Written by Richard Protheroe
11th August 2017 • 16 min read
Split testing your online retail website should be an essential part of your ecommerce strategy.
Do you ever get that feeling that something isn’t working on your website? Have you seen or read something new and exciting and wanted to give it a try, without abandoning your original idea?
If you’ve answered yes to either of those questions, then you need to be split testing your ecommerce website.
This could be anything from a slight tweak to content on a landing page; maybe trying out a new image; or you may want to test a completely new design.
So important is split testing, (also known as A/B testing), that Google have this year announced their own split testing product.
Built on to Analytics, you are ready to start testing immediately.
Google have also released Optimize 360, an enterprise version of their split testing app reported to cost around $150,000 a year.
However, Google have joined a saturated market – and there are already plenty of great and established tools available to ecommerce retailers.
So let’s dive in and discuss the best tools for optimising performance for your online retail store.
Optimizely is one of the best split testing tools on the market.
It’s trusted by some massive ecommerce companies – including eBay, Asics and Marc O’Polo.
Their web experimentation tool allows you to test any part of the customer journey. With a whole host of variations to ensure you are achieving the best results.
Optimizely have partnered with Stanford statisticians as well to deliver the best results for your website. Their research over 4 years had shown that users were making rash decisions based on their experiments.
Their new model which they call ‘Stats Engine’, allows you to see results twice as fast and ensures you aren’t making errors that could harm your business.
The fact that major names are using Optimizely and that Stanford statisticians are helping to build their product shouldn’t put you off, if you are a small business.
Prices are very reasonable and you also have a 30 day free trial to start experimenting today.
Price: $49 a month
A simple tool for marketers or business owners who might not necessarily have any technical experience.
This is thanks to their visual WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. Any changes you make with their editor will instantly reflect your live website.
Convert automatically connects to your Google Analytics as well. Showing up in your revenue and transactions columns.
This enables you to see real time results (rather than waiting a few weeks) and also ensures you that you don’t have to add any coding to your website.
This reinforces the fact that it is a popular option for the less tech savvy individuals.
It is also designed for high-end, enterprise customers. Offers are also offered if you want to go to an annual payment.
Price: $449 a month
KISSMetrics is a powerful tool built for more enterprise customers who may have a larger marketing budget.
This tool allows you to change a whole page’s design rather than the individual elements, for more varied experimenting.
KISSMetrics is a fantastic tool to understand the journey your customers are taking. Is there a particular page that people don’t like? Is the cart area too tricky? Are they not registering an account? Could you remove a step in the process?
Once KISSMetics has aided you with improving your customer’s journey, they have another fantastic tool which they had labelled ‘Campaigns’.
The tool allows you to send behavioural based emails, which target your customers with the perfect message, based on their website activity.
Ultimately this allows you to get more customers, keep them and then grow them.
Price: $400 a month
Another easy to use tool that allows you to test, build and then publish varying pages without having any knowledge of HTML.
An extremely popular choice in the ecommerce world, Unbounce plays heavily on its ‘no developer’ approach and this is reflected in its each to use design.
Unbounce has a fantastic selection of ready to use templates which are ideal for data collection and are also mobile responsive.
This can be used for the page itself, or via an overlay/pop up.
Price: $79 a month
Another straight out of the box tool to get you up and running with your experimenting!
What sets VWO apart from its competitors however is its very handy heat/click map feature.
This feature allows you to evaluate where your customers are moving their mouse and then clicking.
Perhaps a feature you thought was popular isn’t been looked at often? Is the navigation of your site proving tricky? This feature allows you to change that in real time!
A great interface, 24/7 support and the ability to have up to 5 users working on your website, it’s an extremely good tool!
Price: $49 a month
The other 10 tools in this list probably shuddered when they learned that Google were releasing a website experimentation tool.
Especially when they announced they were giving it away for free.
An obvious and seamless integration with Google Analytics, advanced geographic targeting and a basic editor make it an instant favourite for small to medium businesses.
As for enterprise customers there are options to upgrade, which gives you more user administration access, improved support, among others.
It’s easily installed by adding it as an extension in your browser as well – simple!
Away from the A/B testing tools, we have this handy tool from the people at Usability Hub.
You simply upload your website homepage or landing page and it is assessed by a group of impartial people for 5 seconds.
First impressions are everything with a website and this is a great tool for gathering valuable feedback.
The groups responses are then generated into a cloud to see what the common responses were to your website.
The tool also allows you to hire certain demographics as well, so you can determine what your target market thinks about you.
The monthly plan works its way up to $396 a month, however give it a go today by recruiting a panel for just $2.50.
Price: $2.50 pay as you go
8. AB Tasty
The most interesting thing about AB Tasty?
They use Bayesian statistics to calculate your results for you to act upon. Bayesian statistics you ask? It’s the important law of probability founded by British mathematician Thomas Bayes in the 18th Century!
No coding experience needed thanks to its simple cut and paste interface, it’s a ever increasingly popular tool for retailers.
Price: $249 a month
So we’ve mentioned 8 other A/B testing tools so far, so what’s the argument for Omniconvert?
You can use over 40 variables, more than any other tool. From targeting customers by country, days since last conversion, or even the weather in their location!
Omniconvert also offers around 100 templates for you to use that will closely match your brand.
They also offer decent coverage and features on their ‘Forever Free’ plan. Definitely one to keep an eye on for small businesses.
10. Lucky Orange
Lucky Orange is a fantastic tool that can help inform changes to your website.
From just $10 a month you can gather a recording of all visitors to your site, to see what actions they do, or do not take.
Additionally you can see these results in an easy to understand heat map.
Have any forms on your website to gather data? Then you can find out which fields are too consuming or off-putting for your customers to fill out.
Lucky Orange also gives you the option to chat live to your customers, if you see them struggling. This ensures you can turn these visitors into customers.
The tool also has a fantastic integration for all you Shopify users.
Price: $10 a month
A great and simple tool for landing page creation. ClickThroo has a great segmenting option that could allow you to target somebody in the UK, using Chrome, on their iPad, on a Sunday at 6am.
The possibilities of their segmentation is almost endless!
ClickThroo’s reporting element is very slick and easy to navigate. Colour coded stats can help you quickly identify which referrals and traffic sources are the most profitable.
Price: $95 a month
And a bonus one…
“Scotty”, an entrepreneur and developer has come up with the idea where his mother tests your website. Yes, really.
His thinking is “You should design for users who are unlike you. If they can’t understand your site or read it with ease, they will struggle and give up”.
The idea has been featured on Vice, CNBC and The Next Web, to name a few.
Once Scott’s mother has gone through your website, a recording is sent to you! Who knows? She might have the answer for your next split testing idea!
Have you used any of the split testing tools mentioned? Are there any that I’ve missed out? Leave your feedback in the comments below!
Written by Richard Protheroe
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- The 11 Best Split Testing Tools for Ecommerce Retailers - 11th August 2017