A/B Testing: 6 Tips To Run Successful A/B Tests For Ecommerce
  • By: Ricky Hayes July 16, 2021

Ecommerce A/B Testing: 6 Tips To Run Successful A/B Tests For Ecommerce

Blue or red, which CTA color will encourage people to click and proceed with the buying process? How many menu options should you have on your homepage to drive conversions, 3 or 5?

You can either rely on guesswork or perform ecommerce A/B testing to find answers to these questions. 

Even if you’re running a successful ecommerce store, you may have to face challenges and friction at some point. 

For example, some businesses experience a lower conversion rate despite receiving decent traffic to their websites, while others witness a constant uprising trend in their cart abandonment ratio. 

A/B tests for ecommerce allow you to determine the root cause of problems by split testing the two different versions of a single thing.

The concept of ecommerce A/B testing isn’t new, and online businesses have been performing successful A/B tests for years to determine the viability of their business decisions.

However, many new sellers are still unaware of the significance of ecommerce A/B testing and use guesswork to see what works or what doesn’t. 

We have created this comprehensive ecommerce A/B testing guide to explain the fundamentals of A/B tests for ecommerce, how businesses perform them, and what specific tips you can follow to get the most of this technique.  

What Is A/B Testing

What is A/B Testing

If you think A/B testing is all about making a few adjustments here and there based on your customer’s opinions, then let us tell you that it is more than that. 

By definition, ecommerce A/B testing is a technique that allows you to split test a variation of your page or its elements to determine which specific design or functionality is more popular with your visitors. 

For instance, you can split test two variations of a single content layout to determine which one gains more attention and brings more value to the table.

Ecommerce A/B testing enables you to answer critical business questions and extract more profit from the traffic you already have. 

How Does It Work?

When using A/B testing, you create two entirely different variants of a single element. Now, send out the first version to 50% of your audiences and the second variant to the remaining 50%. 

The version that receives more attention and generates better conversions wins. 

Ecommerce businesses perform two types of A/B testing to measure results  – client-side testing and server-side testing. 

With client-side testing, you send out the same variant to every visitor and make changes using Javascript before the visitor is shown the final result. 

Server-side testing involves making changes from the server’s side before the page variations are sent to visitor’s browsers. 

Regardless of the type you choose for your business, the basic working principle will remain the same.

Why Should You A/B Test?

Did you know Bing depends on A/B testing to improve user experience on its site?

Many retail giants, including Amazon, also use A/B testing to improve user experience. 

Research also suggests that more than 60% of companies consider A/B testing one of the biggest contributors to their CRO process. 

Still not convinced? Continue reading as we’re going to highlight ecommerce A/B testing benefits in this section which will surely motivate you to perform successful A/B tests to increase your profit margins and conversions. 

Better Engagement

The main goal of performing A/B tests for ecommerce is to ensure your buyers get what they want. When you give your buyers what they want, they will always prefer your brand over your competitors. 

It also improves engagement and encourages your visitors to spend more time on your website. 

Reduced Wasted Ad Spend

If you’re also amongst those businesses that consider paid ads an only source of improving conversions, then we’d suggest giving ecommerce A/B testing a try. 

With ecommerce A/B testing, you can decrease Ad spend and have more conversions by offering the best user experience. 

Improved User Experience

Modern customers pay for the best user experience rather than products. By A/B testing different elements on your website, you can improve your buyer’s journey. As a result, your customers will be willing to spend more on your offers. 

Reduced Cart Abandonment

By conducting ecommerce A/B testing, you can identify why visitors are dropping off. With this information at hand, you can create strategies to reduce cart abandonment and have more sales. 

Ecommerce A/B Testing – Use Cases

In all honesty, no one can provide you with a definitive list of A/B test ideas you can perform today to improve conversions. 

Prioritize those A/B tests for ecommerce that are centered around your own data. For example, 

  • Conduct a technical analysis to see how well your website performs on different devices
  • On-site surveys to determine what’s stopping your visitors from converting
  • You can conduct interviews to find out more about your customers. Why have they visited your store? What problems do they expect your brand to solve for them?
  • Analytics analysis to figure out how your customers behave

When Should You A/B Test?

A/B testing is effective and powerful. But do not waste your resources testing areas that contribute less to your conversion funnel. 

It is essential to have a roadmap in hand before you even think about performing A/B testing for your business.

Take help from analytics to identify the best-performing pages on your website. Also, use heatmaps to determine how exactly visitors navigate your website. Perform user tests to discover areas where your customers experience the most friction. 

Once you have a detailed road map in hand, you can start developing a hypothesis about your site.

A/B Tests For Ecommerce – Challenges

Ecommerce A/B testing is a technical process. The thing is, only having a roadmap isn’t enough to drive the desired conversions. You also need to follow your plan religiously to see some real-time results.

