Analytics, Blog, Digital Marketing, Ecommerce, UX / CX

Does A/B Testing Matter for B2B?

The purpose of A/B testing, or split testing, is to find the best solution; a goal relevant to wholesalers and retailers alike. But it seems to be an afterthought to those implementing B2B digital channels. The problem is that many people believe that design doesn’t matter on B2B, so A/B testing doesn’t matter. They’re not way off target. What is traditionally thought of as “design” often matters less. However, you don’t test a design; you test your customer’s response to design.

A/B testing is not purely about proving out particular user experiences (UX) or marketing campaigns. You may make business decisions on your assumptions about the mental characteristics and attitudes of your target audience. With a test, you have a chance to validate your hypothesis.

Does a change make a buyer more or less likely to create a customer profile (conversion rate) or spend more money when they buy (average order value)? It can be helpful to tackle user experience and psychological factors by breaking them up into four thematic areas.

User Time Considerations

Just as you don’t want to build a page that takes several seconds to load, you don’t want to design a page that requires several seconds to understand the layout or find content. Testing the navigation, structure, and functionality with your target audience will tell you how long it takes for them to review the page and move on to the next step. Next, test the marketing elements and messaging to determine the most compelling value propositions that motivate the customer to take action.

Trustworthiness

If users are going to provide their confidential information or commit their financial resources, they need to trust your site. A professional design is a good start, but testing can reveal low-cost UX or content changes that instill confidence and build trust, which will lead to higher conversion rates.

Aids for Primary User Goals

Usability testing is a method of evaluating the customer experience by testing the website with a sample size of the target audience. This type of test allows you to get direct feedback from customers and uncover any problems—saving the company time and money.

You can test which tools (features) aid your customers in finding the right product or content, which get in the way, or which send the customer down an unproductive path. Often, features that are meant to aid users can unintentionally create confusion or distract them from converting. 

Measuring revenue per visitor (RPV) and tracking engagement within key pages between the original experience versus an alternative presentation allows you to understand both the intermediate and the bottom-line effect.

Customer Persuasion Elements

There are a number of must-have persuasive techniques for any website, as well as best practices based on the industry. Certain persuasive techniques are less relevant to a B2B buyer when compared to a B2C consumer, so this may not be a major area of testing. For example, we have often tested where and how often clients place promotions. Still, if you can find ways to improve urgency, then you can find ways to test them.

A bad UX gives buyers a reason to look around elsewhere. If you have enough traffic to reach statistical significance, testing will allow you to explore ways to keep customers moving through your funnel.

How to Start A/B Testing

  1. Determine what resources you have, both technically and skillset, to run an optimization program. Do you have an optimization testing tool, such as Optimizely, Dynamic Yield, or Adobe Target? Does this tool integrate with your ecommerce platform or other systems? Will you use Google Analytics to track data? And, do you have the correct headcount and knowledge to run the program? If you don’t have the resources, consider a partner to accelerate and manage your optimization program.
  2. With the necessary stakeholders, prioritize your primary and secondary KPIs. Your primary KPIs could be to generate more sales, increase conversions, or reduce the bounce rate. Secondary KPIs may be increasing the click-through rate on the product display page or the number of client profile registrants.
  3. Once you have your KPIs, determine what testing concepts you’d like to apply to the user experience to see improvement. These testing concepts need to be realistic and prioritized. If your online store or digital channel doesn’t have significant traffic, and you run too many tests at once, you run the risk of never reaching statistical significance. While our primary focus in this article is A/B testing, there are multiple types of tests you can run, such as multivariate testing.
  4. You’ve nailed your testing concepts, next is creating your hypothesis (the “If-then” statement). For example, if you add personalized recommended products to the product display page, then the average order value will increase. Based on the hypothesis, you will need to create at least two different experiences to test against one another. One could be the Control (what the current experience is), the second would be a variation.
  5. You’ve nailed your testing concepts, next is creating your hypothesis (the “If-then” statement). For example, if you add personalized recommended products to the product display page, then the average order value will increase. Based on the hypothesis, you will need to create at least two different experiences to test against one another. One could be the Control (what the current experience is), the second would be a variation.
  6. Finally, once your test reaches statistical significance, you can analyze the results and determine the next steps or promote the winning experience to 100 percent of customers.

If you’re looking for more insights on B2B A/B testing or launching an optimization program, you can reach out to the Blue Acorn iCi team here.

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