The linear buyer journey driven by point-in-time conversions is being replaced by a holistic approach to the buyer journey, which looks towards experience optimization to drive growth. Today, eCommerce shoppers can begin and end their journey on completely different channels and devices — and they expect a seamless experience at every stage along the way.
This highly fragmented path-to-purchase is the new status quo. As a result, buyer behavior is becoming increasingly difficult to predict. And if you can’t predict how your buyers will behave, you’ll struggle to deliver optimal shopping experiences for them.
Testing can offer clues but real customer experience optimization can’t be achieved using traditional A/B testing or web analytics tools. The statistics produced by this binary way of testing is only useful in a static world.
So how can merchants keep up with the level of testing required to compete in the dynamic world of eCommerce?
One effective solution is community-based testing. There are several reasons why community-based testing is the best approach for desktop and mobile eCommerce experience optimization. Here are just a few:
- Advanced testing is more accessible to everyone
- Dollar value of conversions are quantifiable
- Become Insights driven, rather than data driven
- Move faster on experience optimization decisions
- Reduced risks associated with experimentation
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1. Advanced testing is more accessible to everyone
Optimization is the ultimate goal of any eCommerce merchant. After all, the better your site is optimized, the higher your chances are of converting prospective buyers. However, for many merchants, obtaining the resources needed to properly and sustainably optimize their sites can be difficult to justify.
Advanced testing and optimization requires specific knowledge and can be hugely resource-intensive when conducted in isolation. However, through the collaboration and standardized testing involved in a community-based approach, merchants can conduct more advanced testing and optimization efficiently and gain from the learning of others.
In the case of the Mobile Optimization Initiative, for example, merchants gain access to a community of merchants, systems integrators, and eCommerce experts — all working together to improve the customer experience across desktop and mobile.
2. Dollar value of conversions are quantifiable
Community-based testing uses methodologies and best practices that ensure experiments are run with the primary goal of creating better experiences to drive more sales.
KPIs are revenue based. For example, the Mobile Optimization Initiative measures a metric called Revenue per Visitor (RPV) to quantify the dollar value of the conversions merchants’ testing and optimization is creating.
RPV is a particularly important conversion metric as it is combines conversion rate (CR) and average order value (AOV) into a single metric to help you better understand how the metrics interact with one another to create lift in revenue — which is what matters most.
3. Become Insights driven, rather than data driven
When merchants test in isolation, they can get lost in the data. However, data is only valuable to merchants that can transform the signals they get from the data into actionable insights that will move the needle on eCommerce conversion rates.
One of the key challenges outlined by Forrester in a Total Economic Impact™ study of the Mobile Optimization Initiative (MOI) is the lack of meaningful customer experience insights that many merchants face. One merchant interviewed as part of the research explained that, “Without [the MOI] we would be working off unactionable data that we were logging. We wouldn’t know which data we should be logging. We would just be looking at if this year’s numbers were better than last year’s numbers and did that have anything to do with something different that we did versus being proactive about it and figuring out which things we should be changing or which things we should be adjusting.”
A community-based approach to testing gives merchants access to a large pool of anonymized aggregated data from participating eCommerce merchant sites. Not only do they have access to the data, they also have access to a wealth of insights gleaned from that data as well as actionable recommendations and guidelines for future eCommerce optimization.
By joining the community, you can take an important step on the path to becoming what Forrester calls an “insights-driven business,” i.e. a customer-obsessed merchant that systematically harnesses insights across the organization and implements them to gain competitive advantage.
4. Move faster on experience optimization decisions
If you perform optimization experiments in isolation using your own Google Analytics, you’ll have just one data source to look at. Sure, it will give you an indicator of what you should do, but it won’t offer the rich insight you can glean from multiple data sources.
A community-based approach to testing offers merchants access to anonymized mobile conversion data from millions of transactions in real-time. With more data and a deeper understanding of how shoppers behave, merchants can identify opportunities to make better optimization decisions faster than they could by testing in isolation.
The community-based approach also allows merchants to start testing faster with tried-and-tested, data-backed experiments. Compare yourself to other similar merchants and access anonymized data on how other merchants in your vertical are solving their problems.
And, while all merchants are different — what works for one merchant, won’t work for the next — a community-based approach can show you how different you are. Test assumptions about your business, benchmark yourself against other companies, and gain deeper insights to make changes that truly make a difference.
5. Reduced risks associated with experimentation
HiConversion — the technology that powers the Mobile Optimization Initiative — de-risks the testing process. Based on the premise that actual visitors and customers of a company’s website should be the ones that define the best practices, the technology uses self-learning algorithms that adapt to visitor preferences using real-time signals to stage the right buying experiences, for the right audiences, at the right time.
With traditional A/B testing, you can impact conversions and sales negatively by running a poor-performing test. The technology used in the Mobile Optimization Initiative drops bad experiments and amplifies good ones through continuous monitoring. It applies artificial intelligence to the testing process to continuously detect and adapt to visitor preferences in real-time.
This is called adaptive experience optimization. Its self-correcting feedback loop minimizes the risks of experimentation by overplaying good experiences while filtering out the bad ones.
Join the MOI community and begin your community-based experience optimization journey today!
The Mobile Optimization Initiative is a community that offers a great opportunity for merchants to gain access to high-performing optimization tests and actionable insights.
You can see how your results compare to others, benchmark yourself against a community, and gain knowledge that will make a real difference to your bottom line.
Testing isn’t something that you do once on your site and forget about it. Customer behavior changes all the time. Real testing and optimization is a continuous process. In order to do it effectively and efficiently, take a community-based approach.
Ready to get started? Join the Mobile eCommerce Optimization Initiative today and start benefiting from a community-based approach.