Ready to make some good resolutions concerning your e-merchant activity? Website audits allow you to do a basic analysis of your operations in order to have an overall view of your needs.
Let's take a look at the essential questions to ask yourself in this ecommerce audit relating to the six pillars of your activity: business, marketing, development, user experience, optimization for conversions, and after sales. So many central KPIs in various areas to include in your checklist for your future commercial success!
Today, you’re going to do a complete ecommerce audit of your store to avoid the main mistakes that can be made and especially to boost your online store’s revenue!
1. Have you identified your target customer and your flagship products?
It’s advisable for sites to specialize in a particular offer while offering a coherent assortment of products. These products cannot exist without a target customer who will have a need, a need filled by your product, your services.
Positioning yourself in a realistic niche sector is a true asset nowadays: you’ll be able to easily stand out from the competition and quickly increase your ecommerce conversion rate. And creating a strong brand in this niche is a plus.
2. Do you have a clear value proposition?
Nowadays, it’s more difficult than ever to be the pioneer in a sector because they’ve all become more or less mature.
It’s therefore fundamental to have a clear and sufficiently differentiated proposition compared to the existing offer.
What are the levers of differentiation? The pricing strategy, target, offer, marketing methods, services added to your online store, etc. Determine your strong points, your strengths in relation to your target market.
3. How do you analyze the demands of your potential customers?
This is the key, especially in the age of social networks.
You have to continuously consider your customers’ comments in order to evolve your offer and your services and to meet their needs as well as possible.
How can you do this? By developing interactions on social networks, proposing surveys, etc.
4. Are you involved in your ecommerce site?
Although you’re in the digital business, not everything is just a click away.
To succeed, you’ll need to invest time in all areas: sales, logistics, development, digital marketing...
In short, you need a strong knowledge of your products, your market, your competition, your customers, and finally, of yourself.
To help you develop your business, the WiziShop ecommerce platform offers you complete and free training as soon as you register!
Create your online store - 15-day free trial
5. Do you have a defined marketing strategy?
Visits won’t happen by themselves!
You need to work on many digital marketing levers to acquire visits, transform this traffic into customers, develop your average cart, increase margins, as well as the customer's lifespan. The analysis of your digital marketing strategy can aid you with understanding the axes of improvement of your visibility.
6. Do you diversify your traffic sources (SEO, social networks, etc.)?
As we’ve often seen on this blog, you need to reduce your dependency on a single marketing lever.
Algorithms change frequently. A competitor can suddenly decide to outbid you on Google Ads, and a partnership can break up at any moment.
You must therefore adopt different techniques:
- SEO for search engines,
- review platforms,
- press relations,
This diversification will ensure that your target audience knows about and comes to your site.
7. Is your SEO strategy effective?
Your SEO will allow you to rise to the top of the search results. The quality of your content, the optimization of your texts, your ecommerce site speed, your internal links, the relevance of your pages... All these elements will play in favor of your website!
In addition to a winning SEO strategy, choose a content management system (CMS) that’s favorable for your SEO: WiziShop, the all-in-one ecommerce platform has a technical structure optimized for your native SEO, and we take care of your updates. In addition, we offer SEO training to create optimal content and quickly climb the SERPs!
Create your online store - 15-day free trial
8. Do you have a marketing calendar?
Your activity is, in most cases, subject to seasonality (seasons, Black Friday, holidays like Easter, Christmas, etc.), which will have an impact on inventory variation.
It’s advisable to anticipate them with a commercial animation plan that provides for visibility between 6 and 12 months in advance, without neglecting reactivity when necessary.
To do this, learn from past seasons and tools available on the web to anticipate inventory needs.
9. Do you have a marketing budget?
Don't be fooled into thinking that free levers are sufficient. To generate profitability, you have to invest!
The question to ask yourself is the following: Knowing that a buyer can bring you X dollars, how much are you ready to spend to recruit a new buyer? Or to keep them loyal?
