Audits can provide online store owners with an overview of the business's performance as well as detailed insights on issues affecting the website or eCommerce platform being used.
A reliable eCommerce website audit can help retailers understand what changes they need to make to their website to help it stand out against competitors.
Factors such as speed and ease of use are everything for consumers and, according to Gartner research, between 48% and 63% of shoppers believe that eCommerce sites are the best way to compare prices and make impulse purchases. Yet, many eCommerce websites have never been audited.
Not knowing what's wrong with your store can damage your conversion rate. But if you aren’t technically savvy and try to fix your website issues yourself, you may end up breaking something. Plus, when you hire an agency, you might end up paying to solve something that wasn't a problem in the first place.
We've created this guide to give you pointers on what to look for when doing an audit and learn to spot when an agency isn't offering the best solution to your eCommerce woes.
What Is an eCommerce Audit?
An eCommerce audit is a professional, thorough look under the hood of your eCommerce store that reveals which parts of your platform need tweaking. Often, marketers see eCommerce as a monolith with no moving parts. Still, modern eCommerce platforms that follow the best-of-breed software architecture are composed of many different parts, and an audit gives brands a thorough assessment of how every aspect of their platform is performing.
eCommerce audits are often run by third-party eCommerce professionals and cover every aspect of your eCommerce website:
- eCommerce Platform
Carrying out an eCommerce business audit is the perfect way for store owners to see each component separately. This allows them to evaluate it properly and discover problem areas that can be optimized in the future.
The Anatomy of an eCommerce Audit
When retailers start to look for eCommerce audit partners, it is usually when something isn't right with their implementation. However, that’s not always the issue. Sometimes well-performing stores have low conversion rates or the website, despite being fast, doesn’t rank well on Google.
Maybe that's because your products aren't well-placed or maybe your features aren't giving customers what they need. An audit doesn't stop at your systems; it asks the question, "Is the eCommerce store delivering real value to clients?" and looks meticulously at your platform and processes to find out the truth.
Let's now take a look at the elements of an eCommerce audit:
A content audit reviews terminology and language. It makes sure that customers can understand your products and the language you're using to talk to them, and about your products. A content audit ensures that every word on your website is working to increase your click-through and conversion rates.
Plus, a content audit helps you establish a content calendar and improve the frequency and freshness of your posts, videos, and other informative content. Also, a content audit lowers the bar for customers and makes it easier for them to learn about your products, enhancing their buyer journey.
These are some tips to carry out a content audit:
- Examine core site pages and see how clearly they communicate your store's messages.
- Check that every call to action and all contact information is visible to customers.
Carrying out an SEO audit is a great way to start because it makes it simpler for retailers to see which product pages are visible to search engines and users alike. This type of audit also helps you evaluate your keywords, your most commonly searched items, and everything relevant to your content and products.
That being said, another fundamental part of an eCommerce SEO audit is to check the breadcrumbs and backlinks to your website to confirm that you can access every page in your website and that every link that points to your website is functioning properly.
Running Lighthouse can be an effective first step that you can take on your own. Lighthouse is an open source, automated tool created by Google for testing the quality of web pages. Even if you know your site inside and out, there still may be space to improve around SEO and other areas.
These are some tips to carry out an SEO audit:
- Look for duplicate product pages, 404 errors, and poor internal linking.
- Review alt-tags for images, title tags, and product descriptions.
A product audit allows you to see how your customers navigate through your site and how easy it is to find what they are looking for. Performing this type of audit will show you what changes you need to make to your product organization. For example, a product audit determines whether or not your categories and menus are optimized and attractive.
Plus, you get a glimpse of how your customers navigate through your website by auditing your products. With a product audit you can analyze both on-site searches using the internal search feature to find out how easy it is for your customers to find the products they’re looking for, and you can use Google search to see how prominently your products appear there.
These are some tips to carry out a product audit:
- Make sure the information your products display is accurate and up-to-date.
- Compare top-selling products to those that aren't selling much to spot what can be improved.
A full UX audit of your desktop and mobile eCommerce website covers both the homepage, categories, on-site search, and checkout process. This area of the audit reviews your site's performance, how it loads, and the user experience. It then benchmarks these factors against your competitors, so you have a clear overview of how your site fares against the competition.
UX audits are not always the same, and some focus on improving customer experience and journeys while others focus on improving the website's functionality. This kind of audit needs to be flexible and not focus only on bucket list improvements.
These are some tips to carry out a UX audit:
- Conduct a user journey analysis to see the most important user touchpoints of your website using a tool like Hotjar.
- Try to carry out a purchase on your eCommerce store using a mobile interface to see if it's as easy as on a desktop.
Not every eCommerce website has the same needs. Given the myriad of eCommerce platforms on the market, conducting a tech audit is a must to make sure that every piece of your eCommerce implementation works as it should.
Likewise, auditing your technology gives you a better understanding of how your different systems interact with one another. The idea behind this type of audit is to review your integrations and customizations to make sure that your eCommerce store can scale with you.
These are some tips to carry out a technology audit:
- Check your website's performance: If your website is optimized but underperforming, maybe you need a new eCommerce platform.
- Test all third-party software you're using separately and then all of it together to see how well your store performs.
8 Mistakes an eCommerce Audit Helps You Avoid
When building an eCommerce website on your own, it's pretty common to fall prey to certain mistakes that aren't easy to spot initially, especially for non-tech-savvy marketers. Here are some of the most common mistakes retailers make when selling an eCommerce store:
- Not using keyword modifiers like "buy," "cheap," or "online" to catch buyer intent
- Failing to optimize descriptions and calls-to-action to increase click-through rate
- Not using canonical tags to the page they wish to index
- Having a poorly styled website that doesn't properly showcase products
- Long or broken checkout forms that create unnecessary friction and hinder conversions
- Overlooking security features like an SSL certificate and secure payment gateways
- Scaling too quickly without enough data to prove assertions
- Poor or overly broad product hierarchy
Are You Looking for an eCommerce Audit Agency?
An eCommerce audit shouldn't be a hassle. On the contrary, in the hands of a skilled agency, an audit is a client-friendly process created to help retailers understand their store's ins and outs.
However, as we mentioned above, not all audits are created equal, and each agency has different ways of doing business. At Salsita, we have the technical expertise and the human touch necessary to spot your implementation mistakes and how to help your customers get what they're looking for in an eCommerce store.
We know how frustrating it is to see your store underperform and not do anything to improve things; that's why our eCommerce experts will conduct an audit to assess your entire process and get you on the right track.
If you want to learn more about eCommerce audits, follow our blog to read the upcoming article 50-point eCommerce Audit Checklist. Also, if you're interested in a technical audit, apply for one here.