We recently partnered with an apparel brand who sought opportunities for accelerated eCommerce growth: increase website traffic, online orders, and the average order value per shopper, and our first step was to audit the brand’s existing website using an extensive 84-point checklist from our Optimization Center of Excellence.
Following a discussion with the brand’s sales and marketing team, we inspected the website against our 84-point checklist and offered a per-item score between 1 “poor / critical fix” and 5 “excellent.”
Every eCommerce business can benefit from this type of audit, as the recommendations are intended to maximize results from an existing setup without the need for a complete website or sales funnel overhaul.
WHERE TO FIND THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR OPTIMIZATION?
Our 84-point checklist is separated into 5 distinct sections:
- Overall Website Functionality
- Homepage Content
- Product Listings and Catalog Pages
- Shopping Cart and Checkout Experience
- WishList or “Save For Later”
Here are the best examples from our eCommerce Deep Dive for Pink Dolphin.
OVERALL WEBSITE FUNCTIONALITY
The client’s website excelled in two areas: sitespeed and responsive design. Does your website respond evenly across multiple browsers and screens? eCommerce websites report +40% of total sales from mobile devices and tablets as of 2015. Hastily-constructed websites may experience slow sitespeed or page load times, and we have found in some instances that a 100ms increase to load time can result in a 1% sales decrease.
Two critical recommendations for this particular client were to add breadcrumbs to the website and to implement suggestive search, which can make it easier for shoppers to locate different products. Breadcrumbs, in addition to being an SEO best practice, allow shoppers to find their way through multiple category, catalog, and product listing pages – they’re particularly recommended for sites with lots of different products.
The homepage, as the gateway to your brand or business, presents many opportunities to convey information and entice shoppers. Remember: it’s also the page with the highest number of visits. While this client made fantastic use of artwork and promotional imagery, we recommended featuring the 3 best-selling products between the website fold and the main-content banner in an effort to increase clickthroughs to the product pages and decrease the homepage’s bounce rate.
PRODUCT LISTINGS AND CATALOG PAGES
Product pages are where a customer’s trust can be earned. Attitudes toward online shopping have certainly changed in the last decade, but many shoppers still worry that a product –especially apparel– will not fit properly or will be somehow different from what they expected to receive. We overcome these anxieties with:
- Product Availability
- Product Reviews
- Tabbed Details
- Clear Return Policy
Two of the most critical product page components are the description and available photos. Take a look at the screenshot below.
The main photo accurately depicts the product, but there are smaller details that a shopper may not be able to make out. This is where, per our recommendations, additional product photos or a “zoom” function will be useful.
We also suggested that share functions be added to the product listing, which enable the shopper to send this URL to friends directly or through social media channels.
SHOPPING CART AND CHECKOUT EXPERIENCE
We found initially that the checkout process was hosted via third party and looked completely different from the brand’s website. This was the single-greatest opportunity to reduce drop-off between the website and the shopping cart.
Take a look at the example below to see the revised, integrated cart page.
We recommended that the client add suggested products or “you may also like” to the checkout page, as we learned from a similar project that data-based product recommendations can increase average order value by 20% or more. By assessing which products are paired and purchased together, more successful recommendations can be made.
Smaller additions, such as the trustlink badge near the Checkout button, can reduce customer anxiety about data privacy.
WISHLIST OR “SAVE FOR LATER”
How can a retailer remain engaged when online shoppers are just browsing? Simple: allow visitors the capability to create a “wish list” of items using personalized account information, I.e. name and email address. When a shopper creates a wish list, they can be
- Reminded that items are still available in their cart
- Alerted that certain items are out of stock or in low supply
- Notified that discounts or promotions apply to their purchase
Although there was a way for visitors to sign up for a newsletter, this client’s online store lacked a wish list and the subsequent promotional email drip content.
Hint: 5% of new visitors to your website will sign up for the newsletter when presented with a lightbox. If the lightbox contains a special offer, such as a discount code, that number is even higher.
The purpose of the eCommerce deep dive and audit is to demonstrate our core business practice of “find what works, and optimize for maximum results.”
You will be delighted at the conclusions we draw from your customer data and, more important, how this information can help your business. We hope you’ll give us a chance to accelerate your growth.