Paperplus - a case study

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Greg Randall was asked to come in and help Paperplus increase their online revenues.  We all know in order for a retailer to benefit, the consumer must first benefit.  

This is never an exercise of increasing revenue for the retailer but a project that works on how to create amazing online experiences for consumers coming to the Paperplus site.

This article tells this story....

The brief and the business pain point:

Paperplus has a digital channel that is performing well but the executive team knows it can be better.     

The business has a board that has no appetite to replatform so the executive team brought in Greg Randall to improve the channel and work with what’s currently in place.  No technology or architectural changes can be made. 

This is a common scenario for Greg.

The Solution:

Greg first met with the executive team to listen and gain a clear understanding of the business strategy.  Greg also met with the CIO to understand the business architecture and learned what business systems are currently speaking to each other and how they interact with the Paperplus retail site.

It's important to understand the wider business context and where the digital channel sits within that context.

Greg Randall conducted a deep dive into the behavioural data and gathered what was necessary to develop the right insights to determine where the site is causing “experience chaos” for consumers.  


Part of this data mining includes a rigorous consumer path analysis process where Greg analyses the journeys consumers take.  This process identifies where consumers leave and what content they view.  This process identifies core problem regions of the site.  This path analysis was done across all device types.


Greg then conducted a front-end audit of the site.  The data mining hones Greg's focus as to what areas of the site (and what device types) to focus on.  

The Output:


Greg created a document that contained the following information:

  1. Called out all issues, and used the data to prove to the executive team the pain points of the digital channel.  This was backed up with global benchmarking data to show where Paperplus sits on a global stage.  
  2. For every issue that was called out, a recommendation was presented explaining how to resolve. 
  3. If there were any issues that needed changes made to business architecture, this was also called out. 

The process of showing the issue and matching it with solution helped the Paperplus executive team understand where their digital channel currently sits vs where it needs to be to achieve the following….

  1. Dramatically improve experiences.
  2. Have the digital channel better support the wider business strategy.

The Results:


Greg created a document containing over 70 changes Paperplus needed to make.  Within the executive summary, these 70 changes where broken down into three classes:

  1. High business impact
  2. Medium business impact
  3. Low business impact


Of these 70, 30 were rated as “high impact”.   “High impact” defines those changes, if implemented correctly, will result in a big enhancement in the online experience for consumers translating to increased revenue performance.


The 30 high impact changes, these where then broken down into complexity levels:  high, medium, and low complexity.  Due to Greg’s deep understanding of enterprise eCommerce technology he knows what is easy and what is difficult to implement in the context of technology.


It was decided to implement just 5 of the high impact low complexity changes.  


The results below has come from analysing two months (in 2017) of trading after these 5 changes were made to Greg's standard.  

The date range analysed was done in what Paperplus considers to be their “slow period” of the year (no big events).  These two month period was compared to the exact same period in 2016. 

It’s also important to note, the total volume of traffic to the Paperplus site between the two periods analysed did not change.   No growth in traffic occurred in the 2017 period.

  1. Bounce rates on Smartphone home page decreased by 20% (when considering the high volume of traffic coming to the homepage, this is significant)
  2. Revenue of consumers using Smartphone site search increased by 99%
  3. Smartphone conversion rate grew by 35%
  4. Revenue coming from consumer purchasing on the Smartphone increased by 116%
  5. Bounce rates on the Desktop homepage decreased by 27% (when considering the high volume of traffic coming to the homepage, this is significant)
  6. Revenue coming from consumer purchasing on the Desktop increased by 45%

With no traffic growth and by making changes to the site to enhance consumer experiences, Paperplus benefited from a substantial revenue lift from only 5 recommended improvements.

Not only has the business seen a lift over a two month period, but these improvements will benefit the business ongoing and to a much greater extent when Christmas and Back to School seasons are in action.

It's important to note, when digital channels are underperforming, many times, replatforming is not the answer.  

In the case of Paperplus, there are recommendations which do require them to move off their existing platform to reap the full benefit of the recommendations.  

However, while they continue to work with the Board, the business can make changes, improve experiences, increase revenue and take their time building a proper business case to replatform.


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