Too many companies are still using gut instinct and hunches when making business decisions – 65% to be precise. This approach isn't sustainable in the digital realm – it's old-fashioned, doesn't consider real customer data and information, and puts the company in a risky position.
Recently, Optimizely's Director Strategy and Value Consulting, Elizabeth Gabster and Dept's Head of Data, Cristian van Nispen, sat down to discuss why companies need to deliver better digital experiences versus a hit-or-miss approach can achieve. And to get you started, here are their top three insights on how consistent experimentation can help your team deliver the experiences customers want:
#1 Achieve business KPIs through objective assessments
Your C-suite suggests a change to your ecommerce experience – switch the Add to Cart button color from blue to grey. They heard it worked for a different company and have 'a good feeling' about it. You obliged, and the page goes live. The color switch is a disaster – the customers overlook the button entirely, resulting in immediate financial losses. No one felt good about the change.
To excel, experimentation requires businesses to take a holistic and objective approach and really think about what they want to learn and achieve instead of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. Using a framework to consistently test enables businesses to optimize and offer value in their digital property, significantly improving customers' digital experience. A platform like Optimizely's Web Experimentation, for instance, allows businesses to run multiple tests at the same time, receive statistically valid results, and use that to offer the best digital experience to customers.
#2 Identify projects ROI in advance
From building new products to fixing existing features, development requires resources and can be uneconomical if the outcome is not as expected. At the end of the day, a business just wants to know if they're offering something that creates value to the customers or not. And clinging to products that no one wants and features that don't work are a waste of resources.
By putting testing at the forefront of development cycles, businesses can call the shots quickly whether to pursue a project or not. Testing empowers teams to question whether a product is worth launching or if an old feature should be improved or removed completely. These are some of the difficult questions that are best answered upfront before spending time, money and workforce to work on a project that will eventually fail.
#3 Enhance business strategy with sophisticated testing
Combining business strategy with digital can significantly improve business growth. According to McKinsey, twice as many leading companies link their digital and corporate strategies compared to those that didn't, and the results are jarring when compared with the laggards. As the world becomes increasingly digital, businesses can no longer operate with siloed strategies that separate digital and business. A holistic approach gives a complete picture of how a business can serve customers better in a highly digital landscape.
Experimentation has evolved towards a more sophisticated capability. From being a tool purely for marketing that enables simple text or color changes, experimentation has grown to empower companies to operate better by offering insights from the customers and business perspectives. There are also cases where businesses use experimentation beyond digital by applying it in business processes to ensure they're operating effectively and efficiently. The bottom line is that experimentation is bridging the gap between digital and organization strategy, and by combining both, businesses would have a more streamlined and well-rounded strategy.
Experimentation has immense potential to take your business to another level because it provides data that you can trust. Making decisions based on gut feelings may be the easiest option, but it can be detrimental if the outcome doesn't turn out the way it's expected. By pooling resources to work based on hard evidence, businesses can operate efficiently and effectively while delivering value to customers.