The importance of usability testing
Most online businesses are primarily concerned with closing sales, and rightfully so. Without sales, the lights don’t usually remain on too long.
So they start out by creating a well designed site, and then focus all of their efforts towards marketing, and putting their business in front of potential customers when they’re ready to make a buying decision.
Lot’s of money and resources go into this.
Most companies have a piece of the budget allocated towards PPC advertising, which typically targets customers when they’re searching on Google, Bing, etc. The next slice of budget is put aside for SEO, which means positioning a website to be found in the search engine results pages for core keywords and other related terms.
Then they may have a display campaign, where they run banners targeting publishers or audiences, all with the purpose of branding their business and getting customers to go to the website and take a defined action while there.
Additionally, we can’t forget social media, which has become a more established channel in 2013, as its utility and value is becoming more transparent to the average marketer, who realize there are ways to leverage social to grow one’s business.
And once this is all done, and the company’s marketing campaign is driving plenty of traffic to the website, the next inevitable thing which is often heard is: “we’re not driving enough sales and business!”
With so much attention being placed off-site, conversion rates are typically low and / or grow early on in a campaign before leveling off as the client’s budget flattens. Traffic typically does too.
So what can be done? What does one need to do to increase sales? Throw more money at traffic? No!
The answer is usability testing.
People often fail to acknowledge that there’s two sides to the coin of running a successful online business; 1st is making customers aware of your business and then getting them into the sales funnel; 2nd is putting the website in optimal form to maximize revenue potential.
And the second part is just as important as the first.
Open Table ran usability testing in its early days and increased its revenue 10% as a result of problems it found in the reservation process.
Usability testing is crucial because it provides you with insight into what your customers are seeing and experiencing when they come to the site.
Potential questions include:
- is the information presented in a clear and easy manner?
- Does the site appear trustworthy?
- Would you share it with your friends?
- Would you buy from this site?
- Is there anything inhibiting sales from the time a users clicks on the Website, finds the product it is looking for, and then proceeds to checkout?
As an e-commerce site, if you have a lot of shopping cart drop-offs, there could be something in the process which is turning customers away.
Usability can help you figure out why.
At the end of the day, it’s not how much traffic is driven to the site that matters; it’s the percentage (of traffic) that closes which impacts the business the most.
So rather than continuing to throw money at driving more traffic that continues to convert at the same low rate as before, do you think it makes sense to put some resources towards usability testing to figure out how to drive more sales from the traffic you have?
Because once that’s figured out, then you can direct your focus, money and resources towards scaling traffic to the moon knowing that sales revenue will increase accordingly.