RS Components: increasing conversions through rich customer insight

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products, uses UserZoom to undertake UX research on its customers’ purchasing experience.


“RS Components’ website is more than just a sales channel”

According to Alan Mears, Customer Experience Manager RS Online, “The website is now the channel of choice for RS customers worldwide with over 60% of orders now being placed online.” The RS website is more than just a sales channel, it’s also used as a primary research tool for millions of engineers who visit the site looking for solutions, and it’s the main channel for customer acquisition across the group.

“We see abandonment through registration and checkout, as well as a large number of people leaving the site from the product page,” he continues. “This may not be an issue as they may have completed their mission, but we need to understand this and are planning some voice of customer work to understand this behavior.”

Understanding what customers are trying to achieve, where their experiences are positive, and where the site provides choke points to the user journey is critical to improving user experience.

The goal of implementing the results of UserZoom research, according to Mears, is “increased conversion and deep rich customer insight.”


RS has been using customer experience research to improve its service and functionality since 2008. This research has been used to help understand and gather the primary customer needs and then distill them through to personas and functional requirements and even down to design.

RS selected UserZoom because of its innovative range of services, which matched the company’s current needs and future functional development, especially remote customer testing. While rich information can be gathered when users are put in front of a prototype and monitored, this activity can be very expensive and typically only takes in small numbers of users.

Mears says, “With UserZoom we saw a way of gathering quantitative information around site functionality quickly and easily but also, and vitally for RS, we can do this around the globe. Imagine doing testing on new search functionality simultaneously across Europe and Asia and all the rich data you will get back that will highlight cultural/regional differences.”

Mears continues, “We just wouldn’t have been able to do this before.” UserZoom will also help RS develop its mobile services. Mears says, “You can search our full 550,000 products, place orders, and even reserve for collection at one of our 16 trade counters. Our mobile strategy has begun to develop this year and we are looking to shape it further.”

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