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As PODS has grown and evolved, it has significantly updated its offline branding and marketing initiatives. The company’s online experience, however, had not been given the same attention during the same period. The customer service call center often dealt with frustrated users who could not find what they needed on the website, while many potential customers simply abandoned bookings. Their website architecture and usability clearly needed improvement. PODS needed rebranded online offerings to reflect their offline strategy, so that both channels would provide a seamless customer experience.
As part of the redesign, PODS wanted to drive more bookings to the website with an upgrade of the overall ecommerce experience. Because the PODS concept was still new – the company also wanted to use the new website to educate people about what PODS does and how it can help with moving and storage needs by delivering a more self-controlled, less traumatic process than traditional methods.
PODS engaged Bridgeline Digital to redesign their website and extend the PODS offline branding strategy to an online experience. Bridgeline Digital was challenged to simplify the booking and ecommerce process by improving usability and increasing the online conversion rate. Growth initiatives required that more attention be directed to online marketing, and multiple channel campaigns were designed to drive more reservations, particularly online.
Bridgeline Digital redesigned the PODS site to reflect and enhance the growing company’s offline branding initiatives. The new design was more modern, simpler and easier to navigate, and provided users with a seamless experience between PODS’ offline and online marketing presence. As part of its comprehensive 6DM Process, Bridgeline conducted research around potential markets, appropriate keywords and usability – all of which determined that education should play a large role in the user experience on the new PODS site. Rather than create a traditional, simple FAQ page, Bridgeline added information to each step of the registration process. Instead of moving back and forth from registration pages to informational pages (or calling PODS customer service directly), users could learn everything they needed to know in one cohesive process. This helped reduce uncertainty around a product still new to many customers.
To ensure the success of the new approach, Bridgeline did extensive A/B testing for the new sign-up process and used the results to fine tune the design and site structure, adding focus that ensured the site met the needs of real users in a sensible, engaging manner. The A/B testing also identified various steps that could be removed or altered to simplify the sign-up process.
Finally, Bridgeline launched a PODS Community on the new website, designed to build long-term engagement around the PODS brand. Containing a blog, user-produced videos, contests, and customer reviews, it educates while creating community. It not only links PODS with its customers, but also connects customers with each others’ varying advice and experiences, via social media and online interaction.
The results of the redesigned and simplified site are clear. Conversions have risen significantly, while the abandonment rate has decreased, all due to the addition of targeted, relevant information to, and a sensible progression in, the sign-up process.
Another result of the increased targeted information on the site has been fewer calls to PODS customer support. Now, instead of getting frustrated with a lack of answers on the site that historically led to manic calls to customer service, PODS' customers can find what they need online easily, while completing bookings through the website. This has produced reservations at a much higher rate than before, while helping reduce strain on company call center resources.
The online PODS community has helped position PODS as a thought leader in the moving and storage space – an added benefit to making the public more aware of their innovative moving and storage concepts. This development also helps drive customer loyalty and adds long tail marketing value. The content strategy and keyword research are paying dividends as well. "Thanks to Bridgeline’s SEO expertise, our organic search traffic is up more than 40% year-over-year,” said Chris Hachey, the eCommerce Manager at PODS, “and targeted traffic is converting at a high level. They helped us identify the most profitable keywords in our segment and how to rank highly for those terms."