Where On Your E-Commerce Store Should You Start A/B Testing First?

Justin Christianson here the co-founder and president of conversion fanatics and the number one best-selling author of conversion fanatic: how to double your customers, sales and profits with A/B testing now I reached out onto the social world and asked a few questions on what you guys would like to learn most and actually majority the people came back with where should you actually start testing on your e-commerce store. Where in the funnel process should you begin your a/b testing efforts. 

Today I thought I would pull out the white board and discuss just that.  But first we need to take a step back and we need to look at our overall data. We need to dive in analytics, we need to look at some heat maps and click maps and we need to really find out the trends of what’s going on in that particular store or your particular process and flow.

Usually you’re gonna have something already set up in a process and some metrics already in place.  Presumably you’re gonna have some some traffic and sales because without that you there’s nothing to optimize.

So we’re gonna go into analytics and we’re gonna look at demographics, we’re gonna look at mobile versus desktop, then we’re going to look at new versus returning visitors and we’re gonna break those down and understand where our biggest fall off points are.

Mobile versus desktop: maybe you have a higher conversion rate on desktop, which is usually the case. Usually mobile converts about half as well as desktop in stores that are doing any kind of volume. So we’re gonna look at some of those trends and you’re gonna find out maybe that you have a very high bounce rate on mobile. Then we may need to focus on the mobile side. So you have less engagement, higher bounce rate means you have less engagement.

Maybe the page perception is low on mobile versus desktop but maybe the majority of your revenue is still on mobile or maybe you find out that your average order value based on your analytical data is much lower, twenty to thirty dollars in some cases lower on mobile than desktops.

We’re gonna want to focus on the mobile experience rather than the desktop experience as a whole because the mobile or the desktop experience a lot of those elements will eventually transfer.

Then what we actually want to do to figure this out is look at them the new and returning visitors to figure out returning visitors spend more money, they converted a much higher rate, so maybe we need to focus on the new visitors which in often case. 80 plus percent of your overall traffic are the new visitors but if the majority of your visitors in revenue come from your returning visitors you might have an issue on helping the visitors that are coming in new and fresh.

Those unique visitors that are coming in maybe they just don’t know who you are or what you do.  They don’t trust you, they’re not able to find what they’re looking for, or maybe something is missing that was promised in an ad or there’s lacking some consistency there.

So we need to really focus on the new visitors and create that different experience.  The new visitors maybe highlighting some of your best selling products or helping them find a category in your store that you’re they’re looking to find such as shoes or clothing or accessories or in supplements maybe it’s you know gut health or brain health or whatever it might be.

They need to be able to filter and find what they’re looking for and have a compelling reason to then continue on and see everything that you have to offer.

Then from there if you have this set up, which I highly recommend you do, is have ecommerce tracking set up in your analytics because that’s gonna help you find a lot of information here. I’ve got shopping behavior listed out which just gives you a graph under conversions, ecommerce, shopping behavior in your analytics platform and Google Analytics

You’ll be able to see you know all sessions and then you’ll be able to see the step progression all the way down so sessions with product views meaning they viewed an actual product in your store, add to cart sessions, sessions with checkout and sessions with actual transactions.

So you’re gonna find out what the key drop-off points are in that process. Maybe you have sessions with product views that’s quite a bit or quite comparable to all session but then you have a massive drop-off from add-to-cart.

You may have an issue on your product detail page if they’re not adding the cart.

Then you’re gonna want to go through and figure out all the reasons why you want to actually test or what could be the friction point or hold up on that product detail page.

It could be trust, it could be the price is confusing, the value isn’t there, the images aren’t effective, there could be too much clutter on the page, there could be many different reasons.  You want to just come up and make a list of everything that you could possibly think of that will hold those visitors back from doing the key action you want and then you’ll create a test hypothesis from there. We don’t need to get into right in this video because I’ll save that for a different video.

Maybe you find out that all sessions you have a huge drop-off on product views well then you have an issue on either your homepage or you have an issue on your actual catalog or category pages that aren’t allowing visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Testing filters and testing homepage we test a lot of things like having your best sellers and then some category elements and then on your catalog pages make sure you have a filter option. On mobile it’s vitally important that you have a filter option, usually sort by best sellers

Then moving over to the product detail page removing clutter, high quality images, your price, your value add, your retail price your brief description, the big bold call-to-action and maybe some security elements and some supporting trust elements such as satisfaction guaranteed and you know free shipping and things like that. \

Then other recommended products.

Then you move on to your cart and you’re gonna want to have some recommended products there and test it all. Figure out what’s going on but it all comes down to the data and there’s really no one-size-fits-all answer for where you should start in your process of A/B testing.

You need to figure out where your visitors are falling off, what they’re paying attention to the most and what they’re ignoring in that process and then figure out all the ways that those friction points could be holding them back.

Maybe you have a bunch of add to carts but then you don’t have a lot of sessions to check out which means they’re adding to cart but they’re not getting past the step.  They’re not getting over to the checkout page so you have an issue here.

Maybe you have a bunch of views on checkouts but you have a massive drop-off on with transactions meaning that your checkout page has some major issues.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer but the data is there if you have analytics set up and I highly recommend getting a heat map and click map setup and maybe even setting up a funnel progression. Hotjar allows for you to setup a funnel progression based on your URLs.

But you want to look at mobile versus desktop, new versus returning, find some trends figure out where you need to pay the most attention figure out your main drop-off points and friction points then make a major list of exactly what’s happening on your store and what kind of friction points you need to remove or what test ideas you can have to either remove those friction points or add elements that could you know increase that engagement and increase the desired actions that you wanted them to take.

That’s all I got for this video hopefully you find it was helpful and let me know.  Comment share like this video I’ll greatly appreciate it.

Let your data be the guide on where you start your A/B testing.