Success in the eCommerce industry takes more than just a great product. Top-performing eCommerce stores have a knack for combining a sleek design with cutting-edge technology and engaging content to provide an outstanding customer experience. That experience is usually built on a strong technical foundation, but getting all critical systems to work together without limiting functionality or usability can sometimes be challenging.
However, with the right help, these technical challenges can be overcome. Conducting an eCommerce audit can allow you to identify your eCommerce business or platform's strengths and weaknesses and help you make a plan to improve the store.
We've provided a checklist that will help you determine if your eCommerce solution is up to scratch and which areas to fix.
Our checklist will cover:
- Technology and Platform Functionality
- Frontend and User Experience
- Product, Content, and SEO
Technology and Platform Functionality
1. Over the past two years, how much planned and unplanned downtime has your platform had?
Consistent uptime is essential for any eCommerce store looking to maximize its sales. Therefore, the platform you build your store on should not be prone to suffering unplanned downtime that can't be communicated ahead of time to your audience.
2. Can you make adjustments to meet demand from a sudden spike in traffic?
Promotions and successful marketing campaigns can drive a surge of traffic to your website, and you should have a plan in place to accommodate this sudden increase. The platform you use should also give you the ability to scale up or down to meet varying traffic requirements.
3. Which delivery models does your eCommerce platform support (on-premise, managed hosted, single-tenant SaaS, multi-tenant SaaS, etc.)?
Depending on the size of your business, you may have varied hosting requirements for your eCommerce store. The platform you choose should provide several options to help you make the right choice for your business, whether it's a small store or global multinational enterprise.
4. Is multi-factor authentication supported for your users?
Multi-factor authentication provides an added security level for the business users who need to manage products and content on the backend, and customers who want to make secure purchases on the frontend.
5. How are roles and privileges used to authorize access to business user tools?
Roles and permissions enable your team members or third-party agencies to access only the required tools to do their job and keep them away from sensitive information.
6. Does your platform comply with the GDPR, SAS, SOC2, etc.?
The GDPR, SAS, and SOC2 are just a few of the compliance requirements that help ensure that your eCommerce store appropriately manages customer data. Make sure that the eCommerce platform you pick complies with most, if not all of them.
7. Does your platform comply with PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) refers to a set of requirements that ensure companies process, store and transmit credit card information in a secure environment. This standard is mandatory for payment processors to comply with in their contracts with card vendors like Visa, which impacts both payment processors and eCommerce sites.
8. Does your platform allow you to delete customer data on a request, including from backups?
In keeping with the various digital data privacy laws, customers should be able to request that their data be deleted from your eCommerce store if they wish.
9. Is platform data SSL encrypted?
Data encryption provides an added level of security for customers, especially during the checkout process. Otherwise, your customers' payment details might be subject to theft.
10. Does your platform provide REST API support?
An eCommerce platform should include support for REST APIs so that your store can connect to other applications, extend the capabilities of the platform and scale.
11. Does your platform provide GraphQL support?
GraphQL continues to grow in popularity as a querying language for working with APIs. It reduces some of the complexity developers may face when building customized eCommerce storefronts for various channels. So, support for GraphQL can provide your developers with more flexibility to build customized experiences.
Frontend and User Experience
12. Which frontends (e.g., web, native mobile app, browser-based mobile app, etc.) does your platform support?
Today's customers want an omnichannel experience when shopping, and your eCommerce store needs to support them by enabling you to present your content in whatever form they choose to view it.
13. Does your platform provide the ability to schedule content publication?
Content is a key differentiating factor for the user experience. The ability to schedule content, whether it is being deployed to a blog or other user channel, can help improve the customer experience.
14. Does your platform have authentication of users (authors, editors, reviewers) and assignment of permissions?
Content authors and editors need to access the specific areas of the platform that allow them to customize the content experience without getting in the way of developers and other administrators.
15. Does your platform support workflow for content review and approval?
Content workflows can make previewing, reviewing and approving content easier so that editors can see how content and pages will look before publishing.
16. Does your platform provide PWA support? If not, which vendors do you work with that offer support?
Progressive web applications (PWA) provide an alternative to a native mobile application and an improved user experience for customers compared to a simple mobile website.
17. Does your platform provide AMP support? If not, which vendors do you work with that offer support?
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) provide a mobile-optimized browsing experience that enables faster loading speeds which can help get product content in front of customers fast.
18. Which programming languages are supported out of the box?
Developers may be more comfortable working with some languages than others. Your eCommerce platform should provide the flexibility for them to choose the language that best suits their needs.
19. Does your platform personalize search results based on customer segment, location, etc.?
Your customers may be viewing your store from different locations or using a variety of devices. Each customer should be receiving a unique experience and search results based on their previous behavior, the customer segment they belong to, or the location where they are searching.
