You have certainly heard throughout the past days and weeks via telephone, Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts the same phrase repeated, “It is a strange time.” You have said this to family, friends, co-workers, and customers. We have all seen an unprecedented shift in our daily lives. As new statistics are released regarding consumer behaviour in 2020, experts forecast a long-term increase in eCommerce. And so, you may be launching a new website to adjust to this trend.
Bracing for the Big Launch
The go-live is a huge moment for every company. It’s likely that you’ve got a billion thoughts flying around your head as you analyse each corner of your site and scrutinise the design, layout, and performance. Will our customers find the products they want? Will they be able to pay with their preferred method? Will the site display correctly for mobile? Will the load speed be quick enough? The questions will keep on coming as you approach and implement the go-live of your website.
In order to keep your thoughts on track, we have distilled some key areas for your business to test to ensure a smooth and successful launch.
Customer Service and Relations
The current crisis has led to an increased need to assure your customers that they are in good hands. Now is the time to show through your go-live that you are a customer-centric business and that they can trust you. In the Harvard Business Review, Waldron and Wetherbe suggest the HEART approach:
“Humanize your company, Educate about change, Assure stability, Revolutionize offerings, Tackle the future.”
This could mean including some explanatory measures on your new site that acknowledges possible hesitations of customers, or using social media to humanise your company and the human face striving to provide a great product.
Through rain, sleet, or snow.
An increase in orders means that delivery times may slow down, or in the face of unusual circumstances, deliveries might not show up. During this stressful time, clarity is a must. If issues will occur with submissions, timing, and processes, then inform your customers. Otherwise, communicate to your customer that you are going to continue to deliver successfully.
Cross-device and cross-browser testing
The incredible thing about an eCommerce store is that your customers can access your products whenever and from wherever they like. And whilst this makes your brand accessible to a huge new market of customers, it also means that you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Firstly, think desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile.
Test to make sure your site is optimised for each device and that it looks the part on screens of all sizes. With growing numbers of smartphone users in the B2B sphere it’s more crucial than ever that this demographic of customers can navigate your site on mobile as easily as they can on desktop. In light of recent events, the growing number of users has increased further: “70% globally say they are spending more time on their smartphone, climbing above 80% for Generation Z,” according to Global Web Index. Key things to look out for on mobile including the cropping of pictures, font sizes, navigation headings and the length of pages, i.e., can your customers easily get back to the top of a page without having to swipe back to the top? It’s these little things which can turn a good customer experience into a great customer experience.
Your customers will also be reaching your site from different sources. Some may type your URL directly into their mobile device with a Chrome browser whilst another may search your brand’s name on their desktop using Firefox. Whatever their circumstances, it’s up to you to ensure that these different routes to your site have been tested and checked.
So as well as testing from different devices, also approach your site from different browsers and across different search engines. This will allow you to pick up any discrepancies and act on them.
Time to pay
You may have a site that’s easy and quick to navigate from landing page to checkout. But all that will be for nothing if a customer is unable to checkout successfully and actually complete the purchase.
Double check that all relevant payment methods and integrations are available. Then, go ahead and make some dummy purchases from a variety of sources—credit card, debit card, PayPal, etc (you can refund the amount immediately) and check that these transactions go through smoothly. This will also allow you to check that your order flow is working as it should.
Plus, if you have the option for coupons, voucher codes or store cards at checkout, then make sure that relevant cart rules are working as expected.
Read our recent article on conversion optimisation where we consider the best paths to a fast and successful checkout.
Images play a huge part in the success of your website and conveying your brand’s message to prospective customers. But if they are slow-loading, then they can directly impact the user-experience and your performance on search engines.
Optimising your images will ensure faster loading times and less of a drain on your hosting requirements.
When optimising your images for site performance, keep the following in mind:
- Name your images accurately and with appropriate descriptions for the purposes of SEO
- Check your alt attributes (for SEO)
- Reduce the size of images to avoid slow loading pages
- Choose the right file extension type and see what works best for your site
- Reduce the size of thumbnails to prevent a slow loading page
Read more to learn how you can skyrocket your customer experience today!
Double check your design
Before you begin promoting your site to the masses, you’ll want to inspect your site from a design angle. You may have the best products in the world, but a design malfunction can have a significant impact on how a user experiences your site.
This stage is all about making sure your site looks, reads and responds as it should, across a list of browsers and devices.
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and look for any inconsistencies which might affect the browsing experience. From line height to contrast and from font type to paragraph styles, all these elements should be inspected and then tested across devices as much as you can.
Whether you’re operating in the B2C or B2B arena, customers’ expectations are at an all time high. Fuelled by advances in technology and eCommerce, the modern-day customer expects what they want, when they want. And that applies to communication too. Rather than waiting days for an answer, consumers want dialogue with your brand immediately.
So at the very least, make sure your ‘Contact Us’ displays all the various ways that a customer can connect with you. Consider including a contact form so that they can reach you without having to leave your site. And if you do include a contact form, test this to ensure that it reaches the relevant department/person and that the customer receives some form of notification.
404s and broken links
The last thing you want is a customer being directed to a default 404 page. There are many reasons why a customer might be directed to one of these; they may have mistyped the URL or have followed a link to a page which no longer exists on your site (such as a particular product). Whatever the reason, if they are left with this additional roadblock on their purchasing journey, then they’ll probably just give up.
Get round this issue by customising your 404. Deploying a custom 404 may actually help to turn this wrong step into an opportunity. Firstly, you can incorporate your own branding on the page so as not to scare off visitors. Then provide the site visitor with a list of other useful resources (which also helps with SEO) or use it as an opportunity to place a call to action.
No one wants a 404 page. But these things can happen—and if it does, then you’ll want a customer hitting a page which provides value and not a dead end.
Get actionable advice on the benefits of design when using M2.
Get your legal bases covered
OK, it might not be the juiciest part of your launch checklist, but legal items still matter nonetheless. Your site will need to include a number of legal related sections depending upon your local laws and jurisdiction. Common sections to address include:
- Terms and Conditions
- Copyright Notices
Learn more about how you can keep your online store store secure here.
At Vaimo we partner with brands, retailers and manufacturers across the world to accelerate their B2C and B2B online sales. Contact us today if you’d like to hear how we can help grow your sales with our award-winning digital storefronts. We have also recently launched our Quick Launch Accelerator approach for new website projects if you are looking for ways to get your website live with the shortest possible time, with the the best tools and the best practice advice.