Customer Experience Optimization (CXO) can be regarded as the big sister of User Experience (UX). It has become a pillar of effective ecommerce and a crucial preoccupation for ecommerce managers. But the big, unanswered question for ecommerce managers is: “How can CXO be integrated into the business?”
Given the variety of structures among businesses embarking on the CXO journey and the range of micro-political considerations, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ formula for embedding optimization.
So, here are my five best tips for companies trying to build a resilient, value-driving framework for optimization! Even if you’re already using testing and optimization to improve the customer experience, this advice can help.
Optimization can be used both tactically and strategically. Tactically, it can be used to instantly optimize those high-value, low-performing customer behaviors. Strategically, it can be used to innovate. However, both require slightly different approaches to control.
Tactically, optimization must be grounded and prioritized, while strategic optimization efforts may be more opportunistic. Businesses with optimization embedded well are able to use it in both capacities, collecting data about customers that can be used for segmentation, targeting, and personalization.
Business-wide decision-maker involvement is crucial. Without this, companies may enjoy short-term victories but will ultimately be unable to capitalize on CXO for long-term ROI and business impact. If the UX, creative, and design teams use a user-centric approach to hypothesis creation and campaign execution, then UX should be able to stay consolidated while optimizing across channels.
Involvement from IT will also help teams get under the engine, understanding what’s possible and what isn’t and identifying the implications of any third-party integrations. Technical and UX specialists should coordinate heavily with merchandisers and marketers to craft hypotheses for campaigns, in order to inform what products to sell when and to whom.
Too many overlapping campaigns cannibalize site traffic and distort campaign results, leaving cause and effect unclear. Therefore it’s necessary to create a centralized, dedicated function within your business and to prioritize campaigns based on potential impact, interest, and implementation.
The objective of optimization is ultimately to increase conversion, maximize revenue, and increase brand loyalty. Celebrate campaign result wins but remember to analyze what it means for the business and what the results and insights show. This includes considering what the next campaign should be and how other hypotheses may be affected.
Also remember this: The definition of winning may take a form other than conversions or uplift. In a risk mitigation campaign, for example, it’s often considering a win when proposed designs or functionalities are optimized before rollover, ensuring the proposed changes don’t negatively affect conversions.
Wins can also come in the form of ‘flat’ results where no change is observed, such as with device-specific experiences: An organization could decide, based on the results, that it’s no longer necessary to invest in multiple experiences across devices, which would save it valuable resources.
Don’t ignore wins that aren’t directly tied to conversions and uplift. There are many different ways to define success with optimization, and all can be equally important to the ongoing value of a CXO program.
Establish a strong connection and relationship with CRM and SEO, so campaign insights can be implemented upstream to drive traffic to your site. The visitor and customer insights gleaned during campaign cycles are often ripe with implications for targeting, messaging, and offers.
Additionally, work closely with marketing to help build and feed into attribution models. This can help you rationalize spend on traffic drivers by using CXO to assess both the quality and quantity of traffic, which helps you assign monetary value to communications.
In short: Even if you’re somewhere in the middle of the CXO maturity curve, this advice is fundamental! It’s often in a fast-paced optimization environment that we lose sight of the principals that make us successful marketers and UX specialists who drive value for our company.
Check in with your team to make sure it’s following these tips to keep your CXO program healthy, productive, and profitable!