The auditing criteria below are being updated for 2022. Stay tuned.
1. Display a wide and representative range of product categories from the online shop's offer (the goal is for users to be aware of the variety of the shop's offer from the first visit)
2. Value/Selling Proposition (What makes your online shop unique/original? What will your brand be associated with in the consumer’s mind?)
- Original, short, relevant tagline for the potential needs of your target audience (see the Books-Express example below)
- Placing differentiators "above the fold" on all pages of the site (except in the Cart and Checkout pages)
- Relevance of the differentiators (are they "original" or do we find them in most online shops?)
3. The visual hierarchy correlated with the importance of the content on the site - the most important content (ex. marketing areas, promotions, value proposition etc.) are highlighted, to the detriment of the usual content that should not draw attention.
Example 1: Walmart.com - with the exception of the central Free 2-Day Shipping banner (slightly larger in size), almost every item on the site is the same size, and all are "fighting to get your attention" as well. Moreover, the main menu is barely visible (in white, below the search bar).
Example 2: 1800flowers.com - Unlike Walmart, the main marketing areas are better highlighted, respecting the visual hierarchy according to the importance of the content (what is important is large sized and above the fold, what is less important is smaller and below on the page).
4. Replacing carousels and automatic sliders with "Hero Images". Recent e-commerce research shows that users interact very little or not at all with the classic automatic carousel banners on the homepage of online shops. Some of the reasons: banner blindness, poor execution of the carousels (small navigation buttons / arrows between slides or even missing, scrolling frames too fast or too slow), bombarding users with too many marketing messages instead of a good one urging them to take action. The trend is to replace the old carousel with static images ("hero images"). We recommend reading the article published on the ConversionXL blog: “Don’t Use Automatic Image Sliders or Carousels, Ignore the Fad”
Example: HomeDepot.com has switched to a single image (Hero Image) with a single large and visible Call to Action to the "vintage" lighting category. Simple, elegant, effective for users - they don't have to navigate through poorly executed sliders, they don't get bombarded with more marketing messages, they don't have to remember how many frames in the slider they found something of interest to them, etc.
5. If the classic slider is still in use, it must comply with at least the following:
- Elimination of automatic frame rotation, allowing the user to manually navigate through the carousel frames
- 3 up to maximum 5 frames for the entire carousel
- a clear/relevant Call to Action on each carousel frame
- Good graphic and technical execution of the carousel (examples, but not limited to: high-quality images, easy identification of slider navigation buttons or arrows, generous slider dimensions, integration into the site layout so as not to look like a classic ad etc.)
6. Promoting the most popular products or product categories (according to e-commerce practices good, it is necessary to highlight several product groups on the homepage such as: best sellers, best buy, new arrivals, etc. - depending on the marketing strategy of each online store)
7. Products in stock or immediately available (all products promoted on the homepage must be able to be ordered and quickly delivered - online shops that promote products that are no longer part of the current offer, or whose delivery time takes too long, will be downgraded)
8. Highlighting the title and price of products promoted on the homepage.
9. Highlight any type of marketing markup that accompanies the product promoted on the homepage (a few examples, not limited to: discounts, free delivery, extended warranty, return in X days, best selling product, most appreciated product by others customers etc.).
1. Search Bar centered at the top of the site (recommended in the header) - the habit comes from the placement of the search field in the center of the page by search engines
2. Sticky Search Bar, accessible no matter how far down a user scrolls on a page - a ubiquitous search bar saves time and convenience for users who browse the site and are at the bottom of a page. In addition, according to a study by Smashing Magazine in 2012, 100% of testers preferred sticky menus, even if they did not know how to explain why. We recommend reading the article “Sticky Menus Are Quicker To Navigate”
3. Search field as generous as possible - according to the Baymard Institute, the search field must allow at least 50 characters visible from one end to the other (i.e. 3-4 word expressions). However, the wider the search field, the better because users have become accustomed to typing long search phrases - the habit comes from daily searches on search engines.
Example: Extremely generous search field on Amazon.com
4. Intuitive text - by default in the search field - accompanied by the "Search" button (its role is to help users quickly understand the purpose of the search function - eg: "Search for the desired product", "Enter Keyword or Model Number" etc.)
5. AutoComplete function (dynamically populates results directly in the search field, as you type in the search expression - helps users identify the product more easily)
Example: When entering the letters "proc" in the search field, suggestions for the term "processor" already appear.
