Through A/B testing, Matalan improves mobile user experience and produces 49% year-over-year conversion rate uplift

August 2017

About Matalan

British fashion and homeware retailer


Improve navigation

Facilitate finding products within diverse product range


Tested user experience improvements


49% year-over-year conversion rate uplift

Matalan is a fashion and homeware retailer with over 225 stores in the UK. Customers are also able to shop across digital channels thanks to a strong ecommerce proposition. To constantly improve the digital offering, the user experience team operates on a “listen, act, learn” methodology.

Analytics tools enable the team to listen to users, understand problems and establish hypotheses. They then act on hypotheses and conduct experiments
to improve experiences. Finally, they learn by measuring the effectiveness of everything they do to ensure they’re delivering exceptional experiences across
digital touchpoints.

Alongside their own extensive research and analysis, Matalan partnered with the Google user experience team to establish the most potentially relevant and
impactful improvements that they might implement. They then applied rigorous A/B testing to validate their hypotheses. Matalan’s goal was to improve the ease of navigation to ensure users could readily find the right product and move through their large and diverse product range seamlessly.

Exposed search bar

The team’s first proposal was to expose the search bar as a way of improving search engagement and increasing conversions on mobile. They hypothesised that exposing the search bar would make it easier for users to find their desired products and to express their intent, which in turn would result in higher numbers of searches and a higher overall conversion rate on mobile. When they ran an A/B test, the result was a 32% increase in searches on mobile and a 51% increase in searches on tablet.


Bottom navigation bar

Next, the team tested whether an app-like navigation bar placed on the bottom of mobile pages would increase interaction. They hypothesised that this position would be easier to reach when navigating with just one hand and using the thumb to interact with the screen.

An A/B test revealed surprising results – users actually preferred the traditional position for the navigation bar over the app-like approach. There was one exception, however – the interaction with the basket icon actually increased in the bottom position.


“You can’t improve what you don’t measure.”

— Karl Rowlands, UX Manager, Matalan

Sticky navigation

Following on from their learnings, Matalan continued to test ways to improve the navigation. In the next test, they returned the navigation to the top of the screen but significantly boosted the menu, search and basket elements. In this iteration, the navigation always stayed available for users no matter where
they were on the page or how deep they scrolled. This resulted in an increase in total interactions, with 10% more interactions with the navigation and 5% more checkout starts



By testing and subsequently implementing a fixed navigation on the top of the screen, displaying a search bar prominently and making the checkout call to action leading to payment more descriptive, Matalan achieved a year-over-year conversion
rate uplift of 49%.

“We’re at a stage now where everybody wants to experiment and learn. No longer will we make decisions on opinion. We’re moving fast on our way to becoming a fully UX-driven business”, explains Matalan UX Manager Karl Rowlands. “We’re putting the customer at the heart of everything we do, listening to their needs and identifying pain points upon which we can formulate strong hypotheses to experiment and learn, allowing us to make data-driven decisions about what our customers want and how we can deliver it for them.”

Improved user experience has led to profitability increases, which means more resources have been made available for Matalan’s team to continue their work. Going forward, Matalan plans to keep partnering with Google to unlock further opportunities in driving user experience.

Matalan: An omnichannel journey