In this article, Benjamin Gundgaard shares his simple 8-step methodology for involving your customers in the development of your products and services.
Successful companies have one thing in common: they include their customers when building and optimizing their products, services, E-commerce stores, etc.
I consult E-commerce companies only; however, the methodology I now will share, in essence applies to all types of product development, web site design and many other types of optimization processes.
Get the data right
In order to analyze and thus understand your customers’ behavior, it is important to combine Qualitative and Quantitative data.
By doing so, you both will understand What your customers are doing and Why they are doing it:
What = Quantitative data
This type of data is collected based on numbers and numeric values from online tracking data, etc.
Why = Qualitative data
This type of data e.g., is collected through methods of observing customers interact with your products, E-commerce store, etc.
You need both types of data
When building or optimizing products, services, web- sites, etc., many companies make the mistake of basing their process on Quantitative data only — such as A/B Split Tests — where you test two different features, pages, etc. up against each other for a certain period of time.
However; by doing so, you may locate Where there are some issues, but you will never understand Why.
I often say:
“You can spend your entire professional life doing A/B Split tests without ever locating a single Conversion Killer (an is- sue that keeps your customer from buying your products / services).
Or, you can run a User Test and in 1 day locate 5-10 Conversion Killers + 20 to 80 other serious conversion issues”.
You have to understand What your customers do and Why they do or do not do it in order to create a focused and lasting impact.
This is why the process to the left is wrong and the one to the right is correct:
My optimization process
Therefore — in my experience — the best process is this:
1. User Test your site (product / service)
A user test is also called a “think-aloud test” because the users in the test speak about how they perceive the user interface: what they like, why they get stuck, etc.:
Most user tests are based on 5 representative customers, which will help you locate approximately 85% of all errors within the given tasks, as illustrated by this graph (source):
A user test is the most powerful tool I have ever experienced, when it comes to understanding the customers’ behavior. It does not take a lot of time to test, and it is based on real customers interacting with your E-commerce store (product/service).
I have conducted more than 250 user tests, and I learn something new every time. This makes me very humble in terms of just how effective and often very lucrative user tests are.
2. Prioritize the 30 to 100 issues you will find (Conversion Killers first)
Once you have located the issues in your E-commerce store (product/service), you can start out by prioritizing the issues.
This is an example of the number of errors I have located and prioritized in a client’s E-commerce store:
3. Compare user test issues with tracking data to locate Qualitative and Quantitative data clusters
Once you have user tested your E-commerce store (Qualitative data) you then can compare the findings in the user test with Quantitative Data, such as Google Analytics tracking data:
And then you can achieve your business goals, by following the remaining steps:
4. Improve the store
5. User Test the improved store before launching it
6. Fix issues
8. Run an A/B Split Test (if needed).
By following along this process, you both will understand Where in your store (product/service) you have Customer Experience issues and Why, which gives you optimum data and knowledge in order to improve your revenue and thus create the best business impact.
About the author
Benjamin Gundgaard is an International E-commerce Expert and Best-selling Author of Smartphone E-commerce. 18 years ago, he founded CustomerSense, where he consistently has helped companies such as IKEA, LEGO, TUI, Montblanc, GE and many other companies increase their online revenue by 15% to 300%.