Shopify Plus vs Magento 2 Commerce (Magento Enterprise): Which Platform is Best for Your eCommerce Business?

This in-depth comparison between Shopify Plus and Magento 2 Commerce will clarify when to use each platform.

Shopify Plus and Magento 2 Commerce are two of the most popular eCommerce platforms for mid-market and enterprise-level online retailers. This post outlines their differences to make it easy to see what each platform offers for large and fast-growing stores.

While there are other great comparisons of Shopify Plus and Magento Commerce written, many of the ones we found were written by partners or affiliates of the platforms, and may be biased. 

(Full disclosure: At Inflow, we are a Shopify Partner, but this does not extend to Shopify Plus, which is a separate platform and a separate partnership.)

In writing this comparison, we sent a query out asking eCommerce business owners and consultants when they would choose one platform or the other.

Their answers revealed that, rather than one being “better” than the other, Shopify Plus and Magento 2 Commerce both have specific advantages.

According to nearly everyone we spoke to, how complex your store’s requirements are is what should drive the decision. If the initial answer is “simple,” Shopify Plus may be better. If your store’s needs are complex: Magento 2 Commerce is likely the way to go.

A significant number of the eCommerce brands we work with choose to host their stores on Magento 2 Commerce and Shopify Plus. We’ve also assisted clients in performing site migrations to one platform or the other.

Below, we’ll first break down the basic differences between Shopify Plus and Magento 2 Commerce. Then, we’ll zoom in a bit further on their most important aspects for retailers to see if they match your store’s requirements.

Let’s get started.

Note: Are you looking to move to an enterprise eCommerce platform? Schedule a talk with us today to get our recommendations on the right platform for your brand, help migrating to it, and/or optimizing for growth.

Shopify Plus vs Magento Commerce: Overview

To start, here is a summary of useful information about each platform:

Comparison table of Shopify Plus and Magento 2

Shopify Plus Overview

While it’s inarguably an enterprise platform, in many ways, Shopify Plus is geared toward existing Shopify stores that are ready to scale further.

Shopify’s own brand began by servicing smaller retailers. They have since grown quite a bit —  and so have the growth stages they service.

As a result, Shopify Plus is the iteration of Shopify geared toward mid-level and enterprise-level companies. Compared to Shopify, the “Plus” adds:

  • More apps, advanced features, and customization including a customized, responsive checkout.
  • More customer support from Dedicated Shopify Plus Account Managers and Launch Managers.
  • Flat pricing of $2,000 per month for retailers with less than $9.6m in yearly sales.

Shopify Plus’ offering differs from Magento’s because:

  • Shopify Plus is available as fully-hosted only while Magento has both hosted and non-hosted options.
  • Offers 24/7 managed account support that includes minor front-end development.
  • It requires far less backend development compared to Magento.

Overall: Shopify Plus is the more user-friendly version of an enterprise-level eCommerce platform. Smaller eCommerce teams whose needs require them to focus on product and marketing over pouring resources into development will likely prefer Shopify Plus.

Magento Commerce (Formerly Magento Enterprise)

Magento is its own software and service ecosystem that was acquired by Adobe in 2018. It comes in a few different flavors to cover businesses of all sizes and needs:

  • Magento Open Source (formerly Community Edition or “CE”)

There is a large community of Magento developers out there as a result of Magento’s continual free download of their core software. This is for businesses with advanced development capabilities on their end who don’t require support or hosting from Magento.

  • Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise/Enterprise Edition or “EE”)

In this article, we will be referring to Magento Commerce throughout. Unlike Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce comes with a license fee as well as support and other resources from Magento. There is also a hosted version branded as Magento Commerce Cloud that is folded into the Adobe Experience Cloud.

Compared to Shopify Plus, Magento Commerce’s offering is different because:

  • You can use Magento Commerce as a fully-hosted or externally-hosted platform
  • Magento Commerce is much more customizable than Shopify Plus
  • Magento Commerce is more apt for large product catalogs, product variations and attributes, and multi-store management.

Overall: Magento is geared toward businesses that can devote more time and resources toward the development and maintenance of their store. The tradeoff here is a wider range of capabilities with more work, cost, and often a longer development timeline.

Shopify Plus vs Magento Pricing Comparison

Right off the bat, we can see that each platform is better-suited toward different growth stages, applications, and product catalog sizes. As a result, their pricing varies considerably.

According to Kathryn Valentine, a business consultant to apparel companies, “Shopify is the Honda; Magento is the Ferrari.”

Valentine told us that smaller companies (under $25M, even $50M) will find the maintenance of a Magento site more time-consuming and expensive than their organization and budget are built for. That makes Shopify Plus the best option for start-ups and high growth businesses under ~$25M, and Magento the winner over $100M.

Companies in between these sizes will need to assess how important their DTC business is and if they are ready to make the investment in site maintenance.

Shopify Plus Costs

In general, Shopify’s pricing tends to be less expensive and thus better-suited to mid-stage growth periods.

