Moving from Tactical Testing to Strategic Experimentation and Personalization

September 29, 2020
 

By Kerry Meehan, Senior Strategy Consultant, Kibo and Helena Mathieson, Senior Strategy Consultant, Kibo


2020 has definitely been a year of reactivity. With COVID-19 turning many retailers on their heads, reacting quickly to changes in consumer behavior has been all the more challenging for those of us working in experimentation and personalization.

No matter what your situation is—whether you are immature in your strategy or you’ve been doing it for years and it’s embedded throughout your business, the likelihood is that personalization is a higher business priority in 2020 than it was in 2019. With holiday season coming up, having a solid strategy in place for you to maximize results is key.

This post will be the first in a six-part content series centered on personalization and experimentation. In it, the Kibo Strategy Team, along with other industry experts, will be guiding you on how to supercharge your program by moving from tactical testing to strategic experimentation and personalization.

After years of working with thousands of clients such as Waitrose, adidas, Pandora and more, Kibo has a really clear idea of what drives success: having a long-term strategic roadmap that informs everything you do.

Finding Success in an Experimentation and Personalization Program

There are many ways to approach a personalization and experimentation program, but here is what our most successful clients have in common:

  1. They have clear strategic goals for their experimentation and personalization programs
  2. Experiment ideas align to overall business goals with common KPIs
  3. Clear roles and responsibilities have been established so that teams have ownership and accountability
  4. There is full organizational buy-in
  5. Every decision that is made is customer-focused, not based on ‘what should be done’
  6. A clear prioritization framework exists, and there is clear understanding of what will drive value
  7. There is regular communication about the achievements of the program
personalization engine waitrose grocery delivery experimentation and personalization

Kibo customer Waitrose, one of the UK’s largest online grocers, has a strong personalization strategy integrated across the business that has been tremendously valuable for them during COVID-19. As thousands of new customers flocked online to order groceries for the first time from Waitrose when the pandemic hit, they were fortunately prepared with data-driven messaging and testing powered by our personalization engine. This enabled Waitrose to quickly learn as much as they could about their new shoppers and allowed them to personalize messaging and products during their next session. As a result, Waitrose saw a significant uplift in engagement.

We want you to learn how to identify if you’re running a tactical testing program, and if you are, how you can move the needle from tactical, ad-hoc testing to planned personalization.

The ultimate goal of this content series is to make sure you’re making progress on the path to personalization. Why? Because although we know the impact testing and optimization has, we also know that delivering a 1:1 experience drives significant life-time value plus a superior experience to your customers.

experimentation and personalization

Kibo research shows that deep personalization, even across a 3-page journey, drives increasing ROI. For visitors that viewed the same number of pages, we observed that by the third personalized page, visitors’ conversion rate increased by 100% compared to someone that viewed three non-personalized pages. Similarly, by the third personalized page view, that visitor’s cart rate increased by 74% compared to someone that viewed three non-personalized page views.

The Importance of a Strategic Program

So what’s next? In our next post we’ll be diving deep into building a plan. We’ll be looking at the importance of a experimentation and personalization plan, what it could look like, how to manage it, what data sources you can integrate with your plan, and how to integrate it with your wider business. We’ll talk about creating a long-term roadmap, and why clear objectives and a hypothesis prove to be consequential to achieving pronounced success.

But before we go, we urge you to ask yourselves these questions before the next part of this series is released! These are questions we always ask our clients in order to identify areas for opportunity.

  1. Is your testing program currently powered by data insights, or is it led by the ideas and opinions of your colleagues from what they think you should be testing based on gut feeling?
  2. Is “personalization” a word that’s used around your business but there is no real plan of how to roll out a successful personalization program that will yield significant results?
  3. Do you struggle with prioritizing experience ideas?
  4. Do you frequently struggle to get meaningful learnings for your tests, or are your tests often not reaching significance?
  5. Are your objectives often changing?
  6. Do you make decisions on a whim?