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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How To Prevent Shopping Cart Abandonment

HT Prevent shopping cart abandonment

Imagine that you’re doing your weekly grocery shopping and filling up your cart with all the items on your list. Then you get a text from a friend telling you that a competing grocery store is selling the same items at 25% cheaper than where you’re currently shopping. You decide that you’d rather save money (who wouldn’t?) and leave your full grocery cart right in the middle of the aisle, just like that.

In the real world, this would seem strange as it is something you don’t see very often. But in the online world, it happens all the time. In fact, if it happened as much in the real world as it does online, you wouldn’t be able to navigate your own grocery cart around a store due to the millions of abandoned carts surrounding you.

There are many reasons why we do not conduct ourselves the same way in real life as we do online. For instance, it’s just rude to leave a full shopping cart in the middle of an aisle; someone will have to take the time to put all of the items back. This is not a problem in the online world as the shopping carts and the items in it are virtual, for the most part. Also, it’s not as convenient to visit several stores, trying to find the best deal. Online, stores are only a finger tap away from each other. In other words, it’s just easier to abandon your shopping cart without any shame or repercussions.

But why are there so many abandoned shopping carts? According to Goecart, the top three reasons for abandoning shopping carts are:

  1. Comparison shopping (30.1%)
  2. Price too high (27.3%)
  3. Not enough time to complete the purchase (27.3%)

Other reasons include items that are out-of-stock, technical issues, payment issues (credit card not accepted, insufficient funds) and the buying process being too complicated and time-consuming.

If this is a problem your business experiences on a regular basis, there are several improvements that you can make to your website and checkout page to increase the possibility that your customers will see their purchase through to completion:

  • Item thumbnails. This will help customers see if they have chosen and are checking out with the correct item. 3.5% of customers abandon their shopping carts because the item was not what they originally wanted.
  • Strategically placed calls-to-action. Give customers a clear option to checkout at any point while shopping. It should be bold and clearly visible; customers should not have to spend any time looking for the checkout button.
  • Options to back-link. Give your customers the option of resuming their shopping if they are not ready to complete the purchase. This might even encourage them to spend more, especially if you cross-sell items related to those in their shopping cart.
  • “Save Shopping Cart” option. If customers change their mind about their purchases, they do not need to completely abandon their shopping cart; they can save it for later when they have the time to make the purchase. You can send them reminder emails to prompt them to complete their order.
  • Progress indicator. This lets customers know how far into the payment process they are. Number the steps, and keep the number of steps as low as possible.
  • Multiple payment options. The more, the better. Options can include credit card, debit card and e-wallet payments.
  • Security. Customers want to know that their sensitive personal information is protected. Make sure that third party logos are clearly visible on your website.

Aside from the changes you can make to your website and checkout page, there are a few policy changes you can make to keep your customers on track with their purchases:

  • No hidden fees. If you have to charge a fee, be transparent about it. Some customers will feel deceived, and hence ditch the cart and go somewhere else.
  • Free shipping. Customers love getting something for free, especially shipping. If you cannot offer free shipping across the board, then consider offering free shipping for purchases over a certain amount.
  • Price matching. If physical stores can do this, you can too. If a customer can find the same item you offer somewhere else for a cheaper price, match it so that you, not your competition, get the sale.

Although shopping cart abandonment may never completely go away, it does not have to be such a drain for your company’s profits. With a few intelligent improvements to your website and checkout page, you could start cheering these shopping carts to the finish line rather than see them dumped by the side of the road ̶ sad, alone and full of unpurchased products.

For the latest information about how you can increase conversions and improvement your shopping cart completion rates, subscribe to the DalPay Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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