In the end, what you need here is a marketing plan that’s planned in advance, that targets the right audience by delivering the right message, on all the right channels (online and/or offline), with a real budget.
10. Have you audited the loading speed of your site?
If your site's page loading speed is relatively slow, your business performance will suffer.
To illustrate this point, a report from the Aberdeen Group states that a single second of additional loading time for sites represents 11% fewer page views, a 16% impact on customer satisfaction, and a 7% impact on conversions!
To help your pages load in a speedier fashion, you need to provide robust hosting, choose a modern ecommerce CMS, and carry out quality development as well as a lot of optimization.
11. Is your site prepared to receive a large number of visitors?
It’s essential that the infrastructure you develop has the capacity to receive traffic without any difficulty, especially if you’re anchored in a seasonal sector such as toys, whose traffic is multiplied by 5 during the holidays.
The last thing e-tailers need is to close their doors when there’s a lot of traffic on their site!
That's why we’re happy to report that WiziShop's internal structure is very efficient: high-availability servers in France, ultra-lightweight site code, lazyloading, caching system, etc.
Create your online store - 15-day free trial
12. Have you chosen the right ecommerce solution?
The choice of your ecommerce platform is a strategic decision and very important in the life of an ecommerce project.
Although some solutions are non-binding, you might not be able to change it whenever you want!
There’s no "right answer" to the question of choosing a CMS. It depends on your budget and your needs.
Our advice is to avoid solutions that are too old with too few features or customization options. Also avoid solutions that are not in a good dynamic as, for example, when the community of developers of an open-source solution is strongly reduced and that the updates are infrequent and are of low quality.
On this subject, we invite you to discover the SaaS ecommerce solution WiziShop with a 15-day free trial!
13. Why test your website regularly?
Throughout its life, from its development to the deployment of new major versions, including small routine updates, your ecommerce site will undergo many changes that are mandatory to continuously improve the UX.
Creating an ecommerce site that reflects your image is good. But it’s essential to regularly test your site and its new features to ensure that everything works and that it doesn’t negatively impact the user's experience of your store.
It’s recommended to test the following:
- the links to the different pages,
- the correct display of descriptions,
- the photos on the product pages,
- the shopping cart,
- the customer review module, and
- all the little features you want to add.
It would be a shame to see a sudden drop in orders because you failed to see that the steps in the checkout process had bugs, for example!
14. Is your site mobile friendly?
Is it still necessary to specify this? Today, most of your visitors visit your site via its mobile version. What was only a "useful" feature a few years ago has become a strategic obligation.
Even if the conversion rate is still lower on smartphones and tablets than on computers, your store must be optimized, if only to allow users to get information.
Moreover, the Google AMP format allows an optimal experience for visitors using mobile devices: a format that can be activated on WiziShop stores! A feature that allows almost instantaneous loading time on e-merchant sites.
15. Is your website adapted to your target audience?
It goes without saying that your ecommerce site must be compatible with the main browsers used today.
It’s necessary to offer your visitors navigation that’s adapted to their uses, whether in terms of browser or technology.
User experience audit
16. How do you reassure your customers on your web pages?
While you may be convinced that you’re trustworthy, you’ll have to prove it to your visitors.
To do this, you can play on several levers that you must position strategically on your online store:
- the highlighting of your reassurance elements on your ecommerce site’s homepage;
- the displaying of your customer service contact information;
- the availability of satisfied customer reviews;
- partnerships with trusted third parties (banking institutions for payment, logistics solutions for delivery,...);
- social proof (large community on social networks, glowing articles on blogs or in the media,...); and
- awards and distinctions from competitions that prove that you’re supported by public institutions.
17. Is your website professional?
The design of your store, if it’s well done, can also be an element of confidence for your visitors! But it's not the only thing...
Perfect spelling and the quality of your photos also count. These are elements that’ll allow you to remove obstacles in the minds of your visitors.
