In today’s competitive, hyper-connected world, businesses need to make the most of their advertising and other promotional dollars. This is especially true of brick-and-mortar stores, quick-service restaurants and shopping malls. Customers today have more options, and are spending less time and money in physical stores. To stem that tide, it’s important store managers know exactly what brings people in, what makes them stay, and what makes them buy.
Enter: A/B or split testing. This is a simple way to test one marketing or operational approach against another, and determine which produces better results. A/B testing has been popular in the online world for a long time, where it is used to test everything from website designs to different offers. But, how can it be used for marketing in the offline world–in retail environments?
Let’s look at an example.
A popular QSR chain is looking to introduce and promote a new burger, which they hope will entice their loyal visitors.
The marketing team is actively debating the photo for the promotional window signage. Should the top of the bun be placed directly on the sandwich or should it be tilted off the sandwich?
Let’s test it, shall we?
The team runs a 2-week test in a single restaurant location in a busy urban neighborhood. During week 1, they use the photo with the top of the bun placed squarely on the sandwich. During week 2, they change the photo to the tilted bun. For A/B testing, it’s important to keep as many constants as possible.
Having run the two-week test, the team now evaluates the results. If we remember, they wanted to know which signage did a better job of converting patrons from outside the restaurant to inside the restaurant. We are also interested in knowing the impact to loyal customers.
Comparing Storefront Conversion–that is, the total number of people who entered the restaurant divided by the total foot traffic outside the restaurant–from week 1 to week 2 shows that the tilted bun image did a better job of bringing people in. In fact, a 10% better job.
What about Repeat Visitors to the restaurant? Looks to have slightly gone up in week 2 as well.
Having run this test, the Marketing team can now select a photo for the promotional campaign. The team may even want to supplement this data with Focus Group feedback but having real-life data enables them to understand how their photos perform in the physical world.
And this is just one example of how A/B Testing can be used in the offline world, especially when supplemented with the right location analytics.
For a more detailed guide to A/B Testing in the offline world, including additional examples across marketing and operations, download our latest white paper.