How Hotter Uses Taggstar to Improve Online Customer Experience

Crowd-Powered Social Proof Messages Provide Online Store Assistance and Boost Revenue by 5%


Set up in Lancashire, UK in 1959, Hotter designs, makes and sells stylish, comfortable footwear. It now makes a record 2.2 million pairs a year (data: 2017) and is the biggest shoe manufacturer in the UK. Focused on product innovation, world class production facilities and continual reinvestment in the business, the brand is well-respected and growing fast.

Hotter is a multi-channel retailer with over 70 high street stores in the UK, an international call centre and international websites providing an expert, supportive service to its target customers. As it began to expand into new EU and US markets, the brand began to look for ways to better support its online customers, using eCommerce software tools that would make it easy to find products, choose popular trends, navigate style and colour, and buy in as few steps as possible.

Hotter started talking to Taggstar in 2016, to understand how real-time social proof product messaging could assist customers.


As with all eCommerce sites, shoppers move through a series of steps in their online journey, from product list page, to product description page, to basket and checkout. Hotter wanted to test how Taggstar's SaaS social proof messaging platform could deliver a more helpful, supportive customer experience, using real-time, factual product trend messages.

The eCommerce team quickly integrated the software using Google Tag Manager, and the first experiments began in mid-2017, by displaying social proof messages on the product description pages of Hotter's UK website. Between starting experiments in August 2017 and March 2018, 6.2 million product trend messages were shown across all categories spanning Women, Men, Wide-Fit, GORE-TEXⓇ footwear, Originals, Accessories and Outlet.

Taggstar works by aggregating anonymised behavioural data from other online shoppers' browsing history. Its Trend AlgorithmTM pulls aggregated, factual data about the number of people who've looked at an item, and top-trending products, based on sales spikes, into on-product message balloons like this:

By showing what other online shoppers like them have bought or are interested in, the messages help Hotter buyers to pinpoint the right product, and to be confident that they've made the right decision. It's the online equivalent of having a great shop assistant in a high street store.

Encouraged by initial results, Hotter signed an ongoing agreement to add Taggstar messages across its UK, EU, German and US sites.

Message Design & Customisation

To deliver the brand experience that customers expect, the social proof messages are customised to Hotter's brand and tone of voice.

The retailer reported that since some customers struggle with small text sizes, Taggstar's messages must be both readable, yet not obscure its products. To meet this accessibility and usability criteria, the messages now have less opacity (allowing the product to be seen), feature bold numbers and a smaller message balloon (with less padding).

Content, font, font size and message positions on the product page, have also been carefully chosen to improve the customer experience.

International Trend Content

As it moves into new markets, Hotter will also use Taggstar to display global sales and trend patterns. A simple way for online customers to understand international product trends, the software can show what the entire pool of shoppers, across all three websites, as interested in or have bought.


Hotter's first Taggstar experiments showed exceptional results.

Where Taggstar messages were shown, the improved customer experience was highlighted by customers' behaviour. They were more likely to add to basket, less likely to churn, and more likely to checkout. The results for the brand, were a 5% revenue uplift.

Taggstar has now been added to Hotter's EU, German and US sites as of July 2018.