  • License Fee: The monthly license cost is $2k plus .25% of average revenue after your store reaches $800K in revenue. The maximum monthly fee is capped at $40k.
  • Transaction Fees: Shopify Plus is not transparent on their pricing, but we have seen transaction fees reported of 1.6% + 0.35 and 2.15% + $0.30 per transaction (as of December 2019). Shopify Payments is the default processor, but if you use a third-party payment provider, there’s an additional 0.15% transaction fee on top.
  • Hosting: Hosting is included under Shopify Plus’ $2000/mo license fee as an optimized package. It also includes upgrades and maintenance, security and SSL certificates, payment card industry (PCI) compliance, and technical support.
  • Migration and Build Costs: These will vary, but they will generally cost less than a Magento migration or website build. Typically, a Shopify Plus site build will be a mid-five-figure cost and typically stays under $100k.

Magento Commerce Costs

The total cost of a website built with Magento will likely be more expensive because more development is usually needed. This means it’s well-suited to companies who want a lot of backend functionality.

  • License Fee: Unlike Shopify’s monthly + transaction and revenue fees pricing model, Magento’s license is an annual up-front fee based on merchants’ Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and company size. As a result, the pricing for Magento varies a lot. Licensing starts at about $22k per year.
  • Transaction Fees: In contrast to Shopify Plus, Magento’s model is based on giving retailers ownership of all their own operations. The only transaction fees are those run by the processor you choose. With Magento, you can set up your own external payment gateway as well.
  • Hosting: You can host Magento on any server you choose. If you opt to host on Magento 2 Commerce Cloud, this includes both the Magento license and hosting. Pricing is not transparent, but the base cost of Magento 2 Commerce Cloud is around $3,333 according to eCommerce Guide — this linked article (written by two experienced platform consultants) has a very detailed breakdown of potential costs that both Shopify Plus and Magento 2 Commerce can incur.
  • Migration, Build, and Maintenance: As a general guideline, expect a $100k cost to a Magento 2 Commerce migration or build. Maintenance with Magento Commerce is an ongoing thing. You’ll likely pay a Magento developer on retainer to take care of what Shopify Plus folds into their license fee: patches, upgrades, module installations, and other maintenance needs. This will usually cost in the low-to-mid 4 figure range per month, but can go up to 5 figures per month for complex stores.

Now, let’s take a look at what these different pricing models gets you in terms of the platforms themselves.

User-Friendliness and Support

Shopify Plus

Built Primarily for Non-Devs

The basic version of Shopify is already designed to be user-friendly for busy eCommerce owners. Thus, it requires less development work in comparison to most other basic platforms.

Shopify Plus retains this principle, but adjusts them to enterprise-level needs by adding:

  • More API integrations
  • Access to theme code
  • Exclusive apps
  • Analytics reports

Shopify was designed for eCommerce businesses that are just getting started. Shopify Plus presents a similar solution that retains much of the core usability that people upgrading from Shopify to Plus are used to. Plus, more robust support and features.

Magento 2 Commerce

Built for Developers and Advanced Customization
Magento has some experience under its belt, but its users have to also. This isn’t a basic, user-friendly experience, which is fine for those more familiar with developmental coding.

In addition to the advanced features Magento provides out of the box, it can also be customized to suit specific needs. The tradeoff is that retailers running Magento Commerce typically have a dedicated development team to build additional features.

Overall, it’s a decent choice if you’re already skilled at developing. Magento can provide a more customized, luxury shopping experience, but requires much more time, effort and money to maintain.

Features

We want to make this simple for you to parse through.

Below, are what we see as the core feature differences to bear in mind when selecting between Shopify Plus and Magento 2 Commerce.

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus adds:

  • Dedicated Shopify Plus account managers
  • Unlimited staff accounts
  • Wholesale channels
  • A Facebook community and Partners directory
  • A multi-store dashboard
  • Access to Shopify’s Liquid theme language for code-level changes
  • Shopify Scripts editor which allows you to customize checkout
  • Shopify Flow (Shopify’s eCommerce automation platform, which uses a visual builder)
  • Shopify Launchpad — a tool to automate sales campaigns and product launches
  • Bulk customer data import tools.

Compared to Magento, Shopify Plus has features that make it a lot more frictionless to get a store up and running.

Magento 2 Commerce

That said, compared to Shopify, Magento makes it easier to manage complexities such as:

  • Multiple brands
  • Multiple vendors
  • Stores across multiple countries
  • Promotions and discounts using a built-in promotions engine
  • Bigger product catalogs with complex attribute combinations
  • Different product types (Magento supports 7 core product types while Shopify has 2)
  • Native handling of product bundles and product attributes
  • International currencies and global shipping

In other words, if you have thousands of products and potential combinations of attributes, Magento is a clear winner. If you’re launching products in multiple stores, in multiple countries, with multiple promotions, currencies, and languages: Magento is way better for that than Shopify Plus.

Scalability

Scaling needs differ between different retailers. Are you scaling primarily for more traffic and sales? For more products, marketplaces, or vendors? Or for a combination?

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is a great choice when “scalability” translates to readiness for more traffic and orders.

Shopify Plus’ platform and hosting is designed with scalability in mind, thinking about the fluctuation of traffic and transactions for eCommerce. This is one of the main advantages of the platform.

The casual developer doesn’t have to worry about infrastructure and can focus on strategy instead without wondering if performance will suffer for it thanks to Shopify Plus’ fully-hosted platform.

While your store is on Shopify’s servers rather than your own, those servers will be ready for whatever comes.

Magento

When scaling your business means scaling products and marketplaces along with traffic and transactions — Magento Commerce is the better choice.