If your site gives the impression of professionalism, the internet user is going to think that it’s probably the image of your offer and your services.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: if your online store looks amateurish, you’ll be seen as an untrustworthy merchant.
18. Are you pushing for converison?
Keep in mind that you’re above all a merchant and that your ecommerce site is there to sell.
And when you want to sell, you have to give pride of place to what’s most important: your products and your sales process (cart additions, purchase funnel, etc.).
Of course, your presence on social networks is important, your blog deserves to be read by as many people as possible, etc... But above all, think about putting your products in front of the world!
19. Do your visitors find your products quickly and easily?
Your visitors are impatient; they want to find what they’re looking for quickly. It’s therefore necessary to optimize the user path by reducing the number of clicks to reach the product page quickly.
Here are the methods to achieve this:
- Prioritize the information in the navigation.
- Build an efficient category menu.
- Set up an efficient search bar.
- Propose relevant faceted navigation.
20. Are your product pages well designed?
In order to offer your customers the best possible experience, but also to provide them with all the information they need and to reassure them when they’re preparing their shopping cart, you must focus on the product pages.
These pages are important because this is where your users will learn about their future purchase, where they’ll make their choice, and, finally, where they’ll press the "Add to cart" button.
To build your product pages, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you providing the right information for the questions and immediate purchase reasons your visitors have?
- Are they more interested in what the product "can do," its technical features, or its look?
- What problems do your products solve?
Put in as much information as possible, but be careful to prioritize it so that it doesn't get too messy.
Make good use of the short description, the technical description, and the visuals of your products. If your prospect finds the information that they’re looking for on another site, there’s a good chance that they’ll place their order on that site.
In short, your product page is a true salesperson. Make sure that it’s well presented, able to answer questions, and that it does so in a coherent way, according to your prospects' expectations.
21. Is your product inventory mentioned correctly?
The key phrase remains transparency of information.
A customer who’s ordered a product from your store but only discovers afterwards that the product isn’t available and that it’ll take weeks to arrive will be more than frustrated, and the experience with your store is going to be negative.
Therefore, clearly present the availability of the products, and if an item isn’t in stock, you can even announce the expected delivery time.
This is how you’ll be able to save a sale if the internet user feels that the delay is acceptable.
22. Is your product range evolving?
The goal is to make your catalog live and evolve. The market in which you evolve is a moving market, which is anything but static. Every product line has a certain life cycle. Fashions come and go, technologies evolve, seasonality must be taken into account...
Finally, the needs and desires of consumers change over time.
This is achieved through the following:
- the renewal of collections if you sell seasonal items and
- the presentation of new product lines or the purging of obsolete ones if you sell technical products.
Anticipation is essential in order to avoid ending up with quantities of obsolete products still in stock!
It’s also advisable to keep your catalog alive with product highlights defined according to the year's commercial operations (seasonality, holidays, events, etc.).
This is how you’ll be able to take advantage of the various promotional spaces provided within your design. The key is to show what you need, when you need it!
23. Do you have competitive prices?
On the web, it’s very easy for internet users to check out competitors' prices for a given product with just a few clicks.
A study by Nomis Solutions states that customers are 7.4 times more price sensitive on the web than in a physical store.
However, engaging in a price war isn’t always a viable solution, especially when entering a competitive sector where some heavyweights certainly have more means than you.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t be completely disconnected from your market.
It’s therefore necessary to consider keeping an active watch on the competition in order to study your market and your individual competitors. Some automatic and daily price monitoring software, like Pricejet, which we’ve previously mentioned on this blog, can help you.
24. Do you offer complementary products?
Among the objectives to follow in order to increase your revenue with your online activity, there’s the one concerning the development of your average cart.
The objective is to encourage your customers to spend more by offering complementary products. What we call cross-selling is one of the two levers, along with upselling, to increase the amount of the order.
