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Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3: Why Online Retailers Should Implement A/B Testing

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Have you done any A/B testing recently? As an online retailer, A/B testing should be part and parcel of how you structure your business. It also involves far more than simply split testing a landing page for your website. Virtually every facet of your business can benefit from this type of testing – provided it is done in a way that generates useful data.

There is a wide variety of service providers that perform A/B testing. From free testing using Google’s “Content Experiments” and Facebook’s “Plan Out”, to some of the more full featured paid offerings such as “Optimizely” and “Clickthroo”, the end goal is the same. They all provide you with enough data to make an informed decision. It is one thing to “like the look” of a payment page. With A/B testing, the decision of which page to choose is based on real data indicating which page delivers more bottom line results.

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A/B testing involves far more than testing multiple versions of a payment page. It can and should be used for marketing efforts as well. From using multiple email marketing templates to varying the time of day or geographic location, A/B testing provides the data to justify a decision. (In case you might not have noticed, we are pretty big fans of A/B testing).

A/B testing is a big deal for websites and marketing….and of course, pricing! Tracking and responding to real world pricing conditions is the dynamic, reactive element of your pricing solution and is best implemented using a repricing solution. A/B testing for pricing should be the proactive element of your pricing plan. Repricing allows you to react to changes in the market and competitive landscape, then proactively set pricing procedures to respond to those changes. A/B testing would be used to test the effect of modifying an entry price point or raising or lowering a current price on your bottom line revenue. Assumption in pricing can be a dangerous area – even a small change can make a huge difference on the bottom line. Will raising prices boost revenue enough to offset a possibly lower conversion rate? Will lowering prices increase the conversion rate enough to boost revenue with a lower profit margin? A/B testing allows you to test the waters and make an informed decision based on real data and results, not assumptions.

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We live in a very fast paced world today, and it has become expected that businesses react and respond to changes in the marketplace almost in real time, in order to remain competitive. Not sure where to start with your A/B testing? A common area of concerns for online retailers is the checkout page. Cart abandonment is an unfortunate reality of online shopping and any changes you can make on this page that will reduce customer anxiety and make the process smoother is sure to boost your bottom line (and overall conversion rate). Changes to your actual checkout form, including the order in which you ask for information can make a difference. Do you display customer reviews on the page? Utilize A/B testing to see how making changes in these areas will make a difference. You can also ask your customers about a few ideas you would like to implement (or have thought about) for your online store and run a poll on your website asking customers which one they would most like to see. Use the data from the poll results to run A/B testing featuring the top two or three choices….and remember “always be testing”.

Have any other conversion rate boosting tips? Share them in the comments section.

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Arie Shpanya

Arie is the former COO, Executive Chairman, and Co-Founder of Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers and brands. He has extensive experience in business development with a focus on eCommerce (eBay and Amazon), and is a guest blogger on Econsultancy, VentureBeat, and more.

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