E-commerce Tips & Tricks 6 min read
20 Sep 2020

A Practical Guide To A/B Testing For A Successful Ecommerce Store

A Practical Guide To A/B Testing For A Successful Ecommerce Store

Regardless of which niche you’re operating in, there are always other players barging in on your territory. In eCommerce, this is ramped up even more.

Since almost anyone can open up an eCommerce store, there will be several hundred or thousand online retailers in your particular industry. So how do you get ahead and stay there? Simple.

Try new things regularly to see what works best for you. If you find one that draws in more customers and converts them, keep it. This alternate testing of features for your online store is known as A/B testing.

You test two features and see which one is more effective in your marketing efforts. A/B testing for eCommerce, also known as split testing, involves basic features like changing the font size or color. You can then go further and test specific phrases and wording of your copy.

The goal is to find the features that will work together to bring success to your eCommerce operation.

The entire A/B testing concept for eCommerce stores can become too much to handle if you don’t know what you’re doing. Worry not, though. We’re here to lend you a helping hand.

We’ve crafted this article as a comprehensive guide to show you through the various aspects of split testing. A/B testing requires you to continually change parts of your online store to see what works best.

Debutify makes this easy; the free Shopify theme allows you to easily swap out several features in favor of effective ones. Download the top converting Shopify theme Debutify now for free!

What Exactly Is A/B Testing?

What Exactly Is A/B Testing?

We’ve touched on this topic in the introduction. However, it doesn’t hurt to go through it again with a fine-tooth comb. After all, the goal is to get you to understand this concept so that your online store can stay ahead of its competitors.

The long and short of it is that split testing (it’s the same as A/B) is when you test two alternative forms of the same element. You want to see which converts more.

For example, you can test the type of copy you have on a particular item’s product page. You’re wondering whether your customers prefer when the product has a longer, more in-depth description or if they would like short bullet points highlighting the product features.

You show half of your site’s visitors the product page with a longer description and the other half the page with bullet points.

Say, for a week or so. Analyze the conversion rate for each of the pages. Which one converted more visitors into actual buyers? If the bullet points performed better, you should switch all your product pages to carry this product description format.

The result? You’re more likely to see an increase in conversion across the board. Add this to the fact that Debutify Theme is the top converting eCommerce theme, your store is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. In a nutshell, that’s A/B testing for eCommerce.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the other aspects of this online business feature.

What Are The Benefits Of A/B Testing For Ecommerce Stores?

We’ve already shown that split testing is right for your online shop. But what are the exact benefits of testing? It’s more than just increasing conversions and sales. Although those are your main aims - after all, you run an online shop - other good things come out of testing. Here are some of the benefits.

Increased Conversion Rates

You already have a ton of visitors landing on your online store. Split testing allows you to see what features push them to do what you want them to.

For example, you might want to build your subscriber list. A/B testing shows you the most favorable area to place the call-to-action (CTA).

Additionally, testing lets you choose the type of call-to-action to insert. Similarly, you know the color of the CTA button that’ll invite more users to click and subscribe.

Better Content For Your Audience

Split testing enables you to sort your content. The results of the testing show you which kind of content your audience responds to the most. Testing reveals which copy is better and how you improve your content creation down the line. 

The result? You know which form of writing to include in your future posts to make your potential customers respond the way you want.

Reduced Bounce Rates

The bounce rate is the number of people who land on your site and leave immediately without converting into sales or subscribers.

We should point out that this affects your ranking on Google or Bing. Once these search engines notice that people don’t find your site useful, they drop you down the list in favor of sites that people prefer. With A/B testing, you can figure out the combination of features that make visitors stay on your site longer. And while they’re there, they might as well subscribe to your newsletter or buy something from the store.

Reduce Any Risk To The Online Store

Suppose you test the different aspects of your store. In that case, you’ll discover some potentially harmful elements that could bring down your online business if you leave them any longer.

For example, you might test to see what payment options to include. At the end of it all, you find that if you hadn’t included even the smaller credit card providers, you’d have missed out on a bunch of customers.

Missing this considerable number of customers could’ve dealt a significant blow to your finances. So, A/B testing reveals even the smallest shortcomings that your store has. Sort them out and prevent any disasters in the future.

Increased Sales

The more sales you make, the more money that flows into your account. This is the entire purpose of setting up an online store. All the benefits of A/B testing we’ve discussed above lead to more customers buying more products.

