Key questions to ask about online shoppers' behavior

Are manufacturers leaving money on the table during Black Friday sales? We look at ways to combat this and make the most of the biggest shopping days of the year.

It’s that time of year again, where D2C brands are looking to make the most of Black Friday demand.

The big shopping day (along with Cyber Monday) accounts for a huge chunk of annual revenue for retailers, brands, distributors, and manufacturers. According to Adobe, Black Friday spending reached $9.03 billion in 2020.

In 2022, that number is expected to climb as high as $235.86 billion. 

So how can manufacturers who sell their products directly to consumers - or indirectly through third-party channels - capitalize on the demand they are about to see? The simple answer is UX Research. 

A common challenge for manufacturers - especially those selling through third-party channels - is that there is a massive gap in the data they can collect from shoppers.

Typically the data available to them covers the ‘what’ - i.e:

  • How many items have been sold
  • What stock levels are like
  • How many views has a product received
  • Where a product’s performance stands against similar products on the marketplace

The gap is the ‘why’. Why did shoppers not purchase the item? This is where UX Research can really add value. 

Questions to increase general usability

How easy or difficult is it to find a product? 

There are 7 factors that influence user experience, including findability. If shoppers can’t find your items, they can’t buy them.

Figuring out the root cause of the problem is the challenge you will face - and this can come down to 2 things:

  • The information architecture (i.e. the hierarchy of the website)  
  • The navigation design

Rather than guess which one it is, there are simple UX Research methods you can deploy before (that’s right, BEFORE) you make things live. 

For example, Remote Usability Testing can help determine how shoppers navigate a website/prototype to understand what usability issues they face. 

  • Are the images clear in representing what you will receive once you purchase the item? 
  • Are there enough images (Are there too many? Are they in the right order?)? 

Click Testing can help you test imagery by presenting images to shoppers and asking them to conduct specific tasks. By doing so you can observe shopper behavior and optimize your digital shelf based on imagery that will most likely influence purchase intent.

Questions that increase understanding

Our next set of questions all relate in some way to comprehension of content:

  • Does the naming make sense? 
  • What are the shoppers' first impressions? 
  • Is the content comprehensible and persuasive?
  • Is the pricing clear? 
  • Are the promotions understood? 

On the average website visit, users only read 28% of the words - so it's critical to the user experience. There are many ways to start testing content - check out this article for some useful guidance.

Questions that create trust

Do shoppers believe what’s been claimed about the product? 

In other words, is the product and its description credible? Credibility is another one of the 7 factors that influence user experience.

If a shopper doesn’t trust what has been written about a product it can not only impact conversions but their entire brand perception. 

I have seen Card Sorting be a useful tool to help categorize shoppers' perception of product credibility. Using your points around the product description, you can get shoppers to categorize each statement into 3 buckets:

  • This is believable - I can trust that the product delivers on its value.
  • This is not believable - I don’t trust that the product delivers on its value.
  • This would have no impact on my decision to purchase. 

Card sorting can help you benchmark product credibility

How does the item’s listing compare to competitor listings? 

There are a lot more questions that can stem from this, but if you can understand the motivations of buyers of competitor products, the value this can drive can significantly impact conversions and future product development. 

One approach you can take is to provide research participants with a realistic task; attempting to buy your product and a competitor's.

Track their behavior to see if they succeed. 

If not, why not?

Gather metrics like their efficiency and satisfaction on the task. This will result in clear actions you can take to optimize your digital shelf and start winning against competitors. 

For more examples of the types of insight you can gain from this type of research, download our cosmetics industry competitive benchmark report 

There you have it, a set of questions that will help you uncover the insight you need. What are you waiting for?

An essential guide to UX measurement

This essential guide offers practical guidance for launching, managing, and scaling a UX measurement program. One that helps you drive a roadmap of UX improvements and secure the budgets you need to run larger-scale research projects.