Customers no longer expect simple websites but rather highly personalized and differentiated experiences along their omnichannel journey. What digital teams need is the ability to understand how their actions are impacting their customers so they can act more intentionally.
Earlier this month, Episerver announced its intent to acquire Optimizely, the world’s leading experience optimization platform. Bringing together Episerver’s ability to create digital experiences through content and commerce with Optimizely’s ability to experiment and optimize across touchpoints empowers marketers to build experiences that get smarter over time. So, my first advice would be: work smarter not harder by leveraging AI.
Secondly, nobody has ever achieved anything new by being like everybody else. Therefore, I would recommend integrating experimentation into the creative process rather than treating as a separate discipline. I would even say that experimentation needs to become an incremental part of your company culture.
When we tend to think about digital leaders, companies that seemingly act more customer-centric than any of their peers, companies that are widely admired for the experience they provide to their customers, then we often are thinking of companies that use experimentation. We often think about companies using Optimizely.
WHY DO YOU THINK EXPERIMENTATION IS A GAME CHANGER IN THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PLAY?
Experimentation is very difficult to do in the physical world. It takes a long time to set up and experiments are difficult to target. Imagine you operate a retail store and want to test a different layout of your goods. You might do this once every few months. And if you want to do this only for a certain demographic? Impossible.
This all changed when businesses went online. Suddenly the testing of two different options – most commonly known as A/B testing – became easy to implement and scale. And rather than just testing two variables, some companies started to experiment with twenty – think A/B, C/D and so on – and on all aspects of their digital experience. You are now no longer just testing the user experience but your search algorithm or your mobile app functionality. Thus, highly respected global brands started to implement a culture of experimentation, a culture of making data-driven decisions, and ultimately a culture where the behaviors of the customer – not the opinions of the executives – decided the optimal customer experience. There is really no experience without experimentation.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ADDING EXPERIMENTATION TO THE DIGITAL EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT?
First of all, you can truly become customer centric by bringing the behaviors of customers into the decision-making process, and by doing so transforming your business to put the customer back at the center of your experience design.
As it stands, behavioral data is the most powerful data marketers and merchandisers can have about their customers. Think about the analogy of the retail store: three people might walk in, all in the same demographic, but only once you observe what they browse for can you best predict their next action, and make the right recommendation.
Furthermore, combining the process of content creation and merchandising with optimization will finally lead to differentiated digital experiences. By collecting massive amounts of data from experiments, consumed content, customer data, and commerce interactions, you can constantly hone the algorithms that drive recommendations and deliver a truly personalized experience to your audience.
And last but not least, is what we call “democratized experimentation” and it is actually more of a promise than a benefit: When Episerver and Optimizely join forces all of our customers – regardless of size – will be enabled to do more testing, in more places, with greater ease than ever before. Every organization will be empowered to experiment like the best in the business.