Payment Pages: A/B Testing to Increase E-commerce Conversion Rates

Once again Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw significant volumes of sales as this online and offline marketing and sales event has become a fixture of the retail calendar in the UK and Europe.

Shopify, a popular e-commerce platform, recorded sales volumes in excess of $1 billion over the four day holiday period. Adobe Analytics estimates that sales were 17.9% higher this year, worth over $7.9 billion. Salesforce’s retail intelligence unit looked into the data and found that smartphones accounted for 42% of orders, with desktops or laptops only accounting for 49% of Black Friday sales.

More figures are expected from the card schemes, Visa and MasterCard, with UK predictions already estimating that bargain-hungry Brits spent around £7.8 billion during this four day sales period. Most retailers, including Amazon, Argos and John Lewis extended the sales at least one week before and one week after, using the opportunity to cash in on more customers shopping online, and make up for a low-growth year for retailers.

One glaring problem with these figures is the money left on the table. A well-known statistic in e-commerce is that around 69% of carts are abandoned, according to 37 different e-commerce studies, compiled by the Baymard Institute. We could be talking billions left in abandoned carts, scattered across the web. A/B testing is something that the online giants (Amazon et al) do all the time. Nothing is too small to test. Everything could make an impact on conversion rates.

We’ve compiled some A/B test that merchants can implement easily, without needing a whole team of testers and designers.

A/B Testing to Increase Conversion Rates

#1: Remove a headline banner image

Conventional wisdom suggests a banner, or hero image is a necessity for e-commerce websites. Especially when customers are landing on the Home page or another prominent section, such as a product category landing page.

Conventional wisdom could be wrong, especially if the data doesn’t support the need for banner images. EA games A/B tested this theory on a Sim City landing page. They removed the banner image, generating a 43% increase in conversions because customers could see the information they needed more quickly.

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#2: Stick to a well-defined grid layout

Online shoppers want to find products quickly. They don’t like wasting time, so any design feature or aspect of the user-experience that prevents this could reduce conversion.

SmartWool, a Timberland brand company, experimented with page layouts. One had a uniform appearance – a simple grid system, whereas the other had a mix of large and small product images. The uniform grid system proved more popular, with 17% more spent per customer.

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#3: Test CTA button shapes

Consumers are used to seeing call-to-action buttons. Rectangle and circles or ovals are the most common shapes, and most come with some variation of “Buy Now.” It is worth A/B testing the shape and copy used to see what performs better. Some e-commerce experts have found that unusual shapes, something eye-catching, generate better results than a rectangle or circle.

Not only that, but experimenting with the copy is worth the effort. Words that don’t make customers feel as though they’re making a final commitment, such as “Add to Basket” or “Buy Now” reduce pressure and increase conversion.

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#4: Provide a guest checkout option

Giving customers a guest checkout option is invariably positive for conversion rates. When people are in a hurry, when they can’t remember their password and want to get through a checkout quickly, this option is ideal.

It also helps to give customers the option to login/checkout through a third-party authentication system, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google – that way, if they’re already logged into another platform, you can authenticate them, therefore supporting security processes, capturing some extra customer data in the meantime, without getting in the way of a sale.

There are numerous ways online merchants can make small changes to websites and checkouts to increase conversion rates. Every image, CTA, section of copy and user-experience feature is worth A/B testing to identify ways you can generate more revenue.

If you would like to speak to a payments expert about conversion rates and how to reduce cart abandonment and increase sales, contact our team. Call +44 (0)808 273 6866 or email [email protected]