In the late 1980’s, government-mandated recycling programs were in full swing. As the use of plastic in the U.S. grew, the need to transform the overabundance of recycled plastic into something new was greater than ever. Two high school friends in Syracuse, Indiana saw an opportunity in high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic — an extremely durable and weather resistant material, the perfect application for outdoor furniture. In 1990, they founded POLYWOOD, the first company to create beautiful, high-quality, and long-lasting outdoor furniture from recycled plastics, establishing the “faux wood” outdoor furniture category — currently, the fastest growing category in the industry.
In 2017, POLYWOOD became one of the first manufacturers in their industry to sell products directly to consumers. “Continual innovation is a driving force in all we do,” says POLYWOOD Ecommerce Manager, Jason Detamore. The company’s pioneering manufacturing techniques and operations have earned POLYWOOD a place as the premier wood alternative furniture brand.
But, increased ecommerce sales also brought growing pains.
"Bolt’s allowed our customer service team to focus on what really matters: taking exceptional care of our customers.”
Everything at POLYWOOD reflects their dedication to genuine quality: their story, their products, their process. The one place the brand’s quality reputation wasn’t reflected was in its most important consumer touchpoint: checkout.
“Our previous checkout experience was slow, buggy, and difficult to navigate on mobile devices,” explains Sean Valencourt, EVP Information Systems at POLYWOOD. “We also had significant issues finding a stable Adobe Commerce payment extension for our previous payments provider.”
Slow loading times meant a poor customer experience, lost sales, and potential loss of long-term customers. Moreover, checkout bugs and downtime meant that marketing dollars spent bringing customers to the website went to waste.
Checkout wasn’t the only source of revenue loss. In the early days, POLYWOOD implemented a proactive, manual order review process to ensure fraud prevention best practices. As order volume grew, spending time reviewing orders began to strain internal resources. Members of the customer service team spent much of their time reviewing orders rather than providing the quality experience that POLYWOOD is known for. Instead, POLYWOOD wanted the freedom to focus on their business. They wanted to improve their site’s performance without having to design a better checkout experience from scratch, and to eliminate the operational strain of fraud review, without sacrificing on order approval rates.
Bolt proved to be the solution to the problems POLYWOOD faced. Bolt brought seamless checkout to POLYWOOD’s site, across all devices, and the difference was immediate: after just 60 days with Bolt, customer checkout rates were 10% higher than before, leading to a significant 5.4% lift in monthly revenue. Bolt completely eliminated fraudulent chargebacks for POLYWOOD and nudged up their order approval rate, resulting in six-figure cost savings. Bolt also released the burden on the customer service team; says Valencourt, “Bolt has allowed our customer service team to focus on what really matters: taking exceptional care of our customers.”
The Bolt difference has held. Over time Bolt has demonstrated a remarkable 10% overall conversion lift for POLYWOOD. It’s this and the partnership forged by Bolt’s internal team, which fully alleviated the backend work and allowed the customer service team to get back to the important work of taking care of their customers, that prompted the POLYWOOD team to expand their Bolt partnership to their sister business, Trex Outdoor Furniture, in January 2019.
With Bolt, POLYWOOD has leading order approval rates and complete fraud protection. Those results are complemented by high-touch support from the Bolt team. “Bolt has been highly responsive and great to work with,” says Detamore.
POLYWOOD is all about investing in what’s best for the long term, whether that’s by creating quality products meant to be enjoyed season after season for their customers, or by processing more than 400,000 plastic milk jugs a day to create a product that’s environmentally sustainable. For POLYWOOD, the switch to Bolt has allowed them to re-focus their attention where it matters most: on their innovative mission.