In terms of server capabilities, Magento Commerce Cloud is comparably prepared for volume fluctuations to Shopify Plus’ servers. If you are hosting Magento Commerce yourself, you’ll need to prepare for fluctuations accordingly.

As the running theme here has been: it’s going to take more work on your end if you want to use Magento Commerce, but you’ll be able to do a lot more in terms of managing your online retail empire.

Multiple Brand and Multiple Store Management

Magento allows you to manage multiple stores from one interface, while Shopify Plus involves managing multiple stores as their own entities under the same account. In terms of capability and cost: Shopify Plus can’t really stack up to Magento’s multi-store architecture.

For example, Magento’s dashboard allows you to set product attributes like name and price at store and global levels. You’ll need to find a workaround to do this with Shopify Plus and this will likely be a plugin that adds to the monthly cost.

Additionally, Shopify charges for the gross merchandising volume (GMV) of each additional store. So that additional cut of revenue to Shopify needs to be factored in when planning an expansion; not so with Magento.

Extensions and Apps

Both platforms have a dedicated marketplace of apps and extensions that add functionality, visual changes, and other options to your store.

Shopify Plus

As a SaaS offering, Shopify Plus has an ecosystem of third-party apps that require their own separate licenses. When comparing the native functionality of apps and extensions, users often report more and better functionality with Magento’s extensions.

You will need to weigh the costs of additional licenses with Shopify Plus to enabling that same functionality on Magento Commerce with a developer or a matching extension.

There are a lot of apps that provide services that aren’t found natively in Shopify, such as Recharge, which provides monthly billing for subscription businesses. However, users tend to prefer Magento’s native subscription billing over Shopify’s.

Magento 2 Commerce

Magento has its own robust marketplace for extensions (and services). These allow for functionality that you simply can’t do in Shopify Plus.

For example, with certain Magento extensions you can:

  • Turn your Magento store into a multi-vendor marketplace. (Meaning: vendors can upload their products to your store and manage orders on its front end through individual portals.)
  • Add more robust customer support functionality
  • Enable accounting and finance within the platform
  • Enable custom shipping and fulfillment solutions natively

In other words, there’s a lot more you can do with Magento compared to Shopify Plus — but those capabilities should be needs for your business.

Summary and Conclusion

Shopify Plus vs Magento 2

When to Choose Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is the option for those newer to the eCommerce web-developing world, or who want to be a little more hands-on in customizing their website without extensive developer knowledge. Shopify Plus is easy to use, affordable, and very difficult to break.

For retailers willing to work within the features provided directly by Shopify or provided by Shopify Apps, Shopify is a great choice. You can work with an agency and build a great looking storefront quickly and focus more of your time on customer experience, demand generation, and retention.

You don’t need to place as much time and resources into development and hosting with Shopify Plus as you do with Magento Commerce. If your needs are not that complex and you prefer to focus on product and marketing, Shopify Plus is likely the right solution.

When to Choose Magento Commerce

Magento’s advantages over Shopify Plus were summed up nicely by John Moss of English Blinds, one of the eCommerce CEO’s we heard from:

“For us, the multi-store, language, and payment method options that are possible under Magento Commerce but not Shopify Plus was the clincher that saw us decide in favor of Magento Commerce. Shopify Plus’s multiple instances of ‘equivalent’ features just don’t offer the same level of functionality,” he said

“Unlimited product variants in Magento Commerce with a cap of 100 product variants in Shopify Plus is something else to bear in mind if you keep a large inventory,” he continued. “Magento Commerce is also much more flexible in terms of integration platforms while Shopify Plus only works with Shopify’s own API integrations, which might well be sufficient for many, but was a downside for us and limited our potential future scalability.

“Finally,” he said, “Magneto Commerce’s option for open-source code versus Shopify Plus’ proprietary alternative was the icing on the cake. Again, this might not be an issue or something most businesses will need, but having the option allows for superior flexibility and future growth.”

In other words: If flexibility and control over your website’s development are important, Magento 2 Commerce is the clear winner.

Are you planning a move from your current eCommerce website to a more robust platform like the ones discussed here? While we have written about some of the complexities in migrating ecommerce platforms, we strongly encourage you to chat with us before starting the process.

Talk to one of our enterprise eCommerce experts today by clicking here or filling the form below.

Marketers moving away from home-grown tools, hiring fresh teams for new martech

About 83% of marketers have upgraded or replaced at least one martech application in the past year, we found out in our Martech Replacement Survey.

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As the marketing technology landscape and capabilities continue to evolve, organizations are on an ongoing quest to update and improve their technology stacks. In fact, the vast majority (83%) upgraded at least one martech application in the past year, according to our MarTech Replacement Survey 2020 published Monday.

To better understand the frequency and motivations behind organizational martech updates, we surveyed 398 digital marketers in October. Several interesting trends emerged.

Organizations are moving away from in-house solutions. In a striking find, many companies are migrating away from marketing technologies developed in-house. Respondents were nearly as likely to have upgraded or replaced a homegrown technology (49%) as a commercially available solution (51%), with many of those replacing homegrown tech moving to commercial applications.

The number one reason marketers said they shifted from in-house technology was that available SaaS software had better features, with 49% of those who switched to a commercial solution citing that as a reason.

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Nearly one in four said their homegrown system was being replaced because management decided their enterprise was “not a software company,” and nearly one in five because their homegrown system was too expensive to maintain.

