The holiday madness has subsided and winter is upon us. In other words, it’s the perfect time for your e-commerce business to step back and revisit the fundamentals and find new opportunities to grow your business. We’re going to walk you through a simple checklist of items to ensure that your business enters the new year in tip-top shape—you’ll be ready to drive more revenue in the year ahead.
Start with the basics
1. Renew your business subscriptions
The new year is a perfect opportunity to sweat the small stuff that all too often gets lost in the mix. Renewing your domain name and SSL certificate might seem like minor tasks, but if they're allowed to lapse later in the year, the consequences could be significant.
2. Update your privacy policies
Of course, it’s not just the small stuff that you should be sweating, it’s also the small print too. Between General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance issues and the natural evolution of your business, it’s possible that your posted privacy policies are out-of-date with both your business and the world. Time to fix that.
3. Perform annual security testing
To protect both your customers and your business, you’ll need to conduct a thorough security test on your site and on any applications you have developed. A variety of open-source tools exist to help business owners detect application vulnerabilities and protect web sites from malicious attacks.
4. Check site backup
An errant keystroke here, some malware there, and your website—along with terabytes of data, codebase, and more—could disappear like a magician’s assistant. Thankfully, backing up your site to the latest version is neither time consuming nor expensive, so make sure it’s on your agenda.
5. Update copyright dates and language
This one can be very easy and just as easily forgotten. Make sure those © 2018s have made the switch to © 2019. In addition, ensure that your copyright notice is appropriately phrased.
Audit your web store
6.Update meta descriptions and site tagging
Accurate meta descriptions and site tagging is crucial to helping customers navigate your site to find your products. Updating descriptions and tagging also helps ensure search engines better index your offerings.
7. Optimize product descriptions
A clear call to action and compelling product photography can go a long way, but updating all your product descriptions takes time. Start by refining high-level descriptors for your best-selling products. According to the Baymard Institute, integrating key functionality into descriptive headlines and summaries can help consumers find the information they may otherwise miss.
8. Review and refresh inventory
The last two months of the year typically see a higher-than-usual volume of inventory running through online stores—the perfect chance to identify what is selling well in your stores to inform next year's inventory strategy. January is also a great time to take stock of what's left, remove discontinued products, update cross-sell items included at checkout, and automate which products appear when current offerings sell out.
9. Revisit post-holiday pricing
Lingering holiday prices could throw a fiscal wrench into your plans for 2019. A price audit should ensure that the holiday hangover doesn’t include your prices.
10. Streamline site navigation
Revisit your site's navigation to align with best practices. According to the Baymard Institute, displaying your web store’s main product categories in your site navigation provides clarity on your product offerings for new customers. The goal? To eliminate excessive layers of sub-navigation in the hierarchy—and help shoppers find what they need quickly.
11. Run a broken links check
Get your customers where they want to go. We assure you, it’s not a 404 page.
12. Test browser compatibility
How does your site look for someone running an old version of Firefox in a 28” monitor? You might be surprised. Various browsers support features differently; some image formats and HTML tags are similarly unsupported. If you need help, there are a variety of tools that can help you check for cross-browser, cross-resolution compatibility issues.
13. Update and incorporate retargeting pixels
Ensure that you’re set up to provide customers with a truly personalised experience, and double check where your retargeting pixels have been placed.
Revisit your customer’s mobile experience
14. Prioritise mobile load speed
Customers’ shopping habits are increasingly moving to mobile. In fact, 52.2% of global traffic is now attributed to phones alone and one-third of mobile users make payments from their devices. That means it’s more important than ever that your site’s mobile experience, not the desktop, is fully optimised for load speed.
15. Optimise mobile conversion separately
Consumers shop differently on mobile devices than on desktops, sometimes using their phones to research products before completing the purchase on a desktop. If you're optimising a customer's path-to-purchase the same way for both devices, you're likely losing out on conversions.
16. Minimise steps to checkout
A 2017 benchmark study from Akamai Technologies' SOASTA found that even a 100-millisecond delay in load time can decrease mobile conversion rates by 7.1% . If your mobile checkout experience is introducing unnecessary steps for your customers to check out, then you’ll continue to see abandoned carts.
17. Consider mobile payment solutions
Another great way to decrease cart abandonment is helping customers avoid the dreaded credit card, shipping address, and billing address form fills — that is where alternative payment solutions can help optimise your mobile commerce experience. Amazon Pay is already optimised for mobile, making it easy for your customers to check out wherever they find you – desktop, mobile, or voice.
Start the new year right. Download the full checklist right here.