Store Critique, the Look from the Outside
The best way to learn how your store looks like to the potential buyers is to ask other people to critique it.
There are different ways to solicit the feedback on your store:
- You can pass your store URL to your friends and family members, and ask them to provide you with their first impressions.
- Ask your kids to critique your store. You'd be surprised at things they notice.
- You can shout out to all your followers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
- You can approach your customers, who bought from you before, and ask them to provide you with their feedback on your store in return for a discount on their next purchase.
- Or you can ask your fellow crafters here on iCraft for their feedback. We have a thread on the Forum dedicated to Store Critique.
However, before asking others for a feedback, it's important that you've done everything to make your store look the best it can be!
Make sure you read our guidelines on setting up your store on iCraft, browsed through many helpful posts on forum on SEO, Writing for the Web, Photography Advice and visited our Selling Online section on iCraft Central.
Either if you want to critique someone else's store, if you want to get a feedback on your own store or even for self-critique, the questions you'd ask would be the same.
Here is a list of Suggested Topics/Questions:
- First Impressions
- As with anything, first impressions are usually the right ones. So ask people about their first impressions of your online product display.
- What words did they use to describe them?
- What did they think of your Avatar and your Banner?
Your avatar is the first thing people will see in store listings and in the community section. It has to be representative of what you sell and has to match the products that you currently sell. Otherwise, people will be disappointed when they click on your avatar only to find out that that particular product is not listed in your store.
- Whenever possible, observe people looking at your pages and make a note of their facial expressions.
- Did they look confused at any point, while looking at your product photos or when reading your product descriptions?
- Store Name
- Ask if it was easy for people to understand what you sell from your store name.
- Is your Store Name memorable, original, humourous and easy to type into a browser?
- What emotions did your store name envoke in people when they first heard it?
Read our Tips on Choosing a great Store Name.
- Copy Writing
- Ask if people understood from reading your Store Description, what art or crafts you specialize in and what products they'd expect to see in your store?
- If they gave you a wrong answer, ask them a follow up question "What gave you an indication that I am offering X?"
- What questions did people ask the most about your products after reading your Product Descriptions? See if anything on your pages answers those questions.
- Did people like your writing style? Was it too dry and boring, too cheerful or too wordy?
- Was it easy for them to scan your pages for Keywords? Or did it take them a long time to read your descriptions to figure out what your products are?
See A few Simple Rules for Writing Effective Web Content
- Shipping Setup
- Did people comment on your shipping charges?
- If they didn't, ask them if they thought your shipping charges were reasonable.
- Do you ship internationally? If you don't, ask people from different geographic regions if they'd buy your products.
- If your shipping charges are really estimates, did people understand that you would refund them any amounts that you overcharged later?
- Store Policies
- Ask people if they thought your Store Policies were clear to them.
- Did they set right expectations?
- Did they convey that you are a serious business owner and will act in a professional manner when it comes to returns and cancellations, or delivering your products on time.
- Did people feel after visiting your store that they can expect a great customer service?
- Did they instill trust in a buyer?
- Did people still have questions about your store policies, after they visited your store?
- Are your prices too high?
- Are they too low?
Low prices are not alsways good. They might send buyers a message that your products are low quality.
- Your prices should reflect the quality of your work, materials purchased and the time you invested in creating your products.
- Did people like your sales and discounts?
See Anchoring or why we all get influenced by comparisons
- Product Display
- Was it clear to people how to use your products, how to care for them or for whom they are intended for?
- Always keep in mind changing seasons and holidays. Your winter hats might not be selling in the summer not because there is something wrong with your product.
- Do you have enough products in your store to offer variety?
- Do you have too many products that are not related?
Seeing Hats, Soap and Artwork in the same store may be confusing to people.
- What did they think of your product photos?
- Are your product photos too busy with extra graphics, borders and logos or too blurry/too dark that it's hard for people to see the product on them?
- Could they see your product in a detail?
- Do you provide at least one close-up photo of your product, a photo that shows the whole piece, a photo of your product being used and maybe one that shows it on a person or beside an object to demonstrate scale?
Don't forget that people can't touch and feel your products online. So they have to rely on product photos when making decisions on color, texture, softness or warmth of your items. Great product photos is a key in picking up sales!
- Did you emphasize the handmade nature of your items or the fact that they are ideal for winter activities, prom, expecting mothers or as a Valentine's Day Gift? Did people "get it" how unique your items are?
- Ask people to look at your product photos in search results. Do they stand out and make people want to click on them?
- Do people like looking at your products or would they actually consider buying them? Ask them if they would buy any of your products and why?
- Try to look at your store from the buyers' perspective.
Remember - any feedback is a good feedback!
It's your opportunity to learn things you haven't considered yet and a way to improve.
For most sellers, improving store and product display pages is an ongoing process, that goes hand in hand with learning what works and what doesn’t. So don't get discouraged if you don't get everything right the first time. Even small, incremental changes can make a big difference over time!
~ Please let us know if this is article was helpful in the comments below. Thanks!