New martech adds new people. Fear of job losses caused by machine learning and AI-based technologies may be unfounded — at least when it comes to the need for human oversight and management of marketing technologies.

With new martech features designed to increase efficiencies, a surprising 43% of respondents indicated that they hired a new team to support their new tools. One in four said they combined retraining existing staff with news hires, while another 25% said they retrained exclusively.

Martech replacement trends in 2020. The findings of this report hint at several trends we expect to see in the coming year. Organizations will continue to focus on maximizing the return on their marketing technology investments — whether through ongoing upgrades and new hires or retraining. Rather than a threat, new technologies present opportunities for marketers who keep their skills relevant and transferrable as technologies evolve and change.

As SaaS products improve — and natively support integrations with other solutions — it’s becoming harder to justify developing or maintaining homegrown applications. We can expect to see more acquisitions by martech vendors as well as integrations as providers aim to give marketing teams more comprehensive, one-stop-shop solutions.

To read more findings, insights and key takeaways for marketers, click here to download The MarTech 2020 Replacement Survey.

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Get more done with Agile marketing

Learn how to put Agile to work for your organization. Join us this Wednesday, December 11th , for this live webinar.

The post Get more done with Agile marketing appeared first on Marketing Land.

Marketing is always changing. And with that constant change comes greater expectations to produce ever-better results at a rapid pace with limited resources. Now more than ever, marketers must be ready for whatever comes their way — and they must be equipped with the right tools and processes to get results.

To keep up, marketing teams are making big changes to how they manage their work and create differentiating content by adopting an Agile methodology. Join our experts as we explain how Agile marketing allows you to be more organized, get more done and be more responsive to market changes or shifting company strategies.

Don’t miss this live webinar! Register today for “4 Ways to Get Started With Agile Marketing,” presented by Workfront.

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Holiday 2019: What Really Happened During Cyber 5 and What’s Yet to Come?

It’s safe to say the retail holiday season started off with a bang — in late October. While we often think of Black Friday as the true kickoff to holiday shopping, this year’s late Thanksgiving condensed the shopping season by six days. This drove bran…

It’s safe to say the retail holiday season started off with a bang — in late October. While we often think of Black Friday as the true kickoff to holiday shopping, this year’s late Thanksgiving condensed the shopping season by six days. This drove brands to begin promotions weeks earlier. Retailers like Walmart started to roll out holiday savings before Halloween this year.

B2B Audience Targeting in the Privacy Era (Part One)

In May 2018, the European Unions’ General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became a disturbance to the data marketplace. Data providers, both big and small, experienced a drastic decline in available cookies. While GDPR was not the death-knell of audi…

In May 2018, the European Unions’ General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became a disturbance to the data marketplace. Data providers, both big and small, experienced a drastic decline in available cookies. While GDPR was not the death-knell of audience targeting in Europe, which is now slowly on the incline, it was certainly a blow to the data industry as brands divested of third-party data to invest in their own first-party, consent-first data. As marketers in the United States, you will face a similar situation in 2020 when California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) takes effect. During this potentially turbulent transition, as US-based tech stacks come into compliance with CCPA, there are precautionary measures that programmatic traders and media strategists should consider in an effort to mitigate troughs in campaign performance: contextual alignment, knowing where your data is coming from,and anticipating the future of data.

Perhaps the most drastic option is to, at least temporarily, abandon third-party data targeting in favor of contextual targeting. The IAB Tech lab provides a guideline for self-declared contextual categories that is used for consistency across the industry. These self-declared categories are targetable in leading DSPs and allow you to reach audiences’ browsing content that aligns with their messages or products. While this may work for many B2C brands, especially for products that are quickly consumed such as beverages, this “off the shelf” targeting for B2B brands may prove too inaccurate as the categories are rather broad and do not dig deep into niche topics of interest.

For brands with niche markets, you will find that some data partners have already made inroads into contextual targeting. Partners such as Grapeshot, now part of the Oracle Data Cloud, offer highly-customizable contextual categories for targeting based on in-page content. These custom taxonomies allow you to target the most relevant content from blog posts- to new trends- to breaking news. Even custom contextual taxonomies may not have the precision needed for certain brands, post-CCPA.

B2B marketers like you may find that broad content alignment is simply not accurate enough; the legal quagmire of CCPA-compliant data is difficult to navigate. In order to err on the side of caution with third-party data, you should look to two different categories of data providers: incentivized data, and GDPR-compliant data. Between these two categories, the latter has been established and will have experience dealing with privacy regulations while the former will be a developing market to watch as the Internet transitions to a privacy-first state.

Data partners who are already GDPR-compliant will also likely be some of the first certified as CCPA-compliant due to the similarities in regulations. IAB Europe has developed a transparency and consent framework (TCF) to enable data as well as inventory partners to ensure all user information is kept compliant. Due to the vast marketshare belonging to California, you can expect a similar framework in the United States in 2020, and should also be aware of which partners are compliant with the framework.

Programmatic media and real-time bidding are in a state of flux. With ever-increasing pressure from governmental bodies to regulate the industry and protect users’ privacy, brands and marketers must stay vigilant by continually vetting partners to ensure compliance. Before using any data, it is critical that the B2B buyer knows where the data is sourced, how the data is sourced, and verifies that the data provider is compliant with the local regulatory body. If the B2B buyer opts for contextual alignment instead, the buyer must look to develop contextual strategies that go beyond the broad categories offered to all buyers, and seek to customize a niche audience.

