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Listen to the data: How JanSport optimized their navigation based on shopper behavior


CX playbook for eCommerce leaders

At the end of 2020, JanSport went through an optimization project for their website to improve navigation and modernize a few outdated features. After discovering some interesting user behaviors and search trends on their site, they decided to upgrade their navigation and core pages to help shoppers find what they are looking for faster and easier.

Ashley Peterson, Senior eCommerce Analyst, chatted to us about how they approached this project, what data they used to inform their changes, and the results they saw once completed.


Prioritizing functionality without compromising design

JanSport is a retail company that specializes in designing fun and functional packs, bags, and outdoor gear for both great adventures and the day-to-day. 

“It was a company that was started in 1967 by a couple of friends. And you know, just two dudes who were committed to making a durable, functional, versatile backpack. And that has remained true ever since the start of our brand.”

Ashley Peterson, Senior eCommerce Analyst at JanSport 

Functionality is a key pillar of their products, and also their website. JanSport wanted to optimize their home navigation to improve site functionality and help users find what they are looking for faster without compromising design or experience. “We really wanted to meet users where they're at.” 


Jansport1Image source: JanSport

Data-backed site changes

When deciding to undergo this optimization project, JanSport first looked at customer behavior and site performance data to inform and influence the update. Instead of guessing and assuming they know what the customers wanted, they let the data speak for itself and represent the wants and needs of their customers.

After getting visibility into what search filters shoppers were using most, how they were arriving at the category pages, and which items were more popular than others with Contentsquare’s Zoning Analysis tool, Ashley and her team were able to determine exactly what needed to be optimized, added, and upgraded.



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The “All Backpacks” page was one of the most-visited pages with the highest click-through rate (CTR). Using Contentsquare, they noticed that the majority of shoppers immediately clicked on “Backpacks” within seconds of arriving on their site homepage.

These insights pushed them to optimize their homepage navigation to better highlight the “All Backpacks” page over others. “As far as seeing the other elements of navigation having a lower CTR, we knew we were able to maintain those pieces of the navigation but simplify them more, to make them not as overwhelming when they were used less often.” 

“Data collection inspired the changes. The click-through rate feature of Contentsquare was really useful in driving inspiration of what needed to change.”

The data also led them to update the “All Backpacks” product page with a “Leaderboard” section. This section highlighted the four most-used search filters to help users find what they were looking for faster within the long list of products.

“The ‘Leaderboard’, which is a simple four-by-one grid at the top of the ‘All Backpacks’ page highlighted the four most common things users were looking for when they come to the ‘All Backpacks’ page, allowing us to serve those details to them immediately. And then also showing they click it really quickly, and then go on to make a purchase. So being able to tie all of those features and metrics together was really, really valuable.”


Jansport3Image source: JanSport

The results of a data-driven site update

After optimizing their navigation and the “All Backpacks” product page, they experienced an increase in both CTR and conversion rate. “The new navigation CTR increased from 10% to almost 13%. A 3% increase doesn't sound huge, but when the majority of our users are going straight to that ‘All Backpacks’ navigational element, that's a lot of users using that piece of the navigation. The conversion rate per click was more than double on the new navigational setup.”

After the optimization project was launched, the conversion per click was much higher for each  search category. “By initially serving the different options in the new navigation or in the ‘Leaderboard,’ users are much more likely to convert. And that's kind of that old marketing adage of, you know, fewer clicks to purchase.”

The site’s old navigation had a conversion rate of about 5%, but with the new navigation it jumped up to 9%—that's an 80% increase. 

When users engaged with the new “Leaderboard”, their overall conversion increased to 3.67%. When they had previously landed on the old “All backpacks” page it was lower than 2%. Adding the “Leaderboard” also decreased the exit rate. 

By giving the information users are looking for right away, they stay on the page longer, are more engaged, click more, and find what they want a lot faster than if they had to scroll and scroll through the longer category page.


Jansport2Image source: JanSport

Make data your best friend—for every project

Using site and customer behavioral data can lead to better optimization, higher CTRs, and higher conversions. 

“Being able to use data to drive and back up our marketing decisions and site structure as an eCommerce team has been a huge benefit. Those are some big changes to have to justify to leadership, so being able to bookend our process of saying “Hey, we're seeing these trends, people are clicking these filters, so I think we should try this” and then being able to compare the before and after and prove it works, I think that's a huge benefit. It’s so easy, useful, and valuable.”

Ashley Peterson, Senior eCommerce Analyst at JanSport 

Actions speak louder than words

Your customers are showing you what they want through their actions—clicks, hesitations, hovers—all you need to do is listen. Center your optimizations, redesigns, strategies, products, and projects around your customer behavior to ensure success and take the guesswork out of improving your customer experience. 




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