How to Carry Out a UX Audit on your E-commerce Website

How to Carry Out a UX Audit on your E-commerce Website

Co-written by our team of in-house, UX experts. This post guides you through the ins and outs of performing a UX audit on your eCommerce store. Whatever you sell, from skincare to sportswear, the principles are the same. 

How do you carry out a UX audit on an eCommerce website?

In the highly competitive world of e-commerce, you never want a less-than-optimal User Experience (UX) to lose you sales. The best way to prevent this starts with a UX audit.

What is a UX audit?

A UX audit is a thorough analysis of your website. It places a big focus on the user's journey - allowing you to get to grips with exactly what your customers are after and how they navigate your site from browsing to purchase. A successful UX audit should leave you with clear, actionable insights to improve your website’s performance for your customers. 

Why is a UX audit important?

The importance of a UX audit cannot be overstated. A well-designed, user-friendly website has the power to dramatically improve your conversion rates, customer loyalty, and ultimately, your profits. 

During the audit, you’re likely to uncover issues that have been flying under your radar, especially if you’re visiting your site nearly every day. Certain glitches or suboptimal features can easily escape your notice - maybe your navigation can be more intuitive, or perhaps the text on your site has accessibility issues that have been overlooked? Could your checkout process be leaking sales? Or is your site's loading speed causing you to lose potential customers?

1 in 4 visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load, and a staggering 50% won’t give your website a second chance

1 in 4 visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load and 50% won’t give your website a second chance

This alone makes a strong case for why a UX audit is crucial - a UX audit will help you identify and rectify any costly hiccups to ensure your website is delivering an enjoyable experience for all users.

What should be included in a UX audit for an ecommerce website? 

A UX audit should never be a shallow skim through your website. You’re going to need to be thinking about all the various aspects of your store that influence a user's experience. Here are the important ones:

  • User Interface (UI): This includes the visual elements of your site. Things like colour schemes, typography, the placement of buttons, images, and product descriptions. Everything should be clear, engaging, and purposeful.

  • Navigation & Site Search: How user-friendly is your site's navigational structure? Is your menu and footer cluttered? It should be simple for users to find specific products and navigate smoothly from browsing to purchase. And in ecommerce, search functionality can also be a game-changer.

  • Product Information: Are your product descriptions, images, and pricing information clear, accurate, and compelling? 

  • Checkout Process: Examine the checkout process for ease and efficiency. Too many steps, or unnecessary complexities, can lead to cart abandonment.

  • Performance: This is to do with the loading speed of your site and how smoothly it functions. Remember, even a slight delay in load times can drive potential customers away - not to mention, it could also hinder your SEO efforts. Page speed is a vital ranking factor for search engines like Google. 

  • Accessibility: Make sure your website is accessible to all users. Remove barriers that would disadvantage those with disabilities. Consider features like having alternative text for images, sufficient contrast for readability ( is a great site for checking this!), and mobile-friendly text size. 

Steps in conducting a UX audit

For anyone wanting to carry out a DIY UX audit - here’s a rundown of steps you can follow when auditing your ecommerce store:

1. Establish your objectives and determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Why do you want to run a UX audit? What are you hoping to achieve? Start by determining your UX goals. 

Naturally, these goals will vary depending on your current situation, business objectives, or even the specific challenges you're facing. Some examples might include ‘improving conversion rates’, ‘reducing cart abandonments’ or ‘increasing customer retention’. 

2. Gather user data and analyse for insights

As an ecommerce business, you should have access to various tools and methods for  collecting important user data for your audit. 

Google Analytics 4 is a great place to start (we recommend looking at the new path exploration function which lets you observe the journey users take when on your site). 

For Shopify users, Shopify Analytics provides many invaluable insights. You might also consider other kinds of data like customer feedback, surveys, etc.

All of this data can reveal important patterns and behaviours that could be crucial to understanding how customers are interacting with your site. For example, you may notice that a lot of users are dropping off at the product selection stage. This might indicate that people are having difficulty finding the products they're looking for - or even overwhelmed by too many options. On the other hand, if users are consistently abandoning their carts, there might be issues with your checkout process.

 3. Understand your user - create detailed user personas

 You can’t conduct an effective UX audit without really thinking about your user. This step is all about understanding exactly who your users are, what they want, and what their pain points might be. 

Start by creating user personas - these are fictional representations of your typical customers. These personas should be based on real data and research. You may have a persona like Jem, for example - a busy dad who prefers to shop on mobile and really values fast, easy checkout options. Or Lizzie who appreciates detailed product descriptions and high-quality images. Don't skip this step!

4. Visualise user interactions - create user journey maps

 A user journey map is a visual representation of the process a user goes through to achieve a goal on your website. This usually involves mapping out the steps a user would take from landing on your site, browsing products, adding to cart, and finally checking out.

For instance, if a user persona is someone who usually visits your store to buy skincare products, map out the steps she would take. Would she first check the new arrivals? Would she read the product reviews or compare different products before deciding what to buy? How easy is it for her to find her preferred payment method?

Highlight areas where the experience can be made smoother or even just more enjoyable for your customers.

 5. Plan and design changes through wireframes

At this point - you've gathered all your data and it's time to start drafting up solutions for the problems identified during your UX audit.

Wireframes are essentially simple designs that layout the changes you plan to make, allowing you to visualise your ideas before implementing them.

For example, if you've found that your product pages are way too cluttered, you may sketch out a more streamlined design. Or if your site's navigation has proven to be confusing, experiment with different menu structures. This step allows you to get a feel for your changes before you put in the effort and resources to make them live.

 6. Prioritise, implement and test your changes

After creating your wireframes and gathering feedback, it's time to decide which changes to make first. 

Start by prioritising the updates based on their potential impact and how they fit with your business goals.

If you've found that your site's slow loading speed is causing customers to abandon their carts, improving your site speed should be a high priority as it directly impacts your conversion rate (on that note - we think site speed should always be a high priority!).

Once your priorities are set, implement the changes in your live environment. But remember, your work isn't done after the changes go live. You should continue to monitor user behaviour and gather feedback to measure the impact of your updates and identify any further areas for improvement.

how to conduct a UX audit infographic

How long does it take to conduct a UX audit? 

As you’ve probably realised, conducting a UX audit can take a fair bit of time, often requiring specialised skills and tools.

The time it takes a ‘newbie’ to carry out a UX audit, compared to a seasoned UX professional will of course differ. It also of course, all depends on the size and complexity of your ecommerce store. Do you have 50 pages on your site or 500? 

It’s also worth remembering that a UX audit isn't a one-and-done process. User preferences and behaviours can change, as can technologies and industry trends - so regular UX audits should ideally be part of your strategy to keep your eCommerce site relevant, competitive, and user-friendly. It won’t always have to be as in-depth a one you would carry out if you were redesigning your site, however..

The benefits of a (free) professional UX audit

While DIY UX audits can be very enlightening, having expert eyes on your site can make a world of difference.

UX specialists can spot less obvious problems, recommend proven solutions, and implement changes that will have a significant impact on your conversion rates. Check out some case studies of our successful UX audits

3 Case Studies: UX Audit for Shopify Stores

Book a free UX audit

You never want to let potential sales slip through the cracks due to a less-than-optimal User Experience (UX). Our team at Rainy City can help you uncover hidden opportunities to improve your Shopify store. Get in touch today for a professional UX audit. While our free audit might not be as in-depth as the steps we've outlined, it will undoubtedly provide you with a ton of valuable insights!

book a free UX audit for eCommerce stores with rainy city agency

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James McManus

James McManus

Shopify Growth Consultant

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