Articles
October 14, 2019
Robert Sacco

The Continuous Improvement Cycle: How Big Players Achieve Effectivity and Growth

This four-step process helps you to structure a series of tests into tasks. Evaluating the outcome becomes easy and helps you to improve over time by making progress systematic.

E-commerce marketing is a fluid environment. With everything accelerating, the process of continuous improvement has become a necessity for business success. Resting on one’s laurels for just a month means starting to fall behind the competition. 

If you are looking for an e-commerce silver bullet, there is no better way than finding what works in your sector. This is nothing new – big players do this every day. They have entire teams dedicated to finding cheaper or more efficient ways to operate.

Emerging online stores can use this process too

There are many ways to pursue continuous improvement: finding more profitable opportunities, lowering the cost of conversion and improving ROI are just a few. Let us introduce one of the most common methods for achieving continuous incremental improvements in your business.

Plan-do-learn-change

The PLAN-DO-LEARN-CHANGE cycle helps you to see what works and filter out what doesn’t.

Continuous improvement cycle
Continuous improvement cycle

Practical example

Let’s say you want to test a re-marketing platform that promises your sales will increase by 10%. Of course there is a monthly cost to be paid for this new tool. How to make sure it will have the desired effect and actually make more money than it costs?

The best way to find out is to try it out. But before you start, don’t forget to set expectations. The Plan-do-learn-change framework will help you.

plan do learn change

Phase #1: Plan the test

Goal: What are we trying to accomplish? 

We are trying to increase online sales by 10%.

Time frame: How long does the test need to run for us to see the improvement? 

We are going to be testing the new re-marketing platform for 2 weeks.

Metrics: How will we know the goal was accomplished? What metrics should change as a result of this test?

Our two KPIs will be sales revenue and number of orders.

Observing test KPIs in Roivenue 
ROIVENUE is great for observing test KPIs

 

Phase #2: Preform the test and watch!

This covers the whole two-week period. It is important to document every problem and obstacle along the way.

Generally, when trying something new, it is not recommended to fully commit to it as the only solution. Start with a smaller budget and, ideally, test alongside something that is already working for you to compare the changes. Any proper scientific experiment will have it’s control group, why should testing for your business be any different?

Phase #3: Turn results into insights

In this phase you analyse the data collected during the test. This is where a marketing intelligence platform comes in handy for the evaluation of test results.  

Also check other key numbers in your business to see if they were affected by the test. Unexpected consequences are equally important and easily missed. 

Measuring revenue increase in Roivenue
Measuring revenue increase in Roivenue. Week 35 was the starting point and after 3 weeks we managed to increase both conversions and net revenue.

Phase #4: Use what works

Now you need to decide if you are going to stick with the solution or not. Logically, keep only what works. You may find out that the platform only brought a 6% increase in sales revenue. Even though it wasn’t the promised 10%, it is still a profitable investment. 

You can either: implement the platform into your marketing mix and move on to another test, or, if you are still not sure whether the platform is worth it, you can simply prolong the testing period for another 2 weeks and gather a more robust data set.

To sum it up

The Plan-Do-Learn-Change cycle is never ending. The truth is that these little improvements, when applied one by one, will add up over time and soon start sending you ahead of competitors. Yet another example of compound interest.

The most important (and hardest) step in the process is to measure correctly. You need to have reliable up to date data for your decision making. ROIVENUE helps you to easily follow the most important metrics on a daily basis. Whether you want to measure your initial investment or evaluate your Net Revenue to see if you actually make money, it can be done with ROIVENUE. Book your free personalised demo now and initiate business growth.