E-commerce Best Practice – 5 UX Tests to run in December

Because the Xmas gifting journey is unique, we recommend E-commerce professionals gather
in-the-moment insight from real users during December to help them improve next year's
offering. We have identified five UX Tests that cover the main User Journeys.

ScroogeI don’t want to sound like Scrooge, but online retailers should take a moment to stop thinking about this festive period’s trading for a moment and consider how they’ll plan for the next. For many online retailers planning has traditionally meant reviewing data from the previous December to inform the design decisions they make for the next.

Emerging Best Practice from WhatUsersDo’s e-commerce clients is to add behavioural insight to that data by running User Experience Tests on live sites during December. They’ve recognised that their decision making improves when planning their next Xmas site if they have  the answers to the WHY (of user behaviour) and not just the HOW MANY (of data sources like Google Analytics or Omniture) of their current one.

There are three primary reasons why December is the best time to gather user insight on the Xmas shopping journey:

  1. users are “in the mood” for Xmas shopping with genuine gift recipients in mind
  2. you can benchmark vs competitors’ live Xmas sites
  3. you can observe how your site performs under increased seasonal traffic.

So, here are five UX Tests that are popular this time of year with WhatUsersDo e-commerce clients:

1. The “specific-product gifting journey” test

People outside of your target market are screened to include those with a specific product in mind e.g. a Son buying a jumper for his Mother and tasked with using your live site to purchase a jumper they would genuinely consider.

Tip: include a task to capture reaction to the returns policy (should the recipient need to change their gift) – listen to the user in the clip below struggling to make sense of a “design-heavy” approach.

Video Thumbnail

Over designed Returns Policy?


2. The “gift ideas inspirational” test

Gift inspiration screen shotParticipants (again, outside of your usual target market) use the gift ideas section of your site to inspire them e.g. a nephew who does not know what to buy his Auntie.

Tip: set a dramatic “Bollywood” style time restriction to avoid users “reviewing” rather than just “using” the inspiration section e.g. “You’re leaving the house in 20 minutes and MUST find a Xmas gift for your Auntie…”.


3. The “Xmas competitor benchmark” test

smyths-blog-flyerRepeat tests 1 and 2 on your closest competitors’ sites, just like we did for Econsultancy in this Fight Club! Toys R Us vs Smyths article.

Tip: It’s OK to ask users why they prefer one site over another, but do not ask them to score each site (tempting as that may be) since you should focus on users’ in the moment reactions and not their “review scores”.


4. The “how can our campaigns stand out in a crowded Xmas inbox?” test

Users give their reactions to your Email Campaigns from an Inbox, full of other promotional emails, and click through to your site to gauge if the “promise” of the email is met by the reality of your site.

Tip: only available to Managed Service Customers since our research team produce a custom email inbox “mock-up” for each project.


5. The “How Users Search Xmas Special” test

Search barUnderstand the full gifting user journey as participants start at Google so you can observe how they search, select SERPs and PPC snippets, react to landing pages (yours and competitors) and eventually choose a site to buy from.

Tip: we recommend a minimum of 50 participants per product type to capture the breadth of user behaviour.


Too busy with Xmas trading?

If you can’t find the time to design and run these tests yourself then we can do that for you with our Managed Service where the WhatUsersDo Research Team design, launch, analyse and summarise each of your research projects.

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