9 Elements You Need to Conversion Test


Operating an ecommerce store without conversion testing is like running blind. 

In this article we're going to cover what conversion testing is, why it’s important for online store owners, and give you nine popular tests you can start running on your store today.

What Is Conversion Testing?

Simply put, conversion testing is the process of testing various elements on your website to ensure maximum conversion rates. 

Why Is Conversion Testing Important for Online Stores? 

Without conversion testing you're making important decisions based on intuition, instead of fact. There are countless case studies that show how a minor change resulted in x% increase in sales. Conversion testing is all about optimization. You make small changes, measure the results, rinse and repeat. Monetate put together a diagram that shows the most popular tests: 



Since all these various website elements can direct a visitor to the checkout page, it’s imperative that you test again and again to ensure the highest posible conversion rate. 

9 Elements You Need to Conversion Test

One of the biggest challenges with conversion testing is figuring out what to test. Here's a list of nine elements every ecommerce store owner should conversion test. Use this list as a starting point, and remember there are plenty of other elements to test - this list is just a good place to start. 

1. Front Page 

Begin by looking at your front page. Most potential customers land on your front page first, so it's vitally important to optimize the heck out of it. What is the first thing a visitor sees? Which product (s) do you feature? How strong are your call-to-actions? Should you feature seasonal sales? Showcase free shipping? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions - the point is to make changes, measure the results, and optimize. 

2. Color Scheme 

This element might not seem like an important consideration at first glance, but you might be surprised how colors affect an action online. KISSmetrics ran a study on how people reacted to the various colors of call-to-action buttons. Color made a huge difference.



The winning color in this particular study was orange, but others have found blue to be the strongest call-to-action. So although the color of a button may seem trivial, it plays a role in the overall scheme of things. But as with all these various website elements, there’s no one size fits all. It varies by niche, that’s why it’s important to test.

3. Navigation 

What is at the top of your ecommerce site should naturally field a visitor to the basic actions they will likely want to make. You should know what customers in your specific vertical are looking for. Shopify store Good As Gold has chosen to put a heavy emphasis on mens and womens clothing, brand search, and their blog. You'll notice they put less emphasis on their Lookbook, shipping policy, about page, and contact form.



Play around with your main navigation bar. For Good As Gold, it obviously makes sense to immediately segment customers by gender, but perhaps your vertical requires a different type of segmentation. 

4. Wishlists 

One thing I personally get peeved about is the lack of a wishlist or save for later feature. If I happen to come across a product I'm interested in, but really just want to save the item for later because maybe it’s a high ticket item or because I am intending to buy it as a birthday gift in a few weeks, then the “save for later” feature is a must. 



Shopify merchants can choose from a few different wishlist / save-for-later apps, including: Wishery, and WANT Button.

5. Available Payment Methods

Not every online store accepts all forms of payment, so it's generally good practice to display the methods of payment you accept. Most ecommerce store owners know that it's a good idea to put credit card icons on their product page, but where else should they go? How big should they be? Which ones should you include? Shopify store Gatorade UK chose to put five payment icons on their homepage, not just their product pages: 



Try a few different payment method display options and see what works best. If you need some credit card icons, check these out.

6. Phone Number 

In a recent article here on the Shopify Blog, an author made a case for merchants to stop offering telephone support. He stopped advertising his 1-800 number and reduced his workload by 50%. He took the savings, both in terms of time and money, and put it to improving his site. 

Try measuring the impact removing your phone number has on conversions. Also, try moving the location of your phone number around a bit. Instead of displaying it on your homepage, try putting it on your "Contact Us" page, or in the shopping cart, where only qualified prospects will see it. 

7. Security 

It wasn’t that long ago when online shopping was considered an unsafe activity and many consumers shied away from it. However trust and reliability has gained foothold and now online shopping is no longer consider an unsafe activity. Or is it? Fact is, some segments of the population still consider placing a web order something to be quite cautious about, and will think twice before entering sensitive information on an unknown website. 

Alleviate these concerns and fears by making sure your security policy, badges and other details are well displayed. Remember, you don't need to put a giant ugly logo on your site. Check out how Shopify store DODOcase keeps things stylish with a subtle security badge in their footer. 


