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Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

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In a world where online shoppers are bombarded with options, one thing an online retailer can do to gain a competitive advantage is make it as easy as possible to buy their products.

The series of pages a shopper must complete to purchase the item—the checkout funnel—is the closest place to actual purchase event, and usually filled with friction. The majority of shoppers will abandon the checkout process after the first page! Improving the experience, and likelihood that a shopper will actually checkout, is only possible through experimentation (aka split testing). At this point, the shopper already has items that they’ve selected to purchase, the retailer just needs to lead them from one page to the next until they hit that “Order” button at the end of the tunnel (funnel).

For this post, we’ll look at the checkout funnel on Urban Outfitters’ desktop site and suggest A/B test ideas for a few pages in the flow to help increase purchases.

Disclaimer: Urban Outfitters is not an Optimizely customer, and these test ideas are hypothetical.

Page 1: The Shopping Bag

The checkout flow starts in the Shopping Bag, a page that summarizes all of the items you are about to buy. The goal of this page to continue to the next page either clicking one of two call to actions, “Checkout” or “Checkout with PayPal”.

urban-outfitters-funnel-bag

To increase clicks on this button, Urban Outfitters could test…

  • call to action colors. You can see that the Checkout button is bright blue, the same color as the Edit and Remove buttons. If the goal is clicking Checkout, UO might want to make “Remove” less obvious with a different color. Test colors that distinguish the primary call to action, and drive that customer one step closer to a purchase.

  • adding return policy info to the page. In the white space below the order summary, UO could try adding a blurb about their return policy. Knowing something about the return policy (especially if it’s free) removes uncertainty or worry from the purchase. If your return policy is easy/free, make sure it’s obvious.

  • test content displayed in the order summary. The order summary includes an “Estimated Tax” field, which provides more accurate pricing to the visitor. One of the items in my shopping bag is on sale–why not test if showing “Estimated Savings” will increase conversions? It could create a sense of urgency and move the visitor through the checkout faster.

Page 2: The Sign In

The customer clicks Checkout and they land on the customer sign in page with three options: sign in to an account, sign up for an account or guest checkout.

urban-outfitters-funnel-sign-in

This page is the entry point to the real checkout experience. It sets the tone for the entire checkout process. In other words, it’s extremely important and has significant fall off. Urban Outfitters needs to get as many people through this page as possible. To do this, they could test…

  • the guest checkout. UO does a great job of highlighting the benefits of creating an account, but what about visitors who just want to purchase and be on their way? The email field may be an unnecessary point of friction. Remove the email field here and ask for it later in the funnel when shoppers are more invested. Test the language. Instead of Guest Checkout, try “Express Checkout” or “Check Out Now”. Perhaps a more direct path to purchase bring that visitor to the next step in the checkout flow.

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  • adding a “we won’t spam you” promise. People generally don’t like giving up their information of they don’t know what it’s being used for. To quell any concern shoppers have about entering their email for Guest Checkout, UO could try adding text promising not to send spam.

Page 3: Shipping

urban-outfitters-funnel-shipping

To reduce the friction of completing this page and completing the checkout, UO could test…

  • condensing pages in the funnel. The checkout status bar shows the progress we’ve made so far-—three pages down, yet we still have four more steps to go. This makes the checkout process seem very long, maybe too long. UO can test combining shipping and delivery onto one page. One less click the shopper has to make could go a long way in improving form completions and purchases.

  • the call to action language and placement. Would “Next” be more intuitive than “Ship to this address”? The call to action is quite far from the shipping form. Would the click through rate on that button increase if it were directly under the “Phone” field?

  • removing the order summary. The order summary box is included on every page of the checkout funnel. Constantly reminding shoppers of how much they’re spending might hurt conversions. Think if you were in a store and someone was following you around with the items you were going to purchase, saying “Are you sure? You’re sure you want to buy this?”. Your visitors already have the items in their cart, don’t make them second-guess themselves! Test conversions without it.

Page 4: Delivery

urban-outfitters-funnel-delivery

We’re almost there! To get shoppers through delivery options as seamlessly as possible, UO can test…

  • Free v. Standard. Is delivery free or is it standard? Try replacing “Standard” with “FREE” for all orders that are eligible for free shipping. Highlighting that the order will ship for free might create a sense of urgency for your visitor and prompt them to continue with the checkout.

In reviewing Urban Outfitters’ checkout funnel, we’ve come up with over a dozen testing ideas that any online retailer can apply to their own website (here’s a list of 12 more testing ideas for online retailers). The most important thing to remember when testing this area of your site is that the hard part is over—the shopper wants the product. It’s your job to make it as easy as possible to buy it.

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