First impressions have been known to be the lasting impression. Now that’s an old adage that has been passed on for generations. Times have changed, but this saying holds true, even in an era where technology plays king. That being said, the question remains, how do you know exactly what makes the best first impression? Or in terms of eCommerce sales, what’s most effective for your business? That’s where A/B testing comes in.
A/B testing is primarily administered to see if your website is a hot favorite among customers. Simply put, It’s a method of determining which design, content or functionality is more successful with your site visitors. It allows you to test a variation of your page (or element on a page) that may affect your consumer’s behavior.
In most cases two websites are compared, to see which user interface works best for customer satisfaction, which in turn boosts your sales.
For example, A/B testing of your eCommerce site can involve:

  • Testing two alternative content layouts for the same product to see which layout produces more sales.
  • Various versions of product descriptions for your site to see which one makes it easiest for customers to find and purchase from you.
  • Changing the navigation menu or naming to see which results in more sales.

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Here are a few more great e-Commerce A/B testing ideas that all savvy and growth-minded e-retailer should try.

  • Split test your homepage: The inclusion of trust badges have been known to make a massive difference in a customer’s purchasing behavior. It’s a good idea to test out when and where your trust badges are shown.
  • Test your product pages: Creating a sense of urgency with flash sales at specific times can also create a surge of new customers. Try creating flash sales at different times to test what works best. It doesn’t have to be lower pricing, flash sales could include limited products, free shipping until X o’clock, buy one get one free, etc…
  • Test your checkout funnel: Add familiar trust seals, security promises, a money-back guarantee, eliminate steps, 1-page checkout versus 2-page checkout (or 3-page checkout), the order of checkout, requiring registration, and the details you ask for.
  • Test your category pages, your search results, and your thank-you page.

So far we’ve looked at a few split testing ideas that are sure to spark up your creativity, but it’s important to mention that you shouldn’t just change for the sake of change. You don’t test for the sake of testing. If you’re going to split test various phases of your eCommerce flow, you’ll want to have a data-backed hypothesis beforehand.

The basic steps for a successful split test include:

  1. Analyze your existing site: Identify hat you want to test. Set a benchmark
  2. Set a goal for it. You might want to increase the conversion rates, or decrease cart abandonment, or increase sign-ups, or lower the bounce rate.
  3. Define a process of how you want to reach that goal. For example, you might increase sales if the product page includes a video review, or shorten the checkout process.
  4. Create a variation to test your hypothesis.
  5. Run the test for an adequate length of time.
  6. Analyze the two sets of data.
  7. Implement the variation if it does better.

Ultimately, you don’t want to always be testing every little site change as it may leave you more confused, but a few choice tests can deliver big results.
When all is said and done, big results are the name of the game. Small consistent changes can create big profit, big growth, and big improvements.