By Sasha Douglass
Split testing is one of the most potent and effective tools for driving eCommerce growth in your business. It’s a great way of testing out new site design elements without the need for gambling on an entire site redesign. This allows you to make small continuous improvements that could help you see an increase in your conversion rate by up to 400 percent!
And while 63 percent of companies believe it is not difficult to perform split testing, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be implementing these techniques with your own online businesses.
What is split testing?
Split testing, in a nutshell, is the method of evaluating different variables in your marketing strategy to see which configuration is the most successful. It’s a way of figuring out which design (UX), content, or features your users want to see.
It allows you to test any given variation of your page or sales funnel that could affect your customers’ behavior, and if you have significant data proving the effectiveness of one approach over another, you can redesign the site and only include the optimized components. Here are basic steps that a successful split test would follow:
- Select which part of your site you want to test
- Set a goal for it (increase conversions, reduce bounce rate, etc.)
- Come up with a hypothesis for your test
- Create the variation you want to test in your hypothesis
- Run the test for an adequate length of time (this is important)
- Compare the two sets of data
- If the hypothesis was correct, fully implement the variation into your site design
In general, you should only change one thing for each test so that you can be sure that you understand the reason behind the change in performance. With all that said, let’s check out the three main ways split testing can boost your eCommerce profit.
1 – Improved conversions
When it comes to your retail platform, you can test and change virtually any element to see what works and what doesn’t. This allows you to meticulously refine each part of your site, continually optimizing it for conversions.
When split testing, even the smallest changes can sometimes yield surprisingly beneficial results; it’s just a matter of trial and error and putting in the time to see what resonates best with your customers. Here are some of the on-page elements that online businesses regularly split test:
- Shipping costs
- Number of form fields
- Images and videos
- CTA (call to action)
- Social proof
- Different payment options
Effective split testing can help you optimize your checkout process and reduce cart abandonment rates, which goes a long way towards boosting sales without the need for increased ad spend. However, it is important to realize the potential shortcomings of split testing before you go “all in” on your new design based on the positive feedback you received from a test. Marketing expert Jesse Willms explains why:
“It’s within your best interest to pay close attention to your test results and question whether or not they are authentic. If you are experiencing extremely high conversion rates in December, chances are because of the holiday season and not the font you changed on your landing page. External validity threats can be harmful to your business in several ways, but mainly because they lead you to draw false conclusions. This means you will run your future marketing campaigns using a flawed logic, which is far from ideal.”
2 – Increased customer retention
Testing makes your website more appealing, engaging, and user-friendly, which really helps to increase the number of repeat customers you receive. As you already know, customer retention is one of the biggest factors in determining business success, so it’s well worth your time to make the buying experience as smooth and as seamless as possible.
You can also play around with things such as post-sales messaging for your high-value customers, transnational messages, and even using gamification to create a retention loop. All of these strategies increase the customer lifetime value and offer a big boost to eCommerce profitability.
3 – Increase the effectiveness of your email newsletters
Your email list can be a huge revenue driver, so you must use it effectively. There are tons of ways you can use split testing to improve your email campaigns’ effectiveness, so don’t be afraid to get creative and try a few things out. Here some of the main things people analyze:
- Subject lines
- Body copy
- Sender name
Most email marketing software lets you run split tests, so you shouldn’t have too many problems trying some of these experiments in your next campaign.
Split testing is a fantastic tool for reducing the risks (and costs) normally associated with redesigning your website. Instead of taking a punt on huge redesigns that could see you lose out on conversions, you can slowly but surely optimize your site for both improved conversions and customer retention.
According to Jesse Willms, “there is no magic pill, so it really does just come down to trial and error. With that said, try and get in your target market’s shoes and think about what they would want to see and what might encourage them to convert.”
Now all that’s left is to get out there and start testing. Good luck!