You’re on a mission to drive your e-commerce portal’s conversion rate to unheard of levels. Future leaders may even study your example in business school someday. Of course, that’s assuming that you can create repeatable performance results.
A/B testing is a commonly accepted tool for optimizing conversions, but it’s no walk in the park. That’s why businesses are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence to get things done.
A/B Testing for the Uninitiated
A/B testing is easy to understand. Suppose that you operate a web store or similar e-commerce platform. This app or software service consists of many different elements, like its headers, listing images and introductory text. A/B testing involves pitting an “A” version of the site, or the control, against a “B” version that includes the modifications you wish to try. The goal is to see which performs better.
Of course, this basic explanation doesn’t mean that you can just start changing things randomly and expect instant clarity. You also need to decide what you’re using as a performance measurement and follow other best practices. For example, you’ll have to choose how and when each test runs, decide which users get to see which versions and ensure that you don’t suddenly switch things up on loyal customers who are already accustomed to your site. While A/B testing may be straightforward for physical products, it’s a highly involved practice in the realm of e-commerce.
How Can AI Help Shoulder the Load?
AI testing is just one tool for harnessing digital business intelligence, so what makes it so effective? Here are some of the advantages.
AI Makes It Easier to Follow Best Practices and Generate Reliable Data
AI systems have the ability to parse massive volumes of information in the blink of an eye. By leveraging cloud-based distributed computing, tools like Sentient Ascend integrate seamlessly into existing e-commerce solutions and collect data at scale. From tracking visitor clicks on a particular visual element to counting how many seconds people spend interacting with different pages, these intelligent systems chew through unfiltered information at an astounding rate to generate relevant conclusions.
What makes speed and precision so useful for A/B testing? Although data scientists have many varied opinions on what constitutes impactful analysis, most agree that it’s important to follow the principles of statistically sound experimental design. For instance, we’ve all read clickbait news articles about studies that seemed to have Earth-shattering implications only to discover that the research in question involved small sample sizes. If you want to derive results that you can reproduce elsewhere, you need to test large populations, and AI makes it possible.
Users Can Adapt AI Testing to Custom KPIs
Marketers commonly use A/B testing to drive conversions, but the metrics that you observe from your endeavors are more complex than mere sales revenue. You may also want to gain insights into factors like
- Trends in social media interaction, lead creation or other alternate conversions,
- The number of different events that each user engaged in per visit,
- The amount of time users spent performing actions that may not constitute conversions, such as visiting a help page or blog,
- The number of specific events, such as opt-ins, that each user completed, and
- The statistical confidence intervals or uncertainties associated with the results that you think you’re seeing.
Traditionally, measuring all of these values would require you to configure distinct A/B tests manually. Since independent testing is the only way to be sure that you’re correctly associating a given set of results with a particular factor, you’d be doomed to spending lots of time on experiments in the hopes that one of them might reveal useful insights.
Once again, AI is a marketer’s best friend. Although you still have to run multiple tests, you can program them in batches and use your testing framework to manage the overall task. Tools that take inline samples from actual user behaviors without slowing down your site’s performance also generate less biased conclusions.
AI Test Frameworks Evolve to Build on Prior Results
Although A/B testing is a proven methodology with a long history of use in the field of conversion optimization, it’s not the only way to experiment. For instance, in the early stages of your digital commerce experience, you might be unsure about what kind of branding your storefront should include. If you’re experimenting with a few fonts, text sizes, “Add to Cart” button placements and product images, then the classic either-or A/B testing model may fall short.
Multivariate, or multiple-variable, testing is the obvious solution, and AI is the logical way to power it. Since these systems hone in on correlations automatically, they gain insights that help you determine which factors to focus on next.
For instance, if you begin with multivariate testing, AI can narrow down a huge pool of variables to the few that matter and then perform the A/B tests for you. Or, you can start by A/B testing two distinct variants of your site and then let AI tools tell you which elements have the biggest impacts on each. Then, you can build something greater from the strongest components.
AI Tools Can Apply Results Without Direct Intervention
One of the coolest aspects of AI tools is that they blur the line between computer code and human intentions. Traditionally, the code that runs your site neither knows nor cares about the reasons why you dream of becoming a business success. It has a job to do, and it does it regardless whether it benefits your enterprise.
AI works more intelligently. Since you can fuse this code into the tools that build and deploy your e-commerce application, it can run the tests and apply what it learns without making you deal with the heavy lifting.
Perhaps your clothing store’s AI learned that some shoppers prefer certain blouses from your catalog or tend to click on items of a given color. It can suggest similar offerings based on the styles it “sees” in your product images. Instead of having to spend your day categorizing your catalog or settling for personalization that doesn’t pack a punch, you can let the machines do the work.
How Will You Use AI to Optimize Your Conversions?
To succeed as a business owner in the modern arena, you also have to be a data scientist. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave much time for day-to-day operations. Sentient Ascend leverages perspectives based on far more information than any human could ever comprehend, not to mention process quickly. It even integrates into your e-commerce platform to make your business more successful. Learn how to use AI-powered A/B testing to master conversion optimization by visiting http://www.sentient.ai/ascend/ab-testing.