Use AI to connect the online-to-offline buying experience

There’s still time to register! Join us for this live webinar and learn how to make your search, social and display ad campaigns more effective.

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Join Jim Sterne, Founder of Marketing Analytics Summit and Ian Dailey, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Invoca as they show you how to use AI to analyze customer conversations, and scale those insights to boost conversion rates, optimize buying experiences and drive more revenue-generating calls. You’ll learn how to comb through the conversations you’re already having with your customers and discover more of what they are trying to tell you.

Attend this webinar and learn how to:

  • Drive 15-20% more conversions from phone calls
  • Push customer insights into your marketing stack to optimize ad spend
  • Use call conversation data to personalize website visitor content
  • Create new audiences using offline conversion data to expand your reach

Register today for “Get More Value Out of Your First-Party Data: Using AI to Connect the Online-to-Offline Buying Experience,” sponsored by Invoca.



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The 2019 State of Conversion Optimization Report

This is the fourth edition of our State of Conversion Optimization report. The upward and downward trend data is increasingly interesting. But it’s also easy—and equally useful—to spot the things that haven’t changed: the strategies that continue to work and the issues the industry hasn’t yet solved. In partnership with AB Tasty, we gathered opinions […]

The post The 2019 State of Conversion Optimization Report appeared first on CXL.

This is the fourth edition of our State of Conversion Optimization report. The upward and downward trend data is increasingly interesting.

But it’s also easy—and equally useful—to spot the things that haven’t changed: the strategies that continue to work and the issues the industry hasn’t yet solved.

In partnership with AB Tasty, we gathered opinions from nearly 400 optimizers working in more than 50 countries.

We identified 7 key takeaways. Download the full report below.

1. Process is vital—and difficult.

“In one sentence or phrase, what is your biggest CRO/optimization challenge?”

That was the sole open-ended question in the survey, and one challenge was top-of-mind for more than 1 in 4 optimizers: process.

“Better processes” included a desire to implement tests more quickly, correctly, and consistently. Three process-related issues showed up more than any others:

Optimizers are struggling to determine what they should test and the order to test it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those roadblocks can also slow the rate of testing. (Limited access to developer resources doesn’t help either.)

Process challenges aren’t new: “Establishing a process” was the top issue cited in open-ended responses for the 2018 survey.

We also asked a direct question about process, which reinforced the open-ended finding. While most use some process, only 44.6% use a documented one. Nearly 1 in 5 optimizers doesn’t have a process.

Also, about one-third of optimizers had no process in place for user research or test prioritization.

For those with a prioritization framework, most have created their own:

The second most common challenge—winning buy-in from clients and C-suite decision-makers—mirrored last year’s report as well. It also highlights how soft skills can be critical to moving a program forward.  

2. A lack of soft skills is holding back CRO programs.

If you want to feel pain, you need only browse responses from optimizers struggling to get buy-in from clients and in-house executives:

  • “I’m not being given the time or resources to work on CRO the way I should be working on it (CXL model) even though a few small optimizations have brought in huge gains. It’s more of a political challenge than a numeric one.”
  • “CRO is used as a generic term to test something seen on a competitor’s website, so the majority of tests that have been run in the past don’t start with data.”
  • “In India, CRO is an afterthought. Challenging the status quo and educating the senior executives for buy-in and continuous iteration is a big challenge, even in Internet-only companies.”
  • “As CRO becomes more mainstream, more people have a little knowledge. But a little knowledge is sometimes dangerous, and a lot of re-education is required.”

Skepticism or ignorance about conversion optimization affects more than the ability to prove ROI or retain clients. It also impacts implementation—executives are often anxious to end tests prematurely, if they’re willing to test at all.

That may be one reason why most optimizers still don’t have a standardized stopping point for A/B tests. The sub-50% figure has remained constant over the last three years.

Buy-in and budget, of course, are closely aligned. Developers aren’t cheap, and limited access to developer resources, as noted earlier, negatively impacts testing velocity. 

Nearly two-thirds of all optimizers run no more than 1 test per week; around 2 in 5 are lucky to run 2 tests per month.

Nascent programs with limited buy-in also stick to the basics when it comes to experimentation.

3. Most optimizers (1) use analytics data to inform (2) A/B tests of (3) UX or design changes on (4) desktop and mobile websites.

For the third consecutive year, digital analytics was the most effective component of conversion optimization. It makes sense: Everyone has analytics data; not everyone can afford eye-tracking studies.

And what can you do with that analytics data? Run A/B tests on UX and design elements—the next two most useful components for “decision-making insights” in CRO programs.

A/B tests are the preferred method of experimentation by a longshot. More than 90% of optimizers run A/B tests; no other test type is run by a majority of practitioners.

Also not surprisingly, most optimizers are working on websites, not apps or other digital products.

Those details build a picture of the day-to-day work for most optimizers: Running A/B tests based on analytics data for UX or design changes to websites.

That simple formula may dominate, in part, because the industry remains young, in age and experience.

4. It’s still a young industry—in multiple ways.

Nearly half of respondents were 30 or younger; some 87% were 40 or younger.

