Often scared to bare it all in online forums, we get a lot of “Can you give me feedback on my store?” requests every week — store owners looking for those things that they can improve on to bring even more traffic and convert even more sales. Getting the right feedback is vital in ensuring your eCommerce site is attracting those potential shoppers while enticing them to buy.
One of the biggest advantages of being a smaller business owner is the personal touch you get to add throughout your sales funnel. A personal approach that the big guys like Amazon can’t provide. The downside to this is that you have to work extra hard to gain trust. We’ve reviewed thousands of sites and in so many cases even the most experienced merchants can forget even the most basic of things that could really hurt their business and this trust they are trying so hard to build.
To jump-start your online store success, we created this comprehensive cheat sheet of important questions for beginners and experts alike, which you can use to do an online store audit today.
1. Is My Online Store Showing the Right Info?
One of the first things we look at with our merchants is whether their site has all the relevant information. This includes shipping info, return policies and contact info. It’s super important that a customer can quickly see, and access, this information to ensure they don’t get frustrated and leave for the competition. Having the information front and center also gives your store more credibility in the eyes of the consumer. Here are some important supporting questions to ask yourself:
Is my shipping policy straightforward and clear?
A good shipping policy is straightforward and informative and includes any of the following (if relevant): standard and/or expedited shipping costs and procedures, handling time, fees and return shipping costs/procedures.
Am I easily contactable?
Customers want to be able to easily contact you. Add a phone number where possible and if not, add a chat or at the very least, a customer support email at the top of the navigation.
Am I displaying a good, clear returns policy?
A well-rounded return policy includes the amount of time a shopper has to return an item, the means by which they will receive the refund and who (the buyer or you) will be responsible for paying for return shipping. If you want to crank up the customer service and make your store more trustworthy to potential shoppers, covering return shipping costs can go a long way.
2. Is My Site as Optimized as I Think it is?
Do I need to make these important SEO tweaks?
You’ve been working hard on SEO, but sometimes it’s the little things that fall through the cracks. Here are a few important follow-up questions to ask:
- When I type my site’s URL without the ‘www’ am I getting redirected to my site? Contact your hosting provider and ask for assistance.
- Are all the links in my site working well? You can check yours here: Broken Link Check.
- Is my site speed good enough? How your store performs during peak traffic times (and off times for that matter) can most certainly affect your user-experience conversion rates and improving it will go a long way towards optimizing your store for more conversions. There are loads of free website speed checkers like Pingdom to test your site’s speed, and websites such as Pixlr to ensure you’re not uploading huge images.
Does my logo represent my brand’s look and feel?
It’s important that you use a high-quality image. A bad looking logo can reflect badly on your site, and will potentially hurt your conversion rate. Don’t forget your favicon (the small logo that appears in the top navigation of your site) as well!
Am I optimized for Social?
Do all my social profiles have the correct links and do they open on a new tab to prevent sending shoppers of my site? Display the links of the profiles you are active on, for example, if you have only 1 follower on Twitter, and you’re not going to put marketing efforts there, then there’s no need to display it on your site. By adding a Like Box you can increase the chances that your visitors will like your page.
3. Do I Have Product Reviews?
Customer reviews are a huge contributing factor to building online store trust. This can be easily achieved by installing a review plugin and asking previous satisfied customers to write reviews for your store and products.
4. Am I Displaying UGC to Entice Customers?
UGC (user-generated content) is an awesome way to show real people using your products, to instill further trust with potential online shoppers. Incentivize your customers to send you photos of themselves using your products.
5. Does My Store Instill Trust?
So far we’ve listed a number of things that will help increase the perception of trust of your online store. Another great way to take this further is with trust badges. Some you can use are Verisign, McAfee, TRUSTe, PayPal Verified and even Shopify trust badges.
6. Does My Homepage Send Customers Running?
We’ve analyzed a lot of store homepages over the years, and the most important thing that sets eCommerce stores apart is the cleanness of the homepage. A good homepage will not display a huge slider that offers too many things at once. A cluttered homepage doesn’t make for user-friendly shopping and could be deterring a lot of your potential shoppers from browsing your products. Instead, keep your homepage clear and clutter-free, and ensure you have a strong CTA (call to action) above the fold. Another point to address is sliders. They can be very frustrating for site visitors while adding very little value – According to Erik Runyon, 89% of clicks came from the first item in a carousel.
