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9 test ideas for optimizing your online shop

How can the user experience be optimized at every touchpoint in the online shop? We have put together 9 tips on essential principles of website design and higher conversion rates for you.

The e-commerce sector poses a particular challenge for marketers: A highly saturated market with an enormous selection of goods means that successful customer acquisition depends less on the products themselves and more on the user experience that a company offers its website visitors. If shoppers cannot find this with you, the nearest competitor is just a few clicks away. Here are a few ideas with which you can score points in the competition for the favor of customers.

1. Use large images to bind visitors emotionally
With creative images, especially in the top funnel area, customers can be emotionally bound to your website. Here is a nice example from Quiksilver that gets visitors in the right mood for the Christmas season and the upcoming snow season.

Source: Quiksilver.de

The further the users penetrate the sales funnel and switch from the discovery phase (for example evaluating the offers) to the final phase (for example adding and paying for the products in the shopping cart), the more superfluous and even more annoying the images.

Test different image elements and find out how you can arouse the curiosity of your visitors. In the checkout funnel, you should use image elements carefully or avoid them entirely, as images can have a strong influence on conversion rates. You could also test whether images or videos tend to increase conversions.

2. Test how and when it is best to query e-mail data
Gathering email addresses is a very efficient way to keep visitors interested in your business and get them to buy. With an e-mail address you can also send interested parties long-term and special offers if they are not ready to buy when you visit the website for the first time. Many e-commerce websites are experimenting with banners or light boxes in which visitors are asked to provide their e-mail details - usually in exchange for a one-time discount or improved delivery conditions. You can use A / B testing to find out which method is most suitable for your company. Test where, when and how, i.e. with which request, you can ask for this personal information.

Source: Quelle.de

Keep in mind that e-mail queries that are sent too early - for example during the first interaction - are usually ignored. Give your visitors time to get to know your website - even if they run the risk of leaving it prematurely. The purpose of your visit should be fulfilled, at least in part, before you request personal data. Similarly, you should only show pop-ups to existing customers - first-time visitors tend to close them unread. However, you only know exactly if you try different variants in a test.

Source: jack-wolfskin.de

E-mail query fields should either be integrated into the website itself or a movable element should be inserted that is fixed to the side or bottom of the image. Both methods are usually perceived as significantly less intrusive than a pop-up window.

3. Place attractive service offers next to call-to-action elements
Do you give your customers free shipping for larger orders? What about money-back guarantees or free exchange services? If you have something special to offer users, don't leave it behind.

Source: fashionid.de

Experiment with placing offers like “Free Shipping,” “Fast Shipping,” or “90 Day Return Policy” to see if proximity to the call-to-action increases conversion rates. What if this offer is already mentioned to others? No problem. Repetitions of key statements on the website are permitted - as long as they make customers more willing to buy.

4. Keep customers focused with a breadcrumb menu
The behavior of customers on e-commerce websites changes over the course of their visit. If you do research at the beginning, work more goal-oriented towards the end. So that your visitors do not lose track of things, the introduction of a breadcrumb menu (also known as a “click path”) on product pages is ideal for greater clarity.

Source: bonprix.de

In this way, users can find products that they have already called up before. It has been shown that visitors to ecommerce websites without a traceable path make fewer purchases. So don't miss out on testing the effectiveness of navigation methods at key points in the user journey. Here is an example from Bonprix where visitors can easily find the subpages that brought them to the current page.

5. Confirm the receipt of products in the shopping cart

Capture a visitor's interest and help them complete a task by making the next step clear to them. A good opportunity to guide customers from the product page to checkout is to display a confirmation message as soon as they have added products to the shopping cart.

Source: planet-sports.de

By showing a preview of the current shopping cart right next to a checkout CTA element, you make it easier for your customers to take the next step in the checkout process. At the same time, you should also test what effect the display of other recommended products could have on the size of the shopping cart.

6. Prioritize A / B testing wisely
There are a variety of factors that A / B testing can evaluate if you want to influence the conversion rate and add value to your digital user experiences. How you design these A / B tests depends heavily on the traffic on your website. The proximity to the checkout is also decisive for which tests can be carried out. Ecommerce teams should opt for a healthy mix of pages to test, including homepage and category pages, product pages, and the checkout funnel.

With low traffic on your product and checkout pages, it may take a while to get results that are statistically meaningful. Focus on the upper part of the funnel, where you have a lot of traffic, to find out how changes in the conversion path affect customer behavior further down the funnel. Tests in the immediate vicinity of your primary conversion event are also meaningful, as the goals of these tests are likely to have a direct impact on your key success metrics.

7. Instead of a complete redesign, use the conversion for iterative testing
A comprehensive redesign of a website creates high expectations in terms of user experience and conversion and at the same time ties up huge resources. Iterative testing should be carried out during the entire redesign in order to obtain meaningful values ​​for a comparison with the original website. Check which changes have a positive or negative effect, without losing sight of how the individual elements interact. A completely new design does not tell you which of the numerous measures is responsible for changed user behavior.

The old Belkin homepage design

Source: belkin.com

The new design of the homepage, improved by testing

Source: belkin.com

In order not to have to laboriously test each element variant individually, you should consider combining related elements into a multivariate test. In this case, however, please note that the elements to be grouped must all have the same page goal (for example, increasing the number of CTA clicks). In a multivariate test, all combinations of variants are checked in order to gain detailed information on whether and how certain elements complement each other.

8. Test the best time to register
As explained at the beginning, an e-mail address is the key to developing the customer relationship. This information can be used, for example, to address users who have not bought the goods in their shopping cart (“remarketing”), or to send special offers with which customers can further website visits are animated.

Source: hornbach.de

Even among e-commerce optimization specialists, it is not clear what the best time is to request an e-mail address. Is it better to show a registration form before checkout or when adding a product to the shopping cart? Mobile websites present a challenge of their own. This is due, among other things, to the reduced screen size and the tendency of users to obtain information on mobile devices without the intention of directly completing the purchase there.

In e-commerce, the trend is towards querying the e-mail address in several funnel phases, including shortly before checkout. In these cases, the provision of the e-mail data is used to create a customer account, without which purchases are impossible. On mobile websites, you should be careful not to clutter the user experience with too many steps or modal windows. Instead, redirect your visitors to a page whose sole purpose is to register.

Bonus tip: Do an A / B test to test the possibility of potential buyers logging in via social log-in. If many visitors click on this option, you should definitely implement this option for yourself. Here is an example from Asos:

9. Reduce input fields on mobile websites
In the case of mobile websites, the question arises as to whether it is more useful for conversion to display as few fields as possible per page or to offer users an overview of the ordering process in advance in order to keep them going. Again, this can only be answered by testing the user experience. Here is an example from Burton.com where the individual checkout phases are divided into sub-steps.

Source: burton.com

Input fields also work wonderfully on mobile websites if they are broken down into shorter sections so that users can go through the checkout process quickly. You can also use a progress indicator installed at the top or bottom of the screen to inform your visitors about the phase of the purchase process they are currently in. Indecisive users may be convinced to continue the checkout to the end because they see that they are only a few steps away from their destination.

The only way to develop the ideal e-commerce experience for your visitors is to run through several variants (iterative testing). Include the feedback from your users and the know-how of experienced experts in your brainstorming process. Base your hypotheses on data and design best practices - this is the only way to provide your users with a better user experience and also achieve the business goals you have set for yourself.

Curious? Then download our free ebook now and learn more about A / B testing and how you can improve sales and user experience.