A/B Testing During Holiday and Peak Seasons: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Tips
As we all know, retail sales experience a significant boost during the holiday season. But according to Deloitte’s 2020 Holiday Retail Survey, this year is going to further skew toward online versus in-store shopping.
How will this significant increase in your website’s traffic affect CRO and A/B Testing?
You may be thinking: great! This is the highest traffic we’ll get all year, so we should test heavily to take advantage. Think of all that we can learn during this time!
But here’s the problem: Users are much more shopping-motivated during the holidays than at other times of the year. So they are unlikely to be as influenced by traditional A/B testing changes in user experience (UX). People will put up with — and work through — the worst UI imaginable in order to make a purchase during the holiday season (especially if there are discounts involved). That means the data we receive from these sorts of tests during holiday/peak periods isn’t representative of “normal” user behavior.
Pitfalls of Holiday A/B Testing
Thus, we can’t ascribe increases in conversion rates to anything we’ve done to the user experience. This is an illustration of sample pollution, which means the sample population was affected by external factors outside of our control. This causes us to question what results we may see from typical conversion tests.
Here is the bottom line: During your holiday or peak seasons, you should stay away from testing changes that are UX or usability-focused (e.g. site-wide navigation, product page hierarchy, etc.).
Best Conversion Tests for Holiday Sales
But are there any types of conversion tests we can run during this time that are likely to provide us with actionable results? You bet! The two biggest differentiators for websites during this time tend to be around their promotion strategy and conveying trustworthiness to potential customers.
With that in mind, here are the best things to test during your peak/holiday season:
Although users are strongly motivated to make a purchase and will work their way through even the clunkiest UI to purchase the products they want, you can still successfully execute A/B tests to improve your conversion rate during peak seasons. You can stand out from the pack by giving your users the right promotional offers and effectively communicating your trustworthiness, and you can accomplish this with well-planned CRO A/B testing.
Greg is a Senior Organic Search and Conversion Manager at EXCLUSIVE. He has found his calling as a digital marketer after previously wandering for years in the wilderness of corporate finance. Greg loves to spend time with his wife and his cat and can be found listening to classic rock on vinyl or optimizing his fantasy football lineups (to marginal success).
Closing sales is essential to any business, and having a website that encourages browsers to buy is a key part of that. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) doesn’t happen overnight, but getting more people to checkout is worth the wait. How does CRO work? As it turns out, a lot of it has to do with the bread and butter of search engine optimization (SEO). Start down the right path to more revenue with these three tips to boost conversion rate by improving SEO on your website.
1. Remember Your Search Intent
This common SEO term refers to what searchers have in mind when they end up on Google. After all, the person typing in “best running shoes for teens” is looking for something very different than the person searching “running shoes free shipping”.
Know what every page on your website is for, and narrow your scope to that whenever you do something involving those pages. Having a website designed around that concept makes for easy, one-stop landing pages and other online resources that are precisely what browsers are looking for. Trying to speak to everyone who might buy from you on a single page means no one will. Tackling this step on your website may involve writing new content for pages, restructuring your website architecture or both.
2. Make Value-Driven Blogs and Resources
Answer questions for your client base with to-the-point blogs, and they’ll come to view you as a resource. There’s a time and a place for longer content, of course, but every piece of creative your company puts out should be built around what your customers need and are looking for — even if they don’t know it. By presenting helpful information in an optimized blog or other resource pages, you’ll catch browsers earlier in the purchasing funnel and build brand awareness at the same time.
This also means choosing keywords that match the purpose of the page, and not necessarily ones with the biggest search volume. Since conversion is your goal, choose target keywords that best fit your webpage: “clearance running shoes” doesn’t have as much volume as “shoes”, but it’s pretty clear which one will lead to more sales by being targeted in the description for a discount running shoes category.
3. Focus on User Experience (UX)
No matter your industry, UI design relies on having relevant pictures to communicate call-to-action (CTA) offers, product benefits or painting a lifestyle image. Banners draw attention to promotions, as an example, and photos will break up content to make it easier to read.
But the cornerstone of this is simple navigation and website security. If someone on your website can’t easily find what they’re looking for or feels like your website is decades old, they’ll go somewhere else. A navigation menu that’s visible without interaction guides browsers without making them go hunting, and breadcrumb trails make it easier to understand where they are now in relation to where they were. A chatbot shows you’re accessible if they have questions, inspiring confidence before they’ve even reached your secure checkout process.
The Tools and Know-How to Improve Conversion Rate
While some of this may feel intuitive, your instincts will only get you so far with UI design and SEO performance. Conversion testing, data reporting and, most importantly, industry experience will help you step up your e-commerce game to pro levels. The fastest way to get all that in one place is with a qualified marketing agency that gets results. Join our clients in discovering the fastest way to grow your business with a free e-commerce analysis by Exclusive.