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August 22, 2017

Split testing best practices for ecommerce businesses

Split testing in ecommerce is more important now than ever. It’s not enough to simply limit your testing to basic A/B tests on call to action (CTA) button colour, size and positioning. You need to test a whole host of different variants and create quantifiable improvements. The key is to have a testing mindset, where you’re always looking to improve. In each test, we are most commonly seeking to affect one thing to make an improvement in one area.

Head of Insight at Space 48, Ollie Lees, discusses the reasons for putting a strategic split testing plan in place for your ecommerce website and outlines some split testing best practices for ecommerce businesses.

The importance of split testing in ecommerce

In ecommerce, consumer expectations are so high now that you need to continually up your game, in terms of optimising your user experience (UX) and meeting customer expectations. The best approach is proactively test your content, be agile and make the changes that will improve customer experience (CX), make people want to return to your website and encourage customer loyalty.

Software these days makes it easier. We often recommend Google Optimise to our clients as an effective testing tool. Most retailers say that time constraints are the main reason for not having a structured split testing plan, but with tools like Google Optimise we can help brands get set up and start implementing testing within half an hour!

Step outside of your comfort zone and you’ll soon realise that testing can be a smooth process. It’s important to view testing as the route to optimisation and improvement and before long it’ll feel like an opportunity rather than a chore.

Don’t just settle for adequate results. Testing and optimising just a few elements could make a big difference. Be strategic and use your data to employ “blackbox thinking” – understanding and learning from failures to find ways to improve. Being agile and having this mindset will help you react effectively and progress.

Split testing best practices

We’ve outlined some best practices to follow in your split testing process:

Understand your customer data – Get comfortable with your chosen testing software and understand your customer data and analytics. The insights with steer your testing plan and customer experience strategy.

Find opportunities in the test results – Look at areas to improve according to your test results and implement changes, either in-house or by using an ecommerce agency, which will improve UX and create a smoother route to purchase and for your customers.

Support your testing strategy with innovative tools – We recommend Full Story, which helps you pinpoint the most effective (and least effective) areas of your website pages, using technology such as heat maps and eye-tracking. Focus on pain points and “rage clicks”, which are things on your ecommerce website that users click on that didn’t do what they expected, resulting in frustration and bad customer experience!

Request user feedback – Getting customer feedback to help steer your testing is an emerging trend, but a sound one. Customer satisfaction is vital, so learn what works and what doesn’t directly from the consumer.

Don’t conduct too many tests at one time – It’s a simple but crucial rule of split testing, as you don’t want your tests to overlap and confuse the results.

Plan a schedule of testing – Always have a test in progress. Be lean and streamlined. Develop your site, according to required optimisation, and then move onto next test.

Test the key areas of your ecommerce website – Give your tests enough time to reveal results with meaningful insights.

What elements should I test?

  • Homepage
  • Product pages
  • Category pages
  • Other high-volume pages
  • Menu/navigation
  • Search positioning/prominence
  • Cart
  • Checkout
  • Personalisation positioning

Essentially, you should split test every element of your ecommerce website and your integrated channels, such as email marketing, social, and paid social/search. Where you can, improve the browsing experience and user journey in order to encourage consumers to engage for longer and turn browsers into buyers.


We hope this overview of the importance of ecommerce split testing has revealed a new approach to continuous improvement. It’s about having the right mindset, being agile and always testing and refining the key areas of your ecommerce store which will make a difference to the customer experience and user journey, inevitably encouraging more conversions.

Space 48 is an experienced UK website developer and ecommerce consultancy. We specialise in Magento ecommerce development and our experts help brands improve website performance and implement award-winning ecommerce strategies. Discover more about how you can use split testing to optimise your website and channels feeding into it with our free Guide to Ecommerce Split Testing.

Download the Guide to Ecommerce Split Testing