Your website is the storefront of your eCommerce store. If it doesn’t look good, if it’s hard to navigate, and if it’s confusing, then that’s a problem that will affect your bottom line. The only way you can improve your eCommerce website is by having a method to gather the data you need, and evaluating that information for an actionable plan that produces results.
We all need to evaluate our eCommerce website no matter the stage the business is in. If you are a startup, if you are ready to grow after years of stability, or if you find your sales in decline, an evaluation can help you change the tides. It’s a lot like a tune-up for your car. You want to make sure everything is working properly before you hit the road.
1. Evaluate the Design Experience
A great website should have a crisp, user-friendly design. A minimalistic or simplistic website that’s appealing to the eyes and offers clarity is the best way to facilitate visitors to the site. People want speed, convenience, and clear communication when they visit an online store. Your design should cater to these needs and expectations.
Review your website with a new perspective. Is it clunky or complicated? Have others look at it for the first time. Document their responses and see what you can improve on. Here is a great resource on key data to analyze if you need an eCommerce redesign.
2. Review the Copy
Great design is only a component of your website. It’s the foundation needed to sell. But what actually sells? It’s the copy— the words used to communicate your value. If you aren’t growing the way you want to, you should always look at the content first. Is it connected to pain points? Is it clear? Is there a hard-to-refuse offer?
Find ways to improve your copy on the site and test it through heat maps, A/B testing, and other methods to see what resonates the most.
3. Study Conversions with the Call-to-Action
If you are reading this article, you’re probably already aware of your conversion rate, or at least of how effective sales are per website visitor. These steps will help you improve it but one thing to consider is the placement and wording of your call-to-action button.
Brands see night and day results by moving the position of their button and using more effective copy for it. For example, call-to-action buttons do best when the main one is placed at the top of the screen (usually under the title or subheading). It should be visible without scrolling (this eliminates another barrier to taking action).
Make sure your website points specifically to this main action.
4. Evaluate Your Organic Traffic
Source: Google Analytics
While ads and promotions offer short-term gains, investing in organic marketing methods has an ROI that lives for a long time. One of the main methods we use to achieve this goal is SEO. With effective blog articles, videos, images, metadata, and other tactics, we can promote more organic traffic to the site.
Is your organic traffic growing? Is it shrinking or remaining the same? Review it at its current state. If you aren’t active on content creation, start planning to produce relevant pieces consistently. If you already have a strong portfolio of content but see no improvement, review the most popular pieces and double down on those topics.
Invest in strategizing your linking outreach. Encourage followers and fans to share your website pages, content, and more, by providing easy buttons and ways to spread the word. Connect with other websites that may want to link some of your content on their pages for relevant sources (so you can build link authority and expand your reach).
5. Review the Style of the Design
Think about your current audience. Do the colors and style make sense for them? It might look nice and professional but if it doesn’t connect with your customers, then it’ll fall flat. Research what’s in style today (because it always shifts) and make sure your design reflects and represents your customers.
Something as little as a darker or lighter color could divide your audience by age groups, sub-niches, and more. Make sure you are appealing to the right target audience. If you are tied by your branding, it might be time to update it through slight and careful tweaking.
Brands like Wendy’s have done an incredible job updating their logo and brand on a routine basis while keeping the integrity of their brand recognition, where some don’t even notice the shift.
6. Find Out How Effective Your Checkout Is
It’s amazing how many eCommerce stores do not have the means to evaluate their checkout process. It’s essential to know how many people click checkout, how many abandon it, and how many fully convert. Small improvements could give you double percentage gains. It’s amazing to see.
Implement abandoned checkout tools to identify who leaves your site and doesn’t follow through on their purchase. Add a way to communicate and remind them about their checkout. You can incentivize them with a coupon if needed.
If emailing doesn’t work, you can re-target these qualified leads through ads.
7. Review Your Website Brand
Earlier we mentioned the style and brand relating to your audience. Another factor to consider is if your website is well-branded, uniform, and representative of your company.
It’s tempting to have different designs and colors because they look good. But sometimes it looks mismatched and it’s hard for others to identify with it. Your brand should be memorable.
Make sure it looks professional and original. The more unique your design looks, within the parameters of what looks good and resonates, the better chance visitors will come back to you and remember what you offer.
8. Is There a Why?
Simon Sinek made the WHY famous for businesses all over the world in his book Start with Why. People don’t buy what you offer, they buy the WHY behind it. In other words, what’s your purpose behind your brand?
If you don't have a deeper purpose, you are going to compete with price and difficult competitors in a race that feels impossible to win. Adding more value to your brand produces super fans that will support your eCommerce store.
These are 8 ways to evaluate your eCommerce website. Use them to improve your store and position yourself for growth.