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Optimizing Your Site for the Holidays with User Feedback

| September 16, 2015
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If you’re like most e-commerce managers, you’ve already got a game plan set for this year’s holiday season. You know the stakes are high. While holiday spending continues to rise, consumer engagement is harder to capture, and mobile shopping is playing a bigger role in the customer journey than ever before.

Hopefully you gathered user feedback during last year’s holiday season and got some helpful insights from your users about their shopping experience. And ideally your team has already incorporated all of that awesome feedback into their designs for this year.

But if you aren’t testing your holiday designs right now, you’re missing out on opportunities to boost your conversions (and your revenue)! Before we get too close to the holidays, you need to get user feedback so you can fix anything that’s not working right away.

But don’t worry, it’s easy to get started right away. Here are a handful of things you can do right now to ensure a smooth and successful holiday shopping season:

Test prototypes of any site changes you’re rolling out for the holidays

It’s never too early to start getting feedback on your holiday designs. If you have a prototype, you should test it now to find out whether it resonates with your users and whether anything is confusing or frustrating about their experience.

When armed with that insight, you don’t have to wonder how users will receive your holiday design when you launch. You’ll already know what to expect, and you’ll have time to make changes if needed.

Test your current design and checkout flow

It’s also a great time to find existing optimization opportunities on your site. If you can find any pages where shoppers are currently dropping out of your funnel, you can make small changes now that will add up to a huge impact on your bottom line when you get a rush of holiday traffic.

And don’t forget about your mobile shoppers and omnichannel shoppers when you test. Many of your customers will go on a shopping journey that spans multiple devices.

  • Is it equally easy and enjoyable to find gifts on desktop, smartphone, and tablet?
  • Do you have a mobile app that plays a role in the buyer’s journey?
  • What’s it like for users to start shopping on one device, and then pick up where they left off on another device?
  • Thinking even bigger: does each channel match up to the shopper’s expectation of your brand, based on their previous experience?

Test your competitors’ sites

While you need to know how users feel about their experience on your own site, it can be equally valuable to watch them interact with your competitors’ sites. What sticks with them? What might cause them to make a purchase from your competitors instead of your company?

Hearing your target shoppers speak their thoughts aloud while they shop with your competitors can give you a lot of great brand positioning and optimization ideas as you ramp up for the holidays.

Test outside your normal target audience

Ordinarily you should test your site with your target market. But during the holidays, you’ll want to broaden your demographics. Many of your holiday shoppers will not share the same demographics—or the same familiarity with your products—as your everyday target market.

Will those folks still be able to find what they’re looking for? Will they need extra help, like sizing guides, terminology definitions, or product recommendations? Will they require a little more reassurance that they’re getting a great value?

When conducting user tests, include test participants from diverse demographics to find the answers to these questions so you don’t lose out on business—not to mention saving your support team from getting overwhelmed with help requests.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

There’s a lot you can do now to set your team up for success this holiday season. For more helpful optimization tips and testing ideas, check out our holiday checklist for online retailers.