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Continual optimisation to grow sales 2.4x YoY

Building a high growth eCommerce business from the ground up

Muddy Trowel

Muddy Trowel is a “gousto for gardening” eCommerce scale-up which Unfold helped launch during the first UK lockdown, to meet the needs of a wave of new garden enthusiasts stuck at home. We stood up an MVP in just 3 weeks and have iteratively grown the platform ever since. In the last 12 months, we’ve taken Muddy Trowel from humble eCommerce beginnings to a conversion-driving machine, helping them grow from £6-7k monthly revenue, to a record breaking £35k month through continual optimisation of the website.

The challenge

Muddy Trowel needed to stand out in its competitive marketplace, where it vies for customers against the traditional garden centres and new online gardening marketplaces.

They wanted to appeal to audiences who only had entry-level knowledge of gardening, providing curated plant kits which could be easily put together by customers. To appeal to these customers, the site had to be designed to make gardening more accessible by displaying the key information about the lifecycle of the plants, their seasonality and suitability for different conditions clearly, without introducing an information-overload of horticultural jargon.

Muddy Trowel also wanted to offer a greater level of customisation to customers. Introducing more product combinations would be important, but doing this without increasing complexity for the customer was a real challenge.

They also needed to make sure that the technology which underpinned their platform was suited to growth and wouldn’t start failing them as they grew.

The outcome

Over the last 12 months alone:

  • Muddy Trowel’s revenue is up 2.4x YoY.
  • Their market share has also grown considerably, including their first acquisition of a competitor, Plantsavers.
  • They’ve also sustained growth in both their average basket size and their conversion rate throughout 2021 and 2022.
  • Their customer satisfaction is also very high, with a Net Promoter Score of > 90 and 254 TrustPilot reviews rating them as “Excellent”.
  • Off the back of these changes and sustained growth they have raised £1m to scale in 2022.

Figures correct as of Q2 2022.

Perfecting the user experience

Creating a seamless website

Testing with users – We combined individual interviews, focus groups, large customer surveys and NPS scores to build a picture of what users want from the brand and translate that into new features on the website.

We also A/B test pages to reveal small improvements which add up to make a big difference. One example was changing the “add-to-basket” button from green to orange, which offered a noticeable uptick in add to cart (ATC) rates. 

Remove barriers to decision making It was important to make the barriers to decision making as low as possible, given that buying plants for your garden can be a minefield for the uninitiated. To combat this we enabled a simple but complete filtering option on all product listing pages such as;

  • the kind of space a customer has (eg. balcony, patio, border etc.), 
  • the plant type they’re looking for, 
  • the light levels they have,
  • size of plant, 
  • seasonality, 
  • frost resistance, 
  • bee-friendly,
  • child and pet friendly. 

We've worked with Unfold for just over 18 months on the design, launch, and all subsequent development of our website. Throughout they have been proactive, professional, and have delivered an excellent result for our customers. Overall, Harry and the team have been lovely to work with and I'd happily recommend them to other companies.

Yoel Sevi, Head of Growth at Muddy Trowel
Yoel Sevi, Head of Growth at Muddy Trowel

User-optimised product pages

Removing barriers to conversion

Customer generated content Including things like the business’ Trustpilot score as well as customers’ own pictures of their creations on every product page helped to build trust in the brand, helping new customers have confidence in their purchase.

Composite products – this year, Muddy Trowel wanted to implement a greater variety of product combinations on their website, including the ability to build a whole kit – choosing different plants, pots and sizes as part of a single product. This meant designing an on-page product selection framework for all the product pages.

This has to automatically sync up which pots were available in the size for the plant selected and present this to the customer in a seamless customer experience on the front end. The results are fantastic; the pots have had huge uptake and gone a long way to increasing order values.

Good imagery for every product combination – along with a greater variety of product combinations, we needed to be able to provide great imagery. It was really important that customers could see every variation of the product they wanted to buy visually as we discovered this significantly increased conversion rates. We provided the functionality on the website for the customer to see each option with a click. This made a huge difference in the uptake of the new products. 

Offering a wealth of information without overwhelming – The business wanted to appeal to audiences who only had entry-level knowledge of gardening, which meant displaying the key information about the lifecycle of the plants, their seasonality and suitability for different conditions on the product page, without creating a mass overload of information. This year we completely redesigned the product pages, coming up with a way of displaying this which wouldn’t overwhelm the user and cause them to bounce off the site. The new layout offers all the most important information at the top as well as all the purchase options, but as the user scrolls offers further sectional information on the plant, its seasonality and its requirements are progressively disclosed.

Up-sells and cross-sells – We conducted some consumer research which showed that customers really valued cross-sells and up-sells but only when they were items relevant to their purchase. For example, if you were shopping for a shade-loving plant you wouldn’t want to be recommended another plant which needed lots of sun. So we took this into account when creating the “you may also like” section of the product pages which is powered by a smart engine which adapts to customers preferences over time. This will be vital as Muddy Trowel seeks to build loyalty and foster repeat custom.

 

Smooth checkout experience

Reducing the clicks to a sale

Checkout improvements

We also completed an overhaul of the checkout flow, bringing improvements across the board:

One page checkout system – this reduces the number of clicks required to purchase and allows the customer to see everything they need to input until the order is completed all on one page. It condenses down the steps needed and makes it easier to get to the step of completion. 

Inline validation – this gives a fast and responsive experience for customers – error messages are shown as data is inputted, rather than waiting until the users submits the form, helping to reduce friction/frustration on the checkout page.

Address lookup – Allows customers to quickly and easily find their address by inputting their postcode. Again this cuts down the time the customer spends filling in their details and brings down barriers to conversion.

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