So you have an eCommerce site and things are running smoothly, but you are curious about making some changes to various elements throughout your site. The problem is you don’t want to make a permanent change that could adversely affect your bottom line. Enter A/B testing.
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing compares marketing variables to help identify the one that activates a better response from website visitors. Think of it as having website visitors vote on what version of something they like better, without even knowing they are part of the experiment. It allows you to gain valuable insight into user behavior, and to better understand what makes your audience react. See the example to the right for a visual of how A/B testing works.
Why should you conduct A/B testing?
A/B testing helps you figure out what strategies get people to your site (i.e., A/B testing with e-mail or banner ads) and what strategies generate more leads once they visit your site. So much potential for improving conversion rates exists with A/B testing as it allows you to measure the success of proposed changes while limiting potential damage.
A/B testing on eCommerce sites is vital to the site’s success. Since the main goal of the site is a direct sale, it is critical to test the elements of a website that cause a visitor to convert to a customer. According to a HubSpot eBook called A/B Testing for Marketing Optimization, “A/B testing of landing pages can generate up to 20-25% more leads for eCommerce sites.”
2 Ideas for Getting Started with A/B Testing on eCommerce Sites
Call-to-Action Button: If you are new to A/B testing, this is the easiest and most common place to start. The CTA button is a very important variable to test because this is where the conversion happens on an eCommerce site. Different testing ideas for the CTA button include testing the size, shape, color, text, and placement on the page. For example, does “Add to Cart” or “Add to Bag” work better? In a case study by HubSpot, they tested a red button and a green button and found that 21% more people clicked on the red button! In a different case study from Wingify, they tested the location of the CTA button on the page and saw a 10% increase in clickthroughs when the CTA was located within a “buy box” that contained all of the relevant buying information.
Shipping Strategies: Try various shipping offers to see which one compels visitors to buy, and also try varying the location of your free shipping information. In a case study from Monetate, they performed a two-part A/B test. First, they tried out different merchandise order thresholds for free shipping and, as a follow-up, determined the best way to promote the offer to visitors. Through A/B testing, they were able to determine that a $59 threshold for free shipping performed best. In addition, they were able to drill down and figure out which homepage banner display worked best and their client saw an increase in conversion and improvements in average order size.
One key takeaway to keep in mind is that A/B testing is different for each website, and that results only hold true for the conditions in which they occurred. This post gives an overall idea of how you can be improving your eCommerce conversion strategies with a couple of simple tests. As a next step, I suggest spending time browsing some of the big eCommerce sites to see what they are doing to help get your creative A/B testing juices flowing!