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Optimization

How to Run an Ecommerce Website Audit: A Guide for Your Online Store

Unlock revenue potential with our Ecommerce Website Audit Guide. Learn why an audit is important plus benefits and checklists to optimize your shop.


  • The importance of Ecommerce Website Audits. Your ecommerce website directly impacts your revenue generation. In the competitive online landscape, you're up against countless other businesses for your customer's attention. Hence, optimizing your website is not just a good practice; it's an absolute necessity. 

  • Why Run an Ecommerce Audit? These audits uncover hidden obstacles that might be affecting your sales or customer satisfaction. They also reveal opportunities to enhance your online store and boost sales through intelligent merchandising.

  • Detailed Steps for Auditing Your Ecommerce Website. Key pages to scrutinize include the homepage, collection page, product pages, shopping cart page, and checkout page. Additionally, you'll assess merchandising tactics like pop-ups, gift-with-purchase offers, and post-purchase strategies to increase sales. Don't forget to prioritize mobile-friendliness, accessibility, and A/B testing to fine-tune your website.

 


 

If you're a business owner without a brick-and-mortar store, your ecommerce site is the lifeblood of your operations. It's your showroom, salesperson, and cash register all rolled into one. BUT...if your ecommerce site isn't performing at its best, it directly impacts your ability to generate revenue.

Workspace with a laptop computer, office accessories, and materials for an ecommerce website audit on a wooden table

And on top of that, in the ecommerce world, you're not just competing with the store down the street. You're in the ring with every online store out there. That's thousands — if not millions — of businesses, all vying for your customer's attention.

So ensuring that your online store is fully optimized and running smoothly is not just important — it's a must.

In this step-by-step guide, we'll equip you with the know-how to run a comprehensive audit of your ecommerce website and make the necessary enhancements.

This will help ensure that your online store is designed to attract, engage, and ultimately convert more visitors.

What Is an Ecommerce Website Audit?

Audit Concept. Word on Folder Register of Card Index. Selective Focus.

First off, what's an ecommerce site audit? In simplest terms, it's a full-on, CSI-style investigation of your website. You're checking everything from your store’s merchandise and visual appeal, to user experience and accessibility. 

What is the purpose of an ecommerce website audit? 

  • Uncover hidden obstacles that may be hindering sales or customer satisfaction
  • Uncover opportunities to optimize your online store and grow sales with smart merchandising
  • Reveal how well your ecommerce store is working for your business

Optimization based on your findings can lead to higher click-through and conversion rates, and ultimately, more sales. Who wouldn't want that for their online business?

Your Step-by-Step Ecommerce Website Audit Checklist

outline site audit

The audit process can be distilled into two main components: a merchandising audit and a design & user experience assessment.

1. Run a Merchandising Audit

Every aspect of your ecommerce store, from product selection and presentation to product recommendations and promotional efforts, plays a critical role in attracting and retaining customers. With that in mind, it's essential to conduct a thorough merchandising audit of your site.

Auditing each particular page in the customer journey will help you optimize your online store, enhance the user experience, tailor specific behaviors to increase conversions, and leverage personalization opportunities.

Key pages for an ecommerce business to audit include the homepage, collection page, product pages, shopping cart page, and checkout page. Each of these pages plays a distinct role in the buyer's journey.

It's also important to audit merchandising opportunities that aren’t tied to a specific page. We’ve included three merchandising tactics merchants often use to build and enhance meaningful user journeys.

They are:

We’ve included a short audit checklist for each of these tactics below.

 ✅ The checklists in this guide are curated from working with thousands of successful ecommerce brands. However, the tips and tricks you see may or may not apply to every brand or every business model. We encourage you to experiment with the strategies and tactics below to determine which ones make sense and produce the best results for your business.

Okay! Ready to run an ecommerce website audit for your online store?

Let’s start with the homepage. 

Homepage

This is usually the first page visitors see. It must clearly communicate your brand, offerings, and unique selling points to attract customers. A well-structured, user-friendly, and personalized homepage can improve the user experience, and increase conversion rates. 

