I do not recommend this store – an audit of an online store’s image on the web

“It sucks”, “I recommend this seller”, “Scammers” – opinions about our online store not only make us smile but are also the reason behind breakdowns. They are also a great source of information concerning our brand and its recipients. Take advantage of that information to change your strategy, thanks to carrying out regular audits of your brand on the Web.

An audit is most often carried out by online store owners in two cases:

  • when they move their store to a new platform – because it is a great opportunity to implement improvements and changes expected by customers,
  • when the number of orders and store’s revenue decrease – because they are looking for the reason behind this.

Of course, these are situations in which an audit is definitely recommended. However, some elements of the online image should be monitored regularly, for example in a quarterly/monthly manner, to verify “what” and “how” our recipients say about us. 

The Internet is full of checklist for conducting an online image audit, and I also attach such a list for you. However, in this article we will focus on how to draw value out of an audit and how to motivate yourself to do it regularly.

Base

The form of the audit itself depends on many factors, for example is it a manufacturer’s or market place’s store, is it B2C or B2B, how many products does it offer and how its promotion channels look like. The base consists in verifying how our brand is perceived in individual channels.

When carrying out an audit, tools such as monitoring keywords (e.g. SemRush) and Social Media monitoring (e.g. Brand24, SentiOne) will be important, as well as tools proposed by Google (e.g. Google Search Console).

The first step consists in verifying the image of our brand on the Web. In order for the data to be more valuable it is worth comparing it with an analysis of competitors and/or benchmarks (from other industries, good examples from e-commerce). 

The key is, however, primarily transferring audit conclusions to goals and recommendations for the brand.

Audit through the prism of goals, meaning OKR

If you do not have goals set for the store’s online image yet – an audit is a great moment to set them. It is also worth establishing a process for their regular monitoring, for example once a quarter or month (depending on the needs) and updating individual metrics.

What can these metrics be? Examples below:

Such a way of visualizing goals and progress/stagnation/regression in pursuit of their implementation allows for ongoing monitoring in which areas our store develops in the desired direction, and in which there are any irregularities. However, just setting a goal and monitoring the level of its implementation is not enough. It is crucial to think about what caused the changes. And also what we can do to achieve the set goal.

Example:

Several elements that may be thought-provoking are visible in the table containing targets. First of all, a slow increase in the number of opinions on Facebook in connection with a decline in the average rating in this channel. As well as a rapid increase in the average rating on Facebook in comparison with a sudden rise in their number. In the first case, it is worth considering what changes in our store, service, or products we have introduced, which caused these few extremely negative opinions. It is also necessary to get acquainted with the opinions of clients and to eliminate factors responsible for the decrease. In the second case, one should consider which of our activities have resulted in such a positive increase in Google reviews and strengthen them.

Unique Value Proposition described by users

Another element worth analyzing during an audit of the store’s image is the qualitative analysis of users’ statements about your brand. If the number of opinions concerning your store is not large then:

  1. Move all opinions to one file, for example Excel. 
  2. Divide individual sentences/phrases into 3 types: positive, negative and neutral (for example in 3 columns).
  3. Group the opinions into those that apply to the same areas.
  4. Discard repetitive ones: strong and weak sides (you can use tag clouding tools to do this).

In the case of a large number of opinions for the qualitative research you can use tools that combine internet monitoring with sentiment research, for example SentiOne.

Elements presented among the areas repeating in the field of strengths will present your: 

  • hygiene factors (for example delivery time, compliance of products with their description) – their presence signals that your store has a good base for promotion (their absence may cause other advantages to be irrelevant),
  • Key Selling Points (for example delivery in 24h, instant refund) – start using them in the sales process,
  • Unique Value Proposition – elements that make your brand outstanding, unique values, emotions that your brand offers to recipients – which are the basis for your promotion, communication, and brand building.

Perform a similar analysis in terms of weaknesses. Think about which of them apply to:

  • hygiene factors – improve those elements first,
  • Key Selling Points – improve them or remove from communication so that the customer receives what was promised in the sales process,
  • Unique Value Proposition – is a verification whether you provide value, your brand’s promise.

