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Conversions For a Cause: How TOMS Shoes is Doing Optimization The Right Way


So often, when companies sell a product that’s combined with a good cause, the altruism either gets lost in the mix or overshadows the conversion point. This week, we’re taking a look at a company that’s doing it right.

TOMS shoes is a smart business. They have a good product, they’ve built a loyalty to their brand and they continue to optimize their site using Adobe® Test&TargetTM. We chose five things about the TOMS site that are great in some respect—be it the UX, the messaging, or both. Check out these “dos” and see if you can test into them on your own site.

1. Up-front email capture. Most people who go to the TOMS site are probably aware that they have a give-back business model (for every pair of shoes you purchase, they give a pair to a child in need). Even if they aren’t familiar, this light box email capture that comes up on the homepage isn’t off-putting. It has a warm, friendly feel to it, the messaging is conversational and draws you in, and the form fields are short and sweet.

2. A balanced message. The home page does a fantastic job of showing you product and passion. You get the shoes, and you get the mission of TOMS. I find it to be pretty compelling for conversions. The TOMS mission is transparent and authentic, and that’s a very strong buffer against purchasing anxiety.

3. Consistency of messaging. It would be easy for this site to only feature their cause on the home page. But TOMS has a subtle continuity throughout the conversion funnel that I really like. Not only is their tagline/mission statement static on every page, but they also use nice touches, like in the “what’s in your cart” light box. Thanking the customer and reminding you that you’re about to help 1 (or more, depending on how many pairs you buy) person is a smart way to show authentic gratitude—and to keep the conversion moving.

4. Offer a guarantee they can’t say no to. TOMS has what’s called a Happiness Guarantee. They have a whole page dedicated to explaining that they want you to be happy with your purchase, and that they’ll do everything they can to make sure that happens. On the checkout page, the guarantee is featured as a badge down at the bottom of the page near the PayPal and Google+ badges. This sort of friction reducer is a great way to tip conversions in the right direction.

TESTING IDEA: TOMS might test into the idea of moving the Guarantee badge up much further, like right near the “Secure Checkout” CTA. They might also consider adding the text “100% Happiness Guarantee.” Quantifying it gives the customer even more comfort.


5. Build loyalty with customer engagement, then build conversions with social proof. I’m really impressed with the level of engagement that TOMS has on their site. There’s the “You Review” option, that lets customers from around the world submit 20-second reviews of their purchases. And then there’s the “How We Wear Them” section, where customers submit pictures of themselves wearing Toms and the coordinating outfits. The brilliance here? TOMS puts these up on the checkout page, right across from the reviews. It’s obvious that this company has no shortage of fans. So using the customer feedback at point of purchase is a really smart idea.

Even if you’re not a company with a cause, the TOMS site can give you some great ideas that can be tested on yours. Pick one that works, create a strategy in relation to your metrics, and get testing!