Given that breakdown, the median age (31) is slightly higher than you might expect (and is similar to the average age of 32.8). The demographics skew a bit younger compared to two years ago, when the median age was 33 and the average age 34.4.

The gender gap persists, even among new entrants. Some 27% of all respondents were female, similar to previous studies. The figure was the same for younger cohorts: 26% of those under 30 were female, and 28% of those under 25 were women.

Youth also means inexperience. More than 30% of optimizers have been at it for no more than 1 year, and most (60.6%) have worked in conversion optimization for no more than 2 years.

There’s a sharp drop-off past the 5-year mark:

Those with a decade or more of experience are a tiny minority—just 4.5%.

The trend toward youth may also hint at the increasing popularity of conversion optimization. More jobs means more entry-level hires, a challenge in itself for growing agencies and in-house teams.

5. It’s tough (and expensive) to find and develop talent.

Human resources challenges go beyond access to developer talent. Many respondents were sole practitioners on their marketing teams or had CRO responsibilities bundled into other marketing activities.

That led to a common refrain: a lack of time, which plagued more than just solo “teams.” As one respondent noted: “We are only a four-person team, so having the time to actually do it is the biggest challenge.”

Certainly, hiring conversion optimization specialists isn’t cheap, even as average salaries have remained relatively consistent in recent years:

That data should be taken with a grain of salt—the variation hinges on the pool of respondents. More respondents from North America and Europe, as you might imagine, raises the average. 

In fact, the average U.S. optimizer made $99,012 in 2019, about $4,000 more than in 2018, and more than the average optimizer anywhere else. Here’s how other countries stacked up (limited to countries with at least 5 responses):

Even for experienced practitioners, the need to learn more—or merely keep pace with changes—was urgent, especially when it came to statistical knowledge:

  • “Lack of statistical knowledge in the team”;
  • “Understanding statistical models”;
  • “Figuring out exactly when a test is statistically relevant.”

(If only there were a course for that…)

Others cited a general anxiety about not knowing enough or falling behind. That concern is well-founded, as what you don’t know may indeed hurt you.

6. What you don’t know may hurt you.

How’s your personalization program going? What challenges might server-side testing solve? For most optimizers, the answers are “What personalization program?” and “Not doing it, don’t know.”

Personalization was low on the list of effective conversion optimization efforts, but that may relate to implementation challenges, something several optimizers listed as their biggest CRO issue.

Those who use personalization (46.2%) appear to be having success. An overwhelming majority plan to expand those efforts in 2020.

That’s a surprisingly strong endorsement of personalization. If you’re struggling with implementation, it may be worth the effort.

A greater knowledge gap appears when it comes to server-side vs. client-side testing. We’ve written about the differences and potential advantages before. But those takeaways remain a mystery for most optimizers, who primarily run client-side tests.

Those who don’t run server-side tests are unaware of the potential benefits:

That lack of knowledge harkens back to a key struggle for optimizers—continually growing their knowledge base of conversion optimization strategies and how to execute on them.

You may not have the resources to run a server-side testing program, but you’d better know the potential value when you’re deciding how to scale your program.

Despite these challenges, there’s plenty of reason for optimism. 

7. CRO continues to be more effective, a higher priority, and a bigger piece of the marketing budget.

Several key indicators confirm the growth of conversion optimization as a discipline. Since 2017, more than 90% of respondents have described conversion optimization efforts as at least as effective as the previous year; most cite year-over-year improvement.

Similarly positive trends show up for how conversion optimization is prioritized within organizations:

And what about the all-important budget question? That trend is positive, too:

The growing pains of hiring, scaling, and getting executive buy-in, in other words, need context.

Each year for the past several years, CRO has been more effective, a higher priority, and a better-funded component of companies’ marketing programs.

Conclusion

Each year, some things change. Others don’t. Both warrant attention. These seven takeaways offer a portrait of the CRO industry in 2019:

  1. Process is vital—and difficult.
  2. A lack of soft skills is holding back CRO programs.
  3. Most optimizers (1) use analytics data to inform (2) A/B tests of (3) UX or design changes on (4) desktop and mobile websites.
  4. It’s still a young industry—in multiple ways.
  5. It’s tough (and expensive) to find and develop talent.
  6. What you don’t know may hurt you.
  7. CRO continues to be more effective, a higher priority, and a bigger piece of the marketing budget.

To get all the details from this year’s survey, download it here:

The post The 2019 State of Conversion Optimization Report appeared first on CXL.

Who’s Replacing Chief Marketing Officers and Why?

Having trouble viewing the text? You can always read the original article here: Who’s Replacing Chief Marketing Officers and Why?
Are Chief Marketing Officers — CMOs — losing their relevance in the C-suite? And if so, can data and exp…

Having trouble viewing the text? You can always read the original article here: Who’s Replacing Chief Marketing Officers and Why?

Are Chief Marketing Officers — CMOs — losing their relevance in the C-suite? And if so, can data and experimentation turn things around for them? Laura Patterson offers her opinion on the Intended Consequences Podcast I was having coffee with an old colleague, Laura Patterson, here in Austin. Laura advises businesses on all aspects of […]

The post Who’s Replacing Chief Marketing Officers and Why? appeared first on Conversion Sciences.

