Heuristic assessment – sometimes referred to as “heuristic testing” or “experience-based testing” – helps online retailers increase revenue and generate a return on investment in their digital initiatives.
This is an approach that the young jewelry company Astrid & Miyu used to maximize the earnings before Black Friday 2017, helping them to achieve a 144% increase in their revenue from the previous year and a growth of 133%. % of transactions.
Ultimately, this gives retailers a cost-effective way to improve and implement digital initiatives that generate maximum value for the business, whether that value comes in the form of revenue or operational improvements.
Ensure the ROI of digital investments
Deciding how and where to invest a budget in the development and evolution of a digital product such as an online store is a challenge, and it is easy for digital leaders to fall victim to common pitfalls.
A pitfall can be the decision to invest in new functionality rather than investing time in understanding how and where existing functionality can be improved.
Too often, new product components are approved and rolled out, while older areas of the website or app are overlooked. These ignored areas tend to be the old ‘fundamentals’ of the website or digital product built when it was launched, such as payment funnels, registration processes, and product pages. Neglecting these areas can lead to friction for your customers at critical points in their buying journey.
The problem arises when retailers fail to put business value at the heart of their digital roadmap. Digital initiatives should always be prioritized based on the tangible benefit they will produce for the business, be it revenue growth or operational efficiency.
So, in layman’s terms, digital investing absolutely has to factor in ROI and should avoid vanity measures. And that’s where heuristic assessment comes in – a cost-effective way to do it by identifying the most compelling opportunities to improve your online store or digital service.
What is heuristic evaluation?
Heuristic evaluation – first developed in the 1990s by Jakob Nielsen – is a method that aims to find usability issues by assigning a small group of reviewers to review the product and judge its performance.
To do this, it uses a set of recognized usability principles (“heuristics”) such as: “systems must speak the user’s language”, “the user should not have to remember information at the during journeys “,” errors should be avoided rather than just captured “, and so on.
Heuristic assessment uses a small group of people to examine a digital product on the assumption that different people with different experiences will have different problems. Obviously, there will be some overlap in the issues discovered, especially with obvious issues, but the results reveal a substantial number of unique issues identified by different reviewers.
Obviously, there comes a time when the law of diminishing returns applies to heuristic valuation – for example, when investing in more people to rate a store or ecommerce app doesn’t provide an interesting return. in terms of new issues that additional people discover.
In my experience, I have found that small groups of around four or five reviewers tend to produce the best results without everyone starting to identify the same issues. The key to success is to build a group with a wide range of experiences. Unsurprisingly, the individual issues highlighted by a software engineer, marketing manager, and graphic designer are likely to be different, so it pays to try and vary the types of people you use to test, rather than have four developers, for example.
How do heuristic tests work?
When performing an assessment, results are achieved by focusing the group on specific goals or user journeys that you want to assess. For example, you might want to study how easy it is for your customers to locate a specific item on your website using one of the available options.
This approach ensures that there is a clear and specific path or feature to evaluate and focuses all efforts on highlighting issues related to the same area of the digital product or service.
Each group member identifies and records issues or opportunities for improvement using a simple hypothesis format:
‘If we [change suggestion goes here]’:
● ‘This will result [assumed outcome goes here]’; and
● ‘We will know that we have succeeded when [metric changes]’
“If we display more detailed product information on the product page”:
● “This will allow customers to make a more informed purchasing decision”; and
● “We will know that we have been successful when the number of unwanted products returned
Using the above approach, it is possible to clearly identify the expected value that the change will bring. This, in turn, allows digital teams to prioritize improvement experiences in a backlog focused on creating value for the business.
The beauty of this testing strategy is that it is quick and easy, and does not require sophisticated testing systems to identify issues.
How Astrid & Miyu increased their online income through heuristic testing
Following the success of Black Friday 2016, Astrid & Miyu jewelry store wanted to maximize the revenue potential of Black Friday 2017. But as a small online business with limited budget and resources for site improvement, Astrid & Miyu had need a pragmatic and tactical approach focused on the main lessons learned from the previous year.
Together with digital consulting firm Inviqa, the jewelry retailer organized heuristic testing workshops with key stakeholders in the business. Critical Cyber Week customer journeys were mapped based on what was going to be most important to mobile shoppers and 18-30 year olds.
Opportunities for improvement across the entire course were reviewed at each step, and from there the team identified a list of improvement opportunities, with a focus on quick wins to be implemented. work and high impact that would make the best use of the available budget.
The result was a record Black Friday for Astrid & Miyu, which accounted for 17% of the retailer’s overall revenue in 2017, with a conversion rate peaking at 4.5%. The jewelry retailer has seen a 7% increase in loyal customers since Black Friday.
Try it out in your own business
Heuristic assessment should be part of every retailer’s arsenal when it comes to driving improvement. This is a very cost effective method of generating real value, with quick wins easily established by a small team during a one hour workshop. And with clear metrics associated with every improvement, validating success is easy.
Reviewing key areas of your online store to identify opportunities for improvement no longer has to be an expensive process. Because whatever your budget or limitations, approaches such as heuristic assessment allow you to identify improvements that will generate maximum return on investment.
Author: Brett Lawrence, Director of Business Consulting, Inviqa
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