Following a revamp of its Web site that made it easier for consumers to purchase and configure wireless service, Cellular South is reporting a 59% increase in online sales conversions for new accounts.
Many of the new customers are choosing to pick up their phones in-store--an option not previously available to Cellular South's online customers, says Greg Latour, senior vice president of strategic development for the independent regional wireless company. He says that 55% of new online customers picked up their phones in-store in December, but the figure had gone as high as 85% during the three months since the site relaunched on Oct. 5. Earlier, phones were shipped to customers.
Cellular South's previous site was "difficult for customers to navigate," Latour explains, so the new site had to "make it easy to find what they were looking for, and easy to make it to the shopping cart."
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based HUGE, named as Cellular South's digital agency last June, handled the site relaunch. While initial site changes concentrated on the home page and the purchase path for new accounts, the focus will now shift to customers' "ability to service their accounts online," says Latour--including payments, tracking of usage, upgrades and other cellular plan changes.
The new Cellular South site also includes such user-generated content as:
• Customer ratings and reviews of handsets.
• A video contest, "Your Network, Your Stories," which launched in December and is awarding six $1,000 weekly prizes--plus a $10,000 grand prize--to customer-created stories illustrating the carrier's reliability, quality and coverage. The weekly winners have also been promised a chance to be in a Cellular South commercial during the Super Bowl.
LaTour credits Cellular South's innovative cellularsouth.com brick-and-mortar retail store, opened last March near its Ridgeland, Miss. headquarters, with helping to "generate ideas for both the online world and the real world."
Described by Cellular South President Hu Meena at the time of its launch as possibly the "world's first retail store designed as a mirror image of a Web site," the 4,000-square-foot facility includes a couple of dozen touchscreen terminals--on wheels, so that they can be moved easily to reflect navigational changes on the site.
Consumers, assisted by an ample supply of flesh-and-blood Cellular South employees, not only use the in-store terminals to choose products and make purchases, but to provide feedback that the company uses to make further changes both online and in-store, according to Latour.
In addition to the Web site changes, Cellular South adopted a "test and learn" approach to better target audiences with its online advertising--resulting in a 40% decrease in average CPMs for display ads, according to HUGE. Ads on Facebook, for example, now focus on text messaging to appeal to younger users, noted Patricia Korth-McDonnell, HUGE's business strategy director.