Have You Seen Your Website Lately? – Consider Shopping Your Own Online Store

Friday, February 17th, 2012
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It may seem like a silly question to ask an ecommerce merchant, someone who’s livelihood can depend on their online sales, but the truth is that everyday we see online stores that are in serious need of an overhaul. Some of them in such poor condition we wonder when the last time the person who owns the store took the time to shop around and go through the buying process themselves.

Any online business owner will tell you that there’s always something to do, managing existing orders, handling customer service issues, working with suppliers, marketing strategies, etc. All of these things can get in the way of making sure that your online store represents the effort that you’re putting in to drive traffic to the online business.

Every online business owner or the person put in charge of eCommerce should “audit” their store on a regular basis based upon how often new items are added or changes are being made to the store. If you have a limited product line with just a few items you may not need to do this overview as often as a company who’s adding and removing items daily. Nonetheless you need to enter the store from a customers perspective and get an idea of what they’re seeing when they’re shopping around.

Here are a few examples of some simple things you can look for:

  1. Browser Check – Check out your site in several different browsers. Webpages can load differently in Internet Explorer then they do in FireFox so you’ll want to make sure the site operates properly no matter what browser the buyer is using.
  2. Store Organization – Are your most popular categories and top selling products easy to locate and get to quickly? Does your navigation make sense? Are the products in the right categories? Can products be in more then one category?
  3. Product Presentation – Are your images doing you justice and helping you sell your products? Do you need bigger images with different views or a color swatch? Would a short video help sell the product?
  4. Website Buttons – Do your call-to-action buttons (ex. Add To Cart, Checkout) stand out so they are easy for the shopper to find once they make the buying decision? You don’t want your buttons to overly blend with your store.
  5. Checkout Process – How smooth is your checkout process? Should you be up selling during checkout? Are your security disclaimers, shipping policies and explanation text easy to find and understand? You don’t want give a shopper a reason to abandon the checkout process.

A lot of work goes into building your online store and because business owners have so much going on daily, they can have a habit of getting their online store set up then moving on to the next big project. Taking time on a regular basis to review your site will help you ensure that you’re converting all of your efforts into online sales.

Pamela is a Senior Account Manager at Nexternal and works in the Napa Valley office. She is passionate about helping her clients succeed. With 20 years' experience in the wine industry spearheading business development and marketing for various wineries including her own, plus previous years practicing general business law, Pamela is well qualified to provide the service and guidance to her clients that sets Nexternal apart from other eCommerce providers.