Future Shop Closing; The Big A/B Split Test?

How Future Shop Closing Got Me Thinking About A/B Testing For Small Business Owners

By now you have probably heard that Future Shop Canada closed it’s doors without much warning to consumer or employee.

You’re likely reading the speculations of analysts on what this means for the future of retail.

You may have even read that both Future Shop and Best Buy are owned by the same company.  Which got me to thinking about A/B tests in marketing, and how they can scale up to massive proportions, like running two retail giants side by side to capitalize on maximum market share.  Then, when the one “campaign” or brand consistently outperforms the other, you keep the good one and shut down the other.

Now, I am not saying that this is the case with the closing of Future Shop Canada.  I am just saying that giant companies can run real world scenarios, or A/B tests on a massive scale.  And then shut down what isn’t working.

As small business owners, we should pause to reflect on A/B testing.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you currently running A/B/ tests in your marketing?
  • Are you measuring results to see what is and is not working for your business?
  • If something isn’t working, do you tweak it and try again?  Or do you just keep on hoping that one day it will magically start to work?

Last week, in a Facebook business group I am in, a solopreneur was asking everyone which photo we liked better for use in her next ad.  Everyone was answering with either photo A or photo B.  After over 30 replies, no one but me chimed in to say that she should actually run both photos – A and B – and see which one converts more leads.  Then keep that photo and drop the other.  Because business advertising isn’t about what we like for our brand. It’s about what works.   

Sadly, many of the small business owners I have worked with in my time make the mistake of not A/B testing at all, and also of not changing marketing tactics that aren’t working well for them.  Hey, I’ve done it too. There was a time when I didn’t even know what A/B testing was, and I’m certainly not an expert on the subject.  What I do is seek knowledge and advice from experts and try new things.  Constantly.  Try, test, fail. Try test, succeed and repeat.   Also, I do what I do best, and delegate the rest.  Just like many smart business teams delegate their IT support to us.

Will Future Shop closing make you stop and re-think your business efforts?

I feel terrible for the Future Shop employees who lost their jobs without warning.  And even though Future Shop and Best Buy are owned by the same company, they did stock different items at different prices at different times, so us consumers had a little more choice.  With their decision to shut down what wasn’t working for them, I am prompted to review what is and isn’t working for me.  And I also want to know…what is and isn’t working for you?  Feel free to tell me in the comments below.

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