Driving retail ecommerce growth through A/B testing
The enterprise retailer’s approach to optimizing ecommerce initiatives should be data-driven, aligned with organizational growth strategies, and curated from the insights derived from tools such as A/B testing.
The draw of A/B testing focuses on customer empowerment: their input directly informs the way forward for retailers seeking evidence-based information on how shoppers prefer one approach over another. As telecom CEO Matthew Odgers once said, “The sole reason we are in business is to make life less difficult for our clients."
The pressure is on retailers to smooth out as many avenues as possible along the consumer’s path. As a recent report from RSR titled Retail ecommerce in context: the next iteration shared, “Retailers are very aware that in a world of product and price ubiquity, consumers are more than willing to abandon a retailer if the shopping journey doesn’t meet expectations. And those expectations are being set, not by retailers, but by how consumers integrate technology into their daily lives.”
IT teams can fold in A/B testing to assess how one iteration of, say, a checkout page performs over another. The site’s visitors don’t know they may be seeing a different version than their neighbor across the street.
In an A/B test the experimenter runs two experiences: “A,” the control, is often the current system while “B,” the treatment, modifies an aspect of the consumer-facing page in order to improve something.
And that something can be a range of goals, which are critical to identify from the outset. Brand leaders may want to learn how many clicks a certain button gets over another button placed elsewhere on the page. Or, at checkout, if the upsell of one product attracts more conversion than the upsell of another.
As Gartner analyst James Meyers says about A/B testing: “Marketers gain confidence in delivering customers’ preferred experiences when they have data that supports the decision. After all, test results are numerical proof that customers prefer one experience over another.”
A/B testing in the checkout
What helps to make the most of the A/B testing experiments is moving away from a win-lose mentality. A Shopify blog post sums it up by noting how A/B testing images and copy lets you uncover insights, whether your test wins or loses. “This value is very transferable. For example, a copywriting insight from a product description A/B test could help inform your value proposition, a product video, or other product descriptions.”
The RSR report also highlights that ecommerce strategies should be highly customized in today’s market considering how significantly shoppers are moving to online environments and expecting seamless journeys.
One common way to A/B test effectively in ecommerce is experimenting with checkout pages, says Anatolii Iakimets, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Bold Commerce. A brand can show some site visitors a one-page checkout flow, while other visitors see a three-page version of the same checkout process. Data gets tracked and analyzed to find out if the control or the treatment outperformed the other.
The agility of the API-approach
“An API-first approach works well for A/B testing,” says Iakimets. “It provides the flexibility to create unique checkout experiences from scratch and then test them to optimize conversion rates.”
With Bold’s Checkout APIs you can build a consistent checkout experience and test and validate design, layout, and checkout flows with an A/B testing tool.
Optimizing the checkout experience doesn’t have to be a seismic task that can easily overwhelm a slew of teams. Don’t assume that the greater an investment made in technology, the greater the impact it will have on driving ecommerce growth. One doesn’t always equate to the other.
Rather, success comes to those who can get the pivotal right by doing what any enterprise leader should always do: listening to their customers.
Download "Retail ecommerce in context: the next iteration," sponsored by Bold Commerce, here.