Just as cables and batteries are placed next to technological devices in physical stores, so it is on an ecommerce site.
A product page is able to present the product in question but also the products that add value to it.
So, beyond increasing the average cart, it's also about bringing value to the customer.
25. Do you differentiate only through your prices?
Differentiation through price and commercial aggressiveness is certainly a way to stand out.
However, while it’s effective in the short term, it requires real financial resources to be sustainable.
Between fierce negotiations with suppliers, optimization of acquisition costs to the maximum in order not to waste the little margin you have left, and minimalist customer service to avoid additional costs, it requires very significant means to achieve it!
So avoid making your promotions your only trademark. For a viable business in the long term, I advise you not to make price your only differentiation lever.
26. Do you offer multiple payment methods?
How many payment methods should you offer on your online store?
Two things are certain:
- You shouldn’t limit the number of payment options.
- You must adapt them to the specificities and needs of your target.
Without these two parameters, you risk missing out on orders! The questions to ask yourself are:
- Where are your customers located geographically? Practices are not the same in different countries.
- What is your average shopping cart? For example, if it’s high, it may be beneficial to offer payment options with financial partners.
In many parts of the world, the preferred payment methods are bank cards and virtual wallets such as Paypal.
After that, it’s possible to add transfers, checks, direct debits, financing, cash or administrative mandates, or any other form of solution, depending on the specificities of your activity and your target.
Offering multiple payment methods is one of the top ecommerce features of today. However, as you can see, you don’t need to offer every single payment method that exists but rather relevant payment options, adapted to your activity.
27. Are you transparent about your delivery costs?
Concerning delivery fees, you must be transparent as soon as possible.
If you offer free ecommerce delivery, it would be a shame for your customers not to know about it. So announce it clearly. The impact on margins isn’t negligible, but when you know that nearly one out of two shopping carts is abandoned because of high delivery costs, you can consider that free delivery represents a relevant expense.
If the delivery isn’t free, it must be clearly displayed, because nothing will frustrate your user more than to discover during the last step that the delivery costs are too high.
For the amount, it's a question of consistency. According to the Forrester research company, if your delivery costs represent more than 10% of your average shopping cart, they’re too high!
28. Do you deliver to your customers quickly?
As an online shopper, have you ever been frustrated by the days and weeks it takes to receive your order?
Offering shipping times that are too long is going to have a detrimental effect on your revenue. But the worst thing is to not respect your commitments in terms of delivery time.
This can have a lasting impact on your e-reputation.
Your customers are never going to be understanding concerning this point, especially if your target is the "general public." The key is to remain transparent about the announcement of delivery times.
Moreover, if it can represent a significant difference considering your classic delivery options, you can offer other types of ecommerce delivery, such as premium express delivery, for example. Some users are not averse to spending more money for faster delivery of their orders.
29. Do you have general sales conditions and legal mentions on your site?
Here, the minimum is simply to respect the law...
Your online store must clearly present complete and clear general terms and conditions (GTC) of sale as well as written legal notices to your prospects and customers.
This work is far from being complicated. Your legal advisor can discuss with you to understand your business and provide you with the appropriate documents.
Why is this the minimum service? Reading the terms and conditions can be boring and will be skipped in 99.9% of cases by most of your buyers who have no motivation to go to the end of this purely legal information.
It’s therefore advisable to go further by offering, for example, a simple list of FAQs written in very common jargon (far from the legal specificities).
You can also add a reminder of the essential points of your commercial conditions, directly in your product pages. These commercial conditions remain an obligation, but they can also become actual commercial arguments. If your return conditions are advantageous, specify it in your product pages. If you offer guarantees, highlight them as well.
Be careful: make sure that you always stay up to date with the law. For example, in 2014, the Hamon Law obliged e-merchants in France to take a set of measures and to modify their GTCs.
