Rothy's is a San Francisco-based direct-to-consumer shoe company founded in 2012 by Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin and launched in 2016. Rothy's shoes are made from 100% recycled plastic water bottles and post-consumer recycled materials. Rothy's has been a UserTesting customer since 2018.
With its DTC business model, the brand’s website—and how customers engage with it—is critical to Rothy’s success. Prior to having a formal UX team, it was all gut instinct and intuition. And when the business is wildly successful, as was the case at Rothy’s, it’s understandable to adopt an attitude of don’t fix what isn’t broken. “I don't think we were really looking at the bigger picture, like how can we make this better?” said Gina DeMatteo, Rothy’s Product Designer.
Quantitative data from Rothy’s customer surveys showed consistently high product satisfaction. However, their online shopping experience was a consistent customer pain point, particularly regarding order tracking and account management. This led to increased support calls and put their customer loyalty and growth at risk. Rothy’s needed to quickly understand customer requirements when browsing and shopping on Rothys.com, and then use that feedback to optimize the site without spending a fortune on engineering development costs.
That is when UserTesting became such a key partner, DeMatteo said. As the company’s first full-time UX designer, she was an early advocate for UX testing and UserTesting. Customer-centric questions she wanted to answer included:
DeMatteo noted, "We were just making gut decisions or benchmarking against competitors' sites, which can work to a degree, it can also be problematic if everyone is benchmarking against a site that is a poor user experience or not understanding the ‘why behind the what’.”
The human feedback we get from real customers proved invaluable. “Because you can hear their frustration versus just watching click rates and how long someone spends on a page,” said DeMatteo.
Those objective insights, in the customer’s own words, helped uncover pain points that would've otherwise gone unnoticed. UserTesting enables Rothy’s to continuously improve with fast feedback using qualitative video. This customer understanding around where and why customers experienced frustration allows Rothy’s to pinpoint their customers’ needs at every touchpoint in their digital journey to fix what’s broken and innovate faster.
Because feedback was so fast and easy to gather, DeMatteo also uses the platform to test her hypotheses on what to eliminate from the website—in addition to testing new features Rothy’s wants to roll out. “If we think something's not performing well, I love running it through UserTesting and getting feedback from users who either hate it or they'll prove me wrong and they'll be like, ‘Oh no, this is fantastic!’”
Getting that quick user insight feedback helps DeMatteo educate key stakeholders and influence future product decisions. “Being able to bring that back to stakeholders and say, ‘We're wasting all these dev resources to build out a feature that nobody wants.’ That is awesome!” said DeMatteo.
DeMatteo also tests early design concepts. “I'll just build prototypes to run through UserTesting and it saves us a load of dev time in actually creating the experience. I'll get my user feedback and it helps me dial down my decisions that I'm making and then I can present a design to our internal team with feedback on why this is the best choice.” “It's a no brainer,” DeMatteo said.
As a result of DeMatteo's increased testing and gathering of insights, Rothy’s improved its online shopper experience, which led to reduced support calls and a reduction in engineering hours by 90%.
“With UserTesting, there’s no more wasted dev time. It’s proven to be a winning decision for us.”