How to Test your E-Commerce Site Effectively

by . February 20th, 2012

The design and usability of your e-commerce site has a huge impact on driving sales. With A/B testing, you’re able to isolate what is causing a spike or decline in interactions on your site, which in turn can help you improve your marketing. This article will walk you through the steps needed in order to effectively test your e-commerce website. The results will help reap rewards in terms of your business’ conversion rates in the future.

Determine How Often to Test

If you want impactful results, it’s best to test often. Plan for these tests monthly and designate a time ahead of schedule in which to dedicate in doing so. While some big box retail sites isolate their testing to specific elements on the page only, don’t be afraid to expand your testing to all elements on the page.

Test the Right Elements

user experience testing

Product Descriptions

Product descriptions can oftentimes draw the visitor in and convey the attributes of the product in a whole new way. Try testing the description itself, as well as the length for maximum results.

fill-up form text help

Sign up Page Headlines

Copy is a powerful element in generating trust with the user. You want the sign-up process for any website you subscribe to be as seamless as possible, so take this into account when testing your sign up page headlines. Test out variations letting the user know the benefits or signup or even how long they can expect to devote to the process.

purchase button copy

Purchase Buttons

Purchase buttons, along with call to action buttons, are perhaps the most important elements on a given page. Many factors come into play in designing them, so running tests is often the best prescription for determining the colors, size, and text. As a rule of thumb, your button should be a generous size – try 230px wide and 45px tall as a starting point.

You’ll also want to place your buttons in an area that encourages eye flow. Try keeping your call to actions above the fold as this is where most activity takes place. Lastly, test out the button text and see what works the best. Text that conveys urgency is often said to work the best.

sales with increasing discounts

Pricing Strategies

The ultimate goal is to motivate the customer to purchase from you. One easy way is to figure out effective pricing strategies, as this has psychological implications on the viewer. For instance: Will ending the price of some items to .99 increase sales? Read this psychological test to see how it can be applied to your pricing strategy.

product search results, ratings and displays

Search Results and Product Displays

Another area to consider is how many products you wish to show on your homepage. You can test your order of search results as well as the number of them for maximum results. This will help you determine what is most effective at retaining the customer’s interest. Consider using Google Analytics in addition to your findings. It’ll help you discover search page abandonment, or look closer at your bounce rates and exit rates for list view vs. grid view.


A/B testing will take luck out of the equation in determining just what may be prohibiting your e-commerce site from reaching its full potential. Whether you’re testing ratings, product categories, or pricing, the potential for improvement is abundant. How do your approach A/B testing in your e-commerce site? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Brad Weitz, Director of Client Services, Maxymiser, Inc.

Formerly the Vice President of Operations for Autonomy Optimost, Brad has been at the cutting edge of online marketing for over 8 years. Now Brad has joined Maxymiser, Inc. where he develops and oversees all client relationships with a 360-degree digital marketing strategy for improving content optimization, increasing website conversion rates and producing outstanding marketing ROI.

Featured image from EMMEALCUBO on Flickr.