A Good Testing Strategy Lasts Forever

Posted by Alex Purkiss on April 19, 2017

“Coming to an event center near you this Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!” may sound like a Saturday Night Parody but for many years it was the marketing drive for Monster Truck Rallies featuring such oversized trucks such as Big Foot, Grave Digger, and Monster Mutt which handily crushed cars and leapt tall buildings. Yes, they made a Monster Truck with floppy ears and a tail!

So, what does this have to do with Website Optimization? Well, quite a bit when you start to think about Promotional Work versus Testing.

We are fortunate enough to have high-profile travel clients who love to push a sale when it makes sense for them. ‘Flash Sales’, ‘72 Hour Sales’, and ‘This Weekend Only Sales’ are great ways to give users a sense of urgency and encourage them to “book now” before it’s too late. It’s the “Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!” effect.

Also, consumers love to feel that they are getting the very best deal they can, and from a brand’s perspective these tactics really do work well for a quick boost to your bottom line. So, why not have a sale every weekend, and then we can all retire early?

Well, here’s the downside of over-promoting on your site. When you have everything on sale all the time, it becomes the normal price. There is nothing special about it, and there is no sense of urgency for the consumer to purchase. You would basically be turning your site into a used car lot:

Used car lot... What you don't want your site looking like!

In our work with one travel industry giant, we had to take a close look at the success of the promotional campaigns and consider the following: “Did we actually get people to purchase who normally would not have? Or were these people who would have purchased anyway but at a later date, at the regular price, and were just taking advantage of the here and now savings?” If the latter was correct then this promotion could have affected future earnings and future balance books. But, if the former question was correct the brand just got new money from people who may not have purchased anything but were enticed enough by the savings. All things to consider before, during, and after you run a promotion or series of promotions on your site.

 On the other hand, we have also worked with eCommerce heavyweights in the cosmetics field who only run a promotion twice a year, and it works tremendously well for them. Their clientele know that this is a rare occurrence and will watch their calendars for it. The brand’s philosophy is more along the lines of they don’t want to “sell” all the time, they prefer to help people to buy.

Topics: Test and Optimization

Written by Alex Purkiss