The culture of experimentation is in our company’s DNA

DriveTime evaluated several leading experimentation solutions. There was a clear winner. 

In a matter of weeks, DriveTime ran its first experiment using Optimizely Web. At the time, the homepage featured so much information that it was negatively impacting customer acquisition and conversion.

Their early homepage experiments optimized DriveTime car search and the loan approval process:

“We thought we were doing the right thing by telling customers about all the products they could buy with their car, how long DriveTime has been around, our philosophy as a company... One of our early experiments was to remove all of that information from the mobile view. You couldn’t even scroll on the homepage, it was just: here's three things you can do. There was a lot of apprehension around that. The entire team was like, this can't win.”

To the team’s surprise, the new variation of the homepage drove a 20% jump in CTA click conversions.

The shorter home page simplified the user flow through the entire DriveTime site. A few months later, DriveTime noticed that high-tier inventory was sitting on their car lots for twice as long as the average vehicle. Through a series of experiments, DriveTime identified how many of these vehicles they needed to showcase on the website to optimize in-store sales.

The inventory test was one example of the increasingly complex experiments the team was implementing with Optimizely Web. “It took a lot of effort to get that up and running,” says DriveTime developer, Maddie Reichman. “We asked ourselves: how complex are we planning on getting with these experiments? And the answer was: this is just the beginning.” They needed a better way for engineering to test deep in their products and tech stack.

They needed an easier way to test, learn, and win

For years, DriveTime used an experimentation platform that limited their access to quick and trusted insights. “It didn’t provide the rich results analysis we needed,” says Nate Warner, a DriveTime Director of Application Development.

Finally, the team no longer wanted to rely on developers to implement every experiment. “Where do we go from here? How do we get something a little more feature rich? We understood what we wanted to get out of our platform, and Google Experiments wasn’t giving it to us,” Warner reflects.

“We had to build our own solutions, and had to do the calculations ourselves. The reports would take a while to pull together—we needed something better.”

Nate Warner
Director of Application Development, DriveTime

Testing deeper with Optimizely Full Stack

The growing development team at DriveTime, needed a flexible, code-based solution to run powerful experiments in their digital products. With Optimizely Full Stack they can experiment in any application, anywhere in the customer journey.

The DriveTime product development team also appreciated the power and flexibility of Full Stack’s feature variables, which allow them to dynamically update variables in the application outside of a release cycle. 

Optimizely Full Stack and Web use the same Stats Engine, giving the team the rich and efficient analysis they were already using. “Now we can set up complex experiments relatively quickly, but we get fast results that we can trust,” says Warner.

Scaling experiments faster

Although DriveTime has only been using Full Stack for a few months, the platform is living up to expectations. “We’re able to implement our winners quickly using Full Stack, because we're creating experiments in the best possible dev way,” Reichman says, attributing the speed to Optimizely’s feature rollouts, as well as clean, efficient code-side implementation.

Of course, COVID-19 hit the US in early 2020 and threw businesses everywhere into a tailspin. DriveTime took quick action to let potential customers know how its business would operate during the pandemic. DriveTime set up a banner to show to specific customers:

“Because it's a feature flag, we have the ability to turn it off whenever we feel comfortable doing so,” says Reichman. “Another thing that we are absolutely loving on Full Stack is attributes for audiences. We created a new audience for the COVID-19 info banner. We only wanted the bucket of users that came in on the homepage; now we can make 30 different audiences based off of whatever your landing page was. We love that flexibility.”

What’s next

As DriveTime emerges from the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown, the company will refocus on sales, and the development team looks forward to fully exploring the possibilities of Full Stack. “Our next step is what we're calling vehicle impressions and understanding what customers are seeing and the “why” behind what they are actually doing,” says Warner.

Full Stack, opens multiple opportunities to work more closely with the DriveTime operations team:

“We’ll definitely be looking more at inventory... We need to figure out okay, which makes and models are the ones driving the incremental web conversions and making sure people are still coming into the store.” 

Find out how teams are using Optimizely to deliver new experiences quickly with more confidence and higher quality, and sign up for Optimizely Rollouts to get started today with free feature flags and A/B tests!



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