users when browsing and purchasing a Shackleton product. ‘Warmth’ was also often quoted in reviews.

Prior to Swanky’s engagement with Shackleton, the promotion of warmth as a product feature appeared low on the PDP.

We hypothesised that by promoting the main USPs of warmth, water resistance and wind-proofing with greater clarity, we would see an uptick of the add to cart rate. This would be as a result of assisting a user in choosing a relevant product based on their shopping criteria.

Consequently, our test variant placed a product’s key USPs in a clearer way.

Screenshot of Shackleton Product Page showing USPs, part of this ecommerce growth strategy.

Test results

Here are some of our key results and findings so far:

  • CTR to PDPs from collection pages increased by 20% compared to the previous period. Note this was affected by a live promotion campaign during this period.
  • At the time of writing, 3.7% of all users who reach the collection page are using the filters.
  • Users who engage with the filters convert at a 362% higher rate. The conversion rate for users who engage with filters is 1.74% compared to 0.48% for those who do not.
  • Of the filters in our test variant, the most engaged with are Size (37.76%), Product Type (35.96%), Colour (13.34%) and Custom Features (12.94%).

Email marketing

Shackleton harnesses the email services of Klaviyo, a trusted Swanky tech partner, on its Shopify Plus store. The role of our Email Marketing team was to apply their expertise to create resources and email flows for Shackleton that would improve customer experience and increase engagement.

Here we take you through three areas that our team supported in and give details on the results these yielded for Shackleton.

New template

We worked together with Shackleton in a discovery session to understand what core elements they wanted to include in their new, rebranded email template. This informed our creation of a master template using colours with higher contrast, product feeds with colour swatches, sections for social proof, updated social media links and a section for blog content.

The intention for designing this master template was to create a useful resource that can be used across both campaigns and flows. Different emails could draw from this resource and incorporate new blocks based on the email’s intention.

In the 30 days after implementing the new template for campaigns, average click rate increased by 297%.

Abandoned browse

Upon working with Shackleton we took the opportunity to introduce an abandoned browse flow to their email armoury. This wasn’t previously implemented for their store, but allows them to catch customers at the very top of the marketing funnel.

Abandoned browse flows are excellent for providing a brand the chance to engage with new customers. With 53% of customers doing their research before purchasing a product, these points of connection created through emails are increasingly important.2 This is even more relevant for a brand such as Shackleton, since, as we’ve already referenced in relation to CRO, these products are luxury, high-value items that are an investment for most customers.

The abandoned browse flow we activated is simplistic and engaging. It utilises the new template, as well as personalisation tools that create a dynamic feed to remind customers of the products they’ve viewed on the Shackleton store. Another element we added to this flow was the idea of using Klarna as a payment option.

In the first three weeks after launch, this email flow had an open rate of 61%, click rate of 5% and a placed order rate of nearly 6%. This is evidence of how email flows can increase awareness of your brand and move customers through the sales funnel effectively.

Abandoned cart

When optimising Shackleton’s abandoned cart email flow we looked to integrate the best performing elements of the previous flow with the new template.

Previously the brand had only one email in the flow; we increased this to two emails. In these emails we utilised new imagery and personalisation through the use of dynamic product feeds showing the customer’s basket. The second email also included social proof for the products shown to promote purchase.

 Screenshot of first Abandoned Cart email          Screenshot of second Abandoned Cart email.

In just one month, this new flow generated 51% of the total revenue the previous flow had made in 10 months. The deliverability metrics were also positive, with a 76% open rate, 20% click rate, and a 7% placed order rate.

Google Ads

We began working on Shackleton’s Google Ads during November 2022, starting with an in-depth audit of the account. This enabled us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the products being advertised, how different audience segments engaged with the ads and the current structure implemented on the account.

This became the foundation from which we built a full funnel marketing campaign plan. This advertised all Shackleton’s apparel across Outerwear, Knitwear and Accessories.

By taking this approach we were able to bring our PPC strategy in-line with the overarching aim to appeal to a broader audience by focusing more on lifestyle.

This PPC approach saw attributed revenue increase month-on-month by 36% and year-on-year by an impressive 1,211%.

What’s next for Shackleton’s ecommerce growth strategy?

Shackleton came to Swanky with ambitious plans for growth. Since then, the company saw its best month of sales in December 2022 and has no desire to slow down.

“Going forward, we will continue to support Shackleton with tailored growth strategies that focus on driving traffic and optimising the customer journey,” explains Sammy Fraser, Head of Digital Strategy at Swanky.

“This is for both elements of the business: the apparel and the expeditions.”

“We will also be chasing the cold: meaning we’ll help Shackleton expand into new, colder regions of the globe. This will ensure the brand can grow regardless of the weather.”

Liam Hanlon, CCO at Shackleton, commented, Our collaboration with Swanky allowed us to improve customer interaction with our brand and online store in 2022.

This has enabled us to achieve great growth as a company and is a testament to the effectiveness of data-driven experimentation and a consistent approach to digital marketing across all channels.

We’re excited to build on this work as we continue to collaborate with Swanky in 2023.”

Want to improve your ecommerce growth strategy?

If you want to improve your ecommerce growth strategy, our Growth Accelerator team might be the perfect fit.

Our team has years of experience implementing growth strategies for ecommerce stores. And consequently our clients have seen huge returns on investment. Read our case study outlining our CRO work with YuMOVE to see the evidence for yourself.

To start a conversation about a growth strategy for your brand, get in touch with us today.

 

 

For reference:

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/nov/26/gorpcore-trend-rises-as-extreme-outdoor-wear-hits-pub-and-park

[2] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/shopping-research-before-purchase-statistics/

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