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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Frictionless Commerce – The Future of Payments Isn’t about Payments

frictionlesscom

It’s been a very exciting year for us at DalPay and CCNow, and for the e-commerce industry as a whole. We’ve shared some of that excitement with you here on our blog as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages. With our E-Commerce Growth Report 2014, we looked back on how far the industry has come and where it stands today. Now, however, is the time to start looking ahead at the future of payments.

Is there any doubt what payments of the future will look like? Mobile and contactless payments are poised to sweep up whatever is left of traditional point-of-sale (POS) payments, while alternative payments are outgrowing traditional methods, such as credit cards, year after year in the e-commerce sphere.

So, as far as merchants are concerned, the future of payments isn’t about payments anymore – it’s about optimising those payment methods to provide a better user experience and higher conversion rate. Moving ahead, it’s no longer about developing new payment alternatives, it’s about developing frictionless commerce.

What is Friction?

Friction is anything (anything at all) that slows down or otherwise disrupts the online shopper’s journey from ‘browse’ to ‘buy’. Whether it’s a slow-loading site, confusing design, pop-ups, or an unwieldy checkout process, any amount of friction is going to have a negative impact on your conversion rate. The less friction you have, the more conversions you’ll make – it really is that simple.

E-commerce has the potential to be the perfect payment landscape because it makes frictionless commerce attainable. With online shopping, information can be transferred instantly, prices can be easily compared, and transactions can happen anywhere the shopper is located. So what is preventing e-commerce from taking over completely?

Online businesses of all kinds face a predicament. Because credit cards remain the most common online payment method, merchants need to accept credit card payments or risk alienating the majority of their potential customers. But credit cards are also easily exploited for fraud.

The difficult part is finding the right balance between security and ease-of-use. If you’re too permissive, you run the risk of losing a large portion of your profits to fraudsters and of developing a reputation as an unsafe place to do business. If you’re too restrictive, you could turn away customers by forcing them through too many security checks and making them feel like a criminal.

One of the reasons for the rise of alternative payments is the need for more secure ways to make and receive payments online. For example, DalPay’s e-commerce platform is favoured by merchants because it allows them to accept payments from their customers without the friction-causing security requirements necessary to mediate the inherent risks in credit card payments.

How to Reduce Friction

The modern digital economy is driven by rapid innovation. Cloud computing and on-demand scalability at a low cost allow new market entrants to compete at a global scale. But what makes a business stand out in a crowded marketplace is simple – does it feel good to use? Shopping cart abandonment is at a whopping 67%. You can’t underestimate how many more customers you can convert by simply reducing friction.

Friction is literally anything that slows down a customer’s journey from ‘browse’ to ‘buy’, so there’s a nearly endless number of causes, but just to help you get started here are a few reliable ways to reduce friction:

  • Increase your loading speed. Consumers won’t wait very long at all for a website to load before opting for a competitor. 40% of consumers have said that they would leave a site after only 3 seconds. Regularly test your website’s performance and upgrade your hosting services to ensure that it loads as fast as possible.
  • Integrate dynamic shopping cart software. There are nearly as many different consumer habits as consumers, so a dynamic shopping cart that allows people to shop however they want is a sure fire way to make more people happy. Multi-item checkout is expected to be a given, while additional features (such as saving your cart) can encourage repeat customers. DalPay offers several free shopping cart modules to suit your business’ needs.
  • Streamline navigation. A website that is difficult to navigate is an unsuccessful one. Make your webstore simple and attractive, with easy-to-find search tools, category pages and buy now buttons placed in clear and expected locations. Eliminate clutter and ensure that browsing feels comfortable and intuitive.
  • Perform A/B testing. Every time you make a change to your website, however small, compare the before and after conversion rates to gain valuable insight into what is causing friction and what is relieving it. Depending on the payment habits of your clientele, there could be many unforeseen sources of friction that A/B testing will allow you to identify and eliminate.

It’s often said that consumers are impatient and you shouldn’t have to make them think. We don’t believe that’s quite accurate: it’s not that customers don’t want to think or get impatient with your checkout process. If your website is poorly designed, navigating it is confusing, or there are just too many steps, your customer is going to feel uncomfortable and lose trust in your business. Once you lose their trust, you lose their business.

People want comfort, convenience and a good deal, and when they find something they like and trust, they remain loyal to it. That’s why e-commerce is all about building relationships. The easier you make it for your customers to purchase, the more likely they will return to your website, tell their friends and write positive reviews. When you reduce the friction in browsing and buying, you not only increase conversions, you increase loyalty and keep customers coming back for more.

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