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Experience transformation the new frontier

For more than 10 years we have been working to help brands build a culture of experimentation. In most cases, brands start this practice to take control of and improve the customer experience online. What do they need for this? Data. Every business needs data at the heart of what they do to transform.

The trouble is, a lot of time, money and effort goes into investing in technology that will collect data and analyse it, but unfortunately not enough into how to use it effectively. As organisations talk about moving towards a data-led practice, they need to understand that being data-aware is not the same as being data-first.

Being data-aware is about acknowledging data or finding data to validate what you are thinking, rather than being data-first where all decisions are made after using multiple data points to guide decisions.

In a data-aware organisation, you might make an observation about customer behaviour, for example, that 60% of users leave your homepage. You don’t know why, so you don’t know what changes to make. That causes your UX team to try a lot of random changes to learn more about the cause while hoping they’ll find a solution that will improve the bounce rate.

The greatest challenge for most organisations we have worked with or talk to is that there is too much data and not enough time. So how can companies pivot to become data-first and transform their experience for customers?

Accelerate your data
Data-aware organisations conduct large-body data analysis that might include customer surveys and focus groups. While talking to customers is an important step in the UX design process, you can’t use this type of research to create a finished solution. I call this slow data.

To become data-first, you need to move to a fast data approach. Combine that research with quick tests on a data point, which allows you to gain a small insight, then build from that. The process of continuous testing and building on these data points allows an organisation to put data, and therefore the customer, at the centre of their transformation process. Turn the data into something actionable.

What’s interesting is watching clients realise the transformative power of experimentation based on even the smallest tests. One clothing retail client had an issue where a significant number of visitors were adding items to their cart but not selecting a size. By testing to find out why – either the sizing feature was not prominent enough or the error messaging was unclear – and clarifying the process, we lifted the number of completed orders by 3.98% per month, representing about $75K.

The way that data on customer behaviour leads to actionable outcomes and improvements, which leads to business optimisation, is the foundation of micro-transformation, which demonstrates the power of experimentation.

In my experience, I’ve found that clients who think of experimentation as a silver bullet don’t get great results. However, the ones that start sceptical but open to possibilities – willing to abandon what they think they know – have just enough distance from the process to see its benefits more plainly.

Essentially, instead of a long process of planning (and guessing) what customers want, these data-first people accept that the best way forward is a series of quick iterations: experimentation, followed by a small pivot, then experimentation, then pivot. If someone can see that and embed that culture, they’re already winning.

How does your organisation compare with others in experimentation in the same vertical? Download a free copy of The Pulse Report.