Company: Divers Direct
Contact: Robert C. Darmanin, Online Services Manager
Location: Dania Beach, FL
Industry: Sporting Equipment, B2C
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 200

Quick Read

Senior management at Divers Direct, a scuba-supply outfit, weren't convinced the company needed to offer discounts to increase Web sales. A test using Sitebrand's Segment&Serve personalization platform quickly changed that perception when the offers gave rise to 83% more revenue.

"I was really surprised to see such a huge difference in the revenue from the groups that saw a Sitebrand-generated offer versus the default group that saw nothing," said Robert Darmanin, online services manager for Divers Direct.

The company tried two additional banner campaigns and used A/B testing; again, revenue increased as a result.

Divers Direct was also able to change some perceptions and behaviors among its Web site visitors—by serving up targeted content that helped increase the company's trust factor, in addition to its sales volume.


Divers Direct is a multichannel retailer of scuba equipment, with six dive shops on the Florida coast, a direct mail catalog, and an e-commerce Web site.

Divers Direct did not have a problem generating traffic for its online business; it received 1,200 to 1,500 unique visitors a day. Conversion rates, however, were low, and the majority of online orders averaged less than $50.

To remedy these challenges, the company signed on with Sitebrand, a personalization platform provider based in Gatineau, Canada, to test a few options for customizing its online-shopping experience.


Sitebrand developed a series of targeted banner campaigns for the site that were tested over a four-week period in Spring 2008. Each campaign focused on a specific customer segment (see below) and ran against a default control group, which received no promotion, in order to more accurately measure the effects.

  • First time visitors: With the goal of increasing order size, three offers were tested on first-time visitors in equal rotation: "Enjoy 10% off your entire order over $50"; "Enjoy 15% off your entire order over $100"; and "Enjoy 20% off your entire order over $150."
  • Returning visitors: Sitebrand believed that portraying Divers Direct as trustworthy experts might help lift sales, especially among Web users who might not recognize that Divers Direct was more than on online store and was run by scuba professionals. Accordingly, return visitors were exposed to two banners—one with "We're Divers too! Product knowledge is our specialty" messaging, and the other with "Authorized Dealer with Manufacturer's Warranty on all products."
  • Keyword search: Visitors who reached the site via a Web search for "wetsuit" were offered a one-time 20% discount on wetsuits, with messaging that read "today only" to increase the sense of urgency.

All banners were run in the Web site's top header space so that no matter where users entered the site (e.g., even through a search engine link to the wetsuit page), the targeted content was prominently displayed and did not move or disappear on subsequent pages viewed.


Compared with the control groups...

  • The first-time-visitor campaign produced 83% more revenue, bringing in an additional $13,707.81. All three discount offers performed relatively similarly, with none really outperforming the others—insight that Divers Direct may be able to use to its advantage in the future.
  • The return user/"expert" campaign generated a 65.65% conversion lift for $8,545.52 in additional revenue. Both banners were effective; however, the "Authorized Dealer" messaging outperformed the "We're divers too" banner.
  • The keyword campaign resulted in a 34% yield lift and a 2% conversion increase in wetsuit sales (yield = Associated Revenue ÷ No. of Impressions).

Lessons Learned

While the discounts offered in the first-time visitor campaign performed exceptionally well, this trial also proved to Divers Direct that softer promotions, such as those used in the return-user campaign, can also be effective in lifting sales.

In addition, the return-user campaign showed Divers Direct the importance of inspiring trust in an industry where product reliability is a prime concern for its user. In its brick and mortar stores, sale associates can alleviate concerns and share product knowledge with customers on the spot. This campaign helped the company demonstrate that kind of authority online, and in doing so, further differentiated Divers Direct from competing discount Web outlets.

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Case Study: How a Diving Equipment Retailer Leveraged Targeted Web Site Promotions to Lift Revenue, Conversions

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Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via