And similar to anything else in the world, A/B tests for ecommerce also come with their own challenges. We are going to highlight a few of them down below.

It Requires Consistency

First things first, it is essential for you to understand that ecommerce A/B testing is a process. You have to perform it repetitively to achieve your conversion goals. 

You Need A Fair Amount Of Traffic To Perform A/B Testing

Second, you can’t expect precise results if you don’t receive decent traffic to your site. Your sample size should be large enough to give you accurate results. 

It Demands Experience

Last but not least, you need to have a fundamental knowledge of statistical analysis and other web or domain-related things to perform successful A/B tests for your brand. 

How To Set Up A/B Tests

In order to conduct ecommerce A/B testing, you must follow this five-step launch plan.

  • Research: This step is critical. Carefully examine your internal data to identify the areas that could improve through A/B testing
  • Form a hypothesis: Time to form a hypothesis. Remember, you can only test an assertion and not an idea
  • Determine the variable: Determine a variable to condense the process 
  • Determine the length of time and volume (set parameters): For accurate results, make sure you specify time and volume parameters before getting started
  • Choose a tool: Many A/B testing tools are available online, including Optimizely and VWO. Choose a tool that best fits your needs and budget
  • Analyzing A/B Test results

Now that you know what ecommerce A/B testing is and why, when, how, and where you should perform A/B tests for ecommerce to improve conversions, it is time to disclose a few proven tips that will take your A/B testing efforts to the next level.

6 Tips To Run Successful A/B Tests For Ecommerce

1. Know Your Metrics

When running an A/B test for your website, you must know what specific metrics you’re measuring. 

For every A/B test to be successful, it must focus on a single KPI. 

For instance, if you want to tweak your landing page by replacing a form with a chatbot, you must hypothesize and predict which specific metrics will change. 

It is also essential to have a clear expectation in mind regarding improvement in your conversion rates. 

To avoid confusion, make sure you know the metrics beforehand that you’re about to measure and in what way. Doing so will help you test and measure the impact and make better future decisions.

2. Develop An Analysis-Based Hypothesis

Ecommerce A/B testing is just like statistical experiments. You cannot move forward unless you have a clear and well-defined hypothesis in hand. 

Creating a hypothesis is one of the initial steps of starting and running an A/B testing program. Here are a few things you need to do to form an analysis-based hypothesis:

  • Finding your best-performing pages (CTRs, time spent, conversions, and more)
  • Finding out the areas where your customers face hurdles
  • User testing
  • Surveys

3. Always Test One Element At A Time

The biggest mistake marketers make is they test two or more completely different elements at once. Sure, it may save you a few bucks. But the results you’ll get in the end will be misleading. 

So, the best way to conduct an A/B test for ecommerce is to stick to a single element at a time. Once you have gained an accurate result, move forward and test other areas of your website. 

4. Run A/B Tests For Comparable Periods

Did you know what differentiates successful A/B tests from failed ones? They’re designed for comparable periods. 

Take a simple example here. A brand that performs a split test during the holiday season comparing the outcomes to a routine Tuesday night won’t get accurate results.

That being said, it is essential to only compare the results of two events/situations that are comparable.

5. Test Consistently

Test Consistently

As discussed above, one-time testing can’t provide you with accurate results. Many times, a variable performing negatively in one environment gives upside-down results in another situation. 

Now, what does that mean?

To achieve reliable and accurate results, you have to consider ecommerce A/B testing as a process rather than a single test. To drive best results, make sure you constantly and consistently conduct A/B tests for e-commerce. 

Remember, the more often you test, the more accurate and reliable the results will be. 

6. Remember, There Is Always Room For Growth

When it comes to ecommerce, there is always room for growth and improvement. With successful A/B tests, you not only will improve your conversion ratio but also increase your odds of making better business decisions.

A/B tests remove the guesswork out of the process, making it possible for brands to benefit from tried-and-tested results. 

The good thing about this technique is that you can use the results of one A/B test as a base for your upcoming tests. That means all of your future split testings will be entirely data-based and statistical.

Conclusion – Is A/B Testing Worth It?

Definitely, yes. Ecommerce A/B testing is the most effective and data-centric technique of determining what works for your business. A well-planned and properly executed A/B test plan can successfully evolve your website into an engaging and profitable online shopping platform. 

The key here is to understand that A/B tests for ecommerce go hand in hand with data. So, the more accurate your data will be, the better results you’ll get from the process.

Moreover, do not stop split testing at any point. Continue testing your different website elements with the tools available online in order to keep improving your on-site user experience. 

We hope this post has cleared some of your doubts about A/B testing, the way it works, and how you can benefit from it to improve conversions. For more questions or drop your feedback, you can always reach out using the comments section given below. We’d love to hear back.

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