6. Semantic search (latest e-commerce trends show that users are increasingly searching for semantic / detailed searches - for example: "pink shoes size 37" and online shops should provide relevant results for these semantic searches).
7. Search filters to help identify the categories in which the searched product can be found.
In the example above, in addition to the autocomplete function that suggests the term “processor” only when entering the letters “proc”, you can also see the category suggestions in which the user can find the product they are looking for.
8. Search function that returns relevant results, including the attributes of the product the user is looking for. The latest trends in e-commerce show that users are increasingly using detailed searches, in the form of phrases - eg: "men's shoes brown leather", so online shops must offer relevant results to searches based on product attributes.
9. Product availability and price information (at least) on the search results page.
10. In case of search results that do not return results (such as "we did not find any product"), shops should engage with the user, providing helpful tools in order to keep them on the site (examples, but not limited to: information contact information, products similar to the one the user is looking for, best sellers, recommendations on how to search better, a link to the homepage, a sitemap etc.).
11. Recognizing common misspellings and suggesting in the search the correct ways to type those words, for example, if the user types "capuchino", the shop must provide the search results for "cappuccino", or if the user types "muose", the shop should provide the search results for the correct spelling "mouse").
12. Keep the search term entered by the user in the search field (the goal is not to have to re-enter the search phrase when completing the search phrase with new terms)
In Example 1 we can see that the search phrase was retained in the search field after the results were displayed, while in Example 2 the search phrase is not retained.
Studies show that users who visit the About Us page are 5 times more likely to make a purchase than those who do not. Also, the former are willing to pay, on average, 22.5% more per transaction than those in the second category. Therefore, even if - in general - the "About Us" page is not a high traffic page, it is important especially in the case of online shops that are not very well known to the general public.
1. The defining elements of the online shop (short story - a few lines - about the beginning, principles and values that the shop believes in - all in a friendly language that proves to the user that the shop is more than just a business tool)
2. Testimonials from happy customers (at least one testimonial that combines informal language with pragmatic business experience in relation to the online shop)
3. Photo or video with the team (it is recommended that shops present their team - or part of it, if the team is large - this approach humanizes the business and makes users trust the store)
4. Social Media Elements (examples, but not limited to: Facebook widget with shop fan number - if significant, otherwise not indicated; link to shop blog, etc.)
5. Contact information (even if there is a page dedicated to contact information, it is recommended to repeat it on the bottom of the "About Us" page; it is also advisable to have a picture of the building where the shop's office / showroom is located, map to the location, working hours and as many contact details as possible - all build trust in users)
Just as an example (obviously, we do not encourage plagiarism), here is a well-crafted “About Us” page both in terms of copy and in terms of alternating “emotional” texts with texts that endorse the business.
1. Avoid horizontal tabs in structuring product page information. According to the Baymard Institute, tabs are harder for users to discover, increasing the risk of losing sight of certain information.
Example: horizontal tabs (NOT recommended)
2. Highlight the product title and place it "above the fold" (eg: larger font size, bold, white space around the text etc.)
3. Product images must meet the following characteristics:
- Quality, high-resolution images
- As many pictures for the same product, from different angles
- Large or zoomed-in images
- Place images close to the product title and buy button
Gets extra points:
- 360 images or product videos
4. User Generated Content & Interaction - giving users the ability to upload their own images with that product
5. Highlight the "add to cart" button with an action color and by placing it ”above the fold” (do not place another button next to it that is the same size and / or color)
6. The price of the product located as close as possible to the "add to cart" button
7. Display all available options for the product - examples, but not limited to: available sizes, colors, materials/fabric, technical specifications (eg. 32, 64 or 128 GB of storage) etc.
8. Exact information about the availability of the product, displayed next to the price and the "add to cart" button (eg: product in the shop's own stock; limited stock; in supplier stock; available to order in X days; currently unavailable etc.)
9. Option to subscribe to a stock alert - if the product is not currently available, the user can choose to be contacted by the store when the product is back in stock (the contact method can be by e-mail, telephone, sms, etc.)
10. Persuasive Copy – the commercial description of the product through which the benefits of its use are highlighted (own description* of the online and non-technical shop** / without professional jargon, so any user can understand the specifications even if they are not a specialist)
11. Respecting spelling and grammar rules and avoiding typos - no one is perfect, but a website with many mistakes and typos lowers trust in customers. Read the article: “Are Grammar Mistakes Costing You Money?”
