Evolve or die. Whether or not your company is still alive in ten or perhaps just five years depends on how you handle change. When sitting in endless planning meetings isn’t an option you have to create an organization that innovates, or you risk falling victim to the innovation of others.
The critical question you as a leader must answer is, 'how do I create the best conditions for experimentation?' Experiments are the fuel of innovation - the ability to quickly test hypotheses and interpret the results without being influenced by emotion. The fastest-growing companies know this. Take Amazon, who explicitly state that their growth strategy is to endlessly experiment. So what’s stopping you?
The easiest way to develop this way of working is to just get started. To push you in the right direction, here are three relatively easy experimental ideas that we have seen create an impact for our customers time and again. The positive effects are not only on profitability, but also – and perhaps more importantly – on our understanding of the power of experiments. We know how to base changes on what we know works, not what we thought would work.
Do you know how long the most important pages on your site take to load? 53% of visitors will leave your site if that number is more than three seconds. A one-second delay in page load can result in a decrease in conversions of a whopping 7%.
Here’s an example from the real world: Walmart got a 1% conversion increase for every 100-millisecond improvement in page load. That equals a lot of money in the bank. In the other direction, the BBC lost 10% of its users with every extra second that it took for their site to load. That hurts.
So how do you address this? Try Lighthouse, a Google tool that provides recommendations on things you can fix — for example, identifying images that are too large or recommending smarter ways to load the different parts of a page. Follow the conversion curve in Google Analytics as load times improve, and you should start to see it moving in the right direction.
There is always a part of your checkout that can be optimized. Find it! If you don’t have a checkout, you’ve probably got an essential form you’d like your customers to fill in. The same thing applies.
Grab your analyst and do a funnel analysis* or some user testing. You’ll get clues as to where the problems are in your customer journey. When you‘re ready with solutions, set up some A/B testing and check your hypotheses – has the conversion rate improved? If it turns out you were wrong, you’ve learned more about the customer journey and can move on to the next set of tests.
* Funnel analysis is to understand where in the flow customers are dropping off and why.
What experience do your customers have right after their first purchase? In the first few days? The first week?
This small but crucial part of the digital customer journey can often - and surprisingly - slip between the cracks. Don’t let that happen because it has a direct effect on whether a customer recommends you to a friend, or comes back to shop again. We call it onboarding. How to make your new customers enjoy the buying experience so much that they become an ambassador for your product or service. They should get a ‘wow’ experience because no one has ever said to a friend; “You know I bought something online today and it was a mediocre experience. You should really get one too!”
When were you last your own customer? Make a purchase or sign up and see what it’s like. It may hurts a little, but that's a good thing.
You’re going to need help, and that’s okay. Because innovation isn’t the work of a lone hero — it comes from collaboration. You can expect to need someone who knows digital communication, someone who can code, and someone who knows data.