Optimizing Your Website for the 2009 Holiday Retail Season: SiteSpect Shows How to Write a Formal Testing Plan

December 9, 2014

In order to help online retailers achieve their holiday sales objectives, web optimization firm SiteSpect is advising marketers to develop their testing plans beforehand to prepare for a successful holiday shopping season. Although signs of recovery are starting to appear, the softened economy has been tough even in the usually robust e-commerce sector. According to comScore, Inc., Q2 2009 represents only the second quarter on record where e-commerce spending has been lower than the same quarter the previous year. U.S. online retail spending totaled $30.2 billion in Q2, down 1 percent versus a year ago. Online retailers are now doing everything they can to increase conversion rates, enhance average order value, and minimize shopping cart abandonment.

In new research recently released by SiteSpect, companies who have achieved the highest success with testing and optimization have a well-defined process for planning and running tests. The reality is that effective testing requires deliberate, well-managed execution and results are usually commensurate with effort. Without a structured plan for testing, companies can often end up with the wrong type of data, wasted time, and frustrated internal stakeholders.

Fortunately, developing a test plan is quite simple. The major areas that should be addressed include:

  1. What is being tested?
  2. Why is it being tested?
  3. What are the expectations for the test?
  4. What are the measures of success for the test?
  5. What are the risks associated with running the test?
  6. What internal resources are required to run the test?
  7. Who is requesting the test?
  8. By when are results needed?

Individually, each of these questions is relatively easy to answer. Some are technical (“what risks are there” and “what resources are required”), some are theoretical (“what are the expectations”), and some are basic (“who is requesting” and “by when are results needed?”). The best answers are not page-long explanations; rather, they are concise explanations designed to help your company plan for the deployment of the test.

An in-depth test planning template is part of a new whitepaper released by SiteSpect titled “Successful Web Site Testing Practices: Ten Best Practices for Building a World-Class Testing and Optimization Program.” The whitepaper, written by Eric Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified, can be downloaded for free at https://www.sitespect.com/testingsuccess (registration required).

“Online retailers know that this year’s holiday shopping season is expected to be tough and they are being very resourceful in doing more with less,” said Eric J. Hansen, Founder and CEO of SiteSpect. “Optimizing websites with multivariate testing helps our customers lift their conversion rates, increase their overall sales volume, and foster a more compelling user experience for their site visitors.”

About SiteSpect, Inc.

SiteSpect enables web marketers to optimize website and mobile web effectiveness through multivariate testing and behavioral targeting. By testing variations of landing pages, product descriptions, search results, and buy-flows, SiteSpect allows marketers to fine-tune every aspect of their website on a segment-by-segment basis. As the first and only non-intrusive solution available, SiteSpect empowers marketers to optimize their sites without the need for ongoing IT involvement. SiteSpect’s patent-pending technology is used by some of the world’s largest and most successful online businesses, including Cabela’s, iProspect, Overstock.com, ShopNBC, and VEGAS.com. For more information, visit www.SiteSpect.com or call 617-859-1900.