12. Detailed / complete technical specifications of the product marketed in such a way that the user does not have to search for additional information on other websites and thus there is a risk of abandoning the purchase.
13. Possibility to save the product in a Wishlist or Favorites list - not all users who reach a product page will buy on the spot; some want to find out about the product, others just look around and want to buy at some point in the future, others are looking to buy a gift for a friend's birthday or want to consult with the family about the product, etc. Therefore, it is essential to be able to save the product in a wishlist.
14. Reviews & Ratings – Posting opinions, comments, and ratings from other users right on the product page (regardless of the nature of feedback - positive or negative - other customers' opinions weigh heavily in the purchase decision, and posting negative feedback shows transparency and increases user turst: 1-2 negative comments to 15-20 positive only increase credibility)
15. Encourage user interaction in the Comments section of the product page - examples, but not limited to: “Was this review helpful? - thumb up / down ”, questions and answers section such as “ do you have a question about the product? ”, The possibility to leave a review -“ share your opinion with other customers ”etc.
16. Visible links or information on payment*, delivery**, warranty*** and returns**** (at least).
17. Urgency – encouraging users to make the purchase decision as soon as possible by speculating on “urgency” (examples, not limited to: if it’s a promotion - “offer expires in X hours” or “Do you want to have the product tomorrow? Order in X hours, Y Minutes, Z seconds… ”etc.)
18. Scarcity – encouraging users to make the purchase decision as soon as possible by speculating on “rarity” (eg, “Last two products in stock!”)
19. Placing contact details or links to customer support as visible as possible on the product page (phone, e-mail, live-support, etc.) in order to complete the transaction (when the consumer wants more information / details or simply can't buy online)
20. Promotion of products related / compatible with the one on the product page (eg: laptop case, camera case, printer toner, Christmas tree holder, guitar strings etc.)
21. Promoting other products, similar to the one on the product page (eg, another laptop similar in specifications, another camera, another printer, another Christmas tree, another guitar etc.)
22. Cross-sell and up-sell areas should be promoted at the bottom of the product page according to all the information and specifications of that product to avoid the conversion loop phenomenon. According to the Baymard Institute, the user perceives that the cross-sell and up-sell areas mark the end of the product page.
23. “Product Bundles” – encouraging the purchase of several products in the same package to increase the value of the basket
24. Add delivery time information to the product page. An explicit delivery time is recommended - for example, will be delivered on Tuesday, August 17th
- Option to edit the contents of the shopping cart (examples, not limited to: changing quantities, deleting products, saving the cart to complete the order at a later time, etc.)
- Persistent shopping cart - if the order is not completed in the session in which the products were added to the cart, the contents of the shopping cart will be automatically saved and will be complete at a later session by the user.
- Essential information in the cart about the soon to be purchased product (eg: title, price, quantity, thumbnail, delivery costs, any discounts or additional services provided, etc.)
- Highlight the action button that directs the user to the checkout process by contrast colour and placing it in the first visible screen (do not place another button of the same size and / or color next to it)
- Visible Mini Cart and permanently displayed every time a product is placed in the shopping cart - e-commerce best practices recommend keeping the mini-cart permanently until the user closes it or clicks outside to continue shopping.
- Thumbnail image of the product in the shopping cart must match the option selected by the user - eg: if the user has chosen a green shirt, the thumbnail image must be a green shirt
- In the case of online shops that offer discount vouchers, the discount code field should not be highlighted - otherwise, for users who do not have a voucher it becomes frustrating to buy at full price and will try to find out how to get a voucher - risk of leaving the site or even abandoning the purchase)
- Simple, minimalist design - it is recommended to remove any non-essential navigation elements that may distract from the buying process
- Checkout as Guest – the possibility to place the order without the obligation to create an account (especially in the case of shops that do not benefit from a high brand notoriety)
- Social Login – option to log in with the Facebook or Google account
- Clear highlighting of the ordering steps, as well as the step in which the user is at a given time (in the case of shops that have the order process structured in several steps)
- Pre-popularea câmpurilor repetitive din formular – utilizatorul nu trebuie să completeze de mai multe ori aceeași informație (ex.: frecvent, adresa de facturare este aceeași cu adresa de livrare, de aceea este indicat ca adresa de livrare să fie pre-completată automat, dar cu posibilitatea ca utilizatorul să introducă o altă adresă dacă este necesar)
- Order flow without errors and without the interruption of additional actions that are not important for the online order
- Simple order form, containing as few fields as possible (only those absolutely necessary to complete the transaction);
- Obvious marking of mandatory versus optional fields in the form;
- Inline Validation (highlight user errors next to each field in the order form - eg: not filling in a required field - and keeping the information already filled in) - immediately after noticing an error completing each field (via a visual alert)
- Sorting the fields in the order form from the lightest to the most laborious depending on the degree of difficulty to fill in - according to the 6 principles stated by Cialdini, people tend to finish what they started, so it is extremely important to determine users should start filling out the order form (and this can be done by asking them for basic, easy-to-fill information such as name, delivery address, etc. and only later being asked for their card details, for example)
- Display contact and customer support information in the ordering process or a visible and easily accessible link to them (eg: telephone, e-mail, live chat, etc.)