Another BIG homepage question to ask is, “Am I catching browsing traffic before they go?” Adding an on-site promotions app, like our own Coupon Pop, is the ideal way to capture leads, boost sales, and ensure you are fully capitalizing on homepage traffic. Looking for more homepage tips? Head over to our 17 Homepage Mistake to Avoid Post.
7. Am I Selling the Right Products?
As most experts will agree, it’s better to start selling within a specific niche. Trying to cover too many products in too many niches can make you not only lose focus but make building logical product categories as you grow very tricky. If you decided to sell a variety of products, make sure you have interesting products to offer in each category.
Ultimately product organization is key to helping your shoppers match what they are looking for to what you have to sell.
8. Are My Product Pages Appealing to Customers?
Product pages can make or break your business and it’s important to take a long, hard look at this. Are you overusing product counters? Dropshippers, have you just cut and pasted product descriptions? Here are some questions about your product page:
- Have you included a size chart in your product pages (that don’t open to a new tab) for easy reference and a better shopper experience?
- Dropshippers, have you edited out brand names and watermarks on product photos to ensure you’re not losing potential customers to your supplier?
- Are your product descriptions on brand, consistent and typo-free?
You can look for more tips on our eCommerce How to for Photos posts on our blog.
9. Is My Site Capitalizing on Sales?
You have brought traffic to your store, they’ve browsed and added to cart and are about to hit buy — what’s missing? If you are not pushing more products before they reach the checkout page, you’re missing out. Up Selling tools are vital in increasing sales possibilities. You can easily increase your order value by providing an upsell option/pop up or by offering free shipping incentives for over a certain amount.
There are a number of things you can do to improve the experience shoppers have with your online store throughout your sales funnel and encourage quicker purchasing decisions. These include adding a money-back guarantee option or paying for shipping costs on returns. These extra perks, and having them displayed of course, could be the deciding factor for a buyer who many be on the fence.
11. Am I Winning at Marketing?
Lastly, but very importantly, you need to take an honest look at your marketing activities. You can have the most user-friendly store in the world, with fantastic products, but if no one knows about it, you won’t be selling. Ask yourself if you’re bringing enough traffic to your store, and if not, are you covered with the leading traffic sources: SEO, Web referral traffic, AdWords and other paid search, social media, PPC and email marketing traffic.
There are lots of free and cost-effective ways to market your store, from bringing in targeted traffic with apps like Traffic Booster to using social influences to get your name out to their followers. Be sure to follow our blog for regular eCommerce store marketing tips.
12: Is My Website Copy Off Base?
Is your website copy written with your unique target customer in mind? Does it speak to the customer about the customer, or does it refer to ‘I’ or ‘We’ instead of ‘you’? Your website text, the tone and language you use on anything from your homepage to your product descriptions can have a big impact on whether a customer trusts you, wants to buy from you and/or feels you giving them the personal touch they come to expect from smaller businesses. Remember to write in a way that talks to your target audience specifically.
Fit Girls are a great example of a brand talking directly to their target audience in a way they can relate to, and making it all about the customers – ‘You’ not ‘I”.
Bonus: Where Can I Get More Site Feedback
It is important to continuously tweak your online store, product lists, marketing strategies, etc. To do this, honest, trustworthy feedback is key. There are a number of tools available so you can get further feedback for your store, including:
- Free site audit tool, Benchmark Hero
- Entrepreneur or eCommerce Facebook groups
- Customer reviews and surveys
And of course, you can always get in touch with us!
We hope our cheat sheet helps you with your online store audit. Remember, it’s always easier to update your existing website than building from scratch — just follow this cheat sheet and you will have all the direction you need. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Nicole is a content writer at StoreYa with over sixteen years experience and flair for storytelling. She runs on a healthy dose of caffeine and enthusiasm. When she's not researching the next content trend or creating informative small business content, she's an avid beachgoer, coffee shop junkie and hangs out on LinkedIn.
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