What I love about [Optimizely’s] CMS in general is that it’s super easy to use.Jim RusinskiDigital Solutions Engineer, International Fresh Produce Association
The International Fresh Produce Association tastes success with Optimizely's CMS
- 41% increase in organic search traffic in the first six months
- 33% increase in user engagement in the first six months
- 19% increase in website interactions (clicks, form submissions and video plays)
Uniting the fresh produce and floral industry
As the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain with more than 3,000 members, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) was formed by the coming together of Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh to bolster the presence and unite the industry.
Focusing on businesses within the fresh produce and floral industry, IFPA exists to grow the prosperity of businesses through advocacy, networking and guidance. Its aim is simple – to create a vibrant future for all.
IFPA works on behalf of and with the produce and floral industries through a wide range of efforts including local and global events, professional development, research, advocacy and policy recommendations, networking opportunities and more.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the team went fully remote. Its website became a crucial point of contact for people to discover IFPA and connect with the company. Its website also became a focal point for the team, as IFPA underwent organizational changes and the team had to figure out the best way to present its new identity to stakeholders.
Perplexing systems and functions limiting growth
The foundation it had to build on was a CMS that did not meet the needs of IFPA’s content-focused strategy. Its previous CMS had an inefficient and complicated interface that limited authoring capabilities, drastically slowing down its content pipeline. Simple changes such as updating images on the homepage were unnecessarily complicated.
It did not help that the previous solution provider’s support had an unpredictable response time.
The search function was also chargeable for even the most minor searches performed on the site, making it costly for IFPA to maintain the search function for a better user experience.
As IFPA wanted to stay ahead of the technology curve, it also had plans to port over to a cloud-based solution, something it could not accomplish with its existing CMS provider as it came at an exorbitant cost.
The team knew the shortcomings of a less than desirable website for both internal and external stakeholders, so the main objective of the website revamp was how it can make things better.
A new website that encompasses the full extent of IFPA’s efforts was crucial to communicate to industry stakeholders and establish its identity as a critical industry authority as well as provide visitors with a seamless user experience.
The task force assigned to the website overhaul was a lean team of five people and they had less than half a year to launch their new web presence as IFPA by January 1, 2022.
The IFPA team assigned to this task had to ensure the following goals were achieved by January 1, 2022:
- An up-and-running, visually appealing website that represented IFPA with essential pages
- A CMS that will allow IFPA to create content with ease
- At least six pieces of content that cover any of the IFPA’s 13 resource topics, spanning from advocacy to technology, live
- Published content for global events that IFPA hosts annually
- Allow IFPA members to log in and access members-only content
The IFPA team knew they could not pull this off alone. They started looking out for a new CMS and experts that would help make their highly time-sensitive goals a reality.
Cultivating its identity as an industry leader – from the ground up
Working closely with its members from a variety of groups including food safety, consumer trends, floral, food service and sustainable supply chain management, IFPA collected holistic feedback to identify the best solution for its stakeholders.
IFPA found Perficient, an Optimizely partner, and after a few helpful conversations with demos and examples, it landed on Optimizely being the best fit for IFPA’s needs – a flexible, intuitive, cost-effective, and frequently updated solution hosted on the cloud.
Once the preliminary details were ironed out, Perficient and IFPA hit the ground running. Perficient took on the project management and worked very closely with IFPA to bring to life the ideal website that fits IFPA’s new identity through frequent and open communication.
The vision for IFPA’s website is to become a source of authoritative information for industry stakeholders. It wanted visitors to regard the website as a place to get the latest updates about the industry and improve site engagement through relevant content.
With access to a rich pool of resources ranging from consumer to sales data for its industry, it was important for IFPA to give back to its community, so everyone stays up to date. It dedicated a section to ‘Resources,’ which included articles, industry updates, podcasts, press releases, virtual town halls and webinars. The resources were presented in a structured manner with logical search and filter options by leveraging Optimizely’s Search & Navigation. The best part? Search & Navigation is part of Optimizely’s solution and does not incur additional costs when site visitors use the search function.
A section was also designated for ‘Events’ to keep industry stakeholders in the loop of the latest exhibitions, conferences and virtual events. This helps relevant businesses prepare for upcoming events and gain exposure.
In addition, Optimizely’s intuitive and user-friendly CMS helped the IFPA team structure and plan its content. With abilities to integrate with Salesforce and personalize based on user profiles, IFPA can optimize content delivery and user experiences for site visitors with Recommendations.
Throughout the project, Perficient proved to be a knowledgeable Optimizely partner by leveraging Optimizely’s solution to meet IFPA’s needs. Optimizely's support team’s responsiveness and helpfulness also helped IFPA understand Optimizely’s products better.
Harvesting IFPA’s fruits of labor
IFPA succeeded in meeting its initial goals within the stipulated timeline with an impressive site launched on January 1, 2022.
Within the first six months of IFPA’s website go-live, it has had a 41% increase in organic search traffic, a 33% increase in user engagement and an average engagement time of three minutes, a testament to its optimized content delivery and strategy with Optimizely’s CMS.
The website’s improved search with Search & Navigation has also increased website interactions including clicks, form submissions and video plays by 19%.
To maintain the exclusivity of being an IFPA member while driving membership, it also included gated premium content within its resource pool. Interested parties can access these members-only content and other benefits by signing up as an IFPA member through the intuitive user journey.
With in-depth analytics available to IFPA, it identified that 36% of its website users were on mobile. This provides an indicator for IFPA when optimizing its future content strategy.
While IFPA is just getting started with Personalization, it has also seen an improved understanding of its audiences by leveraging Optimizely’s solution, helping it improve relevant content delivery.
The IFPA team also experienced improvements in quality of life with Optimizely’s responsive and helpful support team. Tickets raised by IFPA were resolved promptly compared to its previous solution provider, something of which the team is highly appreciative.
In addition, Optimizely’s simple and intuitive CMS improved the IFPA team’s efficiency with improved content rollout as well as refined its content strategy for the future. With this newfound flow as its building blocks, IFPA is laying the foundation for its content strategy, an integral part of how IFPA defines success moving forward.
Growing IFPA’s online presence with Optimizely
Some of IFPA’s stretch goals are to leverage its Salesforce integration more to unify customer data for a holistic view of its user journeys. This will help IFPA facilitate down-the-funnel user journeys and improve conversions. The IFPA team also hopes to identify leads swiftly through the integration, saving the team’s time while making better decisions through improved insights.
In addition, IFPA will continue leveraging Recommendations to optimize its user experiences with real-time, AI-powered insights guiding its content strategy and business decisions.