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In business, making the right choice is extremely important. You may have to choose between two brands, for example, trying to understand which of them will yield more profit for your store. However, when revenue is at stake, simply guessing may not only fail to give you the desired results but can also lead to dismal consequences for the entire enterprise.
This is why successful companies always do research before making any significant moves. In this regard, e-commerce is no exception. Finding out what elements of a Shopify store engage the target audience better and entice them to click the ‘Buy’ button should be on every online merchant’s to-do list.
While tools such as Google Analytics also provide this sort of data, there is an even more effective method to make a Shopify site attractive to visitors and boost conversion — A/B testing. Below, we’ve answered the most common questions about this method that Shopify merchants might have. We hope you’ll find this information useful.
Question #1: What Is A/B testing anyway?
The ‘A’ and ‘B’ characters in the name of this testing method mean that you have two versions of the same page of your Shopify site. You show half of your visitors the first, original version (the ‘control’). The other half sees the second version (the ‘variant’).
You can serve these pages in an arbitrary order in either of these two ways:
- Send two separate versions from a server without any further modifications.
You continue this page juggling for some time while collecting conversion data. When the testing period is over (more on this below), you analyze the results. Page A has brought in more conversions? Proclaim it the winner and continue using it. Page B has proven to be more effective? The King is dead. Long live the King! Page B is now the new control. You keep it and throw Page A in the trash.
That’s what A/B testing is in a nutshell.
Question #2: Why should I care about A/B testing at all?
You have some traffic to your Shopify store. This is good. However, how many of your visitors actually convert? A/B testing is intended to generate more conversions from the existing traffic by removing inconveniences and issues that users have to deal with on your site.
Thanks to improving your Shopify store through A/B testing, fewer people may abandon their carts, more visitors may stay longer on the site, thus pushing up your SEO rankings, and more people may subscribe to your newsletters. All this, ultimately, will make your Shopify store more popular and improve your bottom line.
Even if your tests have ‘failed,’ it shows you that your original version is not so bad after all. You can also obtain a lot of useful information regarding the behavior of different groups of visitors within your target audience.
How many Android device owners have completed that form? How many social media users have landed on your site? Did more organic search visitors or paid search visitors scroll down through the special offers page? This data will help you make more meaningful marketing decisions.
To sum up, the principal goal of A/B testing is to lend more value to the traffic that you already have without having to resort to other conversion optimization methods.
Question #3: What features or areas of Shopify stores can be covered by A/B Tests?
You can A/B test every page and every element of your Shopify store. For example, you can change the layout of a product page, choose a different font size or typeface on the home page, try an unusual checkout format, play around with several logo versions, change the positioning of navigational buttons, and so on.
One of the most frequently tested elements of Shopify stores is the call to action button. The importance of this control is obvious. You can A/B test it from all possible angles: color, size, position, text, style, or animation. Read this post for examples of CTAs to help you come up with your own ideas.
Question #4: How long should I run A/B tests?
You might think that the answer would be “As soon as you’ve reached the number of conversions you’ve set as your goal.” In reality, however, you should run your tests until the moment you’ve hit statistical significance.
In general terms, this means that your control-variant difference is genuine, not affected by chance or inaccuracies during test runs. Here is a good explanation of this notion and a tool to calculate it.
Therefore, to reduce the likelihood of errors, it’s recommended to A/B test a page for no fewer than seven days and preferably for fourteen. This will help you account for a number of so-called external validity threats.
Perhaps some customers are more inclined to spend money on Fridays, while others enjoy shopping on weekends. Someone may have browsed your Shopify store and taken a liking to one of the products but didn’t have enough money on their card at the moment. They can return later and make a purchase after all. You should make allowances for all these scenarios.
Many other factors can also affect the accuracy of A/B testing results. For instance, Christmas is a busy time for retailers. When the Christmas week is over, though, things return to normal, and the number of transactions drops. It’s hard to call the data you’ve collected at this time of year valid. So, conversion optimization experts recommend owners of Shopify stores to run tests only after periods like Easter or Christmas.
Question #5: What’s the typical A/B testing flow?
- Collect as much data about your site and your visitors’ behavior as possible:
- Heat Mapping. Get information about every single action your site’s users perform. How many times was the ‘See details’ button clicked? Which page did visitors scroll down most often? How many people submitted a form? Heat mapping tools like this will also help you obtain such metrics as geography, devices, operating systems, and others.
- Add survey forms to your pages. These can be permanently displayed (less obtrusive) or implemented as popups. Through these forms, you can find out about your users’ pain points. Ask them if they find this page convenient, what features seem complicated to them, or why they didn’t click on the ‘Buy’ button.
- Get in personal contact with your existing customers. You can ask the same types of questions you ask in surveys and more. Talking to real consumers over the phone will give you a wealth of information. This is probably one of the most effective ways to learn what you have to change, especially when your customer base is still modest.
- Now, with all this data on hand, identify the pages and their components that need improvement and can thus be A/B tested. Decide what you are going to test first.
- Set a goal. With a page or an element selected for testing, decide what you want to achieve exactly. Do you want to reduce cart abandonment? Do you want more people to actually follow through with transactions? Do you want more visitors to scroll down to the end of a page to see all your offers?
- Hypothesize. The next step is to put forward a hypothesis. Based on your research, write down what you expect to achieve by changing something on the page under test. Sometimes, even the smallest modification can miraculously increase conversion. Finally, state what metrics you’re going to use to measure the failure or success of an A/B test (number of clicks, page loading time, time visitors spend on a page, number of visitors who submit a form or complete a survey, and others).
- Create the variant. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to making a presumably better version of the control. This is where we highly recommend turning to a professional Shopify development team for assistance. The PSD2HTML experienced and skilled Shopify developers are well versed in all the niceties of the platform and e-commerce in general. They can thoroughly analyze the UX/UI of your Shopify store and suggest how you can make it better.
- Run the tests. Remember to do that long enough (7 days minimum) but not too long (no more than 14 days). You can find a number of tools for this purpose in the Shopify app store or use this handy application. Gather the corresponding data.
- Proclaim the winner. Finally, review the data you’ve gathered and see if your hypothesis has been confirmed. It’s important to make sure that your results are statistically significant. It also pays to perform a more detailed analysis of the results to get valuable data about your audience’s behavior and segmentation.
A/B testing is an effective way to boost conversion rates of Shopify stores. While it’s actually intended for e-commerce sites with a comparatively large amount of traffic, beginning Shopify merchants should be familiar with this testing method too. Not only does A/B testing help you improve your store, but it also gives you a lot of detailed information about your visitors’ behavior that you can use to fine-tune your marketing campaigns.
With over 300 Shopify projects completed to date, the PSD2HTML Shopify development team is always happy to help you with any Shopify-related tasks. We can custom design a Shopify theme or tweak the current one, adding custom features or modifying existing ones. Your Shopify store will be lightning-fast and attract a lot of organic traffic. Building completely new Shopify stores is also on our list of services. We are just a form submission away. Share your ideas with us today!