7 A/B Testing Examples To Bookmark

For businesses to truly flourish in today’s highly competitive market and hit that conversion rate figure they’ve always aimed for; it’s imperative for them to build a scalable experimentation culture. For SEO, content marketing, and paid advertising may dramatically help drive more traffic to a website, but it’s the magic of A/B testing and the…

The post 7 A/B Testing Examples To Bookmark appeared first on Blog.

For businesses to truly flourish in today’s highly competitive market and hit that conversion rate figure they’ve always aimed for; it’s imperative for them to build a scalable experimentation culture. For SEO, content marketing, and paid advertising may dramatically help drive more traffic to a website, but it’s the magic of A/B testing and the repeatability of wins brought about by a culture of experimentation that can get more conversions and high revenues on the plate.  

Below mentioned are seven successful A/B testing case studies showcasing how some of the world’s leading companies have leveraged A/B testing and the culture of experimentation to their advantage.

Example 1: Grene Redesigned its Mini Cart and Saw a 2x Increase in Overall Purchase Quantity

Grene is a highly recognized eCommerce brand headquartered in Poland that sells a comprehensive variety of agriculture-related products. Over the years, the eCommerce giant has run many successful A/B tests, one of which was revamping their mini cart page to add prominence to in-page elements. 

While analyzing their mini cart page, Grene’s team found that users were:

  1. assuming the “Free Delivery” USP to be a clickable button, hoping to find some extra details. This was creating a lot of friction. 
  2. finding it difficult to see the sum total of each individual item in the cart. 
  3. scrolling to the bottom of the cart page to click on the “Go To Cart” CTA button.

This is how to control looked like:

control version for the a/b testing campaign for shopping cart design
Control

Basis the identified problems, the company decided to make the following changes to their mini cart page and A/B test their hypotheses using VWO services. 

Changes were:

  1. Added a CTA button at the top of the mini cart to help users quickly transit to the main cart page. 
  2. Added a ‘remove’ button on the right side of each item (to avoid any unwanted clicks) and the sum total value of each product.
  3. Increased the size of the “Go To Cart” CTA button to make it prominently visible. 

 This is how the variation looked like:

variation version for the a/b testing campaign for shopping cart design
Variation

Running the campaign for 36 days, Grene saw the following results:

  • Increase in cart page visits.
  • Increase in overall eCommerce conversion rate from 1.83% to 1.96%.
  • 2X increase in total purchased quantity. 
Read the complete case study here: Grene Redesigned its Mini Cart and Saw a 2x Increase in Overall Purchase Quantity

Example  2: WorkZone Increased its Leads Through Its Testimonials Page By 34%

WorkZone is a US-based software company that provides robust project management solutions and documentation collaboration tools to all types and sizes of organizations. Owing to its level of operations, WorkZone constantly needs to be upon its A-game to drive as many conversions as possible.

In order to build a good brand reputation, the company had put up a customer review section (as a social proof marketing strategy) next to the demo request form on the lead generation page. Soon, WorkZone realized that customer testimonial logos were overshadowing the form, further distracting visitors from filling it. They decided to change customer testimonial logos, from their original color to black and white, and see whether the change would help increase the number of demo requests.

Here’s how the control and variation looked like:

control version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing sign up leads
Control
variation version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing sign up leads
Variation

After running the test for about 22 days, WorkZone found that the variation outperformed the control. It projected a 34% increase in form submissions and marked a 99% statistical significance.

Read the complete case study here: WorkZone Increased its Leads Through Its Testimonials Page By 34%

Example 3. Zalora’s Increased its Checkout Rate by 12.3% by Optimizing its Product Pages

Zalora is one of the fastest growing online fashion retailers in the Asia-Pacific region. The eCommerce store is most known for its chic and snazzy fashion and beauty products. Zalora is one of VWO’s esteemed customers and has been using its services day-in-day-out.  

Of the many successful A/B tests that Zalora has run so far, one experiment that really stood out was optimizing the design of product pages to highlight some of the brand’s rewarding features like free return policy and free delivery services. 

The eCommerce company came up with this hypothesis basis the data collected by its customer service team. It contended that customers were unaware of Zalora’s free return policy due to poor visibility of the feature on the product pages. The team soon made necessary amendments and ran an experiment to note customer reactions. 

Here’s how the control and variations looked like:

control version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing checkout rate
Control
variation version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing checkout rate
Variation 1
second variation version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing checkout rate
Variation 2

After running the test for a significant amount of time, Zalora found that Variation 1 outperformed the control and its counter variation 2. By simply bringing uniformity in Zalora’s call to action button, the eCommerce giant saw an increase of 12.3% in its checkout rate. 

Read the complete case study here: Zalora’s Increased its Checkout Rate by 12.3% by Optimizing its Product Pages

Example  4: Ubisoft used A/B Testing to Increase its Lead Generation by 12%

Ubisoft Entertainment is one of the leading French video game companies. It’s most known for publishing games for several highly renowned video game franchises such as For Honor, Tom Clancy’s, Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, etc. and delivering memorable gaming experiences. 

For Ubisoft, getting more leads and conversions are two key metrics that help analyze its overall performance. While some of its pages were performing well in terms of getting leads and adding conversions to its umbrella, its ‘Buy Now’ page dedicated to the ‘For Honor’ brand wasn’t yielding the best of the results. 

Ubisoft’s team investigated the matter, collected visitor data using clickmaps, scrollmaps, heatmaps, and surveys, and analyzed that their buying process was too tedious. The company decided to design overhaul for For Honor’s Buy Now page completely – reduce the up and down page scroll and simplify the entire buying process.

