Adapting Your A/B Testing to Consumer Behavior

By SiteSpect Marketing

July 1, 2015


IBM Commerce just released the Eighth Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report. The report confirms that consumers are accessing retail sites from their mobile devices more than ever before. The analysis also includes strategies for helping retail organizations plan for the upcoming holidays.

One interesting tidbit got me thinking about how consumer activity affects A/B testing plans. The report states that in March 2015, retail websites saw 34.2% of visits from smartphones versus 12.8% from tablets. When it comes to completing the purchase, the numbers reflect a different behavior. Consumers purchase using their tablets 13.6% of the time versus 10.7% for smartphones1. The report suggests that consumers prefer the larger screen to learn about and ultimately purchase their items.

How does this data inform your A/B testing plans? Let’s review 3 examples and identify opportunities to A/B test.

Scenario #1: The consumer browses and purchases using a smartphone.

In this scenario, the amount of detail at the time of browse and purchase matters. Your product detail pages on a smartphone have a limited amount of real estate. The detail that compels purchase on a smartphone may differ from a larger screen. We recommend that you A/B test key product characteristics. Identify which information and level of detail is most successful. You can also A/B test images by experimenting with thumbnail and zoom options to find the best option.

Scenario #2: The consumer browses and purchases on a tablet.

In addition to the A/B tests above, experiment with the benefit of additional screen size and the resulting real estate. The report acknowledges that conversion rates are higher on tablets, but still lag behind desktops and laptops. Consumers are interested in seeing more order-specific details prior to completing their purchases. The extra screen area provides the opportunity to A/B test some of this information. For example, you can A/B test whether the inclusion of the current order total right on the screen makes a difference. Another type of A/B test you can run is whether promoting a field to enter a promo code right on your product detail pages positively impacts tablet conversions.

Scenario #3: The consumer browses using a smartphone but purchases using a tablet.

The use of multiple devices in the browse and purchase process presents an interesting challenge. Providing a consistent user experience now requires accounting for activities started on one device and completed on another. As Jason Goldberger noted during this year’s IRCE keynote, the consumer doesn’t see themselves as a channel. How you design and deliver your experience should be as seamless as possible. When a consumer logs in to your site from a smartphone and then logs in to your site from a tablet or other device, A/B test a welcome message that lets them know they have items in their cart or at least that your site knows them and their browsing history.

The IBM Commerce report includes current and relevant information for retailers. As I continue my career in this industry, I continue to be amazed at the number of ways companies work at optimizing their digital business. New ideas are constantly spurred by a conversation with a customer, a presentation at an event, or a report such as this one. Have you read the IBM Commerce report? If so, what A/B test ideas did it spark for you?

To learn more about SiteSpect, visit our website.


SiteSpect Marketing

SiteSpect Marketing

SiteSpect Marketing focuses on authoring content for the web and social media.

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