The smart retailer’s guide to agile ecommerce

Today’s retailers need an agile ecommerce approach informed by data-driven decision-making strategies. Here’s what you need to know about these frameworks.

Author:

Optimizely Team

Today’s merchandisers need to out-think competitors and delight customers frequently to maintain growth in a transforming economy. Staying ahead of the curve requires a detail-orientated and focused approach for everything from product selection to website design and implementation. 

Combining agile ecommerce practices with data-driven decision-making enables retailers to adapt quickly and release new features more frequently. Adopting these practices as part of your business strategy will ensure you can continue to grow your business and attract loyal customers. 

According to Think Google, organizations that use data-driven frameworks are three times more likely to improve business decision-making. By leveraging a rapid development and deployment framework with intelligence at its core, ecommerce companies can respond to changes in trends, markets and consumer perceptions effectively.  

Today’s blog will look at what you need to know about agile ecommerce and data-driven decision-making in your attempts to increase conversions, improve experiences and grow revenue. 

Quick takeaways:

  • Agile ecommerce is a development and release process that allows you to update your site’s features and experiences frequently
  • Combining agile ecommerce with data-driven decision-making strategies will uncover new market opportunities and hidden potential in your organization
  • Agile development and release cycles reduce risks and save on costs while enabling you to respond to changing consumer behavior effectively

What is data-driven decision-making?

A data-driven decision-making framework requires organizations to validate any course of action against the latest available market and consumer data. The data used as input can come from a variety of sources, including analysts, business functions, consumer trend reports, and direct feedback from your customers. The intent of using this process is to eliminate any human biases and limit guesswork before committing to any changes in your business strategies. 

A data-driven decision-making process may include:

  • Surveying customers to uncover what products, services or features are performing well and where they think you can improve
  • Conducting user testing and experimentation to see how customers experience any new features, products or services
  • Analyzing changes in consumer behavior and shifting market trends
  • Using this information to launch new products, services and features where new business opportunities exist

Organizations that want to adopt a data-driven approach to business decision-making processes should answer strategic questions about the company using all available data. Using clearly defined questions, the company can deploy technologies to source, analyze and uncover any hidden potential in the market. 

What is agile ecommerce?

Agile development and project management processes use a framework to adapt products quickly by shortening the release cycles of new features. In the context of retail, agile ecommerce is the rapid development of, and updates to, websites with new features or products, while reducing operational risks by improving code quality. In most cases, software development teams use either a Scrum or DevOps approach when working in agile development environments. 

The type of build and release cycle will depend on the technologies deployed and the current codebase used for the website. Agile ecommerce helps digital retail companies continuously evolve websites and platforms to keep up with customer expectations. 

Why use agile ecommerce combined with data-driven decision-making?

When starting, the aim is to get your ecommerce site up and running as quickly as possible. Once you have a working version of your retail shop online, the next phase is continuously optimizing your experience and products with experimentation and data-driven strategies. 

Data should guide you when making changes, and an agile development framework enables you to release these changes quickly. Combining these two approaches will ensure you can evolve and maintain customer satisfaction even when faced with changing consumer trends. 

Here are four reasons you should combine data-driven decision-making with agile ecommerce development practices: 

1. Agile ecommerce allows you to respond quickly and frequently

In agile environments, website builders can release new features and system updates almost daily. The process uses multiple environments to build, test and release new features into production. Whether you are adding new features or fixing bugs, agile ecommerce enables your company to continuously improve your site and remain flexible enough to adapt to new information. 

2. Data-driven decision-making eliminates the need for guesswork

Feedback from your customers will provide you with insights about your current implementation and the experience design of your ecommerce site. If there are any friction points in your current experience design, you need to react quickly and resolve these issues before it creates frustrated customers. 

While direct feedback gives you clear insights into your customer’s expectations, for other business decisions you may need to analyze large sets of data. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can uncover the hidden potential in your current strategy, including answering questions like when to launch a new product or how to set your baseline price for a specific service. 

3. Agility and data-driven decisions enable growth

It’s not enough to know how you can grow your business – you’ll also need to do it faster than your competitors can. Since 2016, data-driven businesses grew about 10 times faster compared to the global economy. The global GDP grows by about 3.5%, while data-driven organizations have growth-rates of as much as 27% annually

Ecommerce ventures that adopt agile decision-making and implementation frameworks can ensure they build resilience and sustainable growth into their business strategy. This video explains how agile Scrum development can help UI/UX designers build better experiences quickly. 

4. Eliminate risks and save on development costs

The cost of implementing the wrong decision in a traditional development framework is exponentially worse than in an agile environment. Retailers waste about $1 trillion a year on unwanted products due to cumbersome processes and gut instincts that never come to fruition. 

With ecommerce now set to overtake traditional retail by 2024, eliminating risks by constantly updating your strategy using actionable data is the best way to stay ahead of your competitors. Whether your organization operates online only or you have brick-and-mortar operations, delivering innovative and exciting experiences consistently will make all the difference for your customers. 

Agile ecommerce and data-driven decision frameworks will help you position your brand for continued success and growth. 

Deliver agile ecommerce solutions and data-driven business strategies with Optimizely

It’s never been easier to deploy agile ecommerce with data-driven decision-making than it is today. Using Optimizely, retailers can experiment, analyze and deploy new strategies frequently while reducing risk and meeting customer expectations. 

With Optimizely, you can increase your agility, improve your outcomes, and inspire innovation from a single optimization platform. By integrating your analytics and iterating different experiences, ecommerce retailers can use Optimizely to uncover hidden potential and deliver immersive content that drives conversions and helps your company to continuously improve. 

If you need agile ecommerce capabilities for your data-driven decision-making strategy, contact Optimizely today and see how we can help your brand grow.