May 29, 2008, 12:00 AM

Multivariate testing produces winning product pages for

Sifting through multiple combinations of five key page elements, ShopNBC finds a combination that lifts average basket size by 16%.’s recent experiment with multivariate testing shows that when it comes to elements on a web page, the right combination is worth more than just the sum of its parts. The multi-channel retailer tested several different combinations of five elements on its product pages and came up with a winning combination that boosted average basket size by 16%.

Working with A/B and multivariate testing services vendor SiteSpect Inc., ShopNBC initially set out to test its suspicion that key shopping features were not prominent enough on its product pages and that it was losing sales as a result. The goal was to get more shoppers to initiate checkout and purchase the products that they were viewing on the page.

Using SiteSpect testing technology as well as support from the vendor’s professional services team, ShopNBC ‘s own marketing team was able to test the variations in copy, content and layout changes on pages without involving ShopNBC’s IT department, according to SiteSpect. identified the five elements it considered most important on the product page, then tested pages that included all five elements, but represented different variations of each element to gauge the effect of each combination on checkout and sales. The five tested elements were the location and size of the Add to Cart button; headlines identifying cross sells; styles of the tab linking users to product detail; color, size and style of clearance and limited time pricing offers; and highlighting of payment options for qualified buyers.

ShopNBC found that variations in a single element with the others remaining unchanged produced a relatively small effect in improving results. The right combination of options drawn from all five elements, however, produced the 16% lift in average order value, besides increasing the number of shoppers who initiated the checkout process by 4%.

“Our testing program has delivered significant results in a shorter period of time than we originally expected, and we’re seeing many benefits that we didn’t anticipate,” says Geoff Smith, vice president of , owned by ValueVision Media Inc., is No. 65 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites.

ShopNBC’s David Witzig, senior director of online marketing and video, is speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 9-12 in Chicago, in a session entitled Web Marketing Techniques that Convert Shoppers To Buyers .

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