If this title strikes you as a bold statement, let’s start the discussion with an example:
You own a confectionery store, but so far you’ve only been selling rock candy. You want to introduce chocolates to your collection and you have a personal fondness for dark chocolates so you create a variety of dark delights for your store.
When it comes to business, however, it’s not about what you want – it’s about what your customers want. Your target customer may prefer milk chocolate over dark and you find that when you launch the dark chocolate collection it is a bust. On the other hand, had you made a comparative test between milk and dark chocolates before the launch, it would have given you insight into what your customers want, and sales figures would have been higher.
The concept of comparative testing is technically referred to as A/B testing, and is gaining popularity within large corporations. The process refers to the testing of two variants – A and B – to determine which is deemed preferable by your target customer. Testing can be conducted on a product, elements of a website or even promotional material and customer communications.
In an A/B test, ‘A’ is the original product while ‘B’ is a modified version of A. One variant is shown to 50% of your sample and the other variant to the rest. The variant that receives the most interest from the respondents is then selected.
The aforementioned example displays the value of A/B testing for any business. The post below explains the reasons why if you are missing out on everything if you’re not doing it.
Enhanced user experience
The most important reason to conduct A/B testing is improvement of user experience (UX). Your end-users are the most valuable part of your business: no matter how spectacular your website if it can’t assure a positive user experience you can’t expect to see traffic.
How can A/B testing help here? It allows you to let your customers define which version of your product they like. It could be a variation in the placement of a Call to Action (CTA) button or the presence of testimonials. These tests enable you to step into the shoes of your potential customers, gaining insight into the kind of content that had a higher attention rate. Additionally, which types of keyword pulled customers to pages or a particular phrase that inspired them to sign up.
The testing allows you to discover what changes you need to make to your original offering. Implementing those changes assures a smooth user experience, leading to increased traffic volume and higher conversion rates.
Encourages content engagement
Let’s assume you’ve created lots of amazing content for your website, but no one is engaging with the pages. The goal of your website is to inspire and influence visitors with your content, but if visitors are not engaging your efforts will have been in vain.
This is a classic case that can be remedied with A/B testing.
A/B testing demonstrates what content your visitors enjoy, as well as the kind of content that failed to impress. A/B testing aids in carrying out a comprehensive evaluation of your content and this assessment will enable you to publish variants of content that guarantee increased user engagement.
Improved conversion rates
Another major reason to try out A/B testing is improvement in conversion rates.
A goal of any website or business is to produce high conversion rates. An increased flow of visitors is always welcome, but you don’t want them to remain mere visitors. You want them to convert into buyers as soon as possible. In order to increase the likelihood of a conversion, it is critical to determine whether or not your site makes it easy to convert.
The testing process highlights variants that generated more interest and a greater number of respondents, and transposing this to the final launch will lead to a higher conversion rate. A/B testing not only shows you which kind of content encourages conversions, but it also provides data on what will decrease your conversion rates; a powerful tool in understanding what not to do.
Minimizes bounce rates
Bounce rate refers to the proportion of website visitors who navigate away from your landing page immediately. A high bounce rate is a sign that a landing page is unnavigable, and can be a fatal blow to the chances of creating conversions.
Website creation takes substantial effort, and the desired effect is that it will impress and delight potential customers, but this requires that it be optimized to suit the preferences of your end-users.
Say you are fond of vibrant colors and have applied them generously across your site, but your site caters to an older demographic for whom the colors are unpleasant; they prefer neutral tones. When they visit your site the bright shades distract to them. They are unable to focus on finding the information they require and leave the page, leading to a high bounce rate and a resultant fall in sales.
A/B testing provides data on how the website design was received by your end-users. In this case, it could have revealed your target customers dissatisfaction with bright shades allowing you to minimize your bounce rate effectively.
Reduces risks with innovative efforts
Innovation is at the crux of growth in a business. If you don’t innovate, you will fail to evolve and sustain. There are major examples of corporations that failed to innovate, but the risks associated with launching an innovative offering in the market should not be ignored. There is a chance that innovation will not work and innovative efforts can be costly. If your innovative campaign fails, you may be left with irreparable losses.
A/B testing enables you to check if your innovative variant is preferred by your customers compared to the original product. You can also create two versions of a potential offering and run an A/B test to see which version garners a more positive response. It will demonstrate whether your innovative concept is likely to be a success and prevent possible losses.
In offering something new you are taking a risk, but successful brands only succeed because they have the courage to take risks. However, A/B testing allows businesses to make more ‘calculated’ risks by determining a risk quotient for innovative campaigns, allowing business leaders to make better-informed decisions.
Reduces cart abandonment
This point is most relevant for e-commerce stores. Shopping cart abandonment can be explained in marketing terms as a customer who reached the bottom of the conversion funnel, but failed to convert. For businesses, this represents not only a loss in sales but presumably also a waste of ad spend, given the points of contact required to persuade a customer to convert.
The rate of cart abandonment ranges from 40-75% in e-commerce, with reasons being many and varied. For some, a confusing arrangement of text at check-out could be the reason, for others an ambiguous display of shipping rates or even loud colors dissuade them from purchasing.
A/B testing is indispensable in such cases, checking to find the variant that best persuades users to complete the checkout process. The result aids in minimizing cart abandonment and therefore increasing sales.
A/B testing essentially affords business owners the ability to add value for their customers with minimal effort. The variants tested typically differ only slightly, but the changes implemented can have a profound effect on conversion rates by providing smoother and more desirable user experience.
A/B testing represents a form of market research that is often overlooked. Think about launching a product – you wouldn’t begin spending money on production and promotion before checking if consumers had a need for the product. A/B testing is the same, simply on a smaller scale, refining your offering so that it best fits with your customers’ preferences.
If you are yet to start A/B testing in your business, you really are missing out on everything.