A/B Testing Your Webstore: Getting Started with the Basics

AB Testing

If there was one thing you could change about your webstore, what would it be? For some people, it might be conversion rates (converting website visitors to paying customers). For others, it might be an optimised general user experience (which could, in turn, increase conversion rates). Whatever the changes you want to make, the best way to test their effectiveness is through A/B Testing.

What is A/B Testing?

Also known as “multivariate testing”, A/B Testing allows you to experiment with two variants, or elements, on your landing page, shopping cart page or payment process to see which version gets the visitor to do what you want them do. There is no limit as to how many variants you can test, but for the sake of A/B Testing, you are only testing for two. Version A is your control; this means that the original element stays the same as it always has. Version B is your treatment, which is the modification whose effectiveness will be compared to the original.

Let’s say you want to test for increased conversion rates. Your landing page might contain a Call-To-Action (CTA), like a Buy Now button, on the lower right side of the page, which has garnered a 9% conversion rate. This version of the page is your Version A control. Another version, the Version B treatment, might feature the same CTA, but positioned in the middle of the screen rather than off to the right. Half of your site’s visitors will experience Version A, while the other half will experience Version B. Once a specified number of visitors has seen one or the other page (it could be 1000 visitors for each version, for example), you can compare which site was the most effective at increasing your conversion rate. If Version B generated a 16% conversion rate, then it is obvious which version of the page you should go with to convert your website’s visitors into paying customers.

Why A/B Testing is Important for Your Business

If you are not achieving the results you’ve been hoping for with your online business, A/B Testing is a great strategy you can use to exponentially boost your conversion rates, and hence, your profits. It can also enhance the user experience for your potential customers which improves your credibility, dependability and customer retention rates. Furthermore, it can help combat the pesky problem of shopping cart abandonment if your payment process is not on point.

How to Start A/B Testing for Your Website

You can start the process of A/B Testing by taking the following points into consideration:

  • Small changes can make a big impact. Simply modifying the look and location of a CTA (like a payment button) can be effective. Moving a CTA from the right to the center, or vice versa, can mean a world of difference in the number of visitors you can turn into customers.
  • Pay attention to merchandising. How you group the articles for sale in your web store could make a difference in profits. If you sell clothing and accessories, try one version in which shoes and sandals are categorized together, and another version in which they are categorized differently. See which one leads to the highest number of completed transactions. It is also good practice to make all essential information about your products and services eye-level. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to locate the goods.
  • Shopping cart and checkout button placement is crucial. You want the site visitor to spend money. The best way to make that happen is to craft a seamless user experience. One way to ensure this is to make the “Add to Cart” icon and “Checkout” buttons obvious. You want the customer to easily fill their cart, and have the option of checking out at any point while shopping. You can place these buttons in the conventional upper right-hand corner, and then create another version in which the buttons are in a different location. Test both locations and see which works out best. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.
  • A little publicity can go a long way. If your company has been featured in the news, in a magazine (online or print), or on a TV show, refer to this in your content. If you have not yet done this, you now have a variant that you can control for: Version A without the reference to the publicity, and Version B with the reference. Test it, and see which version does best.
  • Make use of the available tools. Google Analytics is a practical and invaluable tool for the casual user who wants to collect and analyze data regarding their website’s user experience. Within Google Analytics, Google Analytics Content Experiments can be used specifically for the purposes of A/B Testing.

Now that you have the basics of A/B Testing, go out and start testing! The sooner you start, the sooner you can roll out your optimised website, page element or checkout process, and begin reaping the benefits of providing your visitors with the right tools to convert them into customers. For more tips on starting and running your online business, subscribe to the DalPay Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Persuasion and the Path to Purchase

Path to Purchase Good2

As the e-commerce landscape is becoming increasingly saturated with more and more options for online shoppers, you may wonder what you can do to stay ahead of the competition. A few months ago, we had a few suggestions on how to stand out in a crowded market and how to prevent customer churn. Today, we’re offering some additional tips on how you can use centuries-old wisdom to attract and keep more customers on the path to purchase.

Aristotle for Today’s E-Commerce Business

Back in the 4th century, Aristotle wrote The Art of Rhetoric and explained the three modes of persuasion necessary for developing engaging, effective and persuasive speech. While Aristotle’s target audience were the wannabe-persuaders and philosophers of Ancient Greece, his insight is very relevant to modern day e-commerce marketing, operations and customer retention. Understanding each of these “modes of persuasion” will help you connect with your customers in a credible, emotional and logical way, and will help increase your sales.

