Lisa Frank

Back-to-school season is almost upon us -- in just a few short weeks, schools will open their doors to kick-off the 2014-2015 school year.

3 Quick Test Ideas for Optimizing Your Site

This time of year is big business for Retailers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), as of 2013, the revenue derived from back-to-school sales has grown to $72 billion in the U.S. The latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that 6.2% of retail sales are from e-commerce purchases, resulting in approximately $4 billion from online back-to-school sales.

As an online retailer, you are competing against other outlets for market share and looking for ways to increase conversions and drive revenue. You are also trying to attract as many customers as you can now, so you can test offers and specials before the big rush hits. Here are three test ideas to help you meet your goals:

  1. Call-to-Action Placement

    Is your on-site advertising working effectively? When a visitor arrives on your site, is your call-to-action located in the right spot on your page? Is it helping or hurting your business?

    Test example: A SiteSpect customer recently tested the position of its Clearance banner ad on the homepage. The company tested the position at the very top of the page, underneath the top navigation bar, and at the bottom of the page as a sticky banner. In the end, the winning variation increased add-to-cart by 2.9%. Rather than detract from the customer experience, the optimal banner ad location helped this customer increase conversions and drive revenue.

  2. Shipping Threshold

    There is no industry-standard shipping threshold in e-commerce. Promotional discount codes are also used inconsistently. A look at several popular sites marketing to back-to-school shoppers revealed a wide range of shipping thresholds. What is right for your business? Finding the optimal threshold for your business may help to increase conversion rates and average order values.

    Test example: Another customer decided to test multiple shipping threshold values to determine which was optimal for its business. In the end, they conducted a multivariate test with four variations tested against the control. At the end of the test, the winning threshold resulted in a 23% lift in average order value. A huge success!

  3. Checkout Process Flow

    This type of test can make a huge difference when it comes to increasing conversions. By testing the checkout process, you can gauge the right number of pages in the process, the length of the forms, or the inclusion of guidance during the purchase process. In this context, guidance means a help button or pop-up window that helps the customer correctly complete the task at hand.

    Test example: One of our customers noticed that zip code errors were common during checkout. As a customer, having to return to previous pages and correct information can be annoying. Some customers may abandon the order altogether. To help prevent frustration and reduce errors, our customer tested the appearance and messaging of zip code entry. By conducting a multivariate test, they were able to find the best mix of design and guidance for their customers. In the end, the winning variation increased conversions by 2.9%.

In such a busy and crucial back-to-school season, time is of the essence. Each of the tests mentioned were up and running in a matter of hours, not days. Sometimes it’s the “easy to set up” tests that can drive the greatest returns. What tests do you plan to run to convert the back-to-school customer?

Tags: A/B & Multivariate Testing