As part of the 7-part series on how to prepare your ecommerce website for the recession, this week we explore strategy 5: Getting to know your customers. If you missed the last 4 suggested strategies, here are the links:
- Make your Agile ‘agile’
- Reduce internal costs
- Focus on mCommerce
- Customer insight from analytics
Strategy 5: Getting to know your customers
Many ecommerce companies do consider that getting to know their customers is an important part of their strategy. However, few understand that usability testing, driven from the QA team is an important part of this strategy.
Whilst this work is unlikely to be undertaken by the QA team themselves, they frequently will be the point of contact to engage with specialist usability testing organisations. It can be important for the QA team to be involved with this process as it is something that helps the internal QA team to understand how customers think – something that can be applied to future internal testing.
Why do the QA team need to be involved in this process. Well, to get the maximum out of the report, there are a couple of options. You can either consider a full outsourced strategy or use the internal team to deliver the insight.
To explain the process further, a brief will be created which includes the user demographics that your ecommerce site is targeting and a key journey that you want insight on. To put this into context, lets for example choose a famous wellington boot company. Whilst anyone can purchase wellington boots, they will probably focus on users who live in, or spend regular time in the countryside. These people are also likely to be more in a 40 > 55 age (older users are brand loyal) and as a fashion proposition, they are more likely to target females.
As a brief, the usability testing company will then target these users, and typically will receive a number of ‘videos’ of this kind of user. In the videos, the users talk about their feelings and experiences of using the website but also their frustrations. This information can be vital in designing the most efficient experience for users.
However, key here is reviewing these videos and creating actionable insights on how changes will improve the experience. This can either be done by UX experts at the outsourced company, or something that your internal team can complete, and it is a good idea to upskill your internal QA team with the relevant courses to enable them to complete this analysis.
For example: Headsets.com experienced a high bounce rate which was reported in Google Analytics. As always, they were unsure why that happens, therefore they conducted a usability test to see their users operate on the website. The biggest issue identified was the website’s navigation. The headsets were organized by their type, when potential clients and returning customers actually had not enough knowledge to navigate using that criterion.
In order to fix that issue, Headsets.com asked visitors what kind of phone they will plug the headset into. This resulted in a 10% increase in conversion rates
This kind of strategy will not only give you excellent insight into your customers and how they use your site but is almost invaluable when considering a foreign market. It can give quick insight into cultural conditions as well as device coverage if your provider can provide this.
If you were building a site to be launched in China, it would be helpful to understand more about how Chinese people would expect the site to work and how it would work in the way that they expect to use it. For example, one site that Digivante worked on had the users name highlighted in red if there was an error. In China, writing a person’s name in red indicates that they will soon pass away. As a population that focuses on traditional values, a site with this kind of functionality would not perform well in market – it was indicated that 93% of people who had this error would have left the site.
Additionally, user testing can be an insightful element to be completed by the QA team in the early stages of development. Early-stage designs and walkthroughs can yield useful insight for the team in terms of testable requirements that might not be implicitly called out.
Whilst focussing on the key elements of your design is also very important, it’s also worth looking over your shoulder at what others are doing. That’s why next week, we’ll explore an international strategy for ecommerce professionals wanting to beat the recession, but if you can’t wait we have a handy downloadable eBook guide which runs through the 7 tips and tricks drive improved conversions and new revenue lines from your QA team, with actionable changes you can make today.