A/B Testing for Fashion Brands


July 26, 2016

E-commerce brands across all industries invest a lot of effort, money, and time into making their online shop a success. It’s difficult to bite the bullet and and make even the smallest of changes to these websites in fear of reducing conversion rates. When even the most minor webpage aspects can make a difference – heading changes, image sizing, layout – it’s hard to shake the nagging feeling that there could be a more effective design out there. This is where A/B testing comes in, allowing you to test out potential changes while minimizing the risk of decreased sales.

A/B testing enables an online brand to create two different versions of their landing page. The first version is the original webpage that’s customers are already seeing. The second version of the landing page is the one that has the design variation that the brand wants to test. When visitors type the website into their browser, half of them will see the control page while the other half will be directed to the variation page. From there, the company can compare the conversion rates of both pages and see which version performed the best. The percentage of visitors being directed to each page can be changed using A/B testing tools and the stats regarding which site is performing better can be tracked throughout the entire test period.

For fashion brands, especially ones seeing heavy traffic, A/B testing takes the apprehension out of making changes to a website and acts as damage control during the testing process. Without A/B testing, just showing the new version of a website could translate to lost leads which can amount to a large amount of missed revenue within just a few days of the launch. By implementing an A/B test, fashion brands can use hard data and facts, rather than guessing, to determine if their proposed changes will result in success or failure.

One fashion brand that has had great success with A/B testing is online lingerie retailer Adore Me. The bra subscription brand experimented by shooting various images for each bra – varying photo elements from the color of the model’s hair, to the props used in the photo-shoot, to the position of the model’s arms. The A/B test goes live and the analysts at Adore Me determine which photo elements results in higher sales. By doing this, the company has collected a trove of valuable intel and now knows what works and what doesn’t – in moving a model’s hand from their hip to resting it on their head, the slight change in the resulting photo has doubled sales. Fashion, as we know, is an industry in which pictures have a huge impact on how well an item sells and A/B testing eliminates the guessing game.

To some, the slight difference in conversion rates from site tinkering may seem insignificant, but the total increased lead generation made by these tiny changes adds up. For brands considering A/B testing for their own website, there are a few commonly tested elements that can act as a starting point. The call-to-action button is arguably one of the most important website elements that every e-commerce fashion brand should be testing. A small change in the size or color of the button, as well as better placement or different wording, could motivate more sales. Pricing strategies can be tested to see which shipping costs or ending prices result in a better conversion rate and small tweaks to the checkout page can make for easier ordering and less shopping cart abandonment.

It’s not uncommon for changes on the variation page to have less effect than the control page, but it eliminates the guessing game and can pull a company out of limbo in regards to the decision to change. With A/B testing, the site is your playground and the process will provide you with valuable insight into what makes the optimal shopping experience for your customer.

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