For retailers and their customers, the holiday season is all about decking the malls and buying gifts for loved ones.
Even in a volatile and dreary economic environment, shoppers are doing all they can to spread the holiday cheer. According to a Deloitte survey on the 2022 holiday season, consumers are still planning to spend on gifts despite high levels of inflation.
Increased traffic during this peak season opens up even greater opportunities to use A/B testing to gain conversion insights and inform future campaigns.
How it works
An A/B test compares two versions of content—a web page, email, or other marketing assets—with a single varying element.
In an email we could test two different subject headlines to find out which has a higher click-through rate:
“Your discount code expires in 2 hours!” vs. “Only 2 hours left to save big.”
Once the two versions of content are developed, the identified target audience list is split in half with content version A going to one half of the list and version B going to the other.
This “split” distribution test helps determine which version proved most effective among your audience based on specific metrics, such as conversion rate or time on page. With those insights, you can optimize your future campaigns.
Remember, however, that A/B testing isn’t just for the holiday season. The higher holiday traffic simply provides a larger sample size for your test, which can yield more reliable results. It’s also best to test elements that directly impact the bottom line, including:
What to/why test this year?
Here are four use cases for optimum A/B testing this holiday season.
Some customers shop months before the holiday season so they can nail the perfect gift. A gift guide can help shoppers make decisions more easily and can generate more leads for future campaigns.
Test the channels in which they are posted and the kinds of messaging to see which variation attains the highest click-through rates.
For those last-minute shoppers who wait until December 24, push notifications, tailored reminders, and live inventory forecasts can work well.
Try testing variations of messaging and reminders on your website and mobile apps:
“Selling fast! 110 people have purchased this today.” vs. “Selling fast! Only 7 left in stock.”
Price-sensitive customers look for the best deals. Banners are great for promoting sales and linking to pages or products that you want to receive high engagement.
Test the placement of a banner and play with different colorways and messaging content. For example, you could test different headlines on different graphic designs:
Discounts can prove especially appealing to the price-sensitive shopper. A variation might read like this:
“Spend $200 and get 20% off!” vs. “Get 20% off on purchases over $200.”
Most customers want to know if they can return or exchange items —especially if they're shopping for gifts—before they make the purchase.
Test different ways to articulate your shipping and return policy, or experiment with different placements of that messaging to determine which variation draws the most click-through rate.
Know the limitations
One drawback of A/B testing is that results and insights might not always be applicable in the off-peak season. Holiday customers may be driven to purchase by a different set of motivations, such as urgency or pricing.
Don’t let that deter you from running these tests during the holidays. At the very least, the insights you gain will inform your marketing strategies for the next holiday season.
A/B testing is not a one-off tactic. As each test is a randomized trial, it requires multiple iterations to get reliable results. The right solution would enable you to execute the tests well repeatedly. By doing so, you will:
Through holidays and beyond, A/B testing is a reliable technique to consistently drive conversions.
To learn more about how A/B testing can optimize your user experience and increase ROI during the holidays and beyond, request a demo today.
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