What is a Road Map and How It Can Help Your eCommerce Site
Road Map: noun: a detailed plan to guide progress toward a goal or a detailed explanation.
If like me you remember physical road maps on paper, that are folded up and crammed into your glove compartment. Road maps help you get from point A to point B and maybe points C, D, and E when you weren’t familiar with the route to take.
Thankfully, navigation apps have replaced the clutter of paper maps and are far more convenient to use as they interact with your journey’s progression in real-time.
Ecommerce site management is its own journey. The destination can take many forms but ultimately it boils down to increasing conversions. It can be challenging with detours, accidents, wrong turns, and other hazards along the way. This is where a living, interactive, and authoritative ecommerce road map can offer meaningful guidance.
Today, site performance is a major factor in customer acquisition and loyalty. Many customers grow frustrated with the inability to find products, view and navigate easily on mobile devices, or not seeing preferred payment methods at checkout. If the site feels slow, looks dated, or if apps, features, and images are broken chances are you’re not maximizing opportunities to convert.
It’s understood that an ecommerce site is a work in progress, but how do you make sense of the route to take to achieve the performance your customers expect? You may understand problems and required fixes but are they defined in a coherent, holistic, executable plan that points out the path forward? It’s important to identify problems, define solutions, and execute changes in a way that is efficient and cost-effective, but also considers the cumulative effect of the changes as they occur in sequence and that leads to the maximum benefit and success.
What are the elements of creating an ecommerce road map? A roadmap should provide an actionable plan for making site updates.
Steps to Creating a Road Map
- Start with a detailed analysis of your ecommerce site and going beyond the typical CRO and SEO approaches. Types of audits to include:
- Technical Audit: Include reviews of infrastructure and website performance, code standards adherence, technical SEO, Google Analytics setup, and overall site speed.Applications Audit: Gather a list of all apps in use on the site and determine their feature usage, state of operability, and relative business importance.
- Accessibility Audit: including compliance reviews against WCAG 2.0 level A, AA, and AAA.
- User Experience Audit: including product discovery, overall usability, possible checkout friction, design/brand coherence, and neuromarketing best practices.
Prioritize. After completing these audits, prioritize in order of importance and with awareness of how one change can affect other pieces of the roadmap. It is crucial to understand what is most important for your team to work on throughout the process. Plan accordingly, the process will be unique to your site.
- Give yourself time. make at least a six-month plan to execute changes and observe and analyze the results of the implementations.
- Continuously update. Your roadmap should be a living document and updated monthly as new insights surface and as initiatives are implemented.
- Get help. If you don’t have the necessary skills or resources, or time, in-house, find a qualified development agency that can help you with all the above. They can act as your wingman for development work and provide strategic advice for each step of the journey.
Ecommerce can be a difficult journey, but a thought-out, insightful, holistic road map can pave the way to better site performance and Increased user satisfaction.