What's New

A/B Testing: A Thing of Beauty

At Eversight, we’ve often extolled the virtues of A/B testing. We’ve pointed out that A/B testing, which lies at the heart of Offer Innovation, has been used to optimize Amazon’s home page, Google’s AdWords, and Netflix’s recommendations, and to maximize online political contributions. Now, it turns out, this mighty tool also reveals beauty, or at least our perception of it. As Fast Company’s Rebecca Greenfield reported a few weeks ago, the CEO of a young lingerie company called Adore Me relies on A/B testing to boost sales and gain insights into consumer desires.

Like any lingerie companies, Adore Me uses attractive, long-legged, scantily-dressed models. But unlike most such companies, Adore Me has photographers take many versions of every advertising image, and every month, subjects all of those images to online A/B testing. (It also reshoots a range of images for products that haven’t sold well.) In this methodical manner, it’s gained valuable insights. For example, it’s figured out that, believe it or not, sex doesn’t sell, so it doesn’t do boudoir shots. It’s learned that props distract, but couches are fine. It’s determined that that a model with a hand on her head is twice as effective as the same model with a hand on her hip. Playing with hair, in fact, is best. But, though “gentlemen prefer blondes,” customers don’t like buying lingerie worn by blonde models. Most significantly, Adore Me has found that marketing matters more than price. It’s figured out that for identical garments, an appealing model can compel a customer to pay a higher price, while an unappealing model can’t offset even a $10 discount.

With such insights, French born CEO Morgan Hermand-Waiche — a self-identified geek after my own heart – studied math and computer science before attending Harvard Business School. With innovations such as this, he’s brought Adore Me’s annual revenue to more than $5 million in only four years – rivaling more established competitors. As the poet Keats wrote, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

At Eversight, we’re excited to offer brick-and-mortar stores the opportunity to leverage drastic results from a digital world, the same way a lingerie company is doing. As we illustrated in our eBook, the approach at the heart of Offer Innovation allows manufacturers and retailers to harness unpredictable and counterintuitive consumer behavior in radically powerful ways. Through experimentation techniques similar to A/B testing, thousands of unique offers can be quickly tested with real shoppers, obviating the need for costly in-store trials. This results in promotions that drastically boost volume sales and trade spend ROI.

Steven Levitt (co-author of Freakenomics) may have said it best when talking about digital experimentation: “it’s absolutely transforming the landscape.”