Within marketing there are a plethora of different decisions to make regarding content and presentation that can make one wonder what direction to take his or her company.  The best way to solidify confidence in a strategy is to acquire data that relates to it. This is where AB testing comes in as an effective and simple way to collect and understand your clients’ expectations and preferences for content. However, in a world with so many different marketing trends and approaches how does AB testing stand out?

The What: 

AB Testing (or split-testing) in its most basic form is an experimental approach focused on the  presentation of two different control groups with the goal of collecting data to see the variation between them. When applying this to marketing it would basically be testing variations of a particular element within your e-commerce store combined with statistical analysis to garner which choice leads to greater retention and sales. Another name for this approach is split-testing. The simplicity of the approach doesn’t take away from its versatility, but the question now is how do you implement it into your store. 

The How: 

Implementation of AB Testing in Shopify is as simple as creating two variations of a particular element and then displaying those variations to an even 50/50 split of customers. This is done while collecting data points of which choice leads to greater conversion. One suggestion of implementing this would be to create opt-in content flags to give customers the choice of seeing potential variations and then potentially providing a survey response. Common practice is to run weeklong tests over 2 full business cycles. This will provide sufficient data and account for any time-based variances. A/B Testing isn’t limited to UX design it can also analyze how the store runs on different devices. The truth is the most meaningful way of implementing this technique to your store would be to custom-tailor it to your specific business needs. What areas can your store improve in? Focus on areas that have potential for growth or have already proven successful, while not being scared to innovate.  

The Why: 

AB Testing is a quick and simple way to increase customer engagement with your store while also generating analytical data to better understand your store’s strengths and weaknesses. Since AB Testing requires customer responses within its framework, customers guide the store’s direction and allow developers to create an experience tailored for the customer’s needs. AB Testing is built to provide data that examines customer conversion rates and allows analysts to move towards solutions and improvements in an efficient manner. AB Testing is data-driven providing a proven path to success minimizing risks when implementing innovative changes and ensuring content is appealing to customers. Combining analytics with marketing can be difficult with such a varied and evolving data pool, but when done well it can be extremely beneficial. 

Potential Downsides or Mistakes: 

  • While A/B Testing is certainly an effective and versatile approach it can be the wrong move to implement it if your store has low customer traffic as the experiment requires a reasonable amount of data points to be statistically viable. 
  • Testing conversion rate may not always lead to greater monetary gain. Combine this technique with careful analysis of profits to maximize optimization. 
  • Analyze beyond simple data-points. A/B testing provides greater data, but loses out on specific customer input. Remember that customers are interconnected especially in niche markets. 

A/B Testing is a sure-fire way to know what customers like and to improve your store’s conversion rates with a data-driven approach. While being very simple to understand at face value, the true effectiveness of A/B Testing comes with steady analysis. Look at the data, figure out what customers want, and see your sales increase.