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Pre-Season Checkup

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching it's a good idea to do a general checkup on your store to be sure it's ready for prime time. Below are a few things you would want to check, along with a few add-ons that are not too major in scope, but which are often neglected and give you an edge over your competition.

Can you Search and Order?
Every time we do anything major in a store we test two things: whether searching and adding to cart/ordering works. You can have nice, flashy pictures, cool animation effects, a very quick loading site, anything, but if the store search is broken or you can't add to the cart or can't check out then an ecommerce site is worth nothing.

Can you Order?
Chances are if your checkout was completely broken you'd know about it by now, but it doesn't have to be totally broken in order to scare away potential customers. So go ahead, go to your site and first do a search and make sure it works. Then, add one or more products to your cart and go all the way through with the order. Do this in all major browsers and both on mobile and desktop. For starters, make sure you can add one or more items to the cart. Then, look for any visual breakages in the layout. Also check to make sure the little padlock remains in the browser's address bar next to your cart URL as you are checking out. You want to have a secure site (see below) but you definitely don't want to show a broken padlock icon on your checkout pages! To place a test order, you can either use VISA / 4111 1111 1111 1111 as your payment method, or just use your own credit card and cancel the order afterwards. The 4111 test credit card account will let you place an order all the way to the order confirmation page, except the order will not get actually placed and won't be part of your stats (it will be part of your Google Analytics stats, though.)

How is Search?
First go to your site and do a search to make sure it is up and running. Take a peek at your site search results page to make sure it is secure. If you are using Yahoo’s native site search, you should be using the latest version (the original version is no longer supported and is not secure). Make sure the pages display well on mobile and make sure the results are appearing as you expect for some test search terms.

How is Browsing?
Take a fresh look at your top navigation listings. Do they still accurately reflect your current, most relevant categorizations of your products? Does one landing on your site for the first time instantly know what you specialize in, and what browse action to take next? Look at the next level down in your navigation hierarchy and assess the presentation of the subcategories. Make sure the labels are easy to absorb and if there are quite a few listings to pore through, consider addressing via: consolidating, rearranging their order or grouping within categorical headers.

Build Content
While everyone would of course like to have a fleet of workers constantly churning out highly relevant content to load onto their store pages or on their blog, just do what you can. Start small. Share a one-off story about how satisfied a customer was, or capture images or record and post a video addressing what you might feel is the most mundane of tasks, e.g. opening up and setting up your product. You may end up addressing an actual customer’s question, and you will have provide additional relevant material for your now more engaging and hopefully more Google-worthy product page.

Live Chat
Online Chat still rules! Hands down, this is the preferred method of contact by customers. There are a variety of statistics supporting this, as well as as the significant increase in likelihood that they will convert after having engaged with you on chat. Customers just do not like anything impeding their purchasing process, and chat offers the quickest method to get them back on track if ever there is a question or issue to be resolved. If you are at all able to field the resources to support this tool, it may be well worth it.

Secure Site
This is supposed to be very old news but I still come across sites that don't have a secure storefront. Google all but requires it, and since most sites are all around secure (HTTPS), potential customers might feel uneasy about a site that is not. If your site is not secure, you can take a stab at securing it yourself or let us do the heavy lifting for you via our Secure Store Preparation Service.

Mobile Ready?
Again, by now no store should NOT be mobile ready, but some still are. With more and more of ecommerce happening on mobile devices coupled with the fact that Google now uses mobile-first indexing, no store should not be mobile-friendly anymore. If your store isn't, we can either make your current site responsive or set you up with Yahoo's adaptive mobile storefront.

Structured Data
Structured data markup (microdata, rich snippets, JSON-LD, etc.) are little snippets of code embedded in the HTML source of your pages to help Google (for example, but other services might look for this too) identify what is what in the page. For example, through structured data Google doesn't have to guess as to which part of the page is the price, which is the product image, the product name, etc. Structured data is not automatically part of any site, but you can easily determine if your site has them or not by putting one of your product pages though Google's structured data testing tool here: https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool
If your site doesn't have structured data set up, we can help you.

Custom "page not found" Page
By default, if you try to go to a page that doesn't exist in your store, you will be bounced to the home page. While better than nothing, an unsuspecting visitor might not know what hit them! At a minimum, you can dedicate just one page made to act specifically as a "page not found" page, or better yet, let us design a nice, custom page for this purpose. We can build out an attractive landing page with a number of useful category links to help get the user back on track as quickly as possible. Injecting some humor with puns related to your store’s branding or vertical market, doesn’t hurt either! You can visit our "Custom 404 Page" page to order and see some nice examples.
Enhanced Checkout Error Reporting
Usability experts agree, and studies clearly show that when shoppers make a mistake at checkout, they need extra help and attention to show what needs to be corrected. In any Yahoo store, when you make a mistake or leave something out on the shipping or billing page, you get a yellow box with red text explaining what you did wrong. In addition, every field that needs attention gets a small red asterisk next to it. Our Enhanced Checkout Error Reporting tool makes the error message text larger so it's easier to notice. It shortens the error messages, showing your customer just the essential information, i.e. the problems to be corrected. And finally, it removes the minuscule asterisks and instead, puts a noticeable red border around all the fields that require the shopper's attention.
Nicely Formatted Order Confirmation Email
Traditionally, order confirmation emails generated from Yahoo! stores were very basic, text-only messages with very minimal customization options. However, setting up richly formatted HTML order confirmation emails are now possible. Make a professional first (second) impression by delivering the order confirmation email in a format that matches the branding of your store. Order yours here.
For a limited time you can order any of the add-ons mentioned above from us and get a 10% discount by using the coupon code PRESEASON2019 at checkout.

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