Here’s now the control and variation looked like:

control version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing ecommerce leads
Control
variation version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing ecommerce leads
Variation

Post running the test for about three months, Ubisoft saw that variation brought about more conversions to the company than the control. Conversions went up from 38% to 50% conversions, and overall lead generation increase by 12%. 

Read the complete case study here: Ubisoft used A/B Testing to Increase its Lead Generation by 12%

Example 5: PayU Increased its Conversions by 5.8% Using Data-Driven A/B Testing

PayU is an Indian-origin fin-tech company that provides an exclusive range of financial solutions for local and cross border merchants in emerging markets. As a payment facilitator, PayU finds it important to maintain a simple, intuitive, and convenient checkout process and eliminate all plausible elements which may case drop-offs. 

But, their Checkout page statistics spoke an altogether different story. The company, by using VWO Form Analytics capabilities, found that a lot of people were dropping off from the page, which was significantly impacting their sales and revenue graph. 

To streamline everything, PayU decided to make minor changes on its Checkout page form basis the data gathered and run an A/B test to validate their hypothesis. While the old PayU Checkout page asked users to enter their mobile number and email address to complete the purchase process, the new Checkout page, on the other hand, only asked for a user’s mobile number.

Here’s how to control and variation looked like:

control version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing conversions on the checkout page
Control
variation version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing conversions on the checkout page
Variation

The test results showed that by simply eliminating the email address field from form placed on their Checkout page, the company was able to register an improvement of 5.8% in conversions as compared to the control.

Read the complete case study here: PayU Increased its Conversions by 5.8% Using Data-Driven A/B Testing

Example 6: ShopClues Increased its Visits-To-Order by 26% from its Home Page

ShopClues is a prominent eCommerce company that majorly operates in the Indian market. Although a new player in the fashion market, ShopClues gives a tough competition to Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon. The company strongly believes in the culture of experimentation and runs multiple tests month-on-month to improve its products or services. 

Of the many A/B tests that ShopClues has run to date using VWO services, one experiment that showed remarkable results was when the company increased its visits-to-order by optimizing its home page. 

While planning the experiment, ShopClues carefully examined each home page element and tracked them for conversation signals. It found that the main navigation bar links on the home page were getting a lot of clicks, especially “Wholesale,” while the others were not. ShopClues understood that it was necessary to send better-qualified traffic to the category pages rather than leaving them wandering on the home page. 

So, the company decided to replace the “Wholesale” section with other marketing categories such as “super saver” bazaar, etc. It also moved the ‘Wholesale’ section to the left side of the site in the hope that the page becomes more visually aligned and helps get better-qualified visitors.

This is what the home page initially looked like:

control version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing visitors to the product page
Control

This is what the variation looked like:

variation version for the a/b testing campaign for increasing visitors to the product page
Variation

As hypothesized, this repositioning enabled customers to navigate through other category pages and not just wander through the wholesale section. The change further improved ShopClues click-through-rate on the “wholesale” category as well.

Read the complete case study here: ShopClues Increased its Visits-To-Order by 26% from its Home Page

Example 7: A Minor Change on Ben’s Product Page helped get a 17.63% Conversion Uplift

Ben is a personal budget challenger of the Dutch telecom industry. Headquartered in The Hague, Netherland, the company offers two kinds of subscription plans to its customers – a sim-only subscription and one that comes along with a mobile handset.

Of the many conversion rate optimization campaigns that Ben has run on its website, one of them was to make the phone color palette prominently visible on the product page. The company found out that most people exploring the site were unaware of the fact that they have the liberty of choosing a phone color of their choice along with the best data and voice plans. The data collected using VWO Insights also showcased that while people did notice the color palette, they couldn’t figure out its basic function. 

Using the gathered information, Ben decided to make the necessary changes on the product page and run an A/B test to authenticate their hypothesis. Here’s how the control and variation looked like:

control version for the a/b testing campaign for increase subscription conversions
Control Image — Placement of Color Palette below the Phone Image (Conversion Rate — 2.20%)
variation version for the a/b testing campaign for increase subscription conversions
Variation Image — Placement of Color Palette Adjacent to the Phone Image (Conversion Rate – 2.59%)

Ben ran the experiment for about two weeks and found that by simply making their color palette more prominently visible, it’s conversions went up by 17.63% and the number of customer calls to change device colors dropped significantly. 

Read the complete case study here: A Minor Change on Ben’s Product Page helped get a 17.63% Conversion Uplift

The post 7 A/B Testing Examples To Bookmark appeared first on Blog.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Increasing Revenue at Every Stage in Your Buyer Journey

Last year, ecommerce accounted for 10 percent of retail sales in the U.S., according to Statista. By 2021, it’s expected to rise to nearly 14 percent.  More and more, U.S. shoppers are turning to the internet to make their purchases. An optimized …

Last year, ecommerce accounted for 10 percent of retail sales in the U.S., according to Statista. By 2021, it’s expected to rise to nearly 14 percent.  More and more, U.S. shoppers are turning to the internet to make their purchases. An optimized ecommerce site is your opportunity to get as much of the market share […]

The post A Step-By-Step Guide to Increasing Revenue at Every Stage in Your Buyer Journey appeared first on The Daily Egg.