October 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

BabyAge.com sees a 22% conversion hike with A/B testing

BabyAge.com, a web-only retailer of baby and maternity products, used A/B testing to pinpoint web site changes that increased conversion by 22%. After a round of testing, BabyAge changed its home page design.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

BabyAge.com Inc., a web-only retailer of baby and maternity products, got a call from Google last summer offering to pay for web optimizing technology. BabyAge CEO Jack Kiefer had long been interested in A/B and multivariate testing but wasn’t able to allocate the right resources to such a program. Kiefer accepted the Google offer and early results showed a 22% increase in the site’s conversion rate.

After a round of testing BabyAge changed its home page design starting with moving its Top Searches, Promotions and More Ways to Shop buttons from the top of the page to the left side, Kiefer says. “For years we knew we had to find ways to optimize our web site using A/B and multivariate testing,” says Kiefer, who also is co-founder and president. “It always seemed like it was too complicated.” He doesn’t know how BabyAge was chosen, but soon after Google called he was talking with WiderFunnel Marketing Inc., a web testing and analysis firm.

Kiefer had explored web optimization technology in the past, but realized taking on the practice internally required a long-term commitment. “There are a lot of services companies and agencies built around doing this, but you could drop $50,000 to $70,000 on one test,” he says. “It would probably be good, but you can’t do it just once – once you’ve started you have to keep going.”

While Kiefer knew any type of testing results would boost conversions, he set expectations low. “If we could have picked up conversions by 10% that would have been good,” he says. “Even 5% is statistically relevant. 22% blew our doors off. Where can you go and find that kind of return?”

BabyAge is No. 280 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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