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Shopify AB Testing: How to do it right, Best practices and examples (2021)

Shopify AB testing: If you’ve never heard of AB testing and don’t know why it’s important for your Shopify store – you’re in the right place! AB testing may sound technical and complicated, but this is actually a really simple concept that can have a big impact on your e-commerce success. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Shopify AB testing for your store.

What is Shopify AB testing?

AB testing is sometimes called split-run or bucket testing. Simply put, it’s a user-experience test method that allows you to compare two distinct elements, option A and option B. In e-commerce terms, Shopify AB testing may help you to compare two versions of a landing page, or two different product page layouts, in order to see which results in more conversions. Completing rigorous Shopify AB testing helps provide you with the peace of mind that your store design is optimal for driving conversions.

Who should perform Shopify AB testing?

AB testing can benefit just about anyone with an e-commerce store. Even if you’re happy with your conversion rates, Shopify AB testing can help improve other elements of your store that may be slowing you down, such as your ad return, cart abandonment, or hits on specific products or collections. No matter what your e-commerce industry is, Shopify AB testing helps you to create the best possible version of your store.

While there is ample data to support the benefits of AB testing for large e-commerce businesses, small stores can also benefit. If you’re just starting out, make sure you’re getting the most for your money by using Shopify AB testing for as many store elements as possible – it will help you to better understand your customers and their needs.

Why is Shopify AB testing so crucial for your store’s success?

If you’re not yet convinced in the power of AB testing, take a look at Amazon. Although it’s hard to believe, this e-commerce giant was a fairly ordinary website selling books not too long ago. Now the largest e-commerce retailer in the world, much of Amazon’s success can be credited to its constant testing and experimenting. Many of Amazon’s key features, such as 1-click ordering, re-order buttons, powerful product recommendation engines, and two-day shipping all went through rigorous AB testing to ensure their success.

If you’re still not convinced, let’s take a look at an example of AB testing in action. This simple test compared the effects of a red call to action button against a green one – everything else on the page remained exactly the same.

shopify ab testing

Their results were fairly staggering. The buttons were tested across 2,000 store visits over several days, and the red button outperformed the green by 21%. The drastic difference between the two buttons should provide you with some idea of just how important Shopify AB testing can be – by optimizing each page in your store you can significantly increase your downstream traffic.

Even for a small store, a Shopify AB testing app can have profound, lasting effects on not just your conversions but on other elements such as customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Shopify AB testing examples and real-world applications

There are plenty of great examples of AB testing out there, some of which you may be able to apply to your own store. It’s important to realize that AB testing needs to be performed on a case-by-case basis – your customers are unique and you may see completely different results compared to an AB test carried out with a different audience. Here are some case studies of real AB testing scenarios:

1. Humana

Humana is a US-based insurance provider that carried out one of the best webpage examples of A/B testing. They tested two versions of a banner that featured a simple headline, an image, and a call to action.

shopify ab testing

As you can see, the treatment banner featured a different image, much less text, and a stronger call to action. Staggeringly, the simple changes in this version resulted in a 433% increase in clickthroughs!

2. Netflix

If you find yourself browsing through Netflix’s offerings again and again (don’t worry – we all do it), you may notice that the powerhouse streaming service sometimes changes the artwork accompanying each show/movie.

shopify ab testing

Netflix relies heavily on A/B testing to find artwork that appeals to the largest number of customers. In fact, they have conducted so many A/B tests that they have been able to detect trends that allows them to more rapidly identify and create artwork that will best engage their viewers.

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3. Zalora

Fashion retailer Zalora was determined to optimize their e-commerce product pages to result in a greater checkout rate. They found that by changing the design of their product pages to focus on some attractive features like free shipping and returns, they could increase their checkout rate by 12.3%.

They tested two new product page versions against their control:

shopify ab testing
shopify ab testing

After extensive testing, Zalora found that Variation 1 was a better performer than both the control and variation 2. As you can see, this variation easily highlights the free delivery and return features of Zalora purchases, which was likely a big reason for the increase in conversions.

4. Designhill.com

AB testing isn’t just a tool for your e-commerce store. You can use Shopify AB testing for all elements of your online presence, including your email and SMS marketing campaigns. When it comes to A/B testing for these campaigns, you’re looking to find options that result in the highest number of opens and clickthrough rates. One of the best examples of AB testing for email marketing is from Designhill.com, which tested different versions of an email’s subject line.

shopify ab testing

By using fewer words and eliminating the “Check out My Recent Post” portion of the text, emails with the shorter subject saw a 2.6% increase in open rates and an almost 6% increase in clickthroughs. This highlights the importance of email subjects – it’s the first thing your customer sees and plays a huge role in whether or not they open the email – choose your words carefully!

Shopify AB testing and upselling

Upselling is a really important part of any successful e-commerce store, but it won’t work as effectively if you’re not AB testing your upselling offers. As explained with the examples above, you can dramatically increase the number of clickthroughs by ensuring you use the best images, wording, and layout of your upselling offers. Investing in a Shopify AB testing app is extremely worthwhile if you’re looking to grow and optimize your store.

Shopify AB testing with PickyStory

Adding PickyStory to your Shopify store generates more revenue from every store visit through upselling features like Shop the LookProduct Bundles, and Product Kits. When you integrate these features into your store, it’s beneficial to then use a Shopify AB testing app to optimize these features and make the most highly desirable to your specific customer base. Luckily, PickyStory is highly customizable – you can change the colors and style of the app to best suit your brand, and to facilitate AB testing.

For example, you can perform Shopify AB testing on product bundles to first determine the most effective products to bundle together. Add varying complementary products to the initial product the customer is viewing and evaluate which additional products are most frequently added to carts.

You can conduct similar AB tests for your store’s shoppable looks. Try testing different colored button options, different placements of your shop the look button, or even different text (for example, “shop the look” vs. “buy the look”). Although they may seem insignificant, these details can have a huge impact when it comes to conversions.

Shopify AB testing: Don’t overlook the benefits for your store

Shopify AB testing is relatively simple to perform, but can generate a huge amount of helpful data that will allow you to optimize your store. By testing everything from homepage banners to different selections of product images, you will learn valuable information about your customers that can ensure your e-commerce success well into the future.

Find recommended apps on the PickyStory blog.

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