When was the last time you thought –or shopped-like your customer? If you can't remember, or it's been quite some time, make it a prioritization to give your website a thorough review in the new year. To best cater to your site shoppers & adhere to a customer-centric approach to selling online, it is beneficial to shop your own site.
As you know, no two customers are alike. They have different shopping preferences and different tastes. As you look at your site with a fresh pair of eyes, you will want to be sure you review on different screen sizes I.e. laptop, tablet, smartphone etc. You'll also want to check out different browsers. Sometimes your site may look perfect in Chrome and appear warped on Safari. By thoroughly QA-ing all variables, you can be assured customers will have a seamless shopping experience regardless of how they chose to visit your site.
Now that you've verified your site is rendering properly, it is time to review your pages & site navigation. Pretend you are a first-time customer. If you have an email modal popup, enter in your information and evaluate how follow-up email communications are. It is important to make sure your Welcome/Confirmation emails are being triggered correctly.
Also, be sure to test your site’s search capabilities. Enter generic terms and see what pops up. Odds are, first time shoppers will not know the full extent of your product offerings and will search broad terms. This is a great opportunity to modify search terms for your top sellers & create better visibility for your slower moving items.
In addition, you will want to test out the experience of abandoning your cart. What is the frequency of your follow up emails (if you do not currently trigger abandoned cart emails, you'll want to prioritize implementing this functionality for 2017)? Do you create a sense of urgency or compelling reason to come back? If you believe your messaging needs some TLC, it is highly likely your customers feel the same way. By refreshing your abandoned cart content, creative and subject line you have better odds of converting these seemingly lost customers. Keep in mind, as a best practice your first abandoned cart email should be sent within one to two hours after the cart has been abandoned. Your second email should be sent within 12 to 48 hours after, and your final attempt should be sent within 48 to 72 hours. Be sure to include a clear call to action and include images of the products left in the cart!
Another crucial component is testing the order fulfillment process. Start by placing an order. Did you receive an email confirming your order was received? How about an email confirming your item has shipped with tracking information? These emails offer a level of transparency to your store, which fosters a sense of trust with your customers. These emails should be triggered shortly after the order has been received/shipped. Be sure to include contact information in the footer so customers can easily get in touch if they have questions or issues with their order. It is important to also highlight this information on a 'Contact Us' page on your site, which again, should be easily found by your visitors.
When your order arrives, take the time to examine your packaging, both inside the box & out. Did your order maintain it's integrity during transit? Also, be sure a branded packing slip is included. If your unboxing experience is lackluster, consider implementing 'surprise & delight' tactics, branded boxes &tissue paper, or just stronger materials.
By shopping your own site and reviewing your fulfillment process, you can make beneficial changes that will help increase your conversion rates and provide an overall better shopping experience for your customers. With the stiff competition to stand apart from competing e-tailers and deliver a customer-centric storefront, taking the time to thoroughly QA both your site and fulfillment process gives you a leg up on the competition.