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How to Create a Prioritised Testing Roadmap (And Why You Need One)

Join Sammy Fraser, Lead Digital Strategy Manager at Swanky, as she walks through how to transform your list of experimentation ideas into an actionable and prioritised testing roadmap.

Written By
Sammy Fraser

In today’s highly-competitive digital world, getting new customers to your ecommerce website is difficult, but that’s only half of the battle. Once they’re on your online store, how can you encourage them to convert?

A comprehensive conversion rate optimisation (CRO) strategy is vital to ensure you continue to increase the percentage of users performing a desired action, thereby boosting the return from your marketing budget.

When it comes to CRO and ecommerce testing, it’s very easy to get carried away with unorganised, “one off” tests that are based on gut feelings, or those “spray and pray” approaches. However, this typically ends in a high volume of testing with very little commercial gain.

Instead, a good CRO strategy requires long-term planning, with a prioritised, data-driven roadmap of tests that aligns with your business goals.

In this article I’m going to explain what a testing roadmap is, why it’s important for your ecommerce business, and how you can create one.

What is a testing roadmap and why do you need one?

A testing roadmap is essentially a detailed schedule of the tests you’re planning to implement as part of your CRO strategy. It should clearly communicate the intent, value and timing of each test.

This step-by-step framework will enable you to make the switch from one-off, gut-based tests to a much more strategic, data-led approach.

There are plenty of other benefits to having a testing roadmap in place, including:

  • To better plan your resources (and potentially save you from over or under-hiring);
  • To frame short-term, tactical goals in perspective, aligning them with your business’ long-term strategic goals;
  • To make it easier to get sign-off on tests ahead of time;
  • To ensure everyone in the business has visibility over your experimentation program; and
  • To increase the chance of seeing results and driving meaningful commercial changes.

Creating a testing roadmap

Of course, no two testing roadmaps are the same, and different CRO specialists have different ways of approaching them. There are, however, some typical phases that I’ll walk you through now.

#1 Brainstorming ideas

Identify pain points

A successful CRO strategy is rooted in data. You can’t expect to make meaningful changes to your ecommerce metrics if you’re merely operating on feelings or intuition.

You’ll need to kick off your brainstorming phase with a thorough analysis of customer analytics and insights, to clearly identify the key friction points on your website. With this information at hand, it’s much easier to generate ideas for tests which will help to shift consumer behaviour and look to provide your users with the best customer experience.

Break down your business goals

It’s also important to ideate with your business goals in mind. Think about what you’re hoping to achieve with testing, along with the strategies that will help you do this. Letting this guide your brainstorming will mean you only add relevant ideas to your list.

For example, let’s say your goal is to improve the subscription conversion rate on your ecommerce website. One strategy you might consider for achieving this goal is to highlight the value of a subscription more prominently. By breaking this down into smaller tactics, like leveraging social proof from existing customers, you can start to form the basis of your test ideas. So, in this case, you might want to test the impact of integrating your Instagram feed on your homepage or adding reviews to your subscription landing page.

#2 Prioritising your ideas 

Now you need to decide in which order you’ll run your tests.

There are a number of different models when it comes to prioritising your testing roadmap, including ICE (Impact, Confidence, Effort) and PIE (Potential, Importance, Ease), to name a couple. All of these models are aimed at pulling out those ‘quick win’ tests, and therefore it’s vital you refer back to your initial customer analytics and insight to understand your customers’ biggest friction points to guarantee you’re ranking impact as confidently as possible.

Here at Swanky, we use estimated complexity and expected impact combined with strategic role. This allows us to rank each test idea based on the time and effort expected to set up the test, alongside the potential commercial uplift or impact towards a particular objective.

Impact 

We utilise forecast calculators to help us understand, based on traffic levels, the impact that a X% increase in the conversion rate would have across a number of different pages on the site, to help us prioritise. It’s important to consider the importance of those pages to the brand, with the highest traffic prioritised.

Complexity

When assessing complexity, it’s crucial to be able to lean on the experience of your development team for assistance to ensure you’re ranking appropriately. There’s nothing worse than treating a test as simple when in fact it should have been categorised as complex, which therefore would have significantly changed its level of prioritisation.

When testing initial ideas, it’s often wise to look for simplicity, to sense-check a change in behaviour before spending too much time on a final lengthy execution.

We rank our ideas in a priority matrix. Overall, we look to prioritise tests that are easy to implement and are expected to have a high commercial impact.

#3 Putting your ideas into a roadmap

It’s now time to get your chosen tests into a testing roadmap ready to implement.

This should include:

  • Descriptive test name
  • Description of the test – what are you doing and how do the variants differ?
  • Your primary goal
  • Your hypothesis
  • Target page/s
  • Target device/s
  • Complexity
  • Impact
  • Current stage – where are you in the testing process?
  • Results (when available)

With your roadmap complete, it’s time to get to the fun bit … testing! Check out our guide to CRO basics to learn more about this next stage in your experimentation strategy.

Your award-winning CRO specialists

Our dedicated team of digital strategists are passionate about driving growth for ambitious brands through ecommerce testing and other commercially-led conversion rate optimisation services – all of which is done in-house!

As the UK’s CRO Agency of the Year (UK Digital Growth Awards 2021), we combine our extensive experience providing digital consultancy to established market leaders with detailed site analysis, technical innovation and the latest technology to boost the metrics that matter.

Want to know how our CRO specialists could unlock your brand’s potential with ecommerce testing? Get in touch today to find out!

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