Interested in some real-life evidence of how A/B testing can generate significant lift in profit?
A/B testing is not something you do once and then forget about; it's an ongoing process to extract the maximum conversion rate for your website. It's a process that includes testing every last detail to find the optimal layout, text, and images for your site. Sometimes, even the smallest changes can yield significant results.
Let's take a look at five A/B tests with significant results.
1. Customer Testimonials
You can write copy at length about how your product or service will benefit your customers and do wonders for them, but third-party credibility is much more influential.
With that in mind, how would customers respond to impartial reviews from actual customers? Could the positive experience of previous customers help eliminate any apprehensions from the prospect about buying the product?
These were the questions asked by ecommerce store Express Watches. In their A/B test, they added a small widget below the Add to Basket button, where genuine customer reviews were displayed.
IMG testimonials visual website optimizer.png
The results were game-changing for the business. The positive customer reviews reduced buyer objections and boosted their sales by an impressive 58 percent.
The best thing about customer testimonials is they are incredibly easy to implement – just add them to your site or install something like the Trust Pilot widget.
Takeaway: Always use positive customer testimonials as social proof since third-party reviews carry much more weight than what you write about yourself.
2. Higher Prices = More Revenue (Sometimes)
Not all A/B tests require you to tweak your website's design; one of the simplest things you can test is your pricing strategy.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that when you reduce your prices, you will generally make more sales, and vice versa. However, less certain is the impact the change in price will have on your bottom line – will your monthly revenue be better or worse for the pricing change?
That's where the economic concept related to elasticity of demand comes in.
To explain this further, let's take a look at a pricing A/B test Six Pack Ab Exercises ran.
Uncertain as to whether they were leaving money on the table, owner Carl Juneau tried increasing the price of his product from $19.95 to $29.95.
Although the number of conversions fell by 9 percent, this was more than offset by the additional 50 percent revenue he was receiving per conversion. In time, this simple price change would allow him to bank 36.48 percent more revenue.
Now, increasing your price won't positively affect your bottom line in every case – in some cases a lower price will yield a higher profit – but it does highlight the importance of finding your profit maximizing price.
Takeaway: Pricing strategy is part of A/B testing. Test higher and lower prices to see what brings in the most revenue and profit.
3. Trust Symbols Boost Conversions
With all the scam reports out there, online shoppers are understandably cautious about handing over their credit card details willy-nilly. You need to find a way to put their minds at ease. After all, would you buy something from a website you don't trust?
Credibility and trust is something that you develop over time, just like in a dating relationship. But, there are ways to increase the trust level of your website, even if you're new to the Internet.
Bag Servant identified lack of trust as a primary reason for low conversion rates and small order values on their site, and set about implementing an A/B test to improve performance.
Initially, Bag Servant was dependent on social proof, and prominently displayed a badge highlighting their 4,000+ strong Twitter following in an attempt to establish trust.
This wasn't working.
For their A/B test, they replaced the Twitter followers badge with a WOW award badge they had received.
Because this badge was a relatively well-respected symbol in the industry, this improved the site's credibility and helped removed buyer's doubt.
The result? Conversion skyrocketed more than 72 percent.
Takeaway: Always look for ways to increase credibility on your site. This can be with awards, social followers, testimonials, or SSL trust symbols like Verisign, Hacker Safe, or McAfee.
4. Know Your Audience
You might think you understand what your audience wants, but just how well do you really know them?
Product quality, guarantees, offers, price, and shipping fees matter to all consumers. The bigger question is what matters most to your customers.
Smiley Cookie, a niche e-store, sells fresh, customized cookies as gifts for special occasions.
On their website, they wanted to add a new value proposition to help boost sales. They ran an A/B test to help them choose from the following:
- Next-day shipping.
- Discounted price.
- Free shipping on orders above a certain value.
- Fixed rate shipping for any order value.
- High quality, handmade cookies.
Smiley Cookie had expected that customers would be most responsive to the value propositions on price (discounts) and quality (handmade cookies).
But guess what? There was a surprise winner: next-day shipping.
How did that happen?
Because most customers tend to purchase cookies as a gift (and gifts are almost always last-minute things), making sure it arrives on time is imperative. Throw in the fact that cookies are perishable and need to arrive fresh, and perhaps the results aren't so surprising after all.
That's not to say that next-day delivery is the most important factor to your audience. It does show, however, that understanding what your audience really wants is vital for getting results with your A/B tests.
Takeaway: You need to find out what matters most to your customers and highlight that aspect of your product on the landing page or in the offer.
5. Accepted Best Practices Don't Work Every Time
Although a bit of logical thinking can often predict the outcome of an A/B test, ignorant Internet surfers love nothing more than throwing up anomalies that defy the conventional wisdom.
Here are four testing tips used to generate more revenue.
Remember, just because something works on one site – or even the vast majority of sites – doesn't necessarily mean it will work with you.
Let's look at an example to highlight this point: the Vendio signup form.
Now, any guide to CRO will tell you that an embedded signup form on the homepage will boost conversions; after all, if it takes fewer clicks for a user to register, they ought to be more likely to do so.
Sensibly, this was the approach Vendio took when first designing their layout.
Just to ensure they were taking the right approach, though, Vendio A/B tested their embedded form against an unconventional alternative: users would have to click an extra button to reach the signup form.
Surprisingly, this worked! With one extra step added to their conversion funnel, signups per visitor increased by 60 percent.
Takeaway: Don't blindly accept best practices. Find out what works best for you with independent testing.
Conversion rate optimization isn't an easy technique to master, particularly when there is such a wide range of variables and factors that go into testing.
And just because you've managed to increase your conversion rate doesn't mean you get to rest, especially if there are any major aspects of your site that haven't been tested. If you only focus on one page, you will be leaving money on the table.
Most importantly, the cost-per-click (CPC) to bring a visitor to your website is increasing and if you don't improve your conversion rate, your cost to acquire a customer (CPA) will continue to rise. Therefore, never stop testing, because even the smallest lift can yield big-time changes to your bottom line.
Please feel free to add any examples of successful or unsuccessful A/B test you have run in the comments below.