Why You Should Conduct Website Usability Testing

After many painstaking months of hard work and coding, you’ve finally got a website that’s functional, attractive-looking, and perfect. Or so you think. After launching, you expected a flood of new product orders, but you’re let down when users exit your website after a few clicks. Website analytics tell you where users depart your website, but it won’t tell you why. There’s one way to find that out: Usability testing.

Here are six reasons why you should consider usability testing for your website.

1) You’ll increase your retention rate. Every website owner hopes for lots of repeat visitors. But broken links, clumsy layout, and site errors all cause a negative user experience. Bottom line, if your users have a good user experience when visiting your website, they’ll come back.

2) You’ll reduce the abandoned shopping cart phenomenon. Marketing Sherpa estimates that 60 percent of consumers bail out on a purchase while in the online shopping cart process. Forrester Research claims the statistics are even higher, estimating that 88 percent of consumers abandon their carts. Either way, there’s a lot of room for improvement here. If your shopping cart abandonment rates are high, website usability testing can help you figure out why, and more importantly, increase your successful purchase rate.

3) You’ll save money. Detecting usability flaws early will ultimately save costly redesign expenses later on. With a reduction in customer service emails and calls due to a problematic website, usability testing also helps to save on support costs. Usability testing isn’t just for large companies with big budgets either. A slew of firms offer website usability testing services for those small businesses on a shoestring budget.

4) You’ll increase customer satisfaction. Just because a customer made a purchase on your website doesn’t mean it was easy for him. Perhaps a customer was frustrated over having to type in his shipping address even though it’s the same as his home address. Or maybe figuring out the shipping cost was like finding a needle in the haystack. Just because problems aren’t reported doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t conduct website usability testing. If you lose just one sale because the checkout process is too onerous, that’s one sale too many.

5) You’ll gain a competitive advantage. These days, your brand image can be tied to your website. Your website is one of your most important marketing tools; keep it fresh, error-free, and engaging.  Today, a good user website experience is expected and critical, especially considering competitors are just a click away.

6) You’ll increase sales. Getting eyeballs to your site is half the battle, but getting visitors to buy something is critical. You may not even know there’s something wrong with your website’s checkout process that’s causing lost sales. Case in point: After website usability testing, a $25 billion retailer changed its “register” button to a “continue” button and added this to the checkout page: “You do not need to create an account to make purchases on our site. Simply click Continue to proceed to checkout. To make your future purchases even faster, you can create an account during checkout.” Why? Website usability testing proved that customers didn’t like having to register to make a purchase.  The result: an extra $15 million in sales the first month after the change, and an additional $300 million revenue after a year.

About Liz Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional writer who holds an MBA. She spent over 10 years working in management in an investment firm in corporate America. Liz focuses her writing on small business, career and work, personal finance, and health. Her clients include The Motley Fool, American News Report, Profitably, WorldStart.com, LIVESTRONG.com, Healthline, and many others. She's author of multimedia App and Vook Conduct a Job Interview: The Video Guide, blogger for IFXMedical.com, and contributing writer for Intuit Small Business Blog.
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