- Display essential information about the product to be purchased, the final price with all taxes included and any other delivery details (delivery time, courier service used, etc.)
- Avoid using "reset" or "delete" buttons during the checkout process
- 1-column order form instead of multiple columns - a small study by ConversionXL Institute shows that 1-column order forms were completed by users 15.4 seconds faster than multi-column forms
- Any link in the checkout process must be opened in a pop-up / overlayer (links must not link to another page on the site so that the user does not leave the order process)
- Display on the order confirmation page a clear message (without ambiguous expressions such as "order has been processed"), according to which the online order has been successfully placed and the store will take care of it
- Detailed information about the placed order (eg: order identification number, product ordered, link to customer account or previous order history, order status, etc.)
- Contact details of the online shop (phone, e-mail, postal address, etc. - reassures the customer of the shop's professionalism and builds trust)
- Encouraging the creation of an account (only on the "thank you" page it is recommended to encourage the creation of an account - not before the purchase - it is necessary to highlight the advantages of having an account)
- Encourage subscribing to the newsletter, along with the benefits of being a subscriber and how often the user will receive emails from the shop
- Existence of a loyalty program or marketing tools for customer loyalty (eg: depending on the shop's strategy, granting a bonus / discount voucher for the next purchase, accumulation of loyalty points, etc.)
- Encouraging social interactions (eg, joining the online communities of the shop, etc.)
- Recommendations for complementary products or accessories for the newly purchased product (eg: mobile phone case, laptop bag, a pair of shoes that match the dress, etc.)
- Recommendations for similar products (if applicable - eg: a book similar to the one you bought, the same kind of movie as the one you bought, etc.)
- Links content on the site (video guides, specialized reviews, specialized articles, etc.)
- At least one order confirmation e-mail (in addition, the e-mail may be accompanied by an SMS alert) from the shop containing the essential order information (ex: ordered products, total price, shop identification and contact information, link to order status, etc.)
- Time until the shop reaches out to confirm the order (ex: e-mail, phone, sms alert, etc.) - the shorter the response time from the shop, the better.
- The friendliness of the sales staff and the accuracy of the information provided by them (ex: if the user needs additional information about the product, about the order status, additional services, etc.)
- Compliance with delivery deadlines and product information as displayed on the site (ex: if the product was in stock and could be delivered within 24 hours, it must be delivered within 24 hours; the purchased product is according to the specifications on the site, etc.)
- Customer interaction (maintaining a constant connection with the customer - ex: sms / telephone / alerts about the order and delivery status, notifications in extreme cases, independent of the shop, that lead to delayed delivery - ex: crowded traffic, calamities, storms etc.)
- Customer feedback e-mail / NPS (the shop asks for the customer's opinion about the shopping experience or the degree of satisfaction with the product purchased after the product is delivered). It is recommended that the feedback collection system be owned by a third party that guarantees the objectivity and correctness of customer feedback.
1. Modern design, visual appeal, first impression (e-commerce best practices recommend avoiding crowded layouts in favor of a "clean" design, with many white spaces that have the role of highlighting essential information or marketing - without "noise" that distracts and confuses the user. According to studies, it takes the visitors about 5 seconds to decide whether or not they stay on a website during the first interaction with it - so the first impression matters a lot. Also, a clean and modern layout denotes trustworthiness, as opposed to an untidy and outdated design)
2. No pop-ups (such as newsletter sign-up, online chat/help etc.) from the first display of a page on the site - at the earliest from the 3rd refresh / 3rd page visited or scroll-down if the site is "infinite scrolling" or with a reasonable delay in displaying a single page.
