Aug 23 2017

9 Testing Ideas for Ecommerce Brands That Are Already Testing

If you’ve been testing for a while, you might have realized that the results of successful tests have an expiration date. Customers change their needs constantly, and if you’re not constantly tuning your user experience to meet those needs, then your site will be no better than sour milk. Unfortunately, when you run testing in-house, your exposure to new ideas is limited. Worthwhile testing ideas don’t exactly appear out of thin air every day. Luckily, today they do.

Every brand will have their own unique stories found throughout their data, and in turn, will have different priorities. However, for those looking for a bit of inspiration, here are nine areas that you can add to your testing strategy:

1: Price Formatting

Testing pricing is an obvious area of focus, but how about the way the price is actually displayed? Should you include zeroes ($20 versus $20.00), perhaps only using round numbers ($19.95 versus $20), or even put a strike through a former price to denote a sale? For our client Victoria Emerson, we tested the former, and found that it had huge gains to their revenue, cart adds, and conversions.

2: Reducing Friction: Form Length on Account Creation

If there is one thing I’ve learned from working at Blue Acorn, it’s that customers will always follow the path of least resistance. While I’m not sure if it’s one of our CEO’s favorite sayings, it comes up almost every time we talk about optimization and customer journeys. With this in mind, finding areas to reduce friction is always a good place to start a new testing approach, and what better place to start than on your forms. If you have an account creation area, especially before someone buys a product, test the length of the form. For all you know, a longer form may result in higher conversions. Sometimes it’s also just a matter of making a field optional. Consumers are unpredictable, and that’s why we love to test everything.

3: Free Shipping Thresholds

Thanks to Amazon, free shipping isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s practically a requirement. While you may not need to go head-to-head with Amazon’s approach, typically brands have a set threshold a customer must reach before they get free shipping. To see what works best for your customers and personas, test different thresholds. It’s important to note that of the tests we’ve conducted that focus around shipping thresholds that there was a parallel impact on average order value. To no surprise, the average order value for most sites with a $35 free shipping threshold saw their AOV around that amount. If you’re looking to drive more revenue per order, moving the threshold up could be the answer you’re looking for, but there could also be a negative impact.

4: Heatmapping

Testing isn’t all just A/B and multivariate based, it can also be as simple as seeing where your users and customers are going. Heat mapping, using a tool such as CrazyEgg, allows you to see where a user drags their mouse and a potential path for how they consume the page. By doing this you’ll get a good understanding of where key design elements need to fall, or possibly current elements that are attracting their attention.

5: Exit Intent Interstitials

Earlier this year Google made it clear that on-load interstitials were not a good idea, especially on mobile. However, exit intents are still in play and can be an effective way to prevent ditched carts from occurring. To test an exit intent interstitial, start with the basics, having one. From there adjust the size, color, when it should appear, and most importantly the copy.

6: Button Actions

Add to cart, buy now, blank, buy, purchase… the options are endless for what test you place on your buttons. The same can be said for its color, size, shape, and placement. While these are typically very small, insignificant things to test; you never know if a particular color will do the trick. Try to improve consistency, contrast, and prominence. Just don’t do gray. Everyone knows gray means the button isn’t working.

7: Product Description Length

They may not really be around any longer, but one thing that really helped LivingSocial stand out from Groupon and the onslaught of daily deal sites was their content. Rather than a basic product listing, they hired countless copywriters and freelancers to drum up interesting stories to go along with the activities they were selling. While this certainly isn’t the norm, and at the time it was to benefit their SEO and organic reach, product description lengths vary. For B2B, they need highly detailed information down to the materials used. For consumers, some may not care about anything other than the functionality. How much or how little you share about a product can vary, so testing this will be an interactive process.

8: Visual Elements

To stock art or to lifestyle, that is the question. For B2B brands, they can easily get away with nothing more than a product cut-out on a white background. But for consumer brands, everything is now becoming infused with who your customers are and what they stand for. Because each customer set is unique, testing the way your products are visualized can have a large impact on add to carts. Our friends over at Optimizely suggest iterating on your visuals.

“If your users prefer an image of people, test gender, age, number of people in the image, etc.”

They go on to suggest testing out images that move from models, to your employees, to even your own customers.

9: Social Integrations

When you think social media, typically you think Millennials or Gen Z. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their age group and your brand equate to social savvy consumers. In the same, that doesn’t preclude older generations from being active on social media as well. With numerous social integrations (both native and third-party), it’s easier than ever to test including consumer images and content into your store. Have a physical store too? Tie the two together by having prompts near dressing rooms and asking them to use a specific hashtag.

Bonus: Turn Losing Tests Into Winners

As someone who is already testing you’ve likely run into a few that simply just don’t produce the kind of results you want to see. While we may consider these losing tests, there are plenty of ways to adjust the approach and turn them into winners. Failed tests also play a vital role in your optimization strategy, and it’s something Blue Acorn takes in stride. In fact, we have a guide available that discusses how we turned three losing tests into winners, which you can access here.

Elliot Volkman

Digital Marketing Manager

Elliot is Blue Acorn's Digital Marketing Manager. He hold a master's degree in communication from Gonzaga, and has several awards for journalism and digital marketing. In his spare time he is a long-distance runner and triathlete.

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