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Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

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Product page views, adding to cart, completing individual steps within the checkout funnel, completed purchases, average order value, and revenue per visitor are all metrics that matter for an online retail website. We have 12 ideas for experiments that are tailored to the conversion goals of an online retailer.

Each idea is a link to a full blog post with more detail and additional test ideas.

1. Add a tweet button to the order success page.

Twitter button keyboardAnything that can influence someone’s decision to make a purchase is worth trying. While social media is typically not a direct sales channel, it can do wonders for promoting brand awareness, increasing customer loyalty and help customers overcome reluctance to purchase.

Adding a tweet button to your purchase confirmation messaging and experimenting with how it’s displayed is a worthwhile test.

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2. Run A/B tests on your mobile website.

In 2013, shoppers used their smart phones and tablets to make purchases at an incredible rate—55% more often than in 2012. Higher mobile website traffic presents a great opportunity and incentive to optimize the mobile experience of your e-commerce store.

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3. A/B test everything about your call to action buttons.

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The location, size, quantity, color and wording on call to action buttons are all prime elements to experiment with. Here is a list of test ideas for those buttons with screen shot examples from around the web.

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4. Test different product image themes.

The way a product is displayed can be one of the pivotal elements that factors into a consumer’s decision to purchase or not purchase. Instead of testing specific images against one another, test different image themes, such as models vs. no models, or static images vs. product video.

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5. Question the assumption that security badges increase conversions.

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Although under-the-hood security features are always a necessary feature of your site, the persistent reminder of security may or may not be helpful.

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6. Experiment with how you engage your social media following.

While doing some research into the social media presence of brands who topped the online shopping charts on Cyber Monday 2013, I observed an interesting fact: most of them have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers but are only following a couple thousand or even less. What would happen to to sales if they started following more of their followers?

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7. Test emphasizing return policy on product pages.

Your testing goal is to find the best way to promote easy returns without distracting shoppers from completing their purchases. Finding this balance will drive higher conversion rates by addressing the central-most fears present in users’ minds as they gift-shop online.

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8. Test holiday hero messaging.

Hero messages garner a lot of attention—even more so during December, as more shoppers head to your site for last minute gifts and deals. Hero messages are a great place to run quick and simple tests to see which ones increase sales.

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9. Try adding a countdown clock to increase conversions.

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If you are running a promotion with a deadline—free 2-day shipping for Christmas, for example—try adding a countdown clock that urges visitors to purchase before time is up.

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10. Gauge interest in a new product with a dummy button and clicks.

Planning a new seasonal or permanent offering for your business requires significant preparatory research to determine the market opportunity, costs, and the projected return on investment (ROI).

Instead of sending a customer survey, or soliciting feedback on your social media channels (all good methods), why not run an anonymous survey at scale using your website? You can run a simple test using a homepage or product category page on your website to track interest in the form of clicks from your audience.

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11. Test the impact of badges on product thumbnails.

While browsing the sea of products on your site, customers can get lost in all of the options. Test adding “Best Seller” or “Featured” badges to your product thumbnails on the category or browse pages to help these products stand out. In many cases, less is more for e-commerce retailers because “options overload” could lead to visitor fatigue resulting in lost revenue.

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12. Test default sort of products on category pages.

A surprising number of e-commerce sites present products in a “Default” sorting order. “Default” is ambiguous to users and does not offer any clues about the types of products that they should expect to see. Different sort orders for different types of visitors is an excellent way to enhance personalization in your online shopping experience.

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