Knoll Improves Directional Guidance To Capitalize On Unprecedented Market Demand

See how Knoll laid the groundwork for a better website at exactly the right moment with our Digital Experience Optimization Program™.

“It felt like a real partnership. The data showed that they were the right recommendations and that they were having an impact. So that was a very cool moment for us.”
Pete Fallon, Director of Digital Design, Knoll
Roadmap of conversion improvement opportunities
Data-backed recommendations for improved navigation
A better website at the exact right moment

The Overview

For more than 80 years, Knoll has been designing workplace and residential furnishings that connect people to their work, their lives, and their world. Today, they offer a comprehensive portfolio of thoughtfully designed products that can adapt to changing environments both at home and in the office.

The Challenge

When you’ve been in business for almost a century, it’s natural to have a few areas where you’re just a step or two behind the latest technology and trends.

Before engaging The Good, Knoll’s biggest digital design challenge was an aging website – one that wasn’t originally built to optimize for online sales.

When Knoll first launched their website in 2012, the goal was to use it as a customer research platform. After viewing the products online, customers would contact a dealer or visit a retail store to complete the purchase. But over time consumer behaviors evolved and customers showed an increased interest in purchasing pieces directly from Knoll through an online storefront.

“We were dealing with an aging website that was designed for a very different time in the furniture market, especially the ecommerce furniture market. There wasn’t a lot of assumption that people would make the scale of purchase online that we’re seeing today.”

Pete Fallon, Director of Digital Design, Knoll

Knoll knew it was time to improve their online shopping experience. Their goal was to make small improvements to their existing site, while simultaneously building a new one that would better reflect their current brand and offerings.

As a company that understands the value of well-researched, high-quality design, they decided to look for an outside perspective from an expert in digital experience optimization. This was when Pete and his team at Knoll were introduced to The Good.

The Process & Solution

After an initial conversation and brief overview, The Good onoarded Knoll to their Digital Experience Optimization Program™. In this case, the custom program included a full, end-to-end audit of their digital experience, diving into strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

The Good conducted the necessary research and data analysis to uncover barriers for shoppers. While Pete’s team expected to see issues they were already aware of in the audit, there were plenty of findings that still surprised him.

“They identified some other issues that we didn’t really think were issues or things that we didn’t believe would have a large impact… It was surprising how many small areas of improvement can lead to some serious gains in terms of conversion,” said Pete.

These findings were presented to Pete and his team in a comprehensive report, which discussed Knoll’s opportunities for updating their navigation menu, improving product imagery, and reducing mobile cart abandonment.

Knoll had dedicated consulting time with The Good to review the Digital Experience Optimization Audit™. The Good also shared a full strategic roadmap, which included themed barriers, opportunities, and a conversion improvement action plan.

“There was a lot of data, and I appreciate the way they present it upfront. We look at the data all the time, so it wasn’t that they added the data, but they added context and the visibility that makes the data have some more humanity to it, which was compelling for us to know what to fix.”

Pete Fallon, Director of Digital Design, Knoll

Among many improvements on the checkout page, The Good worked with Knoll on three main improvements over the following year: the navigation menu, configuration, and mobile experience. 

1. Improved Navigation Menu

“They made a lot of recommendations around our navigation that were very insightful and totally refreshed site navigation. A lot of it had to do with using the nav to give context to our site and our offering because it is very diverse.” 

Pete Fallon, Director of Digital Design, Knoll

One of the biggest improvements for Knoll’s site was around the navigation menu. Knoll has a diverse product catalog, ranging from home furniture to drapery to workplace products. 

However, The Good saw in research that these categories weren’t clear to shoppers, so they didn’t understand how much Knoll truly has to offer in the furniture space. 

Supporting users in finding and discovering what they need through visual hierarchy, way-finding, and guiding them to the next best step in their journey is called Directional Guidance. One of the six Heuristics for Digital Experience Optimization™, directional guidance is a common optimization challenge for digital properties. 

For Knoll, this meant contextualizing their navigation menu. By identifying the product categories and describing what can be found in each with a dropdown, customers can clearly understand the solutions Knoll provides and where to locate certain items. 

2. Reducing Mobile Cart Abandonment

Historically, Knoll saw a lot of mobile activity with customers browsing through products. Using their social and email channels, they’d drive customers to visit the mobile site, customize their products, and add products to their cart, but many of these shoppers weren’t completing their purchase.

There are a number of reasons for this behavior, but one of the observations The Good noted was that many products had comprehensive customization options for features like material, color, finishings, and more. This extended the checkout process, which can test the patience of consumers and ultimately result in a higher abandoned cart rate due to decision fatigue.

At the same time, customers tend to be more discerning when it comes to buying high-ticket products like home furnishings. It’s not uncommon for users to fully customize their order, but get “sticker shock” when they see the total cost and abandon their order on the spot.

Does this mean they’ll never buy? Absolutely not.

Here are just a few reasons a mobile user might abandon a high-ticket purchase:

  • They can’t see the fine details of the images or description on a small screen
  • They want to talk to their spouse or another decision-maker
  • They need to figure out their preferred payment option
  • They aren’t ready to set up a delivery appointment yet
  • They want to compare alternative products for feature/price parity

That’s where The Good saw an opportunity: make it seamless for customers who initiate, but abandon a purchase on mobile to access their in-progress order on desktop at a later time.

The idea was to better align the business goal (recapture abandoned carts) with the consumer’s goal (buy time to consider the purchase without losing progress).

To achieve this goal, The Good recommended adding a button to their checkout flow that reads “Email This Cart.” When clicked, this button lets the customer send a copy of their in-progress order to themselves or a friend. This allows them to continue their in-progress order on any other device without having to create a user account or initiate another checkout process.

3. Adding Configuration Numbers

A seemingly small yet impactful change for Knoll was to add numbers in front of their configuration options. 

When customizing furniture, customers have to start with their fabric choice first. But The Good’s heat mapping exercise showed customers going to the color swatches first because they’re more visually appealing. 

However, the color swatches change depending on the fabric picked, so a simple solution was to add a “1” in front of the fabric section and a “2” on the color swatch section. 

“By implying there is a selection one, we’re now seeing people spend much more time on the configurator, which seemed silly because it took two seconds for our developer to add in numbers in front of our configurator,” said Pete.

The Results

The Good presented Knoll’s audit results just before a major boom in the furniture industry allowing them to leverage increased traffic into more sales with an improved user experience. Pete described the impact on Knoll as positive: “Our business, quite frankly, exploded. So it was really great timing.”

“I absolutely think The Good armed us [for success]” said Pete.

How They Got There

On a custom Digital Experience Optimization Program™ Knoll has leveraged The Good’s expert team of researchers and strategists to improve their website.

The best part? You can amplify your impact at your organization and improve your website too. Use the form below to set up a time to chat with our team and get answers about what is holding you back.

Now It’s Your Turn

We harness user insights and unlock digital improvements beyond your conversion rate. Let’s talk about putting digital experience optimization to work for you.