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.
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:
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).
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!