Online experiments are part of the digital strategy at Delivery Hero

Digital heroes in the takeaway market

Delivery Hero is the world's leading platform for takeaway orders over the Internet. The company, founded in 2011 and headquartered in Berlin, operates in more than 40 countries on 5 continents, for example in Germany with their Foodora, Lieferheld and pizza.de brands.

The ambitious goal of Delivery Hero is to become and remain the market leader in all countries in which the company is represented. To achieve this goal, Delivery Hero must provide its customers with an excellent customer experience and continuously optimize it. Only with digital experiments is it possible to recognise customer needs, says Erin McLaine, Global Head of Conversion Rate Optimization at Delivery Hero. Based at the company’s Berlin headquarters, she initially started her career working for a UK subsidiary of Delivery Hero four and a half years ago and has moved into a global role in 2015.

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Increase in conversion rate with background video

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Avoidance of reductions in conversion rate by removing cash payment option

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All subsidiaries of Delivery Hero use experimentation

As much as you may think that you know your customer, the product and the impact new features would have, you are not always right. Optimizely helps us to understand what our customers really want.
Erin McLaine
Erin McLaine

Head of Conversion Rate Optimization

Data doesn’t lie

When optimising the customer experience, Delivery Hero consistently pursues a data-driven approach instead of relying solely on intuition. With the help of controlled experiments, the teams can put their own ideas and opinions to the test. "As much as you may think that you know your customer, the product and the impact new features would have, you’re not always right," Erin says.

This became apparent when the team tested removing the cash payment option for food orders. Accepting cashless payments only would make the billing process with the restaurants much easier. However, how would this affect customer behaviour and order volume?

"While we knew some customers preferred to pay in cash, we thought they might order anyway." To verify this assumption, a digital experiment was conducted: for 5% of all users, the cash payment option was removed. The result was a 20% reduction in orders. Customers would rather not place an order than pay by card. Thanks to experimentation, Delivery Hero was able to avoid implementing a change that would have led to a big drop in sales.

Even negative results are important when testing new ideas, says Erin McLaine: “What we learn through Optimizely is so valuable. We cannot afford to be arrogant in our day-to-day business. We should always be wanting to learn so that we can grow.”

Learning from each other across borders

Due to the success of experimentation, Delivery Hero now plans to perform more experiments than ever before. To promote the exchange of knowledge and experimentation with its employees worldwide, the teams use Program Management: This centralised management interface enables all teams – both worldwide and at the headquarters in Berlin – to gain an overview of the experimentation programme. All employees can see which experiments the others are currently working on, what worked for them in the past and what did not. The idea behind it is, "if a test works well in South America, it might also work in Kuwait."

So when the team of the Turkish subsidiary Yemeksepeti started A/B-testing their mobile website, they wanted to know what other countries had tested in this area before. "Previously, we had no central location to track and analyse the results of experiments," Erin says. "Thanks to Program Management, it's now much easier for teams to learn from each other."

DH bulb

Experts are not always right

Meanwhile, Delivery Hero's data-driven approach is making meetings shorter: "If you’re in a meeting with several people and there’s a debate about which direction to take with a particular feature of the product, we can just say we are going to run an experiment. We’ll try these three options and then we’ll come back with the results,” Erin says.

This approach encourages scrutinising opinions and checking them using scientific methods. At a conference on A/B-testing, a speaker claimed that background videos on homepages would only work for Airbnb and that it was not worth the effort of producing such videos. The Delivery Hero team took up the challenge to prove him wrong.

The marketing team produced a background video for the website and the optimisation team tested it against a variety of background images. The result was surprisingly clear – the conversion rate was more than 10% higher with the video than with any of the pictures. The video resonated with their target audience. "It really was a great success and gave experimentation at Delivery Hero a real boost," says Erin.

A corporate culture of experimentation

In the summer of 2017, Delivery Hero rolled out Optimizely as its experimentation platform across all of the more than 40 markets. It was an easy decision for Erin and her team: "Optimizely's features for targeting, segmentation and test set-ups are more advanced than the tools we've used before."

Next, the team wants to work on driving their "culture of experimentation". It is about promoting data-driven optimization and ensuring that teams share results and learn from each other’s experiences.

Erin is positive that Optimizely is helping to establish this culture across the company, as the platform "was not designed especially for developers, product managers or marketing, but actually for everyone within the enterprise."

In the meantime, teams of all subsidiaries worldwide are using experimentation in their day-to-day work. With each test, they contribute to making the process of ordering takeaways even smoother and increasing the number of orders made through their site. At Delivery Hero, nothing is left to chance on the way to global market leadership.

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