Why Your Store Needs An eCommerce Site Audit, And How To Get Started.
- DATE PUBLISHED (20/4/2021)
- READ TIME (5MIN)
Does your eCommerce store meet your performance expectations?
An online store is not just another website. It’s a complex sum of many delicate operations and processes that need to work in tandem for seamless transactions and conversion.
How your store is structured matters— right from the on-site experience to the ease of finding products, site search, the apps you use, and the modularity of your codebase.
And just like every well-oiled machine, an eCommerce business has its wear and tear.
Your store needs timely monitoring, optimization, and maintenance to ensure that these issues don’t compound and impact its performance. This is where an eCommerce site audit helps.
What is an eCommerce site audit?
An eCommerce site audit is the process of evaluating your online store and business to identify areas of improvement and optimize your overall strategy.
Depending on the merchant’s purpose and priority, a typical audit looks into site performance, content, tech stack, user experience, SEO, and conversion rate optimization. You can then use these insights to make actionable changes and set up a better eCommerce website.
Why does my store need an eCommerce site audit?
Things change. Through the years, your team might add new pages, apps, and technology to your store and make small optimizations on the go. While some of these changes might be planned and executed with the future in mind, this might not always be the case.
This is where a site audit helps.
During the audit, experts can help identify inconsistencies within your store experience, gaps in your existing design and brand voice, and pinpoint redundancies within your tech stack. You can then make changes as you see fit, set up seamless and consistent branding, and simplify your tech stack to provide a faster and delightful on-site experience.
An eCommerce site audit gives you a better picture of your brand. It helps you understand who your customers are, understand your product-market fit, and identify your current performance as an eCommerce business. In the process, you can also understand where you stand in comparison to your competitors and improve your position in the market.
An audit is crucial for identifying problems you might have missed out on, like slow site loads, broken images, and difficult navigation. It can help you find opportunities to improve your search ranking and set up a better customer acquisition strategy.
Why do I need an expert? Can I just do it myself?
Identifying surface-level problems within your eCommerce site might be doable. But without real technical or subject matter expertise, you can’t dig into larger problems your site may have nor would you be able to implement changes to help your store grow.
There’s also the problem of perspective.
As an entrepreneur, it can be challenging to look at your business objectively and identify problems with your own strategy (it’s hard to be your own critic!).
A third-party auditor, on the other hand, would have the expertise and external perspective to evaluate your eCommerce strategy objectively. They will have the tools and processes in place to diagnose problems and suggest potential improvements for your site. Their industry knowledge and experience will simplify the process of prioritization, helping you find the right approach based on historical data and follow best practices.
Our team of eCommerce experts conduct eCommerce site audits for leading brands across the globe. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to understand what this process looks like and how it can help your brand.
Here’s what’s involved in an eCommerce site audit.
It’s always good to know what a site audit covers To give you a better understanding, here’s how it is typically structured.
1. Priorities first. Understand what you want.
Before you hire an expert, be clear about what you want, the problems you’re looking to solve, and your goals. Do you want to evaluate your tech stack, or focus on user flow, or improve your customer journey and conversions? This is highly essential.
Mostly, site audits help you address common site concerns like customer drop-offs and bottlenecks in the checkout flow. Better yet, you can even use an audit to improve an already great store - by asking an expert to do a competitor analysis.
This will put you and the eCommerce expert on the same page.
Still confused? Look through our eCommerce site audit checklist for more information.
2. Sit on a 1x1 with the eCommerce expert.
Get the expert up to speed about your business, explain where it stands, and your core needs. The expert might typically asks a few questions like:
Where are you in terms of your business?
How long have you been in business?
What do you sell, who do you sell it to, and what do they want?
How is the website doing?
What is the purpose/pain point/need you are trying to solve?
How many people have worked on the site?
How many versions of the store have been released?
What apps and services do you use, and how effective are they?
It’s important to outline specific details about your market, so they can understand the niche you sell in and the type of audiences you attract. Remember, generic information will only get you vanilla advice that works for nobody. Get really specific during this discussion.
3. The expert defines the scope based on the type of audit needed
Once the eCommerce expert understands your needs and does a high-level evaluation of your site, they define the scope of the site audit, pinpointing the areas you could potentially focus on and improve through this process.
There are 4 kinds of eCommerce site audits you could conduct:
1. Tech audit: The expert looks at the tech stack used to build the site, understanding the code base, cleaning up the code and removing redundant code files, and auditing tools and apps added to the site.
2. Design audit: This audit usually focuses on the store design, ensuring that the branding is consistent across the site, from visual elements like icons and product images to brand colors to even written information.
3. User experience audit: Auditing the user experience means ensuring users are able to flow through the site properly and get the right information at the right touchpoints. This also looks at site usability to ensure a frictionless shopping experience.
4. Marketing audit: Ecommerce experts also conduct marketing audits, evaluating the existing marketing activities set up by the store and looking at store data to set up a better marketing strategy.
Many brands also choose to do a complete site audit, especially if they haven’t made changes to their eCommerce store for a few years or if they are looking for a brand revamp.
4. The expert then turns their research into action
Once the scope is defined, the eCommerce experts turn these insights and suggested changes through the site audit into actionable results.
Through the next few weeks, the eCommerce expert defines the plan of action, sets up a process in place, and once approved, starts implementing the optimizations. Depending on the type of eCommerce site audit, the timeline for this varies.
5. Final review of the audit and continuous optimizations
Once the site audit is complete, the eCommerce expert sits down with you to review the work done. If you’ve set up KPIs in the initial meeting, you would evaluate whether you’ve met these targets. So, for instance, if you were hoping to improve your site performance, the eCommerce expert would pull data from Google Search Console to prove the effectiveness of the site audit, showing that your site is now faster and passes key checks set up by Google.
Disclaimer: It takes time for an eCommerce site audit to show results. For instance, it takes 4 to 6 months for you to see quantifiable results from a search optimization project.
Many eCommerce brands also choose to develop a long-term working relationship with these experts to scale the strategies set up by them through the eCommerce site audit.
Reach out to us at email@example.com to understand if your eCommerce business needs a site audit.
Improve your strategy with an eCommerce site audit!
Every eCommerce business must run a site audit. It gives you a chance to evaluate your business, pinpoint problem areas, and find ways to improve your existing processes. Some brands also use these audits to revamp their branding or their marketing strategy, even using customer feedback to set up a brand personality or strategy that helps them sell better.
Ultimately, an eCommerce site audit will help you improve conversions and maximize your growth.
Have you conducted an eCommerce site audit before? Let us know what your experience was and how it helped you improve your eCommerce business.