E-commerce Link: Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3
During the economic downturn, marketers had to become smarter at e-commerce. Savvy marketers tested e-mail campaigns, offers, on-site merchandising and targeting. Now, as the economy recovers, they must build on what worked to gain competitive advantage, grow their brands and increase their customer bases.
In any market condition, one of the most successful strategies is the use of analytics to help guide business decisions and make sure limited resources are focused on areas with the greatest potential for returns. Marketers now are taking testing to the next level. Many use A/B testing strategies to determine what works, dividing traffic equally between two different versions of a Web page to determine which one delivers the best results.
As marketers become more adept at using A/B testing, it may be time to explore a more effective variation called multivariate testing. Multivariate testing, as a methodology, lets site owners find out which zones of a Web page have the biggest impact on target metrics like orders, leads or time spent on the site. It also pinpoints which version of each page component produces the biggest lift in the metric of interest. With multivariate testing, each test looks at more than one part of the page and more than one variable at a time.
Key Considerations for Optimal Testing
It's clear that testing offers significant benefits and a much deeper understanding of customer preferences and behaviors. However, it requires time and attention to do it right. The following are some key considerations:
• Clearly define your objectives: Prioritize specific goals related to your business, and set your testing methodology around them. Common goals include factors like driving increased clickthroughs or improving navigation on search results pages. With your goals in mind, engage in a progressive process of continuous optimization, factor by factor.
• Understand your capabilities: Determine the amount of time your marketing staffs (and the IT people who support them) can commit to testing to assure a smooth process of refinement in areas such as page modifications, usability and site function.