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Last updated Oct 27 2020

⚡ Experimentation examples

The world is changing, so are your customers - Lauren Brennan

Lauren Brennan, Optimizely’s Product Marketing Manager, explains how COVID-19 has changed the ecommerce landscape and who shops online. Lauren talks about how experiments can help you deliver great experiences to your customers (both old and new).

What Lauren covers:

  • Examples of experiments you can run to improve the customer experience
  • What to do when you don’t have historical data to drive your changes
  • Whether customers are open to change during this current climate

Click below to read the transcript.


Hi, my name is Lauren and I'm a product marketing manager at Optimizely. I'm here to talk to you about how the world is changing, and so are your online customers, in just five slides and in five minutes.

So, first a bit about Optimizely. We're the leader in progressive delivery and experimentation. Our platform includes feature flagging, progressive rollouts, A/B testing, all of which helps you to deliver the best digital experience possible to your customers.

It's no surprise that with the COVID-19 pandemic, that we're experiencing one of the most challenging times for many of us in our lifetimes. And I'd like to talk about the shifts that are happening in ecommerce around the world, and how we can understand the changing behaviors of online customers, and how we can adapt to it in order to give them a fantastic customer experience.

This is a great report from McKinsey that came out in April. The research demonstrates that leaders in customer service had three times greater returns in the last recession than in their peers. Since COVID-19, management consultancies say experimentation and digital experiences are even more essential.

This is something for all of us to take away. Even though companies are going through a challenging time, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't be focusing on innovative digital efforts, such as experimentation. If anything, it's more important now more than ever. And it's experimentation that allows you to navigate how your customers are shifting their behaviors, and what resonates with them, reducing uncertainty and providing revenue growth.

But, before we get into this, do you still know who your customers are?

So, here's another graph from McKinsey, where you can see some of the demographic shifts during the pandemic. Many older and rural users are turning to online shopping. On the left graph, the proportion of age groups over 31 has risen to 60%. And on the right, the proportion of rural shoppers has risen to 69%. So many people have gone online to fulfill their needs out of necessity.

We can see that behaviors are rapidly shifting, and with new customers coming online, they need seamless support, and a positive, frictionless digital experience. It's critical to test new digital experiences, and to learn from these fast, which is essential to emerge as a leader.

So, what are the next steps? Prioritize removing pain points. The climate has made customers frustrated and anxious, and many want and need extra support.

Here's a few examples of experiments you can run to deliver great experiences to your new online customers. For our customers in the higher age bracket, you can experiment with different payment options. These users may be shopping online for the first time. And they may not be comfortable, or trust, paying by credit card or PayPal. So look into offering options like cash on delivery, or pay by invoice.

You can also test out the feature for the user to choose, you know, a larger font size. At the end of the day, you want your customers to have a great experience, and this just might make it easier for them.

And what can we do to make the experience better for users in rural areas? Try experimenting with giving them more shipping options, they might be further away from warehouses, and maybe their item is out of necessity, so long delivery times can be a really bad experience.

Also, you can think about their different buying behaviors. Because they're in a more rural area, they may want the option to buy larger quantities or in bulk, since shipping could be slower and more expensive for them.

And lastly, for all your customers, experimenting with personalized recommendations is so important. But you won't have loads of historical data to use for your new online customers. So, you just have to test and learn, and see what the best user experiences are for them. And you know, continue to wow them and keep them coming back.

So, what are our top takeaways? Behavioral change is accelerating much faster, than ever before. With new customers coming online, they need seamless support and a positive frictionless digital experience.

And this is where experimentation comes in. It can be your compass during changing times, allowing you to make decisions and reduce uncertainty. Testing isn't just a nice to have, it's critical. Customers are the most open to change than they've ever been. So, now is the chance to wow them, with great digital experiences.

And finally, keep digital customer experiences at the heart of your strategy. Put your customers, first by delighting them with your digital experiences, and keep them coming back for more, which will benefit them and your business.

So, thank you so much for your time. Big thank you to Hotjar and enjoy the rest of the event.