In 1963, Pantone revolutionized color-conscious industries by launching the Pantone Matching System, an innovative tool to select, articulate, and reproduce accurate color.
Now, 50+ years later, Pantone’s tools and workflows provide a universal language of color for makers, artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives of all kinds across fashion, design, printing, manufacturing, beauty, and more.
On Pantone.com, customers can explore and shop the entire colorful world of Pantone products, from guides and trend books to color management tools and lifestyle accessories.
But in a rapidly expanding e-commerce landscape, Pantone found itself in steep competition with the likes of Amazon and other third-party online retailers. How could they reclaim lost e-commerce sales and capture demand for their colorful products from the brand’s diverse set of customers?
Pantone is the color authority. From the much-anticipated Color of the Year, to Fashion Week color trends, and more, we knew that brand awareness was high. However, what we found was that while potential customers were very familiar with Pantone, they were often confused or unsure about which tools or products were right for their needs.
Since we were focused on capturing demand, rather than driving demand, we knew we needed to take a more educational and segmented approach to the buyer journey through a revamped advertising strategy and website user experience.
We also deep-dived into their sales landscape, and discovered that reseller competition was largely price-point driven, as 87% of US online shoppers compare what they find on a brand or retailer’s site to Amazon’s prices and reviews. However, Pantone offers premium products and tools with exacting quality. We couldn’t just engage in a price war racing to the bottom. If we were going to entice more customers to purchase on Pantone.com instead of from a reseller, we needed to also incorporate a smart incentive strategy.
We started by looking at Pantone.com’s existing shopping, cart, and check-out flows, and seeing where we could test, optimize, and make improvements.
We found that their mobile checkout flow was non-responsive, which was causing mobile shoppers to abandon their cart at rates much higher than industry averages. With mobile e-commerce projected to make up more than 73% of sales by 2021, it was critical that the entire path to purchase be made mobile-friendly. After redesigning a responsive cart and checkout, we saw an immediate decrease in cart abandonment and continued refining the flow through heat mapping, visitor recordings and landing page testing.
Now that the foundation was set, we launched a product education campaign focused on helping a diverse set of brand aware customers—from creatives and printers to industrial designers and students—understand which Pantone fan decks, chip books, and more were right for them and their unique workflow and color strategy needs. We created landing pages around each of these areas, and narrowly targeted individual segments across display and paid social to drive more demand.
To cast a wider net, we also ran search and display campaigns to capture those customers who were already brand- and product-aware, and drive purchases. We hyper-segmented keywords into narrowly targeted ad groups with dramatic results: lowering average CPC, improving Quality Scores, and increasing return on ad investment. We also found that tailoring messaging to better fit these more specific audiences resulted in a stronger customer experience and higher conversion rate.
To bring more comparison shoppers to Pantone.com, we began regularly running Special Offers like discounting larger orders, bundles, and other incentives to increase average order value and completed transactions. We also found that the order in which products showed up in search results, and what suggested products were shown side-by-side dictated how many of them were sold.
Armed with this data, we created scalable promotional campaign playbooks for certain customers and products considering timing, incentive type, suggested products, and more that could help Pantone react more quickly against reseller price cuts. Now, instead of having to just compete on price, they were equipped to capitalize on third-party promotions by pushing similar or complementary products alongside them.
By approaching shopping on Pantone.com through the lens of a customers’ unique buyer journey and looking past singular product needs to a full spectrum of tools, we were able to identify crucial advertising and on-site opportunities for sustained growth. Constant analysis, optimization, and testing led to compelling results that drove a significant increase in sales revenue and other KPIs.