When running a merchandising audit for your homepage:

  • Ensure the homepage provides a clear, compelling introduction to your brand and what you offer.
  • Check if the homepage offers easy navigation to different product categories, the shopping cart, customer service, etc.
  • Check if the content is dynamic and personalized based customer data.
  • Assess if there are "recently viewed" products to allow users to pick up where they left off.
  • Verify the visibility of sales promotions or featured products.

Homepage Audit Examples

Collection Page

The collection page is a vital part of the user navigation experience, grouping related products together and guiding customers toward what they're looking for. It plays a significant role in helping users find the right products, and its effectiveness can greatly impact sales and customer satisfaction.

When auditing the collection page:

  • Make sure the page is well organized. Use clear headings and categories. This way, users can find products easily.
  • Review and update the copy to ensure that it's relevant, clear, and enticing, reflecting the theme or purpose of the collection.
  • Examine the use of filters and sorting options. These should be intuitive and helpful, allowing customers to narrow down their choices based on preferences like size, color, price, etc.
  • To catch your customer’s attention, use attractive banners or highlights for special collections, seasonal offers, or trending products.
  • Use AI product recommenders to give personalized product suggestions based on user behavior, preferences, or previous purchases.
  • Make sure that the pictures, prices, and important information about the product can be seen clearly.
  • Feature top sellers from that collection.
  • If you have an influencer marketing program, recommend your influencer's favorite products from the collection (e.g. "As seen in X's collection.) and don’t forget to use UTM links.
  • Consider adding dynamic bundles. These let customers customize or choose pre-selected bundles that match their interests or needs.

collection page merchandising examples

oddit tweet

 

Product pages

Product pages and their content form the backbone of every ecommerce store. They provide a stage to showcase products to shoppers. 85% of customers say product information and pictures are essential when shopping. That's why it's critical to audit and optimize each product page for accuracy, relevance, and engaging content.

To achieve this:

  • Review the quality and relevance of product descriptions, ensuring they are informative and persuasive.
  • Assess the quality and relevance of product images or videos.
  • Confirm all essential product details are included, such as size, materials, care instructions, etc.
  • Ensure the call-to-action (e.g., "Add to Cart") is clear and prominent.
  • Verify that customer reviews are present, easy to read, and easy to contribute to.
  • Analyze and fine-tune your site's product recommendation algorithms, ensuring that recommendations align with the product being viewed or the customer's browsing history.
  • Make it easier for users to find related products by reducing the number of clicks needed.
  • Review the arrangement of product bundles to create an appealing layout that highlights value. This will help with upselling and cross-selling.
  • Design dynamic offers based on various factors such as customer traffic source and order data to cater to different customer needs.
  • Clearly communicate any discounts within the title to instantly convey savings.
  • Increase visibility of complementary products, encouraging customers to explore and purchase related items.

product page merchandising examples

complete the look merchandising examples

Homepage Audit Examples

carousel merchandising audit examples

Shopping Cart Page / Cart Flyout

The shopping cart is the last thing users see before completing a purchase. Users tend to abandon carts without a purchase at a rate of 69.99%, but a well-optimized shopping cart page can significantly reduce cart abandonment rates, improve customer experience, and ultimately drive higher conversions.

When auditing the shopping cart page:

  • Ensure it clearly displays all items, their quantities, prices, and total cost.
  • Review and update the copy to ensure that it’s clear, accurate, and persuasive. 
  • Display product recommendations in the cart. The recommendations should be personalized and tactical. This is a huge unlock to higher AOV.
  • Consider adding a "buy more, save more" option in the cart. Incentives for purchasing additional items can increase customer satisfaction and potentially boost sales and revenue.
  • Implement a Tiered Progress Bar which offers multi-tiered rewards for purchasing more products. This type of “threshold shopping” gamifies the shopping experience, helping to boost AOV, CVR, and generate excitement. For example, offer free shipping at Tier 1, a sample at Tier 2, etc.
  • Confirm that options to add, remove, or modify product quantities are intuitive.
  • Make sure there are clear paths to proceed to checkout or continue shopping.
  • If you sell subscriptions, make sure you’re offering upsells in the cart to increase your subscription revenue
  • Offer selectable samples to invest in LTV.

