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Skinny Ties boosts mobile
conversions +85%1 on their
award winning responsive
website by using the Mobify
Predictive Resource Engine
FASTER LOAD TIME
CTR ON CART TO
Building the best
In early 2012, Stuart Sanft, CEO of Skinny Ties, approached
Brendan Falkowski of Gravity Department to collaborate on
the next generation of the Skinny Ties website. Neither
realized that Skinny Ties was about to generate an explosive
reaction from Internet retailers and be seen as a pioneer of
the Responsive Web Design (RWD) movement. At the time,
responsive web design was getting negative press and much
of the criticism concerned the speed of web pages built
using this technique. However, Falkowski knew that
responsive web design “doesn’t have to be [slow] if you care
about it.” On his recommendation, Skinny Ties eschewed
the traditional separate mobile website in favor of a
complete responsive rebuild.
The rebuild required a complete overhaul of the architecture
and content of the original Skinny Ties. “Brendan stressed
from day one how important that was,” Sanft disclosed.
“Every photograph I did I optimized the image quality and
size to get the highest quality image at the smallest size. We
knew that the faster it loads, the more people stay with the
site than abandon it. We pushed that really hard.”
With a 63% smaller website and a refreshed design, the new
Skinny Ties site was an instant success. Considered the
“vanguard of the responsive web design technique for
Internet retailers”, Skinny Ties was showered with praise
soon after its launch. Internet Retailer, Econsultancy,
Creative Bloq, and others, ranked it as one of the best
eCommerce sites in the US with comparisons to Microsoft,
Disney, and even Amazon.
Background on Skinny Ties
Skinny Ties has been producing and selling neckties since 1971. In
the early days of the Internet, they were one of the first companies
selling traditional neckwear online, finding their niche in retro-style
skinny ties. In mid 2014, SkinnyTies.com enabled the Mobify
Predictive Resource Engine and immediately saw how reducing
page load times positively impacted conversion rates and other
key business metrics.
Number of transactions+ 57 %
Units sold+ 78 %
Average order value+ 21 %
Sales on desktop and
+ 77 %
Sales on smartphones
+ 211 %
Android revenue+ 187 %
Sales through iPad+ 224 %
Revenue from iPhone+ 473 %
October 2011 - March 2012
October 2012 - March 2013
The next easy step
Even with the numerous optimizations built-in to the new Skinny Ties,
each mobile visitor still experienced the same performance bottleneck
that is present on every website - network latency.
To address this performance bottleneck, Skinny Ties selected the Mobify Predictive
Resource Engine (PRE), which makes a website load faster on all devices, especially
mobile phones with a high latency connection. Through state-of-the-art machine learning
technology that learns the behavior of visitors to a website, PRE recommends resources to
load into the browser in advance. This minimizes the effect of latency by reducing the number
of new requests a visitor must make to view subsequent pages.
Developing this in house is far too big a job, according to Falkowski: “the best you can do is storyboard
how you think users are going to move through the site and build a rudimentary manual prefetching
system.” By relying on PRE to deliver personalized predictions for their customers, Skinny Ties does not
have to make assumptions on how customers engage with their site, and no manual adjustments are
needed when customers change their behavior due to sales, new product launches, or changes to the
site’s navigation and features.
Skinny Ties found it easy to enable PRE: “Trivial is probably the best word to describe how difficult
integrating PRE is,” remarked Falkowski. “Since it’s literally just a <script> tag, we didn’t have to think
about it... The nice thing for us is that it’s an invisible change as well. We can still build the site how we
want, and PRE improves how users are actually using it after the fact.”
We knew that the faster it loads, the
more people stay with the site than
abandon it. STUART SANFT, CEO OF SKINNY TIES
Trivial is probably the best word to
describe how difficult integrating PRE is.
BRENDAN FALKOWSKI, FOUNDER OF GRAVITY DEPARTMENT
Unlocking an automated revenue boost
In the first month after enabling PRE, Skinny Ties enjoyed dramatic improvements to both performance and
conversion rate. In a split-tested controlled experiment1, the median load time of each page decreased by 11%,
and PRE drove a consistent 85% boost to conversion, and a 30% increase in the click-through rate from cart
When discussing the results of the first month, “I was surprised that PRE had a noticeable bump in load times
and how that affected conversion rate,” Falkowski remarked. “It's well understood that improving performance
will positively impact business metrics, but it can be hard to quantify. The A/B testing that PRE provides made
it easy to see the result with and without the service.”
This automatic A/B testing is integral to the functionality of PRE. Beyond providing a baseline for which to
compare the results, all predictions are also continuously tested to drive new, more accurate personalized
predictions. Through this constant iteration over subsequent weeks, PRE improved the load time by a further
19% and boosted the add-to-cart click-through rate a further 71%.
Since implementation of the Predictive Resource Engine, Skinny Ties has enjoyed an automatic, self-improving
revenue boost. “The nice thing about PRE,” states Falkowski, “is that it monitors automatically, and it figures
out over time what was the right thing to do and what the right scenario is, and you can let that strategy fall
out of your mind. If you did that manually you’re going to have to re-evaluate it anytime you make a change to
Background on Mobify
Mobify is a mobile commerce platform used by leading enterprises
to deliver exceptional responsive web and hybrid app shopping
experiences, to drive accelerated business growth. Mobify powers
mobile shopping experiences for global retailers and brands.
Established in 2007, Mobify is based in Vancouver, Canada, and has
a global network of resellers and implementation partners serving
customers in North America, South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
1 Numbers reported are from August 1 through September 5, 2014. Results within this date range include all customers, segmented into
two groups: 50% PRE enabled vs 50% PRE disabled. Results are statistically significant with 95% confidence.