Seedling Tests – Conversion Wednesday

By Chris C.


First, we will define what a ‘seedling’ test is. Seedling tests are small tests designed to test a concept without requiring laborious design or development work.

Here is one example of a seedling test from my list:

Let’s say we notice that your category pages have a high exit rate (50%+). You notice that these pages don’t have any filtering options at the top of the page (such as price, color, style, popularity, etc), but your internal search results do. One way of keeping customers from leaving the shopping funnel would be to present them with filtering options to help them find what they were looking for.

Creating a small, seedling test to redirect category page entries to relevant internal search results will test if filtering options are better at helping your customers find what they want. You can track the number of product page views this experience delivers and if the customer is more likely to convert because of this change. You only have to test this long enough to see if more customers are seeing more product pages, if that is leading to more items in shopping carts, and if that is resulting in more orders.

The reasons for using seedling tests like this is to help save you time and money.

If the filter experience doesn’t help your customers, but ends up encouraging more browsing, there is no need to waste time designing and developing these features. You have saved yourself some effort and money. Now you can focus on other reasons why the exit rate might be so high.
If it does work, you can spend that extra effort and time so that it comes out perfect knowing that the return will be there. This allows you to focus your testing on the usability and design of these filters instead of wondering if it was the concept or the design that affected your results the most.

If the experience you are looking for is already developed elsewhere on your site, try getting your customers to use that and see how it is performing before spending a lot of time developing something that might not work.