20. Are you able to create content once for multiple channels and touchpoints?
An omnichannel customer experience means that your customers will be accessing your content from various touchpoints. Marketers and developers need to present that content on multiple channels without extensive adjustments each time.
21. Is the mobile UX easy to use?
Customers are spending an increasing amount of time shopping from their mobile devices. The user experience needs to be just as effective on mobile as it is on a desktop to provide customers to meet their expectations.
22. Is your mobile experience fast enough?
Part of an engaging mobile experience is site loading speed. Your store should be able to load fast so that you can convert customers more easily.
23. Do you have a product configurator?
A product configurator can improve your customers' shopping experience by enabling them to preview items and customize it to suit their requirements and expectations.
24. Are there adequate sorting and filtering features for products (e.g., faceted or fuzzy search)?
Customers need the ability to filter products based on specific criteria to make their user experience smoother. eCommerce platforms should provide faceted search, which enables visitors to search for products based on attributes. Facets are specific attributes of a product so a visitor could search for iPhones based on color, for example a yellow iPhone. Fuzzy search can autocorrect incorrect searches and make suggestions based on what the visitor may have intended.
25. How quickly does your site load?
Fast loading times can make the difference between your visitors browsing your website and making a purchase or just moving to your competitors.
26. How smooth is the checkout process?
The checkout process is one of the most critical areas in the customer journey and where most conversions are lost. A complicated checkout process can force potential customers to leave before completing a purchase. Therefore, visitors should be able to complete their order with just a few clicks.
27. Is the checkout process handled on-site or through a third-party platform?
The checkout process should ideally enable visitors to complete transactions on-site without going to a third-party platform. Any requirements to go to a third-party site such as PayPal should be clearly communicated so that visitors know what to expect.
28. How accessible is your eCommerce site?
Accessibility continues to grow in importance for every website, and eCommerce websites are no different. Your eCommerce store needs to be accessible to be pre-optimized for voice search and browsing and to comply with new and impending laws yet to be implemented.
29. Can you easily integrate a CMS to manage content?
If your eCommerce platform doesn't provide the tools you need to manage and distribute content for your eCommerce store, you need to integrate a CMS to manage that content for you. To accommodate the omnichannel customer experience required today, eCommerce brands should utilize a CMS.
30. Does your eCommerce platform support headless commerce?
Whether B2C or B2B, large brands are turning towards headless commerce due to the growing number of emerging channels. With headless commerce, everything eCommerce-related gets managed in the backend, removing restrictions giving developers the flexibility to create different interfaces and experiences for multiple devices on the frontend. Platforms that provide an option for headless commerce can future-proof your eCommerce store.
31. Are trust badges visible in the footer and checkout pages?
Trust badges provide an indication to your customers that your website is legitimate and secure and that they can feel safe when inputting their payment information.
Product, Content, and SEO
32. How many total items (categories, products, SKUs, etc.) can be in your catalog without suffering from performance degradation or other issues?
Depending on your eCommerce store's size, you may want to have an extensive catalog that consists of multiple brands with varying subcategories.
33. Does your platform include a dedicated PIM?
Product information management (PIM) software can help retailers to centralize and manage content for an eCommerce store. If your platform already includes dedicated software that serves this purpose, then you won't need to add a third-party tool to handle it.
34. Does your platform support individualized customer pricing?
Individualized or personalized customer pricing helps eCommerce stores to provide different pricing options to each customer or groups of customers. For example, stores may display different prices for repeat customers than they do for new customers to reward customer loyalty over time. Support for features like this can give store owners more control over the customer experience.
35. Does your platform support segment-based pricing?
Segment-based pricing enables eCommerce stores to offer different prices to different groups of customers. Brands have different messaging and communication strategies for multiple groups of customers, so combining that with other pricing options for various customer or campaign segments is valuable.
36. Does your platform support geographic pricing (per country, region, state, city, etc.)?
eCommerce makes it easy for customers in different locations around the world to find and purchase products. Geographic pricing enables store owners to display products in multiple currencies for these various locations without creating an entirely new storefront each time.
37. Does your platform support channel-based pricing (mobile, web, in-store, etc.)?
Channel-based pricing enables store owners to offer different pricing options depending on the channel where customers accessed the store, whether via the web, mobile app or even a social media channel. This can provide more opportunities for store owners to offer discounts and coupons when combined with marketing campaigns.
38. Does your platform support membership pricing?
Consumers today are used to subscribing for access to various products and services. They also enjoy joining exclusive communities offered by their favorite companies. Membership pricing can enable your eCommerce store to give special discounts or limited time offers for the members of a community.
39. Do you know which channels are performing best?
Analyzing channel activity can help you determine which channels provide the most traffic and best conversions for your store. Knowing which channels perform the best can help you decide where to focus your efforts for optimal results.
