We spoke with Patxi Gadanon, who works as a Senior Web Manager for one of the leading fine arts brands in the UK, called Colart. In his role, Gadanon ensures that all websites within his purview provide excellent user experience and display up-to-date content. Colart has been a VWO customer since early 2017, after Gadanon evaluated several A/B testing tools including Optimizely. He explained how he arrived at the conclusion that VWO is the right web testing and conversion optimization solution for the Colart brand.
When Gadanon started working at Colart in January 2017, he quickly realized that its website would engage visitors more if optimized with the help of web testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) practices. As he started looking for the ideal web testing solution for Colart, Gadanon evaluated his options on the following parameters:
- Quality of customer support
Does the tool have a dedicated support team? What is their availability like? Do they respond in time? Can they answer technical questions regarding test implementation?
To implement a scalable testing process, Gadanon needed to set up and run tests with minimal IT help.
- Ease of use
Is the tool easy to use? How much effort and resources would it take to train the team on it?
A tool that is easy to use would help his team resolve subjective debates with visitor data.
- Tool features
Does the solution meet all requirements? Does it integrate with other tools and analytics platforms easily?
“The primary objective of the website,” Gadanon said, “is to build credibility in the Colart brand. Although we sell our products through the website, we do not identify as an ecommerce company. We measure success in terms of visitor engagement.” Therefore, in-depth visitor behavior analysis was a critical requirement.
How flexible are the pricing options? Is the tool within the budget? Will the Digital Director approve the quotation?
The team used several tools for different requirements and managed to get some quick wins, but it soon became obvious that they should look for a solution that would help them bring everything under their testing program at one place. It was important to select an all-features-in-one tool that allowed testing on multiple domains from a single platform.
Based on these factors, Gadanon shortlisted two options—VWO and Optimizely—and proposed these to Louise, his manager and the Digital Director at Colart. Even though Gadanon had used Optimizely for his previous employer and was comfortable using it, he drew up a quick price and feature comparison and got demos for both tools before making a decision.
What Didn’t Work with Optimizely
When asked why he did not choose Optimizely for Colart, Gadanon cited its poor technical support during the presales period. The team at Optimizely did not share the code with him and preferred to speak with developers instead. This was a problem because development for the Colart website is not done in-house. Gadanon also sensed a reluctance to provide a solution even after the problem had been identified. “I had to keep following up for help. It felt like I was begging to get more support, even after I had mentioned that we were in a rush to decide on an A/B testing solution. By the time the Optimizely demo was scheduled, we had already made up our minds to go with VWO instead,” Gadanon said.
He was also aware that Optimizely slowed down websites, and that didn’t help either. Gadanon’s team had received poor feedback about the flicker that visitors noticed on websites running tests by using Optimizely. It is now a widely acknowledged issue across digital media.
More importantly, Optimizely charges users separately for each domain it runs tests on. The digital team at Colart manages several sub-brands and approximately 20 web domains that they concurrently wanted to run tests on from a single account. The inflexible per-domain pricing model was, therefore, a deal-breaker for Gadanon and his team.
Why VWO Emerged as the Tool of Choice for Colart
VWO emerged as the preferred solution for Colart for a variety of reasons.
VWO Support (Presales and Post-Purchase)
Gadanon was impressed with both the presales and post-sales support that he received from VWO. “I can trust the VWO Support team to respond quickly and give me a clear, straightforward response, even when it’s something I would not like to hear,” he explains.
VWO provides 24×7 hands-on support across phone, email, and chat. VWO also has in-app guided onboarding and an up-to-date knowledge base containing all the information users would ever need. Even better, enterprise customers get dedicated customer success managers to help them set up their accounts and get testing immediately.
VWO also has a flexible pricing model that worked for Colart and its sub-brands. If a team like Gadanon’s wants to run tests on multiple domains from a single account, it can simply pay by the average number of unique monthly visitors on its website, no matter how many domains it runs tests on within that visitor quota—and this is precisely what they chose to do.
More information about VWO pricing plans is available here.
No impact on the page load time
VWO uses asynchronous code to serve campaign data, compared to synchronous code used by Optimizely.
Asynchronous means that the code contacts VWO servers in the background, downloads, and processes the test package while the rest of the page continues to load and render in the browser as usual.
Optimizely’s synchronous code makes the browser wait until Optimizely can deliver the test package, long enough for visitors to notice.
And in the improbable case of VWO servers being unavailable, the original page gets loaded, ensuring that visitors’ experiences remain unaffected. This is why Gadanon’s team has never received complaints about a flickering issue with VWO.
Gadanon also found the VWO user interface to be intuitive and easy to browse. While commenting that the dashboard is organized well, he described it as a “wizard” that holds a lot of information and options and allows for a steeper learning curve for nontechnical people like him.
While Gadanon admits that his team hasn’t used the platform to its full potential, he notes that the Colart brand has benefited from VWO in multiple ways.
Optimizely lets its customers manage and run A/B tests and personalize their website for visitors. On the other hand, VWO provides a data-driven testing solution that connects every step in the visitor journey to impact conversion rates. Customers can bring their entire conversion optimization program on a single, connected platform—track business goals, analyze visitor behavior, build data-driven hypotheses, run tests, and personalize content.
Using the Analyze capability of VWO, Gadanon and his team have been able to analyze visitors’ behaviors on the Colart website. “We use heatmaps and scrollmaps to ensure that the design elements of every new page are working for our website visitors,” he stated.
The digital team at Colart has also used VWO Surveys to settle internal, subjective debates. When they noticed that in some instances, pages hit per session and time on site were high, they wanted to find out if people were lost or if the content was not engaging enough. Some team members attributed it to poor site navigation and user experience. To verify this hypothesis, Gadanon setup on-page surveys which revealed that 90% of visitors who took the survey were satisfied with the site and approximately 50% were happy with the site experience, leaving no room for further debate.
Minimal IT Dependency
Gadanon notes that with VWO, his team has been able to set up and run tests with little IT help. The team usually tests changes to website content to see what visitors prefer and then plans to increase the testing frequency in the future.
It helps that the team does not need to integrate VWO with many third-party tools apart from its analytics platform. Therefore, it requires less support from a developer than it would have needed if it had chosen Optimizely.
Considering the experience of Gadanon and his team with both Optimizely and VWO, it becomes clear that VWO is the ideal A/B testing and conversion optimization platform for Colart and its many sub-brands. As a connected conversion optimization platform, VWO has helped the team deliver an improved user experience to its digital audience. It comes as no surprise then that Gadanon describes VWO as the “Swiss knife of web testing—an A/B testing tool as well as a research and monitoring tool for websites.”
Looking for a detailed feature comparison between VWO and Optimizely? Find it here.
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