What A/B testing is and how it can help you improve your e-commerce conversion rate

The eternal question.
Should I choose a brighter color for the “Buy” button? Should I change “Buy” to “Add to cart”?
These little things always drive you crazy and you’re never quite sure what to go for. Despite being “little things”, you know these matters have a huge impact on your conversion rate.
What to do?
A/B testing.
What these tests do is divert your website’s traffic into two different versions so you can test both and see which one works better in order to make decisions based on real trials.
This post will tell you:

  • What exactly A/B testing is.
  • What you must consider before doing it.
  • Available tools for your use.

No more going crazy over the “little things”. 😉

What is A/B testing?

First things first – here’s the definition:

A/B testing is a digital marketing tool that runs 2 versions of the same website to see which one gets the most sales.

Both A and B versions are randomly displayed to your potential clients, so some of them see version A while others see version B.
Based on the traffic and sales results of each version, you can determine which is better and implement it for good.
Mind you, it’s not about running one test and then making a choice.

The ideal situation is for you to run several tests until you figure out the best version possible for your online store.

What settings can you adjust to check which version works best?

  • Pictures: For example, if you run a fashion e-commerce, you can check whether it’s best to display a single item or a whole outfit.
  • Calls to Action (CTA): The color, text, and position of a CTA on your website can have an impact on the conversion rate
  • Website layout: You can change the order of the menu, the banners, add a carousel to the homepage, recommend products, redesign the payment page to be just one step, etc.
  • Forms: Decrease the number of compulsory fields or enable social login (allow customers to register via a social media account).

In short, you can change almost anything that facilitates the buying process or encourages your customers to buy.

Examples of how A/B testing can improve your sales 

Here are a few examples.

✅ 1. A button that increased its CTR by 49%

Here’s a very motivating example: Fab e-commerce, which focuses on selling household items, accessories, etc. 
On their website, the button to add products to the shopping cart only had a cart icon. They relied on A/B testing to check whether a clearer “Add to Cart” button could have an influence on sales.
Two versions were implemented:

  1. A button with the sentence “Add to Cart”, leaving out the cart picture.
  2. A button with the sentence “+Cart”, also without the picture.

The button’s CTR increased by 49% with the first version (“Add to Cart”) in comparison with the original one. That is, users didn’t find the initial CTA comprehensible, so sales increased by modifying it.

✅ 2. A 550% increase in conversion 

WallMonkeys, an e-commerce that specializes in vinyl designs for individuals and companies, asked themselves how their homepage could be optimized to increase sales:

  • The homepage had a static image with a heading and a CTA linked to their search engine.
  • After analyzing how their users behaved, they found out that their search engine was used quite frequently.
  • First, they ran an A/B test in which they kept the search engine but changed the static image to a carousel showing different items on offer.

That small change triggered a 27% increase to their conversion rate.
But they decided to keep on trying different versions (as they should): 
They gave more importance to the search engine by eliminating the carousel. In doing this, they tried to make it easier for users to find the articles they were actually interested in
resultados de un AB testing
After the second change, their conversion rate increased by 550%! Those are results everybody wants for their e-commerce, right?
While the results of the first version were good, those from the A/B testing were simply amazing. 
>> Note: Would you like to try something similar with a search engine for your online shop?
Don’t forget that Doofinder’s professional search engine is available for free for a 30-day trial. You can see if it works as well for you as it did for WallMonkeys.

Why run A/B tests for your e-commerce?

A/B testing helps you get to know your buyer persona better to improve their shopping experience. The happier customers are, the more they buy.
That’s why running A/B tests is always a good idea.
If you don’t think so, just look at Amazon.
They went from being an online book retailer to the biggest marketplace in the world because, among other reasons, they’re constantly trying to improve their customer experience and running A/B tests to optimize their sales. 
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of A/B testing more in depth.

✅ 1. The advantages of doing an A/B test with your e-commerce

An A/B test aims to make everything easier for your clients to get them to buy (more) in your shop, because: 

  • It improves the ads’ ROI: The return on investment for publicity is optimized if your buyers like your website.
  • The number of abandoned carts decreases: If you run some tests on the payment process, you’ll find out what elements cause mistrust and should therefore be eliminated to lead to more purchases. 
  • Increase the conversion rate: More visits materialize in sales because the website is optimized for it. 
  • Reduce the risk of a whole redesign of your e-commerce: You can implement improvements gradually as you figure out what works best for sales. This way, it won’t be necessary to go through an expensive and thorough restructuring.
  • Make decisions based on real data: Don’t rely on trends, crazes or guru tips. Instead, you rely on the information provided by your own customers.

Conclusion: You will get more sales by improving those little details that make your website more appealing to your visitors and that improve their shopping experience. 
And let’s not forget, selling more should be the goal of any strategy you implement.

✅ 2. The most complicated aspect of A/B testing: disadvantages

Doing an A/B test doesn’t guarantee better results immediately. It’s a long play with some disadvantages (even though they’re easy to overcome, as we’ll see): 

  • A single test isn’t enough: We explained it at the beginning – it’s not about making a single change and implementing it if it works. It’s necessary to continue running tests until you find the best possible version for your online store (we saw how FAB tried two versions of the CTA button).
  • Some traffic is essential: The results of the tests won’t be revealing if you don’t have a certain amount of visitors to make the results significant.

Note: If you need more traffic before doing an A/B test, here are some posts you will find useful:

How to A/B test your e-commerce

As is usually the case for this sector, you have two options:

  1. Have the test done by a professional.
  2. Do it yourself with an online tool.

We recommend that you hand the task over to a specialist since they’ll do it quicker and more professionally than you.
But if you prefer to do it yourself, here are some useful tools for A/B testing:

✅ 1. Optimizely

This tool was created specifically for A/B testing and that’s what makes it so powerful.
Optimizely allows you to create multiple versions of the same website without changing its source code, which makes it perfect for those without strong programming skills.
Besides, you can set the percentage of users who will see each version or customize the audience that each version is shown to.
>> Click HERE to head over to Optimizely’s website.

✅ 2. AB Tasty

This tool has different versions available depending on the size and type of company you’re running, which allows you to customize every detail of each version of your website.
Plus, it has two great advantages:

  • It’s cheaper than other similar tools.
  • You can request a free demo version before buying it.

It’s a very intriguing option.
>> Click HERE to visit AB Tasty’s page.

✅ 3. Google Optimizer

Google offers a free tool to run these types of tests.
It’s a good option if you want to start running A/B tests, although it’s not as powerful as other (paid) tools that were especially designed for A/B testing purposes.
>> Click HERE to go to the Google Optimizer website.

What A/B testing are you going to do in your e-commerce?

If you run A/B tests with a clear purpose and in an organized way, you’ll gradually improve your online shop’s design so that it perfectly suits your buyers’ behaviors.
When your customers feel at ease in your e-commerce, their shopping experience flows more smoothly, so your sales will most likely increase.
Have you already spotted something you could try out to improve your online store’s results? Well, there you go – get on with it!