30. Do you offer customer service?
Even if your website is perfect, your customers may still have questions or specific requests to ask you, even if the information they’re looking for was already presented on your ecommerce website.
The establishment of customer service is essential and one of the pillars of ecommerce.
Above all, if you want your store to perform and its reputation to be optimal, whether you’re managing your business on your own or have a team working with you, you’ll have to be very reactive, even proactive, to avoid causing your customers and prospects to be dissatisfied.
Several tools can help you to be particularly efficient in this field. For example, you might consider the presence of a live chat on your site that’ll allow you to exchange and answer your customers' questions in real time.
31. Is it easy to contact you?
Don't make your customers search for important information!
They should be able to find a way to contact you easily.
Post your phone number, add your email, and install contact forms and live chat on all the pages where it’s necessary.
If you hate the idea of talking to your customers, it's best to leave commerce behind, in whatever form it takes!
32. Have you thought about optimizing your purchase funnel?
Again, we've talked about this over and over again.
The purchase funnel must be simple and quick to use to ensure an optimal experience for shoppers. Limit the number of steps to a maximum of four.
If you’ve chosen a modern ecommerce platform, this is a point you don't have to worry about, like the Smart Check-Out, an ultra-optimized purchase funnel developed by WiziShop.
You can also offer options such as guest ordering, which allows shoppers to avoid having to create an account at checkout. The questions to ask yourself are as follows:
- Is all the information that you’re asking for essential or could you do without some of it?
- Have you specified (with an asterisk, for example) what’s mandatory or not?
- Have you added trust elements on each important page to reassure the user?
- Have you added logos and reassuring images such as banks, credit cards, customer reviews, certifications, etc.?
- Do you highlight your advantageous commercial conditions (free delivery, free returns) to specify it again before the purchase?
- Is it visual and understandable enough?
Finally, remember to have your purchase funnel tested by someone who doesn't know much about it. Don’t help them. Just see how the person reacts and listen to their feedback to identify possible failures and make improvements.
Once you've converted, you're not done! You’ll now have to be creative to develop the relationship with your customers and encourage them to come back and order on your site.
33. Are you monitoring the performance of your ecommerce store?
The first step is to set up a statistics tracking system on your ecommerce site as well as a conversion tracking system in your analysis tool.
Google Analytics is an excellent tool to perform these actions and even allows you to view and track the achievement of certain defined objectives (newsletter registration, order placement, etc.).
Google Analytics provides you with relevant and useful indicators concerning the performance of your digital marketing actions and the functioning of your store.
Don't go in with your eyes closed! Take the time to follow your indicators, from traffic tracking to complete ecommerce tracking, including conversion channel, transaction amount, etc.
34. Are your customers satisfied?
You’ve just finalized your first orders... Congratulations! You've managed to convince your first customers.
But it doesn't stop there... You'll now have to maintain a relationship with your customers and make sure that your steps are going in the right direction.
This means identifying qualitative indicators based mainly on customer satisfaction. Your customers will be able to provide you with useful and concrete feedback on the experience they had with your ecommerce site and your offer.
In addition to the comments left on your store, customers can also give their opinion on the products and services you offer. The advantage is threefold:
- acquire customer feedback to possibly improve your offer,
- reassure other users if the feedback is positive, and
- provide your product pages with unique content.
On the other hand, surveys, questions, or simply occasional contacts are excellent opportunities to ask users the questions you want: what products would they like to find on your store? What more could you do to fully satisfy them? What do they think of the services associated with your offer? Would they be willing to recommend your store?
This can allow you to identify new opportunities or issues that need to be addressed and eventually start building a two-way relationship with your community.
35. Are you building a real relationship between you and your customers?
Each customer represents a value that depends on the sum of the purchases already made on your store but also on those that they’ll make throughout the life of your shared relationship.
Take the example of an ecommerce store established in the sector of electronic cigarettes. The value of a customer starts with the acquisition of their first kit and some liquids, but it also includes all the times they’ll return to you to buy spare parts or new refills.