cart page merchandising audit examples

cart page merchandising audit examples 2

Checkout Page

This is where the conversion happens — the point of sale. Any issues, confusion, or friction at this stage can lead to cart abandonment and losing sales. A transparent, secure checkout process improves the checkout experience, engenders customer trust, and promotes repeat purchases.

For the checkout page, you should:

  • Confirm that your online store uses HTTPS/SSL and that payment information is secure. Check for any vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
  • Ensure all costs (product, tax, shipping) are transparent.
  • Verify that multiple payment options are available and easy to select.
  • Make sure it's clear when a purchase is finalized to avoid multiple submissions.
  • Explore the use of mystery gifts to incentivize purchases and enhance the customer experience.
  • Add a free shipping option, encouraging customers to spend a little more to qualify for free shipping.
  • Offer a skip the line product for expedited processing or shipping.
  • Highlight impulse buys on the checkout page, showcasing lower-priced items that may go well with the main purchase
  • Consider offering limited time offers to create urgency and boost sales.
  • Incorporate gift cards as an additional purchase.

checkout examples

Pop-ups

A pop-up is an effective way to display upsell and cross-sell offers to your customers. If pop-ups are a part of your digital marketing strategy, look for ones that use AI-powered logic to personalize the offers for every customer. You’ll also want pop-ups that let you configure the images, product description, marketing messages, and variant selectors. That way you have total control over the look and feel of the pop-up.

When auditing your pop-ups:

  • Ensure that pop-ups offering upsells or cross-sells are highly relevant to the customer's current shopping journey.
  • Timing is crucial; pop-ups should appear at strategic points in the customer's journey, such as after they've added an item to their cart or during the checkout process.
  • Avoid bombarding customers with pop-ups as this can be off-putting.
  • Highlight the value and benefits of the upsell or cross-sell, and use compelling visuals or product images to make the offer more enticing. Avoid using jargon or confusing language.
  • Leverage customer data and behavior to personalize your upsell and cross-sell suggestions. For example, recommend products based on the customer's browsing history, purchase history, or items in their cart.
  • Continuously optimize your pop-ups through A/B testing. Test different variations of messaging, visuals, and timing to determine what works best for your audience.
  • Ensure that your pop-ups are responsive and mobile-friendly. Many customers shop on mobile devices, so your pop-ups must display correctly and be easy to dismiss on smaller screens. 
  • Remember that the goal of upsells and cross-sells is not just to increase revenue but also to enhance the customer experience. Prioritize customer satisfaction and transparency in your approach to pop-up upsells and cross-sells to build trust and loyalty with your online store's visitors.

site audit popups

popup examples

GWP (Gift With Purchase)

The idea behind GWP promotions is simple: reward potential customers with a free gift when they spend over a certain dollar amount. The GWP promotion is always popular, and for good reason. Who doesn't love receiving something they want for free? Not only do gifts provide a sense of joy and excitement, but they also have the power to boost your average order value (AOV). Additionally, they play a vital role in building customer loyalty and encouraging repeat purchases from your most loyal customers.

When auditing your GWP offers:

  • Decide on a spending threshold slightly above your current AOV to reward customers with a gift when they exceed the threshold.
  • Give away products strategically to support your current goals. For example, offer high-end complementary products at a high-spend threshold to motivate shoppers to spend a high dollar amount or pass shipping thresholds. Offer new products to encourage product discovery and increase exposure. Offer dead stock (merchandise that is outdated or doesn't sell well) to reduce your overhead through steeper discounts or mystery gift promotions.
  • Personalize the experience by offering GWP based on specific campaigns based on parameters like URL/UTMs, date-ranges, or customer tags.
  • Use a tiered progress bar to offer multiple gifts at multiple thresholds. (For example, you could offer a GWP at $20 and free shipping at $100.) 
  • Decide how you want to surface the GWP offer. You have options! Auto-add the offer to the cart? A selectable GWP? If selectable, how do you want to surface this to the customer? In Cart? In Checkout? As a pop-up?