Example:

An opinion concerning the Risk Made in Warsaw brand online store on Google:

This opinion constitutes an excellent mix of key elements concerning the brand, and one can read a lot from it, including:

  • tracksuits with the wow effect constitute the brand’s UVP, consistently promoted since the beginning of its existence,
  • beautiful photos in the brand’s online store are its Key Selling Points, so their non-compliance with reality is especially painful for the client,
  • the quality of the clothes in the context of the fact that it is a Premium store, constitutes a hygiene factor.

Audit and persona update

When performing a qualitative analysis of opinions concerning your store in different channels, it is worth checking to what extent does the profile of commenters coincide with the assumed persona (customer profile). Of course, an analysis of purchase data from the store combined with data from analytical tools, already provides detailed information about clients in terms of their demographic data (gender, age, location, etc.), preferences or shopping potential. 

However, the qualitative analysis provides a completely different picture of our recipient. We can even learn about the goals, motivations, priorities, purchasing factors or even mapping personality traits or information about the world view (if they are an important element of our image strategy).

Example:

A great example is the Zalando brand, which in its communication promotes original fashion solutions and a variety of recipients. The persona (globally and generalized) is probably a young person who wants to be distinguished, possesses quite liberal views and a bold approach to fashion. The brand uses it in Social Media for communication which is quite original. However, perhaps the persona on the Polish market, despite demographic coherence, differs from other markets in terms of world view or purchasing factors. This may be indicated by negative comments that regularly appear under the brand’s posts on Facebook, criticizing precisely the diversity of models or stylistic boldness.

Example comments from the brand’s fanpage:

  • Karolina: “Is this a chick or a guy?” <under a post with a model of androgenic beauty>
  • Piotr: “a dump as worthy as Podkarpacie“<under a post with a bold stylization>
  • Karol: “The eyes and ears hurt… It is a pity because you are a brand from which one expects something cool at a certain level, and this looks like advertising drugs 馃槈 “ <under a post with a very dynamic advertisement>

The solution in this case depends on the situation and scale of the phenomenon. It may consist in changing the communication to one more tailored to the recipients, changing an advertisement attracting traffic to the store into one more suited to the persona, or omitting comments as having no impact on sales and image taking into account mass promotion channels. The decision belongs to the persons responsible for the image in Social Media and should be based on data.

Audit and sales

“Okay, but how will this audit translate into sales – it’s a priority for me” – you can say so. And you will be right! Performing an audit without translating the conclusions into specific changes, recommendations, or conclusions is pointless. That’s why I immediately provide some examples of actions that can translate into sales.

Example 1 – ISO and shopping needs

ISO or In search of, #OOTD – Outfit of the day, or group orders for products on Facebook groups constitute a real ranking of the most popular products, as well as a great research concerning the demand for a given product. Therefore, it is worth monitoring industry or thematic groups as well as those devoted to our online store and competition. And on that basis, modify the offer, introduce those products for sale for which there is the highest demand.

Example 2 – Products in the Google store

Verifying whether our products are displayed in the Google store is one of the key steps of an audit. If the user enters the names of products in the browser (for example Smiki educational mat) or their categories (for example educational mats), Google displays recommendations from its store as the first search result in the form of an advertisement. The lack of our offer in Google Shopping may directly affect our sales results.

Example 3 – Opinions on Allegro

Negative feedback from Allegro customers may constitute a reason for our store on Allegro being closed or suspended for some time. A regular audit of new opinions combined with the verification of average ratings and the number of negative reviews can save us from blocking this sales channel.

Performing an audit of the store’s image on the web is not an easy task. There are over 20 items to check on the base list of tasks, plus verifying the activities of competitors, as well as drawing conclusions, introducing changes, and measuring the results. However, it is worth performing it regularly, because it is not only a great database of information concerning our clients, their needs and expectations, but also a way to increase sales.

Tool:

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Beata Mos贸r-Szyszka
Beata is a strategist, marketer and lean consultant with over 14 years of experience in the international market.

She helps companies create and/or optimize their business model, and translate it into effective strategies, tactics and specific actions. She is the author of Lean Marketing Sprint, a method for creating marketing campaigns, and Values Poker, a tool for working with values.

As a speaker Beata performs at Polish and international conferences (e.g. Lean Startup Days Paris, VC night by Viva Technology, Open Living Lab).

Beata also has experience in organizing and designing acceleration programs such as Google LaunchPad Warsaw & WARP by Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile & Cisco.

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