Amazon.com Radical Redesign: What You Can Learn

shutterstock_117069988Bryan’s recently pointed out hidden secrets of the Amazon Shopping Cart and how Amazon was testing a new look for their “ready to buy” area and even potentially changing the iconic rounded rectangle “add to cart” button they have used since the mid 90s for a rectangular, flat designed one.

We’ve recently caught another test:

Before:

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 11.22.58 AM

After:

On_Photography__Susan_Sontag__9780312420093__Amazon.com__Books

 

They are moving their website design to a cleaner and flatter design. There are pros and cons to using a flat design, especially with mobile users. However, they are doing there redesign exactly the way everyone should. They roll out section by section to understand the data and key performance metrics related to that specific change. Then when they finish rolling out each part of the redesign they can understand what areas need to prioritized focus for further optimization. Are you planning your redesign this way?

 

*Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Let’s discuss: The closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see

1968 Dodge Charger R/T - 2560x1600 Desktop Wallpaper Black Background What sort of search engine magic does a company like Google work to deliver results meant to please and satisfy those who use its services? Truth is, it isn’t magic at all, and neither are the finer points of accomplishing this perceived magic very magical.

Google’s Search Magic Revealed

Details obfuscate purpose, and correlations can often obfuscate the bigger picture: causation.

When you try to determine how best to entice and engage customers, the search engine optimization tactics you employ have a way of distracting you from what is most important. So many correlations, so many microscopic examinations of efficacy, so much attention to a surfeit of arcane SEO advice can lead to a myopic view of how customers want to interact with you. Like a magician’s slight of hand, these tactics redirect your own attention from the true magic that is happening elsewhere. In essence, the closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see.

When a business focuses on an over-abundance of ‘expert’-recommended small stuff, it typically misses the point, which is: How can you provide the best product for your customers? How can you satisfy, even delight, your customers? How are you going to make each and every customer feel you are there just for them?

The goal of your efforts shouldn’t redirect the attention of your customers. It should be based on moving beyond mystification to deliver the experiences your customers actually want and tailor those experiences to each customer, one at a time. ‘Big data,’ that merger of lots of data points with a variety of data sources and real-time delivery, is your best opportunity to move beyond correlation and into the big-picture realm of causation: If you understand more of what your customers want, you are in a better position to deliver it. The secret both you and your customers are looking for, the secret a company like Google has long since discovered, is customer-centricity.

Is slight of hand the answer? Hardly. Once you understand the magic behind the magic, you learn how to identify the reasons why your customers should care about you and buy from you in the first place. Then you don’t have to deliver the magic of magic; you can deliver the magic of value.

Image: by Barry Wetcher, SMPSP – © 2013 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved

10 Qualities a Data-Friendly Business Culture Needs

[ New Perspective ] Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Shinjuku, Tokyo, JapanUsing and continuously optimizing data with the long-term goal of providing customer value and increasing conversion sounds easy; it can be difficult to execute. Getting the most from your data requires hard work and a willingness to adapt, to experiment, to learn from mistakes, to correct those mistakes as quickly as possible and to keep doing the process over and over without end. But, no matter the scale, crunching data to generate information and insight is valuable only if the organizational structures are in place to support the effort.

One of the most important problems corporations face is creating, at all levels of leadership a framework of support for and participation in new technologies that can help refine and expand how they do business. As pressure to adopt big data technologies grows stronger, many organizations have understandable fears concerning the integrity of their businesses. At the very least, leadership often perceives these technologies as threats to institutional knowledge and continuity.

Alex Miller of QVC, Anthony Bucci of RevZilla and Slava Sambu of Office Max have offered insight into the benefits of staying current with data processing technologies. They have discussed some of the stumbling blocks they have faced. But, as these three suggest, stumbling blocks are not dead ends. Organizations able to confront problems toward finding solutions soon begin to reap the rewards associated with using data effectively.

