Here’s the question Magento eCommerce site owners everywhere are asking: how can we improve profitability and conversion rates? The answer is simple: conversion optimization. Basically, this is about testing different scenarios in comparison with your existing site to find out what might improve its performance. This might include changes to the layout, the images displayed, or the wording of the call to action. The alternatives get tested against the original to see what works best.
Fortunately, there are tools to simplify this process. And while some of them are expensive or only free for a trial period, Google Website Optimizer (GWO) is free and works surprisingly well. It lets you do A/B split testing and multivariate (MVT) testing with native integration for Magento. It does have certain limitations, but even taking those into account, it offers Magento store administrators a wealth of useful options and data.
Let’s take a look at what GWO offers you. There are three categories of test available in GWO-Magento native integration: A/B split testing for a CMS page, multivariate testing for category pages, and finally multivariate testing for product pages. We’ll look at each of them in more detail, but if you need more information we’d recommend the excellent webinar on What Is eCommerce.
A/B split testing a CMS page
In the Magento Admin Panel, you have the option to split test separate pages, which means having a redesigned version of the page tested against the existing one. GWO will redirect site visitors to one of those pages and the stats about the number of visitors and conversions will be calculated to show the page with the better performance. All you need to do to set this up is to navigate to CMS pages in your store admin panel and enter the information. When is best to do this? Probably when you’re changing the page design, so that you can decide which changes are likely to be most effective. Be careful in the choice of what to test. The checkout will not always be the best determinant of conversion. If you’re looking to test the performance of a call to action or a newsletter sign-up, remember to make these factors the ones you’re going to count as a conversion. In addition, you might want to find out whether subscribers to the newsletters are more likely to convert at the checkout stage, using Google Analytics. If you need more info on A/B split testing, see the A/B testing resource from Smashing Magazine.
Multivariate testing of a category page
This option limits testing to just one banner and descriptive test per category. The setup is very similar to the previous test. Navigate to Catalog > Manage Categories. Select a category and the Category View Optimization tab can then be selected, and the information on the test added. This is the test to use when you’re looking at changes to a banner or text. It will show for example if a banner is lacking a hyperlink, which could bring big improvements for ‘add to cart’. Remember to think of eCommerce in marketing terms as a funnel. Category pages and add to cart are at one end, and the checkout is at the other. So make sure you’re testing precisely what you need to test.
Multivariate testing of a product page
This final option means you can test a maximum of 8 attributes for every product. Once again the setup is much like already described, with just a few differences. Navigate to Manage Products, select a product, then Product View Optimization, and then enter the information relating to the test. This is the test to use when you’re changing the attributes of products, for example changing the descriptions to see if more products get added to carts as a result.
Use Google Analytics Custom Variables to look at different sets of results – for example, the average order value, or the number of ‘add to carts’ that go all the way to check out. Google Analytics will show you which variation visitors have seen and the related data about their visit.
Beyond GWO testing
Once you’ve tried the GWO’s native integration testing with Magento, you’ll see how much it helps you improve your conversion rates. At this point, you might want to consider even more detailed conversion testing. If so, we suggest going to the professionals to get a tailored made design for extensive tests on your site.