The example on the left displays "Free Samples" and the one on the right shows a 3-tiered progress bar with multiple gifts.

GWP examples 2

Post Purchase

Are you using post-purchase offers to increase AOV? If not, you might want to start. The post-purchase offer is a crucial opportunity for your ecommerce business to maximize revenue and start a loyalty loop. By auditing your post-purchase strategies, you can identify areas for improvement and implement best practices to drive repeat purchases and increase customer lifetime value.

When auditing your post-purchase offers:

  • Offer related products or upgrades to drive additional sales and boost AOV.
  • Try offering two of the same product, and encourage the customer to gift one.
  • Test out offering discounts to increase conversion rates.
  • Test personalizing offers based on customer tags, cart total, items in cart, and other parameters.
  • Add a timer to create a true limited-time offer.
  • If your brand offers a subscription program, offer subscription upsells to increase customer lifetime value.
  • Use upsell/downsell flows to serve up a second personalized recommendation to customers based on their response to the first offer.
  • Harness the power of social proof by displaying customer testimonials in the product description and/or star ratings for every product recommendation.
  • Don’t forget to include variant selectors so your customers can easily choose the right size, color, flavor, etc.

post-purchase examples

2. Evaluate Your Website Design and User Experience

Design isn't just about aesthetics. It's also about how your site functions and a user experience that's as smooth as butter. A slick, attractive ecommerce platform isn't worth much if it isn't user-friendly. 

An audit of your website's design and user experience is crucial to ensure you provide a seamless, intuitive, and engaging experience for your visitors. Things like page speed, broken links, and loading time all affect the customer’s experience. This not only boosts conversion rates but also heightens customer satisfaction.

Here are the key steps involved:

  • Evaluate visual design: Look closely at your website's visual elements and product recommendation widgets. This includes color scheme, typography, image usage, and design consistency. It's crucial that your store’s visual merchandising mirrors your brand identity and resonates with your target audience. 
  • Check site navigation: Test the main navigation bar, footer, and other navigational elements to ensure users can easily find what they're looking for. The site should have a logical hierarchy, with product collections clearly identified.
  • Check mobile-friendliness: A mobile-friendly site is a must. Mobile users are five times more likely to bounce from your site if it isn't optimized for mobile devices. Ensure your site offers a seamless experience across different devices.
  • Review accessibility: 75% of Americans with disabilities report using the internet daily. Therefore it's crucial to check if your ecommerce site is accessible to all your customers, including those with disabilities. This means including alt text for images, suitable color contrast, keyboard navigability, and more. Here's more information on how to do that.
  • Perform A/B testing: Use data from A/B testing and Google Analytics to make decisions about your shop’s usability and improve your customer experience.



Ecommerce Personalization: The Complete Guide for Founders, Merchants, and Marketers

Your ecommerce personalization journey starts here👇

 

From Audit to Action: Skyrocket Your Ecommerce Performance With Personalized Shopping Experiences

Once you’ve completed your ecommerce website audit, it’s go time! From tightening up your SEO to refining your content to personalizing the customer shopping experience, each improvement should be meticulously executed. The mission? To transform your ecommerce site into a powerhouse that doesn’t just attract visitors but also hooks them in for the long haul. 

When it comes to the customer personalization part, we can help. Rebuy provides an intuitive platform backed by AI technology for personalized product recommendations. No coding required.

With Rebuy, you can craft individually-tailored suggestions for your customers that resonate with their unique needs and preferences. Request a demo and discover why over 9,000 brands trust Rebuy for their personalization needs.

 

•••

 

Try Rebuy free and see why the world’s top brands use Rebuy to accelerate sales growth.

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