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Everyone has that dream job. As a kid, you may have dreamt about being a firefighter, doctor or maybe a professional basketball player.

And sometimes, those dreams come true.

Often times, for a variety of reasons our dreams change. However, that doesn’t mean that we stop dreaming.

As adults, even once we’ve landed in a chosen profession, we often still dream about what it would be like to ‘do what you do’ for that one amazing brand or company. Am I right?

My Dream Brand

For me, as a Growth Product Manager at Cro Metrics, I have the pleasure of partnering with some amazing companies to help lead their growth programs. I help companies grow through building strategic, data-driven experimentation.

However, if there was one brand that I’d love to work with … It would be Red Wing Shoes.

As a Minnesota native with a passion for high-quality products, historic brands and a supporter of locally owned businesses, it doesn’t get better than Red Wing Shoes. They’re a 100+ year old company, with a superior product, produced locally along the banks of the Mississippi River in beautiful Red Wing, Minnesota.

So if I had the opportunity to work with the team at Red Wing Shoes and apply my expertise to help optimize their web properties and improve the customer experience to drive growth in revenue, I’d jump at the chance.

Keep reading to learn what I’d like to test on

Experimentation and Testing for Red Wing Shoes

Being that Red Wing Shoes was started and successful, well before the dawn of the internet, it’s done a pretty nice job showcasing their products online.

Based on a recent BuiltWith scan, they do not currently have an experimentation tool (such as Optimizely) installed on their website for conducting experiments. But it does appear they have Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Crazy Egg and other data analytics tools installed on the site. So that’s a good start.

Since I don’t have access to any of their analytics data or key performance objectives for the business, the following ideas will be based on the assumed goal to drive lifts in online sales based on my expertise for what I see on the website related to conversion and user experience. Let the testing begin!

Experiment #1: Improve Visibility of Primary User Actions

Something that many retail brands struggle with is selecting what to put on the homepage. Between navigation elements, a slider, different product lines showcases, and the footer, it’s easy for users to get lost or become overwhelmed with which action we’d like them to take.

Ideally, we want to create less friction by helping users better understand how they can accomplish the key tasks they came to complete for any given visit.

And right now, the primary content within the Red Wing Shoes homepage, is pulling me all over the place with different messages, hyperlinks and calls to action. As a user, I’m getting distracted and a bit confused.



Homepage of as of April 2018
View of homepage on desktop


So for this test, I’d like to focus the primary hero content of the homepage on two key calls to action:

  • Browse Boots
  • Find a Store

My hypothesis is that by simplifying the page and more prominently featuring these two calls to action, visitors will more easily be able to quickly move forward with accomplishing the two most common tasks for retail site visitors.

First, individuals interested in searching their product selection online, will be driven deeper into the site by going to the shoe finder page, where they can filter, search, and browse through the product categories to locate and purchase a perfect pair of boots based on their unique desires.

Also, visitors interested in locating a store will be able to go to the store locations page and identify the closest physical location to browse the product selection and receive personalized service.

Overall, this experiment will help us capture insights into customers behaviors by determining if a simplified homepage with additional clarity around the primary calls to action will better assist visitors in accomplishing their desired tasks and reduce friction within their consumer journey for making a purchase.

Experiment #2: Reduce Anxiety in the Shopping Cart

As you may know, it’s common for companies with premium products to struggle with clearly articulating value to their customers in a meaningful way online.

Fortunately, Red Wing Shoes has done a fantastic job in showcasing their value to customers through content about the company’s history, quality materials, and craftsmanship. Thus often justifying the higher price point in the eyes of their target customer.

However, just before the point of purchase, there is an opportunity to continue to reassure hesitant customers that their money is being well spent by helping them understand how they can protect their investment through additional care products.

View of shopping cart page on desktop
View of Shopping Cart on Desktop

As you can see in the image of the shopping cart above, the page lacks any messaging around purchasing additional items that can help customers care for their product to be purchased.

So for this test, I’d like to add a “Protect Your Investment” product recommendation module on the shopping cart page.

My hypothesis is that by adding these recommended products, we will reduce anxiety for hesitant purchasers in the shopping cart, thus increase the cart to purchase conversion rate and average order value.

Overall, this experiment will help us learn if we can reduce visitors worried or concerned about purchasing a more expensive product by showing them how they care protect their investment. So that they can start to understand how, in the long run, their premium purchase was well worth it. All while also determining if we can drive a higher average order value and average order size to help growth the businesses bottomline.

Experiment #3: Improve Email Capture via Exit Intent

If you’ve shopped online at all in the past few years, you may have noticed an increase in pop up overlays that typically appear after you’ve spent a certain amount of time on a page or move your cursor toward the top of the screen.

It’s a common practice to attempt to keep the user on the site or capture some valuable information from them during their visit by presenting them with some type of a value-added offer. These offers can sometimes be annoying, but when executed well are very effective. And it’s something that Red Wing Shoes is already doing on different parts of the website.

However, there are a few questions to ask when firing these exit intent pop-ups.

First, are they driving value for your business?

You need to have tracking in place in order to attribute revenue to users who engage with this feature. Otherwise you’re just hoping it’s helping and not hurting performance.

Let’s assume that the pop-up is driving value. Then our next question is, how can we optimize it in order to drive more value? The answer lies in testing.

Exit intent testing on (control)
Exit Intent: Control (


Exit intent testing on (percent savings variant)
Exit Intent: Percent Savings Variation


Exit intent testing on (dollar savings variant)
Exit Intent: Dollar Savings Variation

The three images above feature screenshots of a control, percent savings, and dollar savings variations. We are proposing an experiment on the exit intent pop-up to see which variation will drive more sign ups for the email subscribers list.

Our hypothesis for this test is that by adding clarity around the action we’d like users to take and improving the value proposition messaging with an offer incentive, we will drive additional users to subscribe to the list.

So from this test we will be able to learn if the clearer messaging (Don’t Forget to Subscribe vs. Find Our First) increases engagement with the module. And which intrinsic value better motivates visitors; dollar savings versus percentage savings.

Overall, testing opportunities like this are great because every iteration is an opportunity to learn, form insights, create a new hypothesis, and test again. From messaging, value proposition, offers, design, firing action, placement, etc. It’s a never ending opportunity for running tests in order to drive lifts to the key performance indicators.

The Experimentation Roadmap for Red Wing Shoes

Without a doubt, these are three very simple ideas for testing on By all means, these are not the only opportunities on the site for optimization. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, right? Maybe one day, I’ll get the chance.

In any case, I certainly hope the team there starts thinking about how they can continue to grow their brand by creating more data-driven hypothesis for running experiments on their website. The world needs more companies like Red Wing Shoes to be around in the future. If needed, myself and the team at Cro Metrics can help.

Until then, we will continue to drive high value for our clients through strategic, data-driven decision making and innovative processes in our world of online experimentation.

If you’d like to learn more about how Cro Metrics can help your organization better understand your opportunities for driving growth, contact us.


Grant Tilus, a Growth Product Manager at Cro MetricsGrant is a Growth Product Manager at Cro Metrics. Throughout his career, he has led experimentation programs at a number of high-profile organizations across a variety of industries including higher education, SaaS, e-commerce, hospitality and media. He’s based in Jordan, Minnesota where he enjoys spending time with his wife and three girls, staying fit, and participating in local community events. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.