A/B testing is a powerful tool for any online business. It allows you to test and perfect every element of your sales funnel and improve it gradually to the best it can be.
A/B testing works by showing slightly different versions of your pages to different visitors and recording the results. For example, we could show 5,000 visitors a version of our page with a green ‘buy now’ button, and show another 5,000 visitors a version of the page with an orange ‘buy now’ button. Our analytics software will show us which of the versions of these pages actually got people to click on the call-to-action button the most.
One important thing to consider when performing A/B testing is to only make small changes to your different versions of each page. If, instead, we had swapped out the orange ‘buy now’ button for a larger button in a different part of the page with ‘buy now’ in a different font, how can we know exactly what is causing the button’s performance to improve or weaken? Is it the button placement, or the button size, or the button font that has caused the conversion rate to change? We don’t know. Instead, keep your A/B testing simple and measurable.
There’s much more to A/B testing than choosing between visual interface options. Below we’ve put together a number of smart ways you can use A/B testing to improve your e-commerce store.
A/B Testing Your Homepage
Your website’s most important page seems like a good place to start.
- Use A/B testing to see whether making the homepage leaner by removing extraneous items improves the bounce rate. Many e-commerce stores try to do everything on their homepage, from newsletter signups, live chat, and reviews, to social media signup, product descriptions, and special offers. This can make for too many things vying for the visitor’s attention.
- Test whether seasonal sales drive conversions.
- Test how different elements in the sidebar, such as signup forms, navigation menu, or ads affect how the user interacts with the home page.
- Evaluate whether your images should or should not have accompanying text.
- Test whether an immediate offer for new first-time visitors improves conversions.
- Test different menu structures. Thanks to the increased use of mobile devices, customers are now more comfortable with smaller menu bars like the ‘hamburger’ menu or simply a button that says ‘Menu’. Test all of these and find the best for you.
- Compare whether to include a sale section in your top-level site navigation or not.
- Test whether to include personalized notifications (easy with DataCue). These are less obtrusive than popup notifications.
A/B Testing Your Landing Pages
Landing pages are the first pages your visitors will see when they click through on an advertisement or marketing campaign. They should be tight, focused, and highly optimized to encourage readers to take the next step. They therefore make perfect fodder for extensive A/B testing.
- Try different text on your call-to-action button.
- Try different locations for your call-to-action button.
- Test whether an indication of price improves conversions.
- Compare whether a small landing page with a video converts better than a longer sales page.
- Test whether the video should auto-play or not.
- Evaluate whether adding additional call-to-actions improves conversion rate.
- Test whether a navigation bar to other parts of your site should be added or removed.
- Test whether making the landing page localized helps conversion.
A/B Testing Your Sales Pages
By A/B testing your sales pages, you can improve your storefront’s usability, making it easier for customers to find the right product quickly and make a purchase decision without hesitation.
- Experiment with adding a sales and special offer section on your page to see how it affects conversion rate.
- Try varying the size of your search bar to find the sweet spot.
- Test whether adding testimonials or other social proof in a prominent position helps increase conversion rates.
- Compare whether to display the availability of items and number in stock.
- Test whether to show shipping rates or bundle the rates into the full price of the item.
- Add and remove fields in important forms to see which of the fields could be causing form abandonment.
- Test whether to show how many people have purchased the item recently.
- Try adding and removing the display of similar products to see whether it helps or hinders your bottom line. Upselling items that have a better profit margin can earn you more revenue per buying customer, but it can also confuse potential buyers who were ready to purchase.
- Test whether offering free shipping for a minimum transaction amount can boost profit.
- Test whether offering live chat help can mean a significant boost to sales.
- Try different image sizes and gallery options of your products until you’ve hit the sweet spot.
- Test whether showing related products can cause buyers to buy multiple products at the same time. A/B testing can help you find which products pair together the best.
- Try different psychological pricing strategies ($9.99 vs. $10, buy one get one free, etc.)
- Check whether placing a comparison of pricing and options between two of your products can entice the buyer to choose the more expensive option.
DataCue’s automatic personalization options work in a similar fashion to A/B testing in the way that different pages are displayed to different customers. Instead of this being used for testing purposes, automatic smart decisions are used to make the live buying process easier for visiting customers. For example, they will automatically be shown products complementary to products they’ve bought in the past, improving the customer experience, and driving up sales percentage rates.