One of the goals—and it will become increasingly important—is corporate agility. With the ability to analyze and operate in real-time, a business can be far more responsive to its customers. It can quickly evaluate what is or is not working and correct the problem. It can identify problems and fix them immediately. For example, some data a business collects is going to be “dirty.” This is, and has always been, a common problem. Implementation of information derived from problematic data can potentially create a large problem with a large impact on the bottom line. A company needs to be agile enough to catch these problems, evaluate their nature and devise appropriate solutions as quickly as possible. As in right then; better still, an hour ago. Waiting while information makes its way slowly up the chain as each management level makes a decision—even waiting as long as it takes to organize a meeting of department heads—is not an option anymore.

Businesses are accomplishing this every day, and some have been employing these practices for years, decades. Amazon operates like this. Online newspapers operate like this. Alex Miller’s discussion of the need for immediacy in real-time data management of live broadcasting is particularly relevant. Real-time responsiveness is possible and advantageous with a sympathetic business culture.

What makes for a corporate culture that can successfully welcome and accommodate the emerging landscape of using data?

  1. An ability to understand a data-driven focus can out-perform many, if not all, previous business solutions
  2. An open-mindedness that supports the research, development and experimentation necessary to make best use of big data
  3. A perspective that supports the idea operating in real-time is an excellent way not only to enhance the customer experience but also monitor for problems and quickly correct them. However difficult it can be to negotiate at all levels, business agility is critical
  4. A marketing optimization framework that allows marketers to use the data effectively to make marketing decisions in real-time. Companies with higher conversion rates almost always have better marketing efficiency ratios (net contribution/marketing expenses). These companies understand it’s hard work to accomplish better marketing efficiency ratios, but it’s considerably more lucrative to do so.
  5. Higher standards of accountability throughout the organization, up to and including the CEO. Does the CEO know which factors of the customer experience impact sales, which projects or departments to favor, what truly needs to be done to optimize the marketing efficiency ratio? In a data-driven business climate, the CEO must know these things
  6. Leadership that promotes higher levels of communication, even collaboration, across all teams
  7. A willingness to grant certain decision making powers to smaller teams
  8. A commitment to employing conversion rate marketing principles
  9. An emphasis on making sure data as well as information and insight derived through analytics are flowing to individual teams across the organization so each can make clear decisions and execute in real- or near-real-time
  10. People and processes that foster a culture of risk-taking and ongoing testing

It took very little time to list (or read) these qualities. It will probably take much more time to internalize them so they become ingrained business practice. If you hope to stay competitive, however, just don’t let it take too long.

Four Not-to-Miss Data Stories- June 3rd, 2013

not-to-miss-linksUse your mobile phone. Use your tablet. Use your electricity. Use the internet, the ER, a medical laboratory, a gym. Generate lots of data all about yourself. Who can use that data? Well … probably not you.

If My Data Is an Open Book, Why Can’t I Read It?
(For a cooperative effort toward mutually beneficial solutions, check out #wethedata: for the people, by the people. For a list of companies supporting greater transparency in privacy, see Future of Privacy Forum supporters.)

Facebook tells a visual story of how members exchange music. It’s an amazing, artistic topography of music shared–and think of the mountains of data that went into creating it. Is there a clever marketing way to use this data? Folks are hoping so. Maybe you have a suggestion.

Facebook’s Mesmerizing 3D Music Map: Can Artists, Brands & Developers Use the Data?
(Nothing’s wrong with your speakers; there’s no audio track.)

Mapping Music on Facebook from Facebook Stories on Vimeo.

Back to Google’s “honest” maps. Suppose the only maps you see are based on what you are most likely to choose? Google Maps plans to serve up personalized maps that don’t show every feature–say, something you might want to do on an adventurous day–because that’s not what you normally choose based on all the data Google has on you. It’s a brilliant use of data for the purpose of targeted advertising. But some wonder what happens to your experience of life when the use of your data offers up thirty-six flavors of ice cream where one’s vanilla, the flavor you tend to pick, and the other thirty-five are … vanilla?

My Map or Yours? Google’s plan to personalize maps could end public space as we know it

Personality profiling gives businesses a far better idea what potential customers will respond to. But giving every potential customer a personality test is not feasible. What’s a business to do to improve conversion rates on advertising campaigns? Turn to Twitter.

No Hiding Place: A Plan to Assess Your Personality From Your Tweets

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