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Yeah, you read that correctly — we have just over a month before the holiday onslaught begins. Thankfully, in northern California we probably won’t have to worry about Jack Frost nipping at our nose, but we are getting chestnuts ready to be roasted on an open fire. (User testing on the edibility of roasted chestnuts is still ongoing.)
Ignore site usability at your own peril. Online Black Friday sales grew 24% in 2011 with over $800 million spent online in a single day. Cyber Monday remained the top online sales day, topping $1.3 billion. And online sales via mobile increased over 300% in 2011, comprising nearly 10% of all online sales, so look for another big increase in 2012.
We have an easy template for you to test your shopping cart process. Just plug in your URL and be ready in 2 minutes. Testers can work their way through your entire buying and checkout process.
You can ask additional questions along the way such as
Oftentimes, small trust factors can made a big difference in conversion rate. Find and squash any concerns people have about your store’s credibility.
At minimum, test your website on the iPhone, Android and iPad platforms. While the iPhone claims the headlines and iPhone owners tend to be more affluent, according to IDC, Android now comprises 68% of the smartphone market with over 500 million globally activated devices. Research is showing mobile could top 20% of online sales in the 2012 holiday season. Mobile users have shorter attention spans and a lower tolerance for frustrating UX. In 2011, IBM research reported mobile online shoppers had a 41% bounce rate!
BTW, you can also test apps, so if you have a mobile app, test that as well.
People 55+ comprise 21% of the online population. Seniors and boomers are increasingly shopping online and typically spend more per transaction. Online seniors, seeking to avoid hauling packages across parking lots and fighting crowds, are more likely to shop online than any other age group.
But sites often present significant usability challenges for seniors. A Nielsen research study showed that website usability was twice as hard for seniors than for younger users. The same study showed that websites that were the easiest to use, were strongly preferred in subjective ratings. So improving your usability won’t just help make a onetime sale, but can increase your chances of forming a long-term relationship.
Small point sizes, low contrast, and tricky UI elements (such as hover dropdown menus) often present challenges for senior shoppers. Create a shopping cart test specifically targeted to the 55+ age bracket. The Internet will thank you and so will your bottom line.
Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO) is a growing trend among Black Friday Shoppers. In 2011, the MIT Media lab found that offline shoppers who prepared with online research before heading to the stores spent the most – more than $400 on average.
Consumers are looking for deals, getting store directions and hours, and reading product reviews before they head to the store to make their purchases. If you have an offline presence, make sure your website passes these tests:
(Want more tips? Conversion expert Bryan Eisenberg has assembled 21 brief recommendations in his $5 book Last-Minute Secrets to Boost Holiday Sales. The tips, by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg and 12 other experts, are high-impact ones that you can implement quickly and with minimal investment.)
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