Generating high volumes of traffic by employing digital marketing tactics like SEO, PPC and email marketing can be very beneficial but prove a costly exercise if the visitors leave the site without achieving the website’s goals. Conversion optimisation aims to turn eCommerce visitors into buying customers. This can only come about by understand the user’s goals and aligning it with the business goals, ultimately changing the design of the site. Therefore User experience design plays a vital role in Conversion optimisation process. This post is about how I tackled the evaluation and optimisation of a eCommerce site that sells hair products.
Key success of any website is that its designed with clear objectives in mind. For eCommerce sites that usually means getting users to buy products advertised on the site. The first step in User Experience is figuring out who are users are and what they needs. For NicheHairCare, their tagline reads “Your one stop hair care information and hair products shop”.
Therefore the major objectives for the eCommerce site are to
- Provide hair care information
- Sell hair products
I conducted a heuristic evaluation of the site against a list of 20 best practices/patterns for eCommerce sites and carefully noted down recommendations which the site should adhere to and could be made quickly. The next step was a usability test with users.
But who are the users?
- Women who buy their own hair products
- Salon owners
Each user will have a particular goal in mind when they reach the site so it was important to observe what they do and record why they do it. My usability test contained 20 user tasks for my participants to perform. From deciding what to buy to finding a product and price information to shopping cart checkout. Interviews are conducted afterwards to verify results from the usability test.
After all the results is analysed, the critical action points to improving the site are given to the development team to implement. These are implemented on a copy of the website and A/B testing used to track how much of an impact the changes have on the conversion rate. This is best analysed with Google Analytics.
In Google Analytics, user goals can broken down into steps that a user would take or micro conversions. Analysing each step in the process is called funnel analysis or path analysis. This is critical so as to understand where problems in the conversion process may lie. A typical click path would look like
- Searching for the best hair care product
- Checking the prices then adding to the shopping cart
- Enter personal details and pay for the product
Let’s look at some examples of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or metrics which would be used to indicate whether the sites objectives are being met.
Goal: To get information on hair products
- Length of visit
- average time spent on website
- percentage of returning visitors
Goal: Buy a hair product
- conversion rate
- cost per visitor
- average order value
One could begin with analysing the site first with Google Analytics to identify key problems areas and then conduct a usability test on only those areas in order to reduce the time is takes to evaluate the site. That is for a pre-existing system. If there is no website yet, UX first would be most advisable, spilling over into iterative prototyping with users of the final system.