The evolution of optimization and testing is not unlike an endurance athlete chasing his or her next endorphin high. Maybe it all started with a local 5k, but the next thing you know the marathon medals are on displayed and the Ironman deposit has been made. The incredible feeling of accomplishment upon reaching a goal is only temporary as the thirst to push one step further grows.
The first big revenue-boosting win your business experiences from optimizing your customer’s experience is the start of a journey. The win probably came from front-end (sometimes referred to as client-side) experiments on visual aspects of your site because these are not only impactful, but are also easy to deploy. However, it won’t be long before your organization is looking for even greater bottom line results and bigger competitive advantage. To meet this challenge your team can’t just test how a site looks, they need to test how it works as well.
This is where having server-side (also known as back-end) optimization capabilities in addition to your front-end/client-side tools is essential.
But are the challenges your team faces and the resources required to implement server-side optimization worth it? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Having a complete front-end to back-end solution unlocks more revenue potential, which is why SiteSpect was originally built with this functionality and the market has recently responded with more options. Need more specific reasons? Here are the top 3 reasons why your business needs server-side optimization in order to upgrade your customer’s experience.
When your optimization capabilities are limited to just the front-end, or client-side, some ideas can seem “untestable.” But they aren’t. Back-end, or server-side optimization makes it possible to test things like search algorithms, checkout/registration flow, dynamic pricing, switching to an SPA, new product releases and more. According to a 2017 research report by Econsultancy and IBM, only 31% of respondents have optimized their search channel to enhance customer experience. Don’t limit your team’s innovation potential because of technological restrictions. Empower them with the right tools to achieve the best possible outcome.
The biggest challenge with deploying server-side optimization is that it requires two departments with different priorities to work together. Your optimization team is accustomed to owning the entire lifecycle of front-end/client-side tests, but your development team’s participation is essential for executing back-end/server-side tests. While the growing pains of this integration may be challenging, it is essential to support your company’s growth. As Forrester confirmed in their Digital Maturity Model 4.0, “Digital maturity demands cross-functional collaboration.” By bringing these two departments together with a common optimization goal, you will help break down silos and improve knowledge sharing. Your optimization team will become more agile and your development team will gain a better understanding of your bottom-line objectives.
One major difference between a client-side and server-side test is what happens once you have a winning variation. The conclusion of a front-end/client-side test is only the beginning as your team then needs to build and deploy the code change before seeing the full win potential. However, a server-side test requires all variations to be built for launch so the winner is ready to deploy immediately. As Forbes concluded from Forrester’s recently-released report: “when a brand improves its customer experience, its revenue can and will increase, oftentimes significantly.” Wouldn’t you rather start seeing that 10x conversion lift without delay?
No customer experience strategy is complete without a digital optimization plan. And it is becoming increasingly clear that no digital optimization plan is complete without server-side testing. But not all server-side/back-end testing is the same. Make sure you maintain a centralized reporting engine for both your client and server side to ensure accurate analyses as your optimization initiatives increase in complexity. SiteSpect built its unique solution architecture and Origin Experiments capabilities with precisely this level of optimization maturity in mind.
Businesses need to accelerate their digital transformation in order to stay ahead of the competition and drive revenue growth. And according to a recent McKinsey article, “...the needed degree of [digital] transformation is not something CEOs can delegate; they must lead the charge themselves.” As a business leader, driving the organization towards optimizing your customer’s experience and promoting the power of server-side optimization will put you ahead in the race.