The world of ecommerce is fast paced, there are small overworked teams with limited resources racing to complete varying goals across different departments. Much of the stress created from this is a result of a team biting off more than they can handle. Few things can create as much chaos in the workplace as the stress of a site launch.
A company’s website has a relatively short shelf life. Typically after three years it can start to seem old, Even with light modifications to the feature set the site can appear dated. Staying current with design alone can lead to significant effort being poured into investigating new platforms, building them out and testing them thoroughly. With the proliferation of AB testing software and the availability of third party software vendors we now have the ability to constantly refine a website to not only extend the shelf life of your original investment, but to get more value out of it by optimizing either conversion rate or revenue-per-visit metrics. In simplest terms, you are investing less time and effort to improve your site bit by bit over time. This will create improvements and opportunities earlier and lead to less risk than a full site launch would by comparison.
While there is certainly a time and cost commitment to assigning personnel and resources to test constantly, the payoff of several well designed experiments can be significant and cumulative. If you improve your revenue-per-visit metric by 10% (an achievable goal for most) every six to eight weeks while testing, then you can see a tremendous return on your investment at the end of the year, more so during the next year since your changes will be implemented to 100% of your audience for the full period of time.
Beyond improving the bottom line, AB and MVT testing is valuable for generating insights about your users. AB testing informs customer preference in a way that circumvents the biases of surveys and polls. Brands can use simple AB testing to find the kind of experiences that appeal to their users. This invaluable data will help inform on-page UX and off-page marketing efforts.
Big businesses are wisely investing into AB and MVT testing programs but there is definitely room for adoption on the small to medium sized businesses. Google has released a free to use AB testing tool to this purpose (Google Optimize). Simple tests can be integrated on a site via tag manager and launched within an hour.
In summary, businesses should consider a dedicated test-oriented culture for their website to drive revenue faster, create insights about their users and reduce risk associated with hefty site launches.