Zen Cart Usability in a Nutshell

By Melanie Prough on Friday, May 14, 2010
Filed Under: Zen Cart Tips












Converting Sales Sales

So you have your new Zen Cart up and running, have a bit of traffic and you are ready to make some money… Right?

First off, if you are not using Google Analytics with conversion tracking properly set up, then come back in a couple of weeks… You’re not ready.

So you worked hard to get all those products in, you are using some product feeds and you have some decent traffic coming in…. But no sales?

There are many reasons for this, that are VERY obvious once you have a look…. Here are the top 10.

  1. Your prices are too high
  2. Your images and descriptions suck
  3. You have SSL unsecured warnings or checkout is broke
  4. You are using only PayPal or Google Checkout (get real processing)
  5. Your site is slow slow I can drink a beer while your page’s load
  6. Your site looks unprofessional or ugly
  7. Your shipping rates are off the hook
  8. Your site does not look trustworthy
  9. Your product sucks
  10. You have ads and popups in your site

Given my experience with things you cannot even imagine, our site reports genuinely show these are the top 10 reasons why carts with a bit of traffic have no sales. How about we give you a quick list to check monthly, so your sales don’t suck too?

  1. Pick a product each month and completely review the page very critically, ask for help and feedback from others. Make changes based on your feedback and watch the page’s performance for a month.
  2. Check your prices against other sites in your “league” of organic rank. So if you are #12 SERP, then check 9 through 14’s prices against yours.
  3. Run through your checkout using different browsers, addresses, user accounts and with a different combination of products. Check for display issues, security warnings and other errors like “We are not shipping to your region at this time“.
  4. Check your speed and make improvements in caching, image size and other things under your control. Install FireBug and PageSpeed in your FireFox browser.
  5. Surf your website for 10 minutes and try to determine if the navigation is logical enough for a 4th grader. If it’s not, keep working on this by changing 1 thing a month only. (So you can measure the results)
  6. Work on trust issues within your site, things like phone number in a prominent location, proper policies, shipping rates apparent and easy to understand, contact page and professionalism. Much of this will be design work, and I know you have no sales, thus no budget…. So pick one small thing a month and have a designer fix it.
  7. Under Tools >> Store Manager >> Empty your admin log and optimize your database.
  8. Backup your entire site (including database) and download it to your local machine.
  9. Send a newsletter about notable website or product changes and some sale items.
  10. Call or email a customer from the month and offer them a coupon/gift certificate in exchange for some feedback about their experience on your site.

This, like so many other things in our lives can be made easy to accomplish by planning, scheduling and habit. So plan a day every month to do these things. If you really want to increase your potential for success, also spend 10 minutes a day digging around in analytics 4 times a week and add at least one new page to your site every week.

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One Response to “Zen Cart Usability in a Nutshell”

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