What A/B Testing Is and Why You Should Always Be Doing It for Your eCommerce Site

what is a/b testing

Making the right design decisions for your eCommerce shop is a must because even small details can have a bigger impact on making your customers more or less interested in your site than you might realize. A/B testing is a method of experimenting with two or more possible elements of design by showing each to a randomized audience and seeing which one performs better. Here is a guide to what A/B testing is and how it can benefit your eCommerce shop!

What Is A/B Testing?

Designing an eCommerce shop that is aesthetically pleasing and functions as well as possible is an important step in keeping your site visitors interested and boosting your sales. Although there are certain best practices when it comes to quality web design that create a helpful starting point, you may not always know which of two or more design elements you are considering will bring in the best results. You might not think something as minor as the color of a button, the style of a dropdown menu, or the font you choose will have a significant impact on your overall sales, but the subtle, psychological attractiveness of one option over another can have more noticeable effects than you might think.

A/B testing allows you to compare the results of two or more potential options by randomly showing one of your options to your eCommerce shop’s potential customers. During the test, each possibility will be shown to an approximately equal number of your site visitors during the time period you specify, and you will receive data surrounding the actions taken by each group of visitors. You can then make a design decision based on the results of a single A/B test or run multiple tests to test another element of your site. Running the same A/B test at a different time of day or day of the week can also help to confirm the data you gathered from your original test, as timing can be crucial when it comes to getting the right audience that will provide the most accurate information.

A/B testing can also be used for copy. If you are deciding between two or more ways to present a product description, how-to article, or other information, you can perform an A/B test to see which text resonates the most with your audience.

What Is CRO?

Your eCommerce shop’s conversion rate optimization, or CRO, compares your overall site traffic with the percentage of visitors that ultimately make a purchase. Although increasing your site traffic is a good thing, the number of visitors to your eCommerce shop is not necessarily an accurate indicator of how many of those visitors will actually make a purchase. By optimizing your conversion rate, you can take steps to decrease your bounce rate and increase the number of site visits that result in a sale.

With approximately 49 percent of marketing professionals ranking conversion rates among the top three most important factors when it comes to growing their companies, it is clear that identifying steps eCommerce shops can take to boost them is a helpful step in increasing sales. Running a conversion rate optimization audit is a helpful way to compile data surrounding a wide range of factors that affect your CRO.

From the appearance of your site and the quality of your product descriptions to the functionality of your links and the smoothness of your checkout process, there are dozens of factors that can affect whether a customer completes the purchase process or navigates away from your site in search of one that is more user-friendly. Your CRO audit compiles just as many categories of data about your eCommerce shop and your site visitors to help you identify areas that would benefit from improvement.

web designer using a/b testing

Relationship Between A/B Testing and CRO

A/B testing and CRO provide various types of data that can be combined to create the best overall picture of how your eCommerce shop is currently doing and how you may be able to make it better. These two categories of tests collect slightly different types of data that work together to provide a more complete picture of the factors that may be influencing your potential customers.

A/B testing primarily involves comparing how your site visitors respond to various basic elements of your website itself, while CRO goes a bit more in-depth when it comes to determining how and why various factors may be influencing their decision to make a purchase or not. Both categories of data can be studied side by side to determine which aspects of your site are working well and which ones may not be portraying your eCommerce shop in the best possible light. Once you have determined which elements are not quite bringing in the results you want from either test, you will have a strong starting point for determining which areas to focus on first when partnering with a web designer or making improvements to your site yourself.

Reasons to Implement A/B Testing for Your eCommerce Shop

A/B testing can have a variety of benefits for any eCommerce shop when implemented correctly. Although they are far from the only benefits you will experience by implementing A/B testing, boosting your conversion rate and average order value can go a long way toward increasing your organic site traffic and its overall value and boosting your eCommerce shop’s revenue.

Increase Conversion Rate

Increasing your eCommerce shop’s conversion rate is one of the most important reasons to consider implementing A/B testing. While improving your site traffic is a good first step to take when you are considering ways to improve your eCommerce business, simply attracting more visitors is not enough to boost sales and increase your overall revenue. Knowing what your site visitors are thinking as they navigate your site gives you a better idea of what factors might be influencing them to complete the checkout process (or try another site) can help you identify which aspects of your site could best benefit from improvement when it comes to influencing your customers to make more sales.

Increase Average Order Value

Increasing the average order value (AOV) of your eCommerce shop is another important aspect of improving your overall revenue. Although every sale counts for something, it is not the best thing for your eCommerce shop if the majority of your orders consist of a single low-value item. Taking steps to encourage your customers to continue browsing and purchase more products, such as showing them products that are related to the item they put in their cart or giving them a discount code for purchasing multiple products, can give them the opportunity to keep shopping and finding more items that they love.

Adding A/B testing to your eCommerce toolbox can be a valuable strategy for pinpointing specific ways to improve your business and increase your revenue. Check out Part 2 of our A/B testing series for a guide to getting started with A/B testing, then contact us to start analyzing your eCommerce shop with this strategy!