3. No banners / advertising (ex. Google Display Network) for external websites (unless they are operated by the same company - although even in this case, the decision must be well weighed). Best practices recommend that you do not advertise to third parties so as not to distract the user and make them to leave your site.
4. Shopping cart*, Login or Sign-up area**, a link to Contact or Customer Support or a visible phone number*** - all these 3 items must be placed in the upper right corner of the screen, according to general usage in e-commerce
5. Quick Shopping Cart (Mini Cart) - permanently displayed next to the Shopping Cart icon for information on the amount of products in the cart and the total value of purchases, as well as the ability to quickly view information essentials from the shopping cart on any page the user is on (product name, product thumbnail, price)
6. Visible notification to the user that a product has been added to the cart (for example, by pop-up) and the possibility to continue shopping after adding a product to the cart - most often it is advised that the online shop allows users to continue shopping, but this is not a valid general criterion. There are cases where it is recommended that the online shop leads the user directly to checkout (ex: I am less likely to add more products to my cart if I only need 4 winter tires or I am less likely to want more plane tickets / hotel reservations than the ones I need for my vacation, etc.) - it is scored according to the nature of the business or with N/A where it is not applicable.
7. Action color (e-commerce best practices recommend the use of a main color for action buttons - ex: "add to cart" button, "search" button, etc. - in stark contrast to other colors used in the site for highlighting the main action buttons in the visual hierarchy)
8. Breadcrumbs (on-site navigation chain) are extremely important for online shops that sell many products structured into categories and subcategories. Breadcrumbs makes it easy to navigate and help index your website in search engines, which is why it's important to be at the top of the page *, visibility ** and, most importantly, the smooth running of the navigation chain ***
9. Displaying previously visited products by the same user on a new visit to the site or product recommendations based on customer / visitor history
10. High-resolution images throughout the website (from the photos used in the marketing areas on the homepage, to the images on the category and product pages).
Studies show that low-quality images convey to users the feeling that the shop does not care about the quality of products sold or even their own customer service, causing potential buyers to be cautious about whether or not to buy from that shop. On the other hand, when the images used are of high quality, the perception of “ownership” of the product increases, the users being more prone to purchase. We recommend reading the study “The Effect of Mere Touch on Perceived Ownership”
11. No image on the site should exceed a maximum size of 150 kb (verified randomly)
12. The most generous thumbnail images in product lists (ex: homepage or category page) - increase visual engagement and user interest in products. The smaller the thumbnail images or the more products in the same product list (small, crowded, and crowded), the lower the user interest.
13. Avoiding imperative action messages that put pressure on the user - ex: international A / B tests show that users are more inclined to click the "Add to Cart" button than the "Buy" or ”Buy Now ” or “ Order Now ” button. Also, messages that involve the user (as an action that the user wants) convert better - ex: “I subscribe to…” or “I want to…” (source: ConversionXL Institute)
14. The logo of the online shop must be placed in the upper left corner of the screen, and it must be clickable with a link to the homepage. Market research shows that it is 6 times more difficult for users to return to the homepage by clicking on the shop's logo if it is positioned in the center of the page and not in the upper left corner. In addition, placing the logo in the center of the page can have a negative impact on users remembering the shop's name. We recommend reading the study conducted by Nielsen Norman Group in July 2016: “Centered Logos Hurt Website Navigation”
15. The main navigation menu must be sticky (at least on the Desktop) when the user scrolls down the page and must contain at least the following items:
- Shop logo with link to homepage
- Access to the navigation menu in the product categories (can also be "burger menu")
- Search bar
- Informative shopping cart
On Mobile, the menu can be displayed when scrolling up to the header.
16. The names of the site sections (including product categories) must be descriptive and intuitive. Steve Krug's classic Usability principle "Don't make me think" applies perfectly in e-commerce - the user does not have to imagine what he might find in a section with an ambiguous name, but each section should be titled as clearly as possible, by all accounts.
Example 1: In the print screen below, two of the menu sections have confusing names for users (What could I find in Cool Stuff? What's cool for you, is it for me too? But in the section called GOT? )
Example 2: Instead of using the title "Be informed" (confusing), why not use common words like "Blog", especially since the section refers to Blog?