Even higher-priced products that seem to take longer to fly off the virtual shelves will go. By testing just how you can market and present them, you’ll find a suitable way to encourage customers to add them to their carts.

What Parts Of Your Online Store Should You A/B Test?

Practically every part of your store is fair game. You can take advantage of several tools to test every aspect of your store, ensuring that it’s optimized to make your online business successful.

We’ll talk about these tools later on. Now, let’s take a look at some of your online store areas that should be subject to split testing.

These elements can be on your web-based store, mobile app, ads, or even the marketing emails you send out periodically. The elements are:

  •     Site Layout
  •     Navigation around the site
  •     Text, for example, site copy, email copy, headlines
  •     Videos
  •     Call-to-action (CTA)
  •     Pop-ups
  •     Images and photos
  •     Announcement banners
  •     Links
  •     Badges
  •     Pricing strategies

You can play around with different variations of these elements to see what works best. Test various sizes, colors, placement, and fonts (where applicable). Setting up these features and elements using Debutify is such a breeze.

How To Perform An A/B Test For Your Store

Several people launch their online stores and believe that everything will work perfectly straight out the gate. For the majority of these stores, perfection is rarely the outcome.

Regular split testing is the way to go. Step by step, you can work your way through the list of elements. With each item, you’ll increase conversions until you benefit from optimizing the entire site. Here is how you can split-test your online store.

1. Define Your Goal

Don’t carry out A/B testing for the sake of testing because we’ve said it’s suitable for your store.

You need to know why you’re testing and what you’re getting out of it. So, do you want to build your subscriber list? Do you want to reduce cart abandonment? Or do you want to increase the average value of each order? Determine your goal before you test the various elements that directly affect it.

2. Look Through The Information You Already Have

If you’re looking to build your mailer list, how many subscribers do you have now? How often do you get new subscribers? So, before you can carry on with the test, you need to have a handle on the current numbers.

This will let you know which of the two versions of the test works better than the other. Additionally, analyzing your data allows you to know where the problem might be coming from. Look at how your visitors move through your site. (Psst, there are tools you can add to your site to monitor this activity)

From this analysis, you might find that visitors don’t see the CTA for signing up. Now you know what to test. See which area of the page they’re more likely to quickly find the CTA button.

3. Test Simple Elements That Have A Big Impact

Your site has some elements that are easy to change. However, they also have a significant impact on your online store’s conversion rates. For example, you can easily change the main headline on a landing page.

Present the two variations of the headline and monitor how your audience responds to each of them. Choose the one with a more significant impact. As you become more familiar with the process, you can then gradually increase the complexity of the elements to test.

4. Test And Change Only When Necessary

Now that you know how effective A/B testing for eCommerce is, you might feel compelled to start testing and changing every aspect of your store’s site. However, if something is working, you don’t have to change it.

For example, on average, 16 out of every 100 people who receive emails from eCommerce brands open them. However, your brand’s email open rate could be somewhere around 50 people in every 100 recipients. This is more than three times the average open rate. Why tamper with that? You’re winning in that category.

Look for another where you’re falling short.

5. Make The Two Elements As Different As Possible

Make The Two Elements As Different As Possible

For your A/B testing to be effective, you need to ensure that the two variations of the element are totally different. What use is this? It allows you to know what exactly your site’s visitors prefer. If they’re too alike, you won’t know what exactly appealed to them. For instance, if you’re changing the landing page headline, don’t just switch out one word for another.

Try using totally distinctive formats and wording in the headline. The results will show you which one users liked better.

Tools You Can Use For A/B Testing For Ecommerce Stores

You can find several tools online that can help with your split testing needs. Some are free, whereas others require you to have a subscription. We’ve compiled various tools, free and paid, that can help you test the different features of your online store.

a. Free Tools

These tools don’t require any subscription.

b. Paid Tools

These tools require a monthly payment. For some, you also have to pay the folks at the company to set up the tool.

In Conclusion

A/B testing is evidently good for your online store. You should make it part and parcel of all your site’s aspects. When you’re comfortable applying it regularly, you’ll find your store improving as time goes on. There isn’t a level where improvement isn’t good. Your online brand will continue to blossom. With an online store built on the Debutify theme, you’ll have plenty of conversions.

Applying A/B testing will drive the conversions up even further.

The theme also allows you plugin testing add-ons to make the process easier. Download the top converting Shopify theme Debutify for free now!  

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes is the CEO at Debutify. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies, and mentoring programs.

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