Some schools of thought say it's a bad idea to test during holiday. But here at Adept, we take a slightly different approach...


Winter is coming here.

In Game of Thrones, the coming winter consumes everyone’s thoughts. From kings to peasants, an impending war looms on the horizon. Most focus on staying safe and protecting their own. Few talk about winning and conquering. And when winter does finally come, everything changes.

For retail and ecommerce marketers, winter is here.

game of thrones cyber monday is coming

Or, more literally, holiday is here. Which is kind of like the same thing, because everything changes, and it’s an all out battle for every penny of revenue that’s out there.

Given the intense focus on revenue generation, it is no surprise that marketers don’t normally think of holiday as a period to conduct any type of testing. We believe, however, that it can and should be done.

For most retailers, holiday revenue makes up a sizable chunk of annual site traffic, transactions, and revenue. This increased volume provides the ideal scenario for site testing, as you have no shortage of traffic and site activity to support obtaining statistically significant data. Additionally, with so much on the line, it’s critical that retailers consider running strategic tests across your marketing channels during holiday to maximize revenue.

8 Tests To Improve Conversion During Holiday Campaigns

Working with retail brands, we’ve seen success testing within 8 common areas to increase conversions during holiday.

This holiday, test the following:

  1. Shipping and Return Promotions: Will your visitors be more likely to purchase from you if there’s free shipping, or expedited shipping? Are they more likely to convert if you offer free returns? Test where you position this promotional messaging, and how, to increase conversions. 
  2. Urgent Messaging: Early season shoppers may be driven to convert if there’s a limited supply of a popular gift, and last-minute shoppers may be more likely to purchase if they know the clock is running out to get the gift on time. Try testing a countdown timer on your site to create the sense of urgency that gets both types of shoppers to buy.
  3. Various Promotional Messaging: Are your visitors driven more by special discounts and coupons? What about percentage of or dollar off? Test giving them a $10 coupon code or 15% off code to see which performs better.
  4. Contextual Offers: What types of product recommendations do your first time visitors want to see? What about your returning visitors? Test positioning ongoing sales and loyalty perks for returning visitors, and popular or “hot” items to brand new visitors.
  5. Personalization Techniques: Is your returning visitor more likely to purchase additional items related to items they’ve already purchased? Or, are they more likely to purchase a previously viewed item if reminded?
  6. Your Merchandise Mix: What types of gifts are your visitors looking to find during this time of year? Do they prefer small purchases, popular gifts, or big-ticket items? Test which product lines or product mixes should be introduced or reduced during this time.
  7. Promoted Products. Which gift guides or special product promotions increase conversions, completed purchases, and average order value the most?
  8. Satisfaction Guarantees: Are your visitors more likely to purchase if there’s a satisfaction guarantee? What type of guarantee is more impactful? Consider testing your guarantee language to convince more visitors to purchase.

Remember, testing isn’t a shot in a dark. You should always develop a hypothesis for what you want to test, why, and the result you test. This approach enables you to strategically prioritize your tests to have the most beneficial impact.

Can’t Test? Perform Research Instead

Holiday is also a great time to implement valuable research tactics to learn about the shopping and digital behaviors of your visitors. Consider using this time to roll out user testing and screen recordings, conduct customer and support staff interviews, apply heatmapping and live chat reviews, and perform surveys.

Holiday is here. Don’t rest on your laurels—maximize revenue by implementing a strategic testing plan designed to win over your visitors.