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With a mission to become the luxury fashion platform connecting creators, curators and consumers, Farfetch has been deploying the power of experimentation right from the start. But now, having grown to employ over 3,200 people, serve 1.7 million customers and offer a range of new services, Luís Trindade told Opticon19 how they intend to make sure experimentation keeps up.

“Experimentation is part of our DNA”

“Experimentation has always been a part of our DNA, but different parts of the business were using different tools and adopting different approaches,” explained Luís. “As we grew, this started to present challenges – such as duplication of effort. What we needed was a single framework that would enable us to consistently apply experimentation across the entire customer journey.”

This framework won’t stop with marketing and product development, but also incorporate back office tools too. “We have third parties releasing feature after feature, yet we aren’t experimenting on how effectively they are working for us. Learning to track the features we integrate into our company represents a big challenge right now,” Luís told the audience.

Knowledge is power

With over 30+ teams now using experimentation, Luís went on to describe how knowledge sharing represents an essential part of moving to the next level. “Our test and learn center of excellence includes a regular experimentation clinic. This is where we identify new areas for experimentation, hold regular sharing and training sessions, and evolve our on-boarding experimentation kit for new joiners. The goal is to make sure we encourage people to experiment not just because they need to, but because they really want to.”

“The goal is to make sure we encourage people to experiment not just because they need to, but because they really want to.”

Staying connected 

Luís has overseen a range of other initiatives designed to sustain momentum across the business. In addition to core product and data experimentation teams, specialist ambassadors work to connect business and experimentation, share best practices and, as the company expands internationally, adapt processes to the needs of local cultures – as has recently been the case in China. 

“We are integrating our internal platforms with third parties like Optimizely to provide absolute consistency,” he continued. “This supports developments like our self-service deep dives that go far beyond basic metrics. We know that most experiments fail, so we need to understand why. These deep dives allow everyone to see exactly what’s happening when they run an experiment.” 

One interesting point of note was Luís’ insistence that experimentation be driven by learnings and not results. “Moving our mindset from winning rates to learnings is a big challenge,” admits Luis. “Even if we run a winning experiment it may not necessarily be implemented. For example, we recently achieved great results with a test, but the learnings behind them told us not to push it live but to iterate and make even more powerful changes.” 

Luís’ also outlined plans to scale up experimentation, integrating new technologies such as those announced by Optimizely at Opticon19 as well as offering testing capabilities to partners. “When someone uses our platform we want to enable experimentation from day one.” 

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Luís Trindade of Farfetch at Opticon19