When setting up or making changes to your eСommerce website, you're typically doing so to make the experience for your customers a better one. The problem is that all the planning in the world can't give you insight into what measures will work and which won't.
That's where A/B testing comes in. It's the perfect way to gain the information you need to make intelligent, data-driven decisions about your business. Also known as split testing, it offers a methodical way to consistently help Shopify Plus developers to improve your site's UX and conversion rates.
The A/B Testing Process Explained
A/B testing represents the act of comparing the real-world impact of one website page variant against another. For example, a Shopify development company might create two different versions of a web page; 1) the control page (Referred to as Page A) and 2) the test page (Referred to as Page B).
Once set up, you send an equal sample size to each of your variants. It's important to ensure all sample sizes are uniform, as it will make your subsequent analysis easier. So, half of your website visitors go to Page A and the others are sent to Page B.
Comparing the Results & Re-Testing
Generally speaking, eCommerce website A/B testing should be carried out for between 1 to 2 weeks, after which time you'll have some results to analyze. What you do next will depend on which of your two pages enjoyed the best outcomes.
In the event that Page B was more successful in terms of conversions than Page A, your Shopify Plus development agency would then make Page B the new control page before repeating the process. Another new page would be created and then re-tested against the new control page.
This is a proven way to optimize your eCommerce website's conversion rates, with each new A/B test moving you a little closer to the best possible version.
The Value of A/B Testing to Your Business
Experienced Shopify Plus developers will know that A/B testing involves a lot of painstaking work, but the uplift in sales that often ensues makes it all worthwhile. Of course, it's time-consuming, but it's a highly effective way to improve your store's ability to convert.
Without A/B testing, you run the risk of becoming stagnant - meaning the UX you're offering isn't improving. The great thing is that you can test a wide range of elements on each of your site's web pages, analyzing the impact of changes to:
- The web page layout
- The page's branding or designs
- Web page content or copy
- Calls to Action (CTAs)
- Menu systems
By continuously testing these various elements, it's simply a matter of time until you've found optimal versions of each one. This information can then be used by a Shopify Plus design agency to create a successful and cohesive eCommerce store. That's why ongoing A/B testing represents a fantastic investment for any online store owner.
4 Ways to Ensure Impactful eCommerce A/B Testing
Above, we described comparing pages A & B to find the best one, however, in the real world, A/B testing that delivers meaningful insight is a lot more complex. Shopify Plus developers must implement testing in a structured and intelligent manner - something we look at more closely now.
Tip #1 - Employing the Best Possible A/B Testing Tools
Whether you're engaging in A/B testing on Shopify Plus or elsewhere, it's vital that the right tools are employed. Available for popular eCommerce platform is some super conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools such as Lomio and Kameleoon.
Each of these tools allows for time-efficient A/B testing and can be easily integrated into your store by your Shopify Plus development company.
Tip #2 - Adding a Time-Bound Element to Your A/B Testing
As is the case with organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), A/B testing takes time to bear fruit - even with the expertise of Shopify Plus developers at your disposal. You're wanting to create a useful dataset, however, so you also need to ensure that testing doesn't go on for too long.
While every business is different, the optimal duration for testing is around 1-2 weeks. This duration will give you the insight you need without it being impacted by other variables such as holidays, weekends and promotional activities you might be running.
If you determine this at the outset and stick to it, you should find that the results you're presented with at the end are of a higher quality and can be relied upon.
Tip #3 - Determining the Ideal Sample Size
In addition to time, your Shopify Plus development agency needs to give serious consideration to another variable - sample size. If you don't have enough visitors included in your testing, the results it produces aren't likely to be statistically significant or reliable.
Thankfully, there are sample-size calculator tools available that can be used to find your magic figure. The software inside these tools uses statistical data to show you how many customer visits you'll need to achieve a valid sample.
Getting Your Sample Size Right Is Vital
It's important to get this right because if the group of people you base your next steps on is too small, it's going to skew the results. When the sample size doesn't include sufficient website visitors, it's possible your results may be down to random chance and not customer preference.
Once you've determined the ideal number, you get the peace of mind of knowing that you can trust the results your A/B testing produces.
Tip #4 - Focusing On Specific Areas of Concern
Another important part of the process is determining which parts of your Shopify Plus store you're going to optimize. If you're not sure, get your Shopify Plus developers to focus on the elements that are going to have a positive impact on the customer UX and lead to better engagement and conversion.
You could be talking about your CTAs, the page's layout, the buttons or the design. Furthermore, you might want to consider testing your website's pop-ups or paid ads.
Determining Your Testing Priorities
By this point, you've determined the best tools for A/B testing your store, as well as setting the time frame, sample size and website elements on which you're going to focus. What we still need to do is determine your priorities, i.e. what area of your site do you want to test first.
In order to keep the process clear in your mind, you need to give your Shopify Plus development company an idea of what needs doing now and what can wait. Pick what you see as the most important element first and stick to it - as it's best to concentrate on one area at a time.
The benefit of this approach is control, with the insight your first area of focus delivers, helping to inform the changes required in other areas. Over time, you'll work your way down your list, ending up with improved conversion rates and an improved site-wide customer experience.
Creating a Shopify Plus Store Experience That Converts
There are countless elements on any eCommerce site that have a bearing on how long a person sticks around and whether they make a purchase. A/B testing is a proven way for a Shopify Plus development agency or your in-house team to optimize every part of an online store.
We've seen that it can be time-consuming with a deal of patience being required, but when you give it the required attention over a long enough period of time - and with a big enough sample size - the end results typically become increasingly impressive after each testing round.
There aren't many certainties in life, but A/B testing leading to better customer satisfaction and sales would seem to be one of them.