Why You Should A/B Test Your Ecommerce Store

You should A/B test your Shopify or Woocommerce store simply because it's the best way to grow your sales and overall conversion rate.

Regardless of its type and size, the ultimate goal of every ecommerce business is to get as many conversions as possible.

But, it’s easier said than done.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to converting visitors into customers and it can be difficult for businesses to identify which ones they should work on (change or improve) to drive the desirable actions from their audience.

This is where A/B testing comes in!

By enabling you to compare two versions of a webpage, A/B testing can help you figure out what works best in driving conversions.

(If you are new online and don’t know much about this, read my blog post What is A/B Testing? And How to Win at It to get all the essential information about the process).

Despite the fact that A/B testing is known as one of the easiest known ways for conversion rate optimization, it has still not become a standard practice in the world of ecommerce. This has to do with some businesses not getting significant results (as they had expected) out of their tests and others believing that they don’t need to A/B test because they are already performing well.

But, the importance and significance of this testing method can be determined by the fact that almost all big companies (the ones that are considered giants within their respective industries) run hundreds or may be thousands of A/B tests every year.

Some of them include Amazon, eBay, Google, Bing, Facebook, Booking.com and AirBnb.

Wondering if you really need A/B testing?

Let’s take a look at some of the most important reasons why ecommerce businesses should run A/B tests on their store.

Top 5 Reasons to do A/B Testing

While there are numerous reasons why A/B testing is worth investing your time, money and effort in, here we are highlighting some of the most important ones:

1. To Increase Conversions and Sales

The ultimate goal of every business is to maximize its conversion rate and A/B testing is the simplest and most effective way of doing that.

In reality, increasing sales is really the only reason to run A/B tests.

Sure, there are many secondary benefits, like the ones listed below, but anyone running tests is really optimizing the page to boost revenue of the business.

A/B testing allows you test different versions of every element of a webpage (or many of them at the same time), so you can ultimately create a website that will strike the right chord with your target audience and drive more conversions and sales.

An important thing to note here is that A/B testing not just provides immediate or short-term conversion and sales boost, it can also provide long-term secondary benefits by reducing the bounce rate, increasing customer engagement, and by helping you win customer trust and loyalty.

All these factors can contribute to increasing the number of repeat customers, which then ensures a steady conversion rate and ROI.

2. To Improve Engagement and Reduce the Bounce Rate

It can be disheartening to see visitors bouncing off your website without viewing other pages or spending enough time reviewing your web content because a lot of time and effort goes into creating web content.

But, instead of getting frustrated over the situation, you should figure out why this is happening and how you can decrease the bounce rate. A/B testing can help you do that.

By allowing you to tweak and test different page elements, A/B testing helps find a winning combination to keep visitors on a website for long. For those who do not know, the time people spend on a website plays a key role in determining the conversion rate; the longer they stay, the more likely they are to convert.

The time people spend on a website reflects the engagement rate. And a higher engagement rate increases the chances of them discovering the value of your content and your product, which then increases the chances of conversions.  It’s kind of a chain reaction where one thing leads to the other and A/B testing will help you start it (in your favor).

3. To Make Informed Decisions

Let’s say you put in a huge amount of time, effort, and money into creating your ecommerce website, but it’s not performing the way you had expected.

What should you do?

There are two possible approaches/ ways to deal with this problem:

The first one is that you make a guess about what could potentially be the reason for your website’s poor performance and make changes, accordingly. Based on your deduction, it could be as simple as revising the headline or as comprehensive as changing the whole design or content. In this scenario, you are taking a risk because you don’t know if your presumption is right and if the changes you are making on your website will actually improve its performance.

The second way to deal with an underperforming website is that you analyze statistics and various other elements to figure out where exactly the problem lies. For example, are people leaving your website without visiting any other page, apart from the landing one, or do you have a high shopping cart abandonment rate?

Once you have identified the problem area, you can move ahead and try to figure out the specific element that’s causing the trouble or not performing well with A/B testing and then make changes to your website. In this scenario, you are making an informed decision and not relying on your presumptions or luck. Hence, you are almost certain that the changes you are making will provide the desirable results.

The first approach may seem easier, but it has a huge risk associated with it. And why take the risk when you can make informed decisions, backed by data?

A/B testing different elements of a webpage often takes time, but it can help you to find a winning combination that is guaranteed to provide measurable results. It gives you the confidence that you are investing your resources in the right place. While A/B testing initially appears to be time-consuming, it can save you both time and money in the long run.

4. To Learn More about Your Audience (Their Choices and Behavior)

When it comes to creating web content, it is easier to make assumptions about things that you believe would get a good response from your audience. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.

A/B testing helps take this guesswork out of your marketing campaigns.

By allowing you to test different versions of a webpage, A/B testing helps to figure out the factors/ features that attract, engage, and convert a greater number of people.

In other words, it can help you to determine users’ preferences and thereby, enable you to make an informed decision.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that A/B testing is the only method that can give you the confidence that the changes you are making on your webpage will drive favorable results.

5. To Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment has been one of the biggest problems for ecommerce businesses for a very long time. A research study conducted in 2017 found the rate of cart abandonment to be as high as 78.6%, on average. Since shopping cart abandonment is directly linked with sales, reducing its rate is one of the topmost priorities of ecommerce stores.

Multiple factors contribute to this problem; the layout and the text of the checkout page are among them. So, before you make any major changes to your website, try A/B testing your page with a few little tweaks because the problem(s) are not always big. Sometimes, things improve by making as little revisions as changing the place where shopping costs are displayed, simplifying the checkout form, or even by just changing the colors. Therefore, it is recommended to try out these minor changes first and go for major revisions, if these do not work.

According to Kyle Rush, who worked on the team that helped former US President Barack Obama raise funds for his 2012 election campaign, “the user experience between checkout and entering a shipping address is the best place to focus on with A/B testing.”

Make sure you make the most out of this amazing technique rather than stress over your high cart abandonment rate.

Want to know more about the causes of shopping cart abandonment and how to deal with them?

Check out my blog post 8 Culprits for Shopping Cart Abandonment (And What to Do about It) to learn about the most common reasons people leave online stores without completing the checkout process and how you can resolve those issues.

Conclusion

A widely prevailing misconception about A/B testing is that only the businesses who struggle to drive enough conversions and sales need to use it. However, this is not the case, in reality. According to digital marketing and conversion optimization experts, all businesses that have an online presence need to run A/B tests to improve their performance. As they say, there’s always room for improvement, there’s always a possibility of improving your website performance.

Another reason why every ecommerce business needs to regularly test different elements of its website is to ensure that they do not lose their effectiveness with time. The digital world is continuously and rapidly growing and with it, the trends and consumer behaviors are also changing. What’s popular or working for you today may not get the same response after a few months (this can be applied to everything, be it your website design, processes, content or visuals). Therefore, in order to be relevant in the digital world, you have to continuously make efforts and evolve with time. But, making changes without A/B testing is like taking a shot in the dark; you can only hope and pray that it hits the target.

Don’t risk your time and resources. Perform A/B tests to collect empirical evidence and only implement the changes that work for you. A/B testing is not only easy to implement, it also provides quick and reliable results. Stop taking risks and making decisions by flipping a coin, perform A/B tests for guaranteed results.

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