For eCommerce brands and retailers, having an optimized web presence is essential. Your website is your storefront – and your last best marketing tool as it guides potential buyers to purchases. This level of importance means you can’t afford to take a “set and forget” attitude to your web portal.
When shoppers browse your online store, they are creating valuable data. If you harness that data, it can lead you to meaningful improvements. Ignoring the information or failing to analyze it quickly enough may leave you with a site that fails to live up to competitors’ offerings or customers’ expectations. If you don’t leverage data to make decisions, you may not even know your site has problems until it has already lost many potential shoppers.
Small Changes, Big Impact
While it’s unrealistic to try to redesign your website every month, that doesn’t mean there’s no value in tracking customers’ activities and preferences in order to get a better handle on their behaviors. If you employ targeted and intelligent A/B testing of features, the data flowing in from what your customers do – or don’t – click on can lead you to impactful changes to the layout and design of the site. These can have an effect on your bottom line.
In a valuable example of A/B testing in eCommerce, it was revealed that simple content changes can make a big impact on shoppers. Creating tabs that focus on stores’ main products and competencies – rather than making technical changes – draws shoppers through to the next page, enticing them in ways that more general promises of a “product categories” menu don’t.
The impact of changing the words on a website is greater than the effects of crafting a new navigation style. Companies considering a lengthy rebuild of a main menu may be surprised to find that a simple change of wording leads shoppers on a much more direct journey. If you have access to good testing tools and audience data reports, you can try this approach out on your own site.
What’s the Goal?
When working on your overall site design, it’s important to think about the big picture behind any changes you implement. At a base level, you want people to make purchases. All the menus customers are clicking through are just signposts on the road to a purchase. The goal behind all eCommerce design is to play into consumer psychology. People come to your site interested in buying rather than lingering, and if your features make their life easy, you’re doing something right.
For each particular audience, the exact factors that make people likely to buy will change a bit. Sometimes, this entails creating an effective and efficient mobile interface. In other cases, it means creating a clear path to high-value products that are in demand. In still other scenarios, consistent and trustworthy branding will win the day. Whatever the exact details, getting in tune with your audience is essential – and that means analyzing the individuals who buy from you.
Qualities to Measure
Whether you work internally or connect with a third party to optimize your eCommerce site, there are a few specific types of testing you can implement to get a better idea of your audience’s outlook and desires. For example, experts can determine the causation of activities, perform A/B tests and measure sites against benchmarks. Furthermore, effective website analytics are one way to attribute customer activity to particular marketing and outreach programs. Your site is not only your main storefront; it’s also the last link in a chain of digital marketing assets.
In the end, making effective and value-driven changes to your eCommerce website is a major competitive strategy today. When those alterations are based on consumer data, you can make them while they’re still relevant – and be confident that they’re targeting real needs rather than assumptions. Whether the change needed is a small change in wording or a full-scale revamp of the way people navigate the site, it’s best to go into the process with clear information.