Credibility (“ethos”)

Aristotle’s first mode of persuasion, ethos, is the credibility of your business, both the message and the management. In Aristotle’s time, if an audience were suspicious of your claims and motivation, they would not likely “buy in” to what you were saying. Similarly, if your customers are not convinced that your business is trustworthy, your website secure and your marketing message factual, then they’re not likely to purchase from you. Give your customers a reason to believe in you. If your customers believe you can deliver on your promises, then they’ll more likely purchase from you.

Ethos for your e-commerce

Tell customers who you are

While an ‘About Us’ section is important, you shouldn’t stop there. Reach out to customers in a personalised manner through social media, targeted emails and customer loyalty campaigns. Spending a little more time engaging customers one-on-one really pays off: online retailer Indochino saw a 540% jump in revenue after they started engaging with their customers with targeted personalised emails.

Explain why you’re the best

There are over 110,000 live e-commerce websites on the internet right now. With all of this choice, you need to make it clear why customers should choose you over your competition. Do you offer incredibly fast or low-cost shipping? Do you have a returns policy that beats the rest? Do you have the very best deals around? Rave about why you’re awesome and customers will take notice.

Include customer reviews

71% of customers will read a product review before buying it and 63% are more likely to buy a product if it is reviewed and rated. There’s no doubt that positive customer reviews can impact your sales, so make it easy for customers to write a review and even easier for potential buyers to read them.

Emotion (“pathos”)

The second mode, pathos, is the emotional connection you make with your customers. If you’re not aware of how buying from you makes your customers feel, then you’re not likely to have many customers at all.

Pathos for your e-commerce

Up the ‘happy’ factor

Customers need to know how your products or services will make them happier, smarter, more successful or less stressed. Don’t assume that your customers will make this connection on their own and in 15 seconds or less, the average time a buyer stays on a website. Captivate your audience as soon as they land on your homepage with clear, compelling and motivating content and branding.

Provide human customer support

Up to 60% of customers will pay more if they know they’re going to get great service. On the other hand, 89% of customers who’ve had a poor online shopping experience will never revisit that e-commerce website (and will tell all their friends about it!). Make sure your customer support team is helpful, thoughtful, empathetic and human. Love your customers and they’ll love you back.

Logic (“logos”)

The third mode, logos, is the logic behind your business. Once your customers believe that your business is trustworthy and that what (and how) you’re selling will impact their lives, making the purchase will be their next logical step. Just remember to make that path to purchase a logical and intuitive one.

When it comes to your e-commerce website, every step along the way from the landing page to the checkout page is your customer’s path to purchase. How well designed and easy to navigate your website is directly reflect how much effort, time and consideration you’ve devoted to your business and to your customers. Think about your customer’s journey so that they don’t have to think twice about buying from you.

Logos for your e-commerce

Hire a UX Developer

The raison d’être of a UX developer is to keep the customer’s experience in mind. A great looking website with great code isn’t enough – being aware of how your customers will respond to your website and how your website will lead your customers to complete the path to purchase need to be incorporate into the initial design plan, not glued on at the end.

Provide an easy-to-use payment provider and shopping cart

With as many as 74% of shopping carts being abandoned by online shoppers, it’s of the utmost importance that both your payment methods and shopping cart complement your website. Providing several payment options to customers can be advantageous but may also result in some confusion (and an increased chance of abandonment). Research both what’s available to your business and what’s preferred by your targeted audience.

Go mobile (now!)

85% of all online customers will also be mobile customers by next year and 65% of mobile shoppers prefer mobile sites to apps. While many website builders, like WordPress and Wix, incorporate responsive design into their templates, if you’re building your website from scratch, make sure that a mobile version is available. If this isn’t enough reason to go mobile, Google recently announced that it will rank mobile-friendly websites higher for searches initiated on a mobile device.

The three elements Aristotle revealed that would persuade an audience centuries ago are very much applicable today: ethos, pathos and logos. Persuade your customers to complete their purchase from you by making that path to purchase credible, emotional and logical. Oh, and mobile!

For additional conventional and unconventional articles on how to incorporate your customer’s experience at every stage of your e-commerce business, visit the DalPay Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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