However, just because your customer has already bought from you once, it doesn’t mean that they’ll come back again. In their environment, they have many options that can drive them away from your store, namely your online competitors, the growing number of specialty stores, and the tobacco shops that are starting to sell liquids.
Your goal is to maximize the lifetime value of your customer, and this means building a long-term relationship to show them that you’re still there and that they have everything to gain from coming to your store.
This can be done through emailing with the use of advanced segmentation tools, such as WiziShop's RFM, which allow you to identify the value of your customer and the life cycle they have with your store.
This way, you can choose to target your communications according to their life cycle: re-engage them, retain them, or continue to maximize their value.
But it can also mean building and animating a community that gives you the opportunity to encourage frequent interactions with your customers.
The more qualitative and frequent your interactions are, the more likely you are to stay in the consumer's mind when they want to place their order.
And then if you manage to obtain the ultimate in customer relations, i.e., develop a network of ambassadors who will recommend your products to their friends and family without you asking them to do anything, you’ve hit the jackpot!
36. Do you collect data from your prospects and customers?
In order to maintain a relationship with your prospects and customers, you’ll have to communicate. But for that, you need the bare minimum in terms of data: email or phone contact information.
Emailing remains the simplest and most effective way to extend the life of a customer within your ecommerce business.
You’re aware that certain rules must be respected. The opt-in corresponds to the fact that a prospect or buyer gives you the authorization to send them emails.
At this point, you’ll have already specified the nature of their emails, what benefits they’ll get from subscribing, and how often they’ll receive your communications.
Your objective is then going to be to keep your promises and continually bring them value.
There are two points to be aware of:
- Stay away from presenting only commercial operations in your emails. You’ll end up running out of steam with your prospects or customers. Vary your content and bring value, whether it’s by content or with small gifts.
- Communication works both ways. The worst mistake is to send an email from an address like "email@example.com." This is a clear lack of consideration for what your correspondents have to say. Here, you’re closing the door on them before you even hear their response. And for customers, this isn’t very pleasant...
37. Do you follow up with your abandoned carts?
Shopping cart abandonment in ecommerce is a huge plague!
On average, between 55% and 75% of shopping carts are abandoned before the transaction is finalized. The reasons can be obvious: your price or your delivery costs are too high, the consumer lacks time, or they’re not registered in an order process, etc.
It’s interesting to read that in physical commerce, if you position a person at the exit of the store who asks the question "Did you not find what you were looking for?", you can make up for almost one out of three exits.
In ecommerce, it's the same thing. Abandoned cart recovery can be activated with three main levers:
- By eliminating all the psychological and concrete roadblocks that can lead to abandonment: Set up a simple and fast ordering process that gives the user confidence and answers their questions based on your commercial conditions (deliveries, shipping costs, returns, etc.).
- By increasing the life of the shopping cart in case your customer needs to think, to mull over their decision before buying. Save their cart so they can pick up where they left off when they come back to finalize their order.
- And for those who won’t come back by themselves (this is the most frequent case), there’s the email reminder, provided that you have the contact information of the prospect.
There are tools that can help you to create this type of email, such as Auto-Mail Booster, the automatic reminder feature developed by WiziShop.
If you don't have the contact's email, you can use the remarketing tool with the Google Ads display network, i.e., the banners present on many sites that display the products that the user in question has already visited...
Conclusion of the ecommerce audit: Your online store is never perfect
Keep in mind that nothing is ever acquired. Your merchant site will never be perfect, and you and/or your team can regularly perform various audits and optimizations.
You’ll have to experiment and test continuously to improve.
And above all, you’ll always have to follow the evolutions of your environment (competitors, new tools, etc.) in order not to be completely disconnected from your sector and to remain as close as possible to the trend and the stakes. Draw up your ecommerce checklist to follow the right path to success!