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How to keep customers happy in the aftermath of a re-platform

Posted by Dan Berry on Friday 28 July 2017

If done correctly, re-platforming can be a miracle cure for your website’s conversion rates and sales revenue, but this will not be an overnight success. This can be because re-platforming can often cause more issues with a site than it previously had prior to the re-platforming. In fact, research from Forrester suggests that KPIs actually take a hit after a re-platform. With 39% of companies reporting that their conversion rates were negatively impacted by re-platforming.

If your new website platform is bug ridden, slow (doesn’t load within 3 seconds as per the user's expectations) and performs badly, you’re going to send your customers running to your competition. Not to mention that this could result in a negative impact on your brand. So how should you avoid upsetting your customers when you re-platform?

Conducting comprehensive functional and usability testing on your website is crucial to keeping your customers happy during a re-platform. Analysing your website in detail to discover any critical issues that could be driving customers away and then rectify them accordingly.

Here are some of the main areas that should be covered in your functional and usability testing during a re-platform:

Overall functionality

First of all, you'll be investigating further into the functionality of your website, to ensure that it is functioning as expected and providing a seamless user experience.

The functionality of your website should be tested across a multitude of different devices, especially the ones your customers are using! Utilising tools such as Google Analytics can identify the most common devices using your current platform. The scope of devices you test your website’s functionality on should extend further than just the main players at the moment. Be sure to include alternative and older mobile and tablets too due to the growth of devices in the marketplace. For example, the below image demonstrates the growth of Android devices alone. In 2012, Android had nearly 4,000 devices in the marketplace. In 2015 this has risen to almost 24,000, therefore it is critical to test on a broad spectrum of devices as they quickly become ‘outdated’.

Device Fragmentation and Web Testing

User login & security testing

When carrying out comprehensive web testing, you should test the ease and agility of logging in and the security that your site provides to your customers.

No one likes landing on a site where they struggle to sign in and waste time simply getting access to it. The login should be something each user barely thinks about, so make it easy for them to enter their information. These are all critical conversion points of your website and they need to function correctly in order to capture your visitor’s data which can impact your conversion rates. Logins can also include aspects such as a shopping cart or payment gateways. These need to be functionally tested to ensure that customers can input their payment and login details seamlessly providing a great customer experience.

A simple way to improve the user experience of logging into your website is to use a 'remember me' option where they tick a box and avoid having to sign in again on that device. This has been proven by a recent study which indicates that 38% of customers preferred mobile sites and apps that stored their personal information to provide a more personalised experience.

Not only do the logins and payment gateways need to be functionality tested, but so do the security elements. Security is of high importance to consumers today with 51% of them not purchasing from websites because they did not feel comfortable inputting their payment details. Conducting security testing is critical to keeping your customers happy during a re-platform. Ensure passwords, cookies, payment and confidential details are all tested thoroughly to encourage customers to place their trust in your website. This can’t be ignored with 69% of customers revealing that security drives their loyalty to mobile sites and apps.

Site architecture

Users want to be able to find what they are looking for fast. That includes important menu items like FAQs and the help section so they can find the answers they need. Don't hide these away. Make them no more than a click away on the main menu of your website so that no user ever gets frustrated searching for the information they need. By implementing testing on your site architecture you are simplifying the process for the user, almost so much so that it is almost self-explanatory navigating your website. Failure to implement a simple site architecture could result in site abandonment.

Loading speed

Speed is crucial on any website. The problem with speed is that performance varies considerably from browser to browser. So make sure you test your website on all of the standard browsers to ensure it is fast on all of them. You don't want half of your customers to have a positive experience and the other half to be suffering slow speeds, and the only way you'll know this isn't the case is through testing. The importance of this can’t be stressed enough when keeping your customers happy during a re-platform. Studies have shown that 68% consumers will abandon mobile sites and apps that take longer than 6 seconds to load.

Conduct usability testing

Next, you will need to test the usability of your website by carrying out a comprehensive usability assessment to optimise the customer journey and boost conversions. When people start using your website, they will start coming across glitches, some of them minor, some of them major and all of them annoying. Your task is to find the glitches before they do so you can fix them. You should conduct usability testing of your website with real life testers that reflect your target demographics. Also letting a tester carry out web testing on vanilla devices will often provide imperfect test results and conclusions. This is usually because they have never used this device before the results will not be authentic as they could be. Testers will not be accustomed to using this device every day and it will not reflect how an app or website will work in the ‘real world’ as well.

Better results come from testing

Web testing is essential if you want to ensure your users get the most out of your website and don't become frustrated when you re-platform. Comprehensive functional and usability testing covering the above areas can help you to catch and rectify all the problems that would otherwise frustrate your users and potentially lose you sales.

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Web testing and re-platforming