40. Can you deliver content to multiple channels in an efficient way?
Managing content across multiple channels can be challenging without the right technology supporting you. However, since it is a growing necessity for eCommerce stores, your platform should make it as easy as possible.
41. Is it easy to update content for each of your products?
Fresh content is critical for eCommerce as stores grow and you look for new ways to highlight new products, features or use cases to your customers. Your eCommerce platform should make updating content, whether it is text, audio, images, or video, easy.
42. Are your products indexable on Google?
Growing your store organically comes down to a few key areas. One of those is how well you can get the products in your store ranking on Google. Google uses bots to crawl websites and collect information that is used for these rankings. By including proper meta tags and descriptions for your website's products, you can ensure that they show up in the search rankings for keywords that your target audience may be using.
43. Does your site communicate your core message?
Proper communication can ensure that an eCommerce site is reaching the appropriate audience. Your website should clearly identify your target audience, their problems, and how your products help solve those problems.
44. Are there any SEO issues such as duplicate pages, 404 errors or faulty links?
Technical SEO issues such as duplicate pages and incorrect links can negatively impact your ranking on Google. Identifying these gaps in SEO can help to improve your ranking considerably.
45. Is it easy for visitors to compare products?
Enabling visitors to compare products on your website quickly can help them better understand which of your products are a good fit for their needs and help convert them into customers.
46. Does your eCommerce store use paid ads, email, and content marketing?
Having the right marketing mix can drive traffic to your eCommerce store. Whether you choose to use paid ads, email marketing, content marketing, or a combination of all of those methods will depend on your specific strategy, target audience, budget, and other factors.
47. Are customer reviews displayed on your store?
Customer reviews help to showcase the value of your products through social proof. By including reviews for your products, you can provide credibility that helps with converting visitors into customers.
48. Does your store provide upsells on product or checkout pages
Upselling involves promoting a higher quality and usually more expensive product or additional add-ons and features such as warranties or insurance on your product pages. Providing these additional options for your customers can encourage them to add more to their carts and increase conversions.
49. Does your store provide cross sells on product pages?
Cross-selling involves recommending an additional relevant, or helpful product to a visitor. These could include products that can be bundled together or products from the same category that are frequently purchased by other customers.
50. Does your eCommerce platform provide analytics out of the box? Can you integrate more advanced analytics?
Analytics are crucial to identifying gaps in your eCommerce strategy on an ongoing basis. Tracking tools, traffic data, and more should be readily available through your eCommerce platform. If they aren't, then you need the ability to integrate.
51. Can you manage inventory and logistics efficiently?
Logistics and inventory management are an essential part of an eCommerce business that shouldn't be overlooked. Even if delivery to your customers is handled via a third-party shipping system, you need to be able to manage inventory levels and shipping for your store or easily integrate additional tools to help.
52. Which currencies are supported out of the box?
eCommerce platforms can support different currencies out of the box. It's essential to identify which currencies are supported to determine if they fit your audience's needs. If they don't support the appropriate currencies, you might need to add a plugin or connect to another tool.
53. Which payment gateways do you support (PayPal, Stripe, Venmo, etc.)?
Customers enjoy having several options to make payments. Some of the popular options outside of specific credit cards include PayPal and Stripe. Integrations with these platforms can make your store more appealing.
54. Does your platform accept payment using gift cards?
Gift cards can be useful marketing tools to gain more exposure for your business. If your eCommerce platform provides support options for using digital gift cards as a form of currency, you can attract more potential customers to build your brand.
55. Does your platform allow for split payments?
Sometimes customers can’t make complete payments using a credit card or gift card. In that case, it's beneficial if your platform enables them to make multiple and partial payments.
56. How easy is it to integrate new technologies and features into your eCommerce experience?
The essential features of an eCommerce platform can provide several advantages for an eCommerce store. However, to truly improve the eCommerce experience, stores need the ability to add new features and integrate new technologies to improve functionality.
Take Your eCommerce Experience to the Next Level
Building and maintaining an exceptional eCommerce experience requires companies to focus on more than just one or two things. A comprehensive audit can help determine if the problems lie in your current implementation or if the underlying technology you use to run your store is up to par for today's demanding customer experiences.
Through our eCommerce expertise at Salsita, we can help clients properly diagnose their eCommerce performance issues and develop a plan to help resolve those problems. As one of the premier companies in the esports industry, SCUF Gaming creates high-performance game controllers and accessories and partners with major gaming leagues worldwide.
Through improvements to the UX and underlying code on their existing store, Salsita was able to take their customer experience to the next level and create a more effective UX that included the launch of a cross-functional app with a product configurator.
Learn more about SCUF Gaming in our case study.