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on Conversion Rate Optimization

RIPT Apparel is a Chicago-based online retailer of one-of-a-kind designer tees and wearable art. They sell one new design by a new artist every day starting at midnight CST for $10 and it is only available for a period of 24 hours. After that period, the design rests in peace forever in the T-shirt graveyard and a new one takes over its place. The sense of urgency created by limited availability of the design can be used effectively to drive sales and that is what RIPT Apparel did in their first A/B test.

They had never done A/B testing before but were intrigued by the concept and wanted to give it a shot. The tool they selected for this purpose was Visual Website Optimizer. They tested their current buy button against a new buy button to determine which would have the best conversion rate. The conversion rate here being sales of their T-shirts.

The following is their control version (or default). Observe that the button isn’t the first thing to catch your attention as it blends well into the overall color scheme.

Original Version

They saw an opportunity for improvement, so they replaced their existing button with an attention-grabbing button with a different color scheme (green). See version A of the button below:

Version A – Control

Much to their surprise, they immediately saw a rise in sales. Ideally, they should have A/B tested the new version against the old but this was their first time and as you will read further they did a great job overall. Encouraged by the results, they went ahead and created another variation of the button. This time they decided to emphasize on the tactic that they should have used all along: emphasizing “limited 24-hour availability”. It has been demonstrated again and again that a sense of urgency drives up the conversion rate and this time too it proved to work best. Following version (B) of the button increased their site sales by 6.3% (notice only the button was changed – no new offers, no new products, no new policies).

Version B – 6.3% increase in sales

Pause for a moment and think what really happened in this case study. Someone (RIPT Apparel) with no previous experience in the field decides to A/B test, spends time researching what could work better, designs button variations, uses Visual Website Optimizer and sees a 6.3% rise in sales. No gimmicks, no new offers, no change in company strategy. Simply testing of sensible better variations of buy now button.

That 6.3% rise in sales will be hopefully permanent, so this one time effort would pay back RIPT Apparel many times over for time to come. Here is what they had to say after the test ended:

“According to Visual Website Optimizer we found our conversion rate improved a whopping +6.3%! We were astonished by this result. We had no idea that changing one button could result in an increase in sales and have that much of an impact. We wish we found this tool much earlier. “

It is important not to forget the role of the tool here. Visual Website Optimizer has been designed with a sole focus on ease of use, while avoiding technical hassles as much as possible. When we asked about the role of the tool in their first A/B test, RIPT Apparel said:

“The sales we have seen since changing and experimenting with our buy button have proven Visual Website Optimizer invaluable. I had some issues setting it up due to our shopping cart system and the team at Visual Website Optimizer walked me through step by step in order to set it up correctly.

As a result of this test I was able to go back to my partners and show them the results, which they were very happy with. Version B. is now live on our site and sales continue to rise.”

A great thing about tasting success with A/B testing is that it pumps you up to do even more A/B testing. So, RIPT Apparel are all set for their next phase of testing:

“We learned to test and test often. We think now that this test is over, we are going to try and test a few different color options, maybe even try some wording choices for our buy button.”

RIPT Apparel is a great company that successfully proved that A/B testing is not something that only Fortune 500 companies can do. Even small-medium sized online business can optimize and increase their sales by not mistaking A/B testing as a hyped-up fad. A/B testing works and it is addictive; one simply needs to try it at least once.

By the way, you should check out RIPT Apparel’s T-shirts – they are really quite cool!


CEO of @Wingify by the day, startups, marketing and analytics enthusiast by the afternoon, and a nihilist philosopher/writer by the evening!

(15) Comments

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  1. […] by Andy Brudtkuhl on April 1, 2010 tweetmeme_url = ''; tweetmeme_source = 'abrudtkuhl'; Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic. via […]

  2. Thank you so much to share your knowledge.

  3. This is a great recommendation to test different elements of a store front. Thanks for the tips!

  4. […] Be bold.  Don’t hide your call to action button or make it blend into the rest of the page where it might not be seen.  Present it loud and proud.  Make the page design draw your eyes into it with good use of contrasting colors, make it stand in a field of white space to draw extra prominence, and put it in the “flow” of a consumer’s eye pattern down the page (don’t hide it in a sidebar or in the nav). Check out how this simple shift of changing a link from blue to red helped Beamax boost click throughs by 54% or how changing two words helped boost sales by 6.3% […]

  5. […] RIPT Apparel added “Limited 24-hour availability” to its CTA and increased sales by 6.3%. […]

  6. […] RIPT Apparel añadió “Disponibilidad limitada a 24-horas” a su LAA y aumentaron sus ventas en un 6.3%. […]

  7. […] would be to work on optimizing landing pages, product pages and checkout pages. You may test your button colors, call to actions or layout. If you are adventurous, you may move beyond simple changes and start […]

  8. […] RIPT Apparel added “Limited 24-hour availability” to its CTA and increased sales by 6.3%. […]

  9. […] text: RIPT Apparel, an online clothing store, increased sales by 6.3% simply by changing text on their buttons to […]

  10. […] RIPT Apparel added “Limited 24-hour availability” to its CTA and increased sales by 6.3%. […]

  11. […] RIPT Apparel adicionou “Disponibilidade limitada a 24-horas” ao seu LAA e suas vendas aumentaram 6.3%. […]

  12. […] RIPT Apparel added “Limited 24-hour availability” to its CTA and increased sales by 6.3%. […]

  13. […] numerous case studies regarding user behavior while shopping online. Sometimes, it’s the color of the checkout button that makes the big difference and sometimes it’s A/B testing checkout process that helps our […]

  14. […] RIPT Apparel added “Limited 24-hour availability” to its CTA and increased sales by 6.3%. […]

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