The majority of the tests we’ve featured in Website Testing Wins are, IMHO, award-worthy campaigns, but this week’s case has the first-place ribbon to prove it. Improvements Catalog took the gold ribbon in the Overlay Test category of WhichTestWon’s 2013 Online Testing Awards contest with a campaign that’s not just smart and profitable, but also fits well with the company’s brand identity as a problem-solver.

wtw_inside box1 Improvements Catalog offers products that are designed to address the typical home improvement challenges, from maximizing pantry space to cleaning chandeliers, lighting the steps on a backyard deck, and so on. The retailer faced its own improvement challenge in how to increase engagement and conversion on product detail pages that had higher-than-average bounce rates.

Since its merchandise mix includes quite a few unique products, Improvements wanted to more effectively communicate the features and benefits of these items to encourage visitors to remain engaged with the site. While the product detail page seemed like the right place to call greater attention to a few key attributes of each product, the retailer didn’t want to hurt readability by crowding too much information into the layout.

Improvements brainstormed with its Client Success Team at Monetate to develop a new approach that leveraged the can’t-miss value of a lightbox, also called an overlay or popup. Keeping the campaign’s creative simple and the messaging focused on each product’s unique selling propositions, the retailer made sure the lightbox complemented the product detail page layout and the content already being shared.

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Since a chief concern in using lightboxes is that they might distract visitors from their intended goals, Improvements worked with Monetate to set parameters so the lightbox would only display one time per product during a visitor session. It also made it easy for visitors to close the lightbox, so they could go right back to the product detail page and their next click.

This creative approach to the challenge won Improvements a 33% lift in conversion from its website traffic, as well as recognition from the judges of this year’s WhichTestWon Online Testing Awards.

WhichTestWon’s Anne Holland described the test as “a sexy idea” for ecommerce websites that have hundreds of SKUs. Maybe it’s worth a try on your product detail pages, too?