17. Page 404 Not Found, personalized to keep users safe from errors (this should contain information needed to retain the user on the site and complete the transaction - ex: contact details, best-selling or similar products, a site search field, a link to homepage or a sitemap, etc., so that the user does not leave the site and can be converted into a customer)
18. No functioning errors while browsing the entire website.
19. Careful use of marketing markers, only where appropriate - if all products promoted on the homepage are accompanied by marketing markings, the effect of "banner blindness" will appear and thus none of the products will be highlighted compared to the rest - users will no longer see hero products. (homepage or category page)
Example 1: In the print screen below, all products are accompanied by marketing markings - none of which stand out in particular.
Example 2: In the following case, the use of only a few marketing bookmarks highlights certain products much better - those products that the online shop wants to bring to the users' attention.
20. Trust Seals (publishing trust marks from third parties visible on all pages of the site and especially in the checkout process. Example of trust marks, not limited to them: Trusted.ro, GPeC participant / winner, Verisign, GeoTrust, PayPal, Verified by Visa, MasterCard Secure Code etc.)
UX Mobile Audit
- Presence of essential content on the desktop and on the mobile version of the online shop (in addition to the promoted product catalog, there must be a minimum of pages containing help information, delivery and return policy, frequently asked questions, etc.)
- Adapted to different mobile screen sizes (visible text, easy-to-tap buttons, etc.)
- Use of mobile-specific elements (geolocation, click-to-call, click-to-sms)
- Visibility and ability to quickly access your phone number or contact information;
- No pop-ups;
- Shortest possible access time / speed of loading pages in the mobile version (check with ready.mobi);
- All links on the mobile website must link to mobile-optimized pages (randomly checked)
- Allocating adequate space between tapable elements - tapable elements that are too close to each other lead to unintentional clicks (this is most often the case with filters, footer links, etc.) - smartphone design good practices mention a space of at least 2 millimeters between the tapable elements on a mobile website
- Tapable elements (buttons, links, navigation elements, form fields, checkboxes) should be at least 7 x 7 mm - Apple studies mention 44pts which means 6,875 × 6,875 mm, Nokia mentions 7 × 7 mm for index finger and 8 × 8 mm for the thumb, and Microsoft recommends 9 × 9 mm and mentions 7 × 7 mm as the minimum
- Icons must be tappable on mobile interfaces;
- Auto-Refresh function when selecting or deselecting a filter - e-commerce good practices recommend avoiding "apply filter" buttons
- Dynamic Filters - Filtering options must be updated according to the user's selections to prevent an empty product list from being displayed, such as "Sorry, but there are no products that match your criteria.";
- Highlighting very clearly, from the first screen of the homepage, the products sold by the online shop;
- Easily accessible link on the homepage to check the status of the order - one of the main use cases on mobile devices (for example, the inclusion of the Order Verification status in the menu, whether the user is logged in or not);
- The space allocated to each search result in the list or category page should never exceed half the height of the screen in portrait mode - if the results exceed half the height of the screen, users lose their overview of search results and their number.
The approach with at least two product columns is also accepted.
- Generous and centrally located search bar with autosuggest function
- In the product list, the tapable elements must be intuitive - it is important that the user immediately understands where the tap will take them and does not have erroneous expectations about where a particular tap will take them.
- Use the "load more" option to navigate further in a specific results list or category page instead of paging options (hard to tap on mobile devices) or endless scrolling (does not allow the user to access footer information ). The page option can also be accepted instead of Load More, but the score cannot be maximum in this case.
- Selection of text or images should be turned off for category or search results pages, as deselecting can often be difficult on mobile devices.
- It is important to have the option to sort and filter the results on the category page so as not to leave the user scrolling through a very long list of products as the only option. Filtering and sorting is even more important on mobile devices than on desktop interfaces. It is recommended that filtering and sorting be found in nearby fields on the mobile website.
- Highlighting the selected filters in a product listing
- Option to delete all selected filters from a single tap in a product listing
- Persistent cart on mobile devices from desktop and vice versa for logged in users - for a significant portion of users, adding products to the cart is similar to adding products to the wishlist / favorites list to find them later and make a later decision on them;
- Avoid using drop-down menus for filters instead of the checkbox version - drop-down selection menus limit the user's overall view of filters. For cases where there are too many filters and options, it is recommended to either display them on a separate page / area, or display the first filters with the Show More option.