8. Return Policy

It goes without saying that you should have a return policy, but how exactly should it be drafted? Furthermore, where and how should it be displayed on your ecommerce store? Try displaying your warranty or money-back guarantee in various locations and see what works best for you. If you need help creating a return policy, check this out

9. Social Media 

A lot of online stores let their customers share their purchases via social media. Test social media buttons on your site and see how it works, what it does, where it directs a visitor and what a potential visitor sees. Does it flow well, does it lead the visitor where you want them led, and do they increase awareness and sales? Here is an example from Shopify store Violent Lips.



Most Shopify Themes are optimized for social media. Shopify also has plenty of social media apps that merchants can plug into their store. 

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has given you a good understanding of what conversion testing is, along with a few good starting points for ecommerce store owners. We're going to be digging deeper into conversion testing on the Shopify blog soon. In the meantime, to learn more, I recommend Crazy Egg's blog The Daily Egg which posts great articles on conversion optimization. 


By Missy Diaz, G34 Media.

12 comments

  • Franco
    Franco
    October 23 2012, 09:06AM

    Great post Mark! Really like the Kiss Metrics Color scheme layout – and the “want” button… makes it so much easier to shop online.

  • Russ Henneberry
    Russ Henneberry
    October 23 2012, 09:13AM

    Thanks for the shout out for The Daily Egg! This was a great article Mark. Thank you for writing it!

  • Janelle
    Janelle
    October 23 2012, 10:42AM

    Really handy, thanks for this. I need to start conversion testing.. just didnt really know where to start.

  • Mike Mason
    Mike Mason
    October 23 2012, 11:14AM

    Nice article! Well researched and timely.

    There is also a comprehensive guide available on our site written by Adam Bonnifield of spinnakr.com. He’s a conversion optimization consultant turned startup co-founder and went through the last 500 startups batch.

    He has a great step by step process that incorporates a lot of the element mentioned in this article in an interactive task list format. His starup is working towards conversion optimization triggers that dynamic based on the traffic source of the visitor. (ie. if the visitor comes from angel list, your CTA can be something completely different than a visitor coming from CPC.

    Cool stuff. His guide is here: http://www.startupplays.com/plays/conversion_optimization_for_startups

  • Angie
    Angie
    October 23 2012, 02:32PM

    Great post, Missy! I really need to pay more attention to this type of stuff.

  • Missy
    Missy
    October 23 2012, 03:20PM

    Glad you like my article, Angie. Thanks for stopping by an also sharing it on Google Plus.

    Kindly,
    Missy

  • Jeremy Fagergren
    Jeremy Fagergren
    October 23 2012, 07:34PM

    You should also include, in the part about phone numbers, that a great way to test offline conversions is to use different call tracking numbers on your test pages. Some businesses are VERY phone oriented, and need this additional point in their testing. At LogMyCalls.com, we have several case studies supporting this.

  • Robert Nelson
    Robert Nelson
    October 23 2012, 07:41PM

    I too thought it was a most interesting post on a topic that all sellers should pay more attention too.

  • Sharyn Sheldon
    Sharyn Sheldon
    October 23 2012, 09:16PM

    Brilliant article, Missy! I particularly like the info about the colors and what they’re associated with. I’m going to be thinking about that with every download, submit, add to cart, and buy button moving forward :).
    - Sharyn

  • Dennis van der Heijden
    Dennis van der Heijden
    October 23 2012, 10:42PM

    I love to have a Shopify Appfor Convert.com’s A/B testing software… just have to find a developer…anyone interested? I love to show how Shopify Users can optimize for sales and revenue.

    Dennis

  • Sarah Bauer
    Sarah Bauer
    October 24 2012, 07:48PM

    Thanks for highlighting security here. A user’s sense of confidence and trust in the merchant can be greatly improved by strategic placement of security badges on checkout pages, and assurance throughout the process that all information is stored safely.

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • AJ Wilcox
    AJ Wilcox
    November 28 2012, 07:07PM

    There’s SOOO much to test! That’s a full-time job just to run these tests. That was a really good point about weighing the real costs of personnel to man the phones. Thanks!

    AJ Wilcox
    Online Marketing Manager
    Domo.com

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