Assumptions are easy to make, and if you’re not running tests to further optimise your website you’re merely just guessing.
To take the guesswork out of the equation, you’ll want to run a variety of A/B tests to discover what exactly yields the highest conversion rate for your e-commerce website. However, bear in mind that each website is different and will attract different types of customers. So while looking at other conversion optimisation studies may provide insights into what works, they do not set the standard for all websites.
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing is essentially running a simultaneous experiment between two or more pages to see which performs or converts the best. You’ll also want to make sure your tests meet the following criteria for accurate results:
- Two versions are tested at the same time.
- Pages are identical except for one variation.
- One control page (usually your current version)
- At least one modified version to test with
But where should you start testing? The number of tests you can run can be endless, which is why in this post we’ve listed the key ones for the most critical part of your e-commerce website – the checkout process.
1. Guest checkout vs. Member checkout
Registering at an e-commerce website does have its benefits – but at what cost?
Members are most likely returning customers, who will benefit from having their details saved for future purchases – and receive emails on special campaigns.
However, what about first time shoppers? Could you be driving them away by asking them to create an account with you before their first purchase?
To find out whether you’ll attract more orders, add the possibility of checking out as a guest on your online shop. Just like ASOS did and was able to convert 50% more customers to complete their checkout.
2. Trust and security seals
How does displaying security and trust seals affect your conversion?
Your conversion may increase because people are more assured their personal data is safe – or it could decrease because they’re made more aware that they’re giving away personal information and having second thoughts.
To test the effect security seals have on your checkout, choose a location where you would like to display them. You have a few options here such as next to your CTA or floating on the side. Additionally, there are several different seals you could test with too. However, branded trust seals like “Trusted Shops” and “MacAfee Secure” seals will require a fee for the right to display them on your e-commerce website.
To help you decide which seal to go for, the Baymard Institute conducted a survey and found the “Norton Secured” to be the most trustworthy amongst shoppers.
3. Removing distractions
With attention spans at a minimum, you may want to see what effect removing distractions from your checkout might have.
One test to try out would be removing your navigation bar from your entire checkout process. However you may also want to experiment what effect live chat has on your checkout conversion rate.
For instance when VeggieTales removed their navigation menu, they experienced a 14% increase in revenue per visitor.
4. Single vs multi-page checkout
What works better for your conversion rate – a single or a multi-page checkout?
There’s a case to be made for both. A multi-page checkout will help you identify where people drop out and deliver a better user experience when there are a lot of fields to fill out. On the other hand, a single page can deliver a faster checkout experience as people don’t need to wait for another page to load and shows people exactly where they are in the checkout process.
Elastic Path Software ran a test on the official Vancouver 2010 Olympic Store and discovered the one-page checkout outperformed the multi-step checkout by 21.8%.
5. Calls To Action
What good is a website without visitors taking action? CTAs are meant to guide website visitors to perform a desired action: read, download, share, buy or others – CTAs need to be clear. Just adding “continue” or “submit” isn’t going to cut.
But in addition to changing the copy of your CTAs, you can experiment with the following:
- Adding icons
- Size of the CTAs
But while these variations may seem to be very minor, this case study by Optimizely demonstrates how changing the text on a button from “Continue” to “Review Order”, lead to a massive 54% conversion increase.
Setting up your A/B testing practice
What’s important is also keeping track of your tests and results for further analysis. To help set things up, you might be interested in reading: How to Build an A/B Testing Practice in 2 Hours