We all know the importance of testing. Everything else is mere conjecture.

One of the big ecommerce brands that continues to test and learn is RS Components, a huge distributor of electronic components.

The brand was winner of a Masters of Marketing Award in 2015 for user experience. We've previously detailed some of this award-winning UX work on the blog.

Improvements included:

  • Image-supported predictive search.
  • Surfacing popular categories in search, above returned products. This has increased clickthrough.
  • Increasing the speed of faceted search by 70%, with a 40% increase in conversion.
  • Extended sort and compare functions.
  • Express checkout and 'remember me'.
  • Large and more dynamic product pages with embedded video.

As such, conversion growth (year on year) is at a four-and-a-half year high, up 10%.

In this post, I thought I'd bring you one extra titbit.

It's an A/B test that implemented no drastic changes to the RS Components UI, but one that yielded impressive results and was a winner of the WhichTestWon Competition at 2016's Adobe Summit in EMEA.

Stock levels - visual cues test

The RS Components website displayed product listings with no clear indication of stock levels, only a call to action allowing the user to 'check stock levels'.

Customer feedback and best practice wisdom told the RS team that this was a frustrating experience, as customers want to know an item is in stock before they go to add it to their basket.

So, the team knew that adding a visual cue in product listings would likely generate an improvement in conversions to basket.

An A/B test was conducted to demonstrate the impact of improving this area of the site, in order to create a business case for rolling out this change across all products.

The pre-existing RS Components site, showing product listings with 'check stock levels' call to action.

rs components test 1

Test A

Version A placed an 'In stock' marker in green on each product listing, with a grey link to 'check qty'.

This was a fairly subtle change, I think you'll agree, but an improvement on the pre-existing UX.

rs components test 1

Test B

Version B was a little bolder, with an 'In stock' green flag in the corner of each listing and a tick for good measure.

The 'check stock levels' call to action becomes clearer, taking up the full space beneath the quantity field and 'add' button.

As is fairly obvious from the emblazoned screenshot below, this version was the winner, increasing add-to-basket clickthrough rate by 159%.

rs components test 2

Conclusion

This is a snappy little test but one I thought deserved publishing, just to re-emphasise that although the concept of customer happiness is in vogue (and rightly so), focusing on small and tangible improvements is still the bedrock of ecommerce.

Let us know in the comments if you've got your own similar examples of uplift through A/B testing.

Ben Davis

Published 16 June, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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