• September 29 2022

Ecommerce A/B Testing: A Quick Guide

People comparison shop all the time to find the best deal. They don’t only look at prices but also product features, quality, brand name, and more. In the ecommerce world, you don’t want to lose customers to other brands.

If you want to discover what people want, A/B tests can be a lifesaver. These tests help you uncover insights by comparing A and B versions of website elements.

Dive deep into best ecommerce A/B testing ideas and best practices in this article.

What is A/B Testing

A/B testing, bucket testing, or split testing compares two versions of the same thing to find out which works best. This could be an email, a web page, a blog, or more. Businesses use A/B testing when they want to base their decisions on evidence, not instinct.

For example, using A/B testing, a digital marketing team can find out which landing page converts more leads. They simply send one version to one segment of their audience and another version to another—then it’s down to which gets more clicks.

The winning variation helps the team with conversion rate optimization (CRO) and spot revenue leaks.

You need to run A/B tests for a certain period to reveal qualitative and quantitative user insights—but how long? Let’s take a look.

How long should A/B tests last?

It’s best to run website A/B tests for at least two weeks and email A/B tests for a few days. Nevertheless, what works for other businesses may not work for you. That’s why consider the following factors before running A/B tests.

Seasonal factors

Seasonality affects conversion more than anything else. Plus, industries see varying buying patterns throughout the year. For example, people buy more gifts during Christmas. An A/B test during this time could jeopardize the accuracy of your results.

Sales cycle

Some industry verticals have longer sales cycles than others. You’ll need more time to find out what works for your business if you fall into the former category.

Another important consideration is if the sample size is big enough to find statistically significant results. Aim to test on a decent-sized audience of at least 1,000 individuals. Plus, use a sample size calculator if you need to. By doing so, you can efficiently avoid margin errors and be confident about your findings.

Sometimes, businesses wonder if they can replace A/B tests with multivariate tests. Not really, let’s find out why.

A/B testing vs. multivariate testing

The main difference is that A/B testing looks at one variable while multivariate testing considers multiple variables at once.

A/B testing shows two variations of a variable to find out what people prefer. Multivariate testing analyzes what makes users engage with a page by testing variations of different elements like text placement, images, or CTA.

Now, onto the benefits of running A/B tests.

Why should I do A/B testing?

A/B testing can change the way you convert visitors into customers. Plus, A/B tests offer massive returns in terms of improving the user experience.

Let’s look at what benefits you can expect with A/B testing.

  • Better user engagement: A/B tests show you little changes—like button color—that have a big impact on how users engage with your website.
  • Lower bounce rates: A/B testing can also help you optimize high-drop-off pages and keep visitors on your site longer. 
  • Higher conversion rates: A/B testing often reveals what makes users click on that ‘sign up’ button, which helps raise your conversion rate. 
  • Minimize website risks: A/B testing is also an excellent tool to determine if visitors are happy or frustrated with a new element or feature on your website.
  • Reduced cart abandonment: Ecommerce businesses often use A/B testing to figure out what’s causing cart abandonment and make necessary tweaks.

Now that you know what A/B testing can do for your business, let’s move on to where to start.

Where can I conduct A/B testing

You can run A/B tests on any page on your ecommerce site. While the homepage and category pages are important, you also want to focus on the product description page.

Shoppers browse product pages to decide whether to buy from you or not. They look at product descriptions, CTAs, images, social proofs, price points, and more to make that decision.

Ecommerce businesses run A/B tests to measure:

  • Product page effectiveness rate (PPER): reveals if your product page is effective at persuading visitors to click the ‘add to cart’ button
  • Bounce rate: shows the % of visitors who don’t navigate to a second page after landing on your website 
  • Conversion rate: checks if your product pages can convert visitors into paying customers 
  • Exit rate: tells if your product pages are efficient to keep visitors on the site

Ecommerce A/B testing is all about consistent hypothesis testing to find out what works for your business. Plus, you can reduce customer acquisition costs and boost customer lifetime value (CLTV) too.

Your customer acquisition cost (CAC) drops when you know value propositions that appeal to customers. The lower the CAC, the more profitable the transaction.

Now, let’s look at all elements you can test while putting A/B testing to test.

5 Key Things to A/B test on your Product Description Page

An A/B test begins with deciding on what to test. If you’re looking for where to start, we’ve listed five key ecommerce A/B testing ideas to help you get started.

Identify your best images

A/B testing product images can offer valuable insights for product page optimization. Too granular results, however, may make it difficult to make informed decisions. That’s why it’s best to test out different themes—for example, products with models and sans-models.

Make sure every test you run starts with a metric, such as an increase in average order value (AOV). That way you can easily optimize the images you use on product pages.

Optimize pricing

Finding the right product pricing is always tricky. Some ecommerce businesses rely on A/B tests to measure if price changes affect product consumption.

For new products, these A/B tests provide a great way to determine a suitable price.

Having two different prices for the same product is unfair, which is why many consider price A/B testing illegal. Price A/B tests can be disastrous for your brand’s reputation when done poorly.

You’re more likely to succeed when you approach price testing like market research. Conduct a controlled price test with a group and compensate them for their time. That way you’ll avoid negative reactions from actual customers and still get actionable insights.

As always, remember to set your goal before you begin testing product pricing. The goal can be profit margin, market share, or an increase in top-line revenue.

Improve your text descriptions

Trying out different text descriptions helps you find the right one. These text description A/B tests are ideal for optimizing landing pages, product listings, or category pages.

Ecommerce businesses often test product description headlines, placement, and length to find out what works and what doesn’t. You can also test if reshuffling copy or making language more literal affects conversion.

Perfect your page layout

The landing or product display pages (PDP) on your website are the ultimate showrunners. Optimizing the layouts of those pages should be a top priority. This is why retail companies experiment with layout elements to see what works.

Here are a couple of ideas to try out while testing web page layouts.

  • Testimonial video: adding a customer review at the top or bottom of your page can impact conversion rates 
  • CTA placement: test if placing CTAs at certain places on the page affects conversion
  • Human face: check if adding products with models converts more customers
  • Benefits or features: testing out reordering product features and benefits is another option to consider

Remember to change each element one at a time to understand what changes have the most impact.

Test product recommendations

Product recommendations in ecommerce are a key selling tool. In fact, 35% of all ecommerce sales on Amazon are through product recommendations. It’s important you optimize what other items you are present to the shopper.

Ecommerce businesses often combine visual AI and machine learning to show smart recommendations based on what shoppers search. These personalized product recommendations help you engage shoppers and increase ecommerce conversions.

To find out what works best for your customers, you can test out different recommendation variations with A/B testing.

Some businesses also experiment with smart tagging to improve product discoverability and fuel ecommerce site search. By combining smart tagging and recommendation, you can display relevant products based on keywords and product tags people search for. 

A/B testing identifies strengths

 A/B testing is a great way to discover what works and what doesn’t. By finding out what your audience wants and needs, you’ll be able to supercharge conversions and achieve rapid ROI. 

If you’re ready to uplift order size with state-of-the-art product discovery, sign up for a Visenze demo today!