- Showing the "Back to top" button or icon on all pages, only if there is no Sticky menu - unlike on desktop, on mobile the user's tendency is to swipe very quickly to the bottom of the page.
- Possibility to add the products in a Wishlist. The button to add the product to the Wishlist should be located close to the main Call-To-Action on the product page, but not as well highlighted as the main Call-To-Action
- There are links to the product page in the shopping cart - for an important part of the users, adding the products to the cart is similar to adding the products to the wishlist / favorites list to find them later and make a decision on their;
- Disable autocorrect and self-capitalization in the order form fields
- Display the appropriate keyboard layout for the data that the user wants to enter (numbers or letters)
- Data persistence - user data input is temporarily withheld (content is not sent to the server at each request and then much more data can be withheld) when they return to a page to try again, for example after a error
- The main navigation menu must be sticky when the user scrolls down the page and contains at least the following items:
- Shop logo with link to homepage
- Access to the product category navigation menu ("burger menu")
- Search bar
- Informative shopping cart
- clear defining of the purpose for which personal data is collected (ex: online sales, marketing, etc.)
- mention of the customers rights
- information on indirectly collected traffic data (IP, cookie)
- mention which third parties have access to personal data, etc.
2. Inform the user about the cookie usage policy from the first visit to the site if third party cookies are used.
3. Correct information about the total price of the products / services on the product page (display the final price with all taxes and costs included or quick access to any costs that could not be included in the final price). According to current law and EU recommendations, the total cost must be displayed on the product page or there must be a method of calculating the final price on the product page.
4. Product descriptions must be as detailed and as accurate as possible (see, for example, EU Regulation 1169/2011). For example, in the case of food, everything that is written on the product label must also be included in the description on the site.
5. Display a functional link to the SOL Platform (it can be in the Terms and Conditions or in the site footer or in the Contact section).
6. Verifying of the correct terminology in the case of sales with discounts and sales with premiums, in accordance with OG 99/2000 and its implementing rules.
7. Increasing trust in the online shop by publishing the shop's customers' reviews about the purchase process; collecting customer opinions about the shop and publishing them (through systems such as Feedback.TRUSTED.ro, Compari.ro, etc. or another internal system).
Security Health Check
- Use a dedicated server with no sites or web services available at the same IP address other than ports 80, 443, 21, 22 (recommended). The purpose of using a dedicated server is that, in the event of a cyber attack on the site, the other services will not be affected, and in the event of an attack on those services, the online store will not be affected. Thus, we recommend that the e-mail server, VoIP services, database be accessible from another IP address.
- Lack of security incidents (malware, phishing). The site is verified by external tools from this point of view. Reporting security incidents from users affects the credibility of the online store in the long run.
- Lack of spam reporting incidents. The site is verified by external tools from this point of view. Reporting unsolicited commercial messages from users affects the long-term credibility of the online store as well as the IP from which these emails were sent.
- HTTPS implemented all over the website. The website is verified by external tools from this point of view.
- Correct SSL configuration. The site is verified by external tools as well as manually from this point of view. The security certificate must be configured correctly on the server, be accessible on all desktop and mobile devices, and have no known vulnerabilities.
- External access to critical services (ex: MySQL database, FTP, SSH) is restricted by a firewall or security system that limits unsuccessful authentication attempts after 3-5 attempts. The site is checked manually and by external tools from this point of view.
- CMS platform (Joomla, Drupal, Magento, WordPress, Opencart, etc.) and extensions are updated. The site is verified by external tools from this point of view.
- Email services use secure protocols such as SMTP / IMAP SSL / StartTLS. The site is verified by external tools from this point of view.
- Avoid publicly listing directories on the site (equivalent to Options -Indexes in .htaccess). The site is verified by external tools from this point of view.
- Blocking repeated attempts to illegally access an account (brute force attack): captcha after 4-5 attempts, lock timer, etc. Best practices suggest using a security system to block repeated attempts to fail an account.
SEO Health Check
1. Clean URLs - User / crawler friendly URLs. We will first identify URLs formed with the “#” symbol (which prevents the correct indexing of the content of the page thus generated or of the pages that change at the content level without changing the URL (ajax loading). Granting the maximum score for a logical URL structure (type site.ro/product-name).
