One thing is certain in retail website design: You never know how shoppers will use your website features unless you ask them. That’s what the members of the product team for online retailer Jet told attendees at IRCE 2017 in Chicago last month. In their session, Unpredictability: Don't Count on Shoppers Using Your Site or App the Way You Expect, Jet’s VP of Product Marketing Michael Mace and Director of UX Research Ben Babcock shared practical tips for incorporating a steady stream of customer feedback into website and app design. And they ought to know. Online retailer Jet maintains a laser-focus on its customers. The brand runs user experience (UX) research tests across all shopping experiences at least every other day to validate design decisions and identify areas of improvement. Then, they circulate that user feedback throughout the company to drive decision-making. The approach has led to significant increases in conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Using insights from testing, Jet’s average items per order went up 8% and provided a 20% lift in customer savings. Here are a few practical tips Mace and Babcock shared for testing your UX, regardless of your budget and whether you’re working with an agency, using software or just flying by the seat of your pants.

1. Create a journey map.

Think about the customer experience as a journey. Put it on the wall – from start to finish. Identify roadblocks, see what it’s like when someone shops with your brand for the first time, look at the communications they receive after an order. Make a note of what the delivery experience and customer service are like. Remember, when you understand the journey and use customer feedback to make improvements, you gain customer loyalty. Don’t assume how your customer will use your site, fill out your survey, interact with your app, etc.

2. Talk to your team and your customers.

Map your customer experience. Ask your team to answer these questions:
  • Who is our customer?
  • What do they love and hate about us?
  • When was the last time you spoke with a customer?
  • Is your team improving the customer experience? How?
  • Where do you go to learn about customers?
The place where you build products is not the same place they’re used. So, as you think about your product, think first about your customer.  Get them in the room – either literally, or by putting an empty seat in the room that represents your customer. Your goal is to put the customer first in your conversations. Visit customer service. What are they hearing from customers? Listen to the recordings from your company’s call center. It’s a cheap, fast and easy way to get everyone in the company aligned on what it’s like to use your product.

3. Test with customers and non-customers.

Sit down with a real person in an informal location to get feedback on your app or website. It can be anyone; it doesn’t have to be a customer. You can do it while you’re sitting in a coffee shop. Take a three-person team and test it with people who look like your target audience. Use gift cards to thank people for their time and participation. Employees can observe the user testing sessions. Be sure to test with customers, too. Notice what and how people interact with on your website or app. If your needs are limited, check out User Testing, where you can get on-demand feedback from your customers, an on-demand panel, or custom user panels in the US, Canada and UK. Whatever methods you use, you’ll get lots of great content and insights you can share in real-time with your employees. TIP:  You can use Bronto to identify customers for user testing. Simply create a segment based on criteria you select – such as recency or frequency of purchases, location or age. Then, set up an email campaign to invite those customers to participate in user testing.

4. Use the feedback to improve and optimize.

Based on testing results, make changes quickly and move forward. If you can, monitor your customer value measure – such as net promoter score (NPS) – in real time. Then use that, along with the user-testing data you’ve gathered, to optimize your marketing program. Use these tips to get to know your customer better, to develop products and services that meet their needs and to grow your customer lifetime value. If you are a Bronto customer and want to incorporate feedback from research into your email campaigns, contact your account manager to learn about our managed service offerings. If you are not a Bronto customer, contact us for more information.