Have you already heard about “test and learn” approach, one of the well-known action levers of the Management 3.0 ? Today, we are in an era in which flexibility, adaptation and performance determine success. It is therefore impossible to conceive innovation without going through test phase. This is why you absolutely need to integrate testing in your digital strategy, and your customers have a huge role to play!
WHY TESTING NEEDS TO BE PART OF YOUR DIGITAL STRATEGY ?
In a rapidly changing world where information is increasingly accessible, competition is tough to make your customer loyal. Digital customers have a wide choice of services and products, which increases the effort of companies to satisfy their customers and convince them to buy.
As Pascal Picq points out in his book Un paléoanthropologue dans l’entreprise : s’adapter et innover (A palaeoanthropologist in the company: adapting and innovating), a change of culture is necessary in traditional organisations which still have a vision too linear and hierarchical, especially in France.
You can no longer conceive innovation as it has been in the industrial era with a classic development framework, moving from R&D to sales, with each department operating in silos.
Now you need a demand-driven vision, to co-design with the main stakeholders: your users. You must be fast enough and responsive to find a place in a highly competitive market and adapt quickly to demand. To do this, put aside your certainty and listen more to the users, rely on experimentation rather than purely rational decision!
TEST AND LEARN MAKE HAPPY CUSTOMERS
You certainly know this famous expression which is sure to bring about some teeth-grinding: customer is king! Really annoying isn’t it? But sadly, it is right… Nowadays, even more than ever, customer experience is the key to digital success. With a consumption which is more and more multi-channel and digitalised, integrating the user in your development process is essential! So, be prepared to experiment and interview customers.
Some businesses with a success story have understood it very well. For example, Dropbox encourage their users to take a tour of the functionalities, and send a text of ninety characters of feedback about the service by rewarding them with megabytes of extra storage.
Another example is Décathlon. Since March 30, 2017, in a co-design approach, the brand has set up the Décathlon Creation test platform after using it to allow users to suggest improvement ideas for their products.
Users feel therefore more engaged with the brand. They can help you to find the strengths and weaknesses of your idea. Don’t be afraid to be challenged! Finally, this way, you take fewer risks, your user experience can only be better.
HOW TO PROCEED?
Develop a Minimum Viable Product
When you have an idea, you certainly have a global vision of the final solution, whether you want it or not. But how to be profitable before that? This is where the MVP comes in!
It is a first draft of your idea (product, service or else) but a functional version. It forces you to confront your users as quickly as possible at the lowest cost. Step by step, experience will help you improve your solution and add new features or services. No need to spend a huge budget if your solution does not fit to your customers’ needs!
One of the most famous MVP is Airbnb. The two founders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbi, validated their product by offering mattresses in their living room during the Industrial Design Society of America Conference (IDSA) in 2007. They found three guests willing to pay for this and validated their first assumption: people pay to sleep in strangers’ house! Not so obvious at first sight… Today, the platform has changed a lot – for the better – since its first roll! You can find a lot of other MVP examples.
Measure and analyse: no test without data
Tests require a certain analytical rigour. Your test must absolutely not rely on your intuition but on reliable data. Be particularly careful to the bounce rate, the conversion rate, time spent on your website. All the data that could help you understand your customer’s behaviour and identify what the factors or elements scrambling their experience are. Assessing these issues can have an important impact on your turnover! Then, you can use, of course, these figures to measure the potential of an initiative.
First tip: unlearn everything you think you know and be user centric! A test can verify very different aspects: the value proposition/the landing page/the call-to-action of your website, a customer journey, the usability of your app and many other things…
For this, there are a lot of test methods like the A/B testing, method consisting of comparing two versions of a page or an app to see which one is more efficient.
Second tip: always do the test by small keys so that it is not skewed because the change is due to only one factor.
Learn and improve
A testing strategy is a continuous improvement process. You have to proceed by iterations. These are short development circles that enable to take feedback into account before launching a new one. In this way, you make regular checks on what is valuable for your user and every new cycle helps you to improve your solution. Sometimes tests fail, but do not give up, be perseverant! You can learn about it. Once again, it is better to realise it as quickly as possible in your cycle of development!
Keep in mind: your digital success depends on your capability to forget what you think you know by confronting you to your clients regularly! Small tests can solve important business stakes. So integrate them as much as you can and try new things!
If you want to know how to launch your first test, go take look on the article Getting Started with User Testing for Website Optimisation!