2. Correct implementation of the Canonical Tag. A relevant sample of pages within the website will be checked to see if the tag exists and is implemented correctly. Critical areas to check: filters, categories, product variations, pagination.
3. Natural link profile. Will be evaluated elements such as domain authority, speed of the number of referring domains, anchor-text distribution (exact match vs. branded terms), the type of domains from which the site receives links (press, relevant publications, forums, personal blogs, etc.). )
4. Original content: Avoid duplicate content and "thin" content. Will be evaluated the existence of an area of original content in the site (Blog, Knowledge Base, article area, etc.), the existence and quality of the descriptions at category level as well as the degree of documentation of the products on the site).
5. Implementing html microdata tags (eg Schema.org) - Checking the correct implementation of the following schemes - Product, AggregateRating, Review, BreadcrumbList (check the product page first). Validation is done with Google's official Structured Data verification tool.
6. Correct implementation and optimization of meta tags: title, description, robots. The correct implementation of site tags on page types will be evaluated (ex: homepage, category, product, filter, pagination, etc.); the score will take into account the correlation between the content of these tags and the topic of the landing pages analyzed.
7. Correct implementation and optimization of the headline structure. Will be evaluated elements such as: the existence of H1 and H2 tags in the pages of the website as well as the texts on which they are implemented. The lack of tags in the main pages (category, product), attracts a minimum score.
8. Image optimization. From an SEO perspective, we will evaluate aspects related to image size, the use of ALT text, the name of image files, etc. by searching the site in Google Images. It will also check if the site has Google indexed images.
9. The presence of the robots.txt file and its proper use for controlling crawlable pages by Google. It is important that the file does not include instructions to block Googlebot access to the site and image folders, css or js files. If the file does not exist, it attracts a minimum score.
10. Mobile Friendly for Google Crawler; The site will be evaluated using the official Google analytics tool dedicated to this type of audit. The score is maximum or minimum, depending on the result of the Google tool.
11. Presence of a sitemap.xml file, defined in robots.txt or accessible at the standard address. If the file is not identified, the minimum score will be awarded, and the score will be changed on queries if the URL for accessing the sitemap file is provided.
12. The website has a canonical version defined (www or non-www) and there is no duplication of the homepage due to the accessibility of an address of type /index.php. Check how redirects between these versions are handled.
13. Correct implementation of the SSL certificate;
14. Site upload speed. It will be tested with Google Page Speed Insights for mobile and desktop. The score will be averaged between mobile and desktop speed as follows: 5 for score> 75, 4 for score between 50 - 75, 3 for score between 25 - 50, 2 for score less than 25.
Content & Social Media Presence Audit
E-Mail Marketing Campaigns Audit
1. The newsletter subscription is easily accessible on the website and is accompanied by the main benefits for which users should subscribe to the newsletter, as well as the announcement of how often newsletters are sent;
2. Hooks that bring visitors to various stages of the purchase funnel - examples, but not limited to: account creation, newsletter subscription form, brochure download form, launch registration, etc.
3. Welcome e-mail (the first e-mail after the confirmation of the newsletter subscription) presents the best content of the site and the values of the brand (ex: top offers, the best articles on the blog, the products with the best ratings, products with the most reviews, shop differentiators, etc.);
4. The newsletter sender is or at least contains the name of the online shop (ex: the email should not appear as being sent by a generic name, but by the name of the online shop);
5. Option to view the newsletter in browser;
6. Clarity, descriptiveness and attractiveness of the topics of the newsletters sent (online shops that use topics that may mislead the user will be downgraded);
7. Use pre-headers to capture users' attention and drive newsletters. The pre-header is a text that appears next to the subject before the e-mail is opened and can strengthen the message of the subject;
8. Consistency between the marketing message in the newsletter and the landing page reached by the user who clicked on that message (banner, promotion or product);
9. Correct viewing of the newsletter on most mobile interfaces used;
10. Customization of the newsletter according to the subscriber audience segmentation - avoid sending bulk newsletters to the entire subscriber database. For example, sending personalized newsletters by gender, purchase history, and customer profile;
11. Engagement - the existence of relevant automation and communication (examples: bouncing, cart abandonment, wishlist, product update, reactivation of inactive users, happy birthday, etc.);
12. Unsubscribe management: One click unsubscribe and collection of feedback.