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RetentionScience-Online-Retailers-Testing-Techniques-Sept2014While roughly two-thirds of online retailers have some type of personalized content on their websites, basic techniques such as product recommendations (45%) are being used more commonly than more advanced ones such as dynamic pricing (8%), per results from a Retention Science survey of 139 marketers at online retailers. Similarly, while almost three-quarters conduct some form of A/B or multivariate testing, most do so on their email subject lines, while few test their websites.

Indeed, only one-third of respondents reported A/B or multivariate testing their website or landing page design/layout, and even fewer (28%) test their website or landing page offers. By comparison, email subject lines (58%) and email content/offers (48%) are more heavily tested.

With about half of respondents testing email offers, it’s interesting to see that more respondents believe that percentage discounts (31%) work best for their customers than feel the same way about free or discounted shipping (22%) or amount discount (13%). That’s notable, as new data from BlueHornet reveals that consumers prefer money-off to percentage-off discounts in their emails.

Keeping with the email theme, a majority of the Retention Science survey respondents said they usually send out their email campaigns in the morning, while Tuesday and Wednesday are the most common days to send campaigns. Asked how frequently they send their campaigns, a plurality indicated that they do so multiple times a week (28%), with many also sending weekly (24%) and some daily (14%). For their part, consumer respondents to the BlueHornet survey estimate receiving 13 emails per month from each brand (not limited to retail brands) they subscribe to.

In other results from the Retention Science survey:

  • Respondents are most confident in their email marketing efforts, and least confident in their retention marketing;
  • Personalized content in emails is mostly reserved for customer’s names and unique subject lines (60%), with fewer personalizing offers (30%); and
  • In terms of e-commerce metrics, respondents most commonly track conversion rates (89%) and average order value (71%), while fewer than half track the cost of acquiring a customer.

About the Data: The online survey was conducted in July 2014 across the United States. There were 139 respondents who hold marketing roles within online retail companies. Most of the companies represented are included on the IR 1000, a ranking of the top 1,000 e-tailers in North America based on revenue. Forty two respondents have annual market budgets less than $100,000, 42 have budgets between $100,000 and $1 million, and 55 have budgets in excess of $1 million. They span industries such as fashion (22%), consumer goods (30%), entertainment (6%), big-box retail (6%), digital goods (4%) and others (36%).

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