Right now you’re in the starting blocks: you have found an optimisation services provider, you have set up an internal optimisation team… There is only one thing left to do: decide what you will be testing first – preferably something impactful that can showcase what AB testing can do for conversion. Let me give you a few pointers based on what works best for my own clients.

Turbocharge your search bar

Especially for retail sites, it’s crucial to allow users to search as well as browse, hence the importance of having a powerful search bar. Whilst the efficiency of that tool is often dependent upon the internal search engine behind it, there are many ways to visually improve search bars that are worth testing:

Signpost your funnel

When users are progressing into the purchase funnel (usually starting on the basket page), it is important to manage their expectations by clearly signposting all the steps they will be expected to go through, and if possible reduce the number of these steps. The following usually help:

  • Progress bar listing both completed and upcoming steps
  • Shorter funnels, especially on mobile devices (think of Amazon’s one-page checkout)
  • Inline validation (e.g.: green tick/red cross combination) to both confirm progress and point out problematic areas

Showcase your assets

What are your best assets? What makes you stand out from the competition? Make sure your users don’t have to look for these answers by showing them first-hand:

  • Display your Unique Selling Points (USPs) across your site, if possible with eye-friendly icons
  • Gain users’ trust by promoting product/service reviews
  • Show users how many pounds away they are from Free Delivery

Personalise users’ experience

It doesn’t take personal information to be able to offer a personalised experience for your users. All you need to do is pay attention to what they are doing as they visit your site, and you will be able to help them better via:

  • Exit intent messaging
  • Retargeting based on previously behaviours/actions (e.g.: items previously placed in the basket, pages previously visited…)
  • “Recently viewed items” feature

Use sticky headers

Don’t underestimate the impact of having all the important information readily accessible when moving up and down a page. This is especially true on Product Pages that are often content-heavy and will therefore induce some scrolling. Sticky headers will give you a great opportunity to:

  • Display an actionable product summary (e.g.: thumbnail, title, price, “Add to basket” button)
  • Keep the site “tools” visible (e.g.: search bar, basket icon, filters, navigation…)
  • Promote your brand as you can keep your logo visible at all times

Whichever of these elements you choose to test, don’t forget to always try and build your testing roadmap from as much factual data as possible. For example, if your analytics reports show users consistently abandoning the purchase journey at a single given point, it’s obvious you should try and iron out this particular pain point first. However, do remember to also keep some room for “gut feeling” testing: if something looks/feels wrong to you, it may also do to others. Don’t just guess it, test it!