Why do you need to audit your online store?

Technology and the internet are in a constant evolution, growing and changing faster than most people can keep up with. It’s important that all business owners, regardless of size or level of success, take a step back and evaluate how their website measures up with the expectations of their customer base. It’s critical that an online store meets these expectations as it draws a hard line in the sand – stores with high conversion rates on one side and stores with high bounce rates on the other. What side do you want to be on?

Below are the top 5 tips for optimizing your online store for conversions.

1. Communication Creates Engagement

By nature, humans operate in a fight or flight fashion, meaning if a customer doesn’t immediately see what they are searching for, they will leave a website just as quick. First, take a look at your homepage with an objective view. Is it clear on what your industry is, what products you sell, the target customer and where to navigate next? If it’s hard to see the forest through the trees, reach out to someone you know that isn’t regularly on the site like a spouse, child, neighbor or friend and ask them what their first impression is. If they come back with answers that don’t fit your brand, you will want to add more information on your homepage. Having a website/homepage that has rich content, featured products and great call-to-action buttons is going to make the customer confident they are on the correct website.

Ask yourself:

  • Would a visitor be able to quickly discern my industry?
  • Does the website quickly convey what we do?
  • Is it clear what to do or where to go?

2. Make it Efficient for Your Customers

Nothing can be more frustrating than knowing you’re in the right place but not being able to find what you’re looking for. Make sure your customers aren’t experiencing this on your site. A great way to make your site more efficient is to lower the amount of clicks it takes a customer to find and add a product to the shopping cart.

Do this test on your ecommerce website:

  • First, pick a few primary products and a couple more obscure products.
  • Starting from the homepage, count the number of clicks it takes to get to the shopping cart. If it’s five clicks or less, your site is in good shape. If it takes more than five clicks, you may want to reevaluate the purchasing path.
  • A good example is: Homepage> Category Page> Subcategory Page> Product Page> Click “add to cart button.”

3. Consistency is Key

Consistency makes it an easier experience for your customers, be it messaging, branding standards, functionality and offerings. Make sure your efforts are consistent across the website and all your marketing strategies. This will make your customers feel at home and have a seamless, cohesive shopping experience.

Ask yourself:

  • Are my fonts and colors the same across the site?
  • Are the call-to-action buttons the same across the site?
  • Do the landing pages for marketing ads match the ad copy?
  • Do the credit card icons in the footer/left navigation of the site actually match what a customer can check out with?
  • Is the voice/tone used in content the same across the site, social media and marketing efforts?
  • If you’re running promotions, are they timely and active?
Quick tip: Make sure to put important information in the header of your website so the customer will see it throughout the entire conversion process. I always recommend placing a phone number and any promotional text in this primary real estate.

4. Data Doesn’t Lie

There are many free analytics tools to help you make educated decisions. For example: your store backend and Google Analytics ecommerce tracking. Use this information to learn your customers’ behavior. By understanding how users are interacting with your site, it will allow you to make smarter decisions about your website hierarchy based off of facts instead of assumptions. Make sure to track website changes so you can see if they have improved your metrics or if further adjustments need to be made. The more you test, measure and refine your site, the more it will grow. To learn more check out the Volusion's Google Analytics for Ecommerce Webinar

Here are some important Google Analytics metrics:

  • Audience > Demographics > Overview – allows your to see your customer average age, gender and interest categories to have a better understanding of your customer base.
  • Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels – gives more visibility into the channel used to complete a conversion.
  • Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages – gives more visibility into the pages visitors entered on.
  • Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages – shows what pages visitors exited from.
  • Behavior > In-Page Analytics – is a visual representation of what links visitors utilize.
  • Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance – gives more insight into the performance of products purchased.
  • Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversions Paths – visual representation of the path customers before completing a purchase. This gives an overview of how all marketing channels are working together to successfully complete a conversion.

5. Content is King

This one is a twofer! Not only is original content a primary component of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing strategy but your customers will read more than you anticipate. By adding unique content to each page of your site, you will not only tell the search engines what they can expect to find on that page but it will notify visitors as well. Having content on your website is an SEO best practice, sales opportunity and customer service all wrapped into one. By leaving this blank on every page of your website, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to speak directly to your customers, so make sure you utilize it.

Ask yourself:

  • Is there content on every page of my site?
  • Is that content unique to my site or is it copied from another source, like the manufacturer?
  • Don’t get penalized from search engines by having duplicate content on your site!
    • Are you unsure if your content is duplicate? You can copy and paste it into the search engine and if other sites show having the same exact copy then it is duplicate.
    • Are you providing your customer’s detailed information about the page to help them when making decisions?
If you remember these 5 tips when auditing your online store, you’ll turn into your very own consultant and will have you optimizing your store with conversions in mind in no time!