Industry Trends

Why A/B Testing in E-commerce Matters More Than Ever Before

September 5, 2023

The word of the day is optimize.

In today's hypercompetitive e-commerce landscape, it's no longer enough to just passively sell your products. You must constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve. And each change, no matter how small, must be analyzed to determine its efficacy.

A/B testing is among the most effective, widely-accepted tactics for doing so.

So, what is A/B testing, why does your company need it, how do you do it, and how does it fit into e-commerce? We’re going to explore all of this and more.

What Is A/B Testing, Exactly?

Also known as split testing, A/B testing pits two versions of something directly against one another in an effort to see which performs better. Each version is shown to exactly 50% of customers or prospects for the duration of the test. Typically, conversion rate is the metric used to determine which variant is most effective, as the idea is to figure out how well each achieves its intended goal.

The original, or canonical version, is often one of the two variants in an A/B test, although A/B testing can also be used to evaluate new content, software, or vendors.

An A/B test generally works best when the two variants being tested differ from one another by only a single variable. Let's say, for example, you're planning to launch a new product page, and you want to determine its effectiveness prior to launch. If you make all the changes at once, and your new product page performs worse than the original, you have no way of knowing which change caused your conversion rate to decline.

On the other hand, even if your new page does perform better than the original, you have no way of knowing what modification brought on the improvement or identifying any problems that may still exist.

In the context of e-commerce, A/B testing may be applied to any of the following:

  • A landing page's call to action.
  • Site structure or layout
  • Reviews or testimonials
  • Elements of the checkout process
  • Product photos, pricing, or descriptions.
  • The presence of additional features on a product page, such as an interactive studio.
  • Advertising copy, layout, and/or imagery.

If you have more than one variant of something, you can use A/B/n testing as an alternative to A/B testing. The process is functionally identical to A/B testing, splitting the variants evenly between visitors.

How to Carry Out an A/B Test

Per BigCommerce, launching a successful A/B test involves the following steps:

  1. Start With Research. If you don't already have a specific change or variable in mind, your first step should be figuring out what can be optimized. This can be determined both by evaluating your competitors and examining your own internal site data.
  2. Establish Expectations. What do you believe will be determined through this test? For instance, you might hypothesize that the presence of a virtual fitting room on a product page will have a net positive impact on both engagement and conversions.
  3. Set Your Variable and Your Control. Remember, A/B testing should only be used to evaluate a single modified element — determine what that element will be before the test, and be sure to use the original page as a baseline/control for the test.
  4. Plan Out Your Test. Figure out how long you want to run your A/B test for, and how many people you need in order to get reliable results. BigCommerce recommends leveraging an A/B test calculator for this.
  5. Launch via an A/B Testing Platform. Do not change any other elements on your website for the duration of the test, as this could potentially pollute your results.

What Does A/B Testing Have to Do With E-commerce?

It's no secret that the pandemic generated explosive growth in the e-commerce sector. Even in the face of unpredictable circumstances, sales hit record highs. And as the pandemic tapers off and we slowly return to some semblance of normalcy, that growth will continue, with e-commerce sales expected to exceed $5 trillion this year, and $7 trillion by 2025.

What exactly does that have to do with A/B testing, though?

Simply put, as a result of this meteoric growth, e-commerce is now more competitive than it's ever been. In North America alone, there are 4.2 million e-commerce companies, and 12 million globally. Factor in that the average consumer is constantly bombarded with an endless tide of digital noise, and it becomes clear that attention is in limited supply.

Still, most companies have limited budgets today, which means e-commerce managers and executives are looking for the best return on advertising spend (ROAS) they can get. That’s why applying scientific principles to key conversion elements allows retailers to maximize sell-through across the customer journey, resulting in an impressive ROAS without increasing advertising spend.

Unless your brand consistently stands out from the competition, it will very likely be overlooked by the majority of shoppers.

You might think you can achieve this solely by offering superior products. And to some extent, that's true. However, consider this — per Salesforce, 84% of consumers feel that the experience a business provides is just as important as its products.  Simply put, this means that unless you're constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience across each of your channels, you will inevitably fall short.

On the other hand, with regular innovation and testing, you can make consistent, iterative improvements to your business that have an enormous impact in the long run.

How You Can Create an Immersive Shopping Experience With Tangiblee

The bottom line is clear: retailers want predictable results that can only be achieved through A/B testing.

A/B testing allows any company to purposefully test anything they want to explore, and provides them with actionable results that boost confidence. Tangiblee’s feature-rich A/B testing not only allows you to test ideas throughout the customer journey — it also creates an immersive shopping experience that translates to higher Average Order Value (AOV) and ROAS for retailers.

And in today’s hyper-competitive e-commerce landscape, that’s a revenue-boosting differentiator you can’t afford to miss out on.

Adding our scalable, adaptable, and easy-to-deploy customer experience platform to your site has been shown to significantly improve customer engagement, along with a range of conversion-focused metrics. Our advanced technology allows you to augment your product pages with everything from customizable lifestyle content to live product comparisons to Virtual Try-On (VTO).

Looking to Implement the Next Generation A/B Testing for E-commerce?

It may be easier than you think. Adding Tangiblee’s scalable, no-code customer experience platform to your site has been shown to significantly improve customer engagement, along with a range of conversion-focused metrics. Our easy-to-deploy solution allows you to augment your product pages with everything from customizable lifestyle content to live product comparisons to Virtual Try-On (VTO).

Better yet, we are your partner in providing comprehensive A/B testing, including KPIs around visitors who used our solution versus those that didn't.  Don't simply take our word for it, though. Have a look at some of our clients, all of whom subjected us to their own A/B tests:

You get the idea.

In conclusion, the modern e-commerce landscape is growing progressively more competitive.  Regular testing, innovation, and adaptation is crucial to your business's survival. And Tangiblee can help with all of those things.

Book a demo to see for yourself.

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