Why November Is The Most Underrated Time Of Year To Conduct An Ecommerce Website Audit

The Good
5 min readOct 19, 2023

The holidays are the busiest time of the year, and people often underestimate the power of a website audit. In reality, it can be a useful tool to set yourself up for success.

I like to equate the perception around conducting ecommerce website audits in November to the scrawny kid at the start of a sports movie.

They’re completely misunderstood. Just because everyone thinks they won’t make an impact and it isn’t their time, doesn’t make it true. In fact, by the end of the movie, everyone sees how that scrawny kid can be the hero of the team.

Similarly, conducting an ecommerce website audit in November is completely misunderstood. It can be a hugely powerful tool to both make the most of your end-of-year surges in traffic and set yourself up for success in the coming year.

November audits are the misunderstood kid who evolves into a star athlete by the end of the film. And by the end of this article, my goal is for you to see how a Q4 audit can be the hero of your ecommerce team.

Ecommerce Brands Are Juggling A Million Things In Q4, How Can We Fit In Website Audits?

I often see ecommerce managers take their foot off the optimization gas pedal during Q4.

They cite that they’re entering a code freeze or working on more important holiday campaigns. Some even argue that it isn’t worth analyzing their visitors from Black Friday or Cyber Monday because they are all bargain hunters who won’t return.

While all of those points have an element of truth, they shouldn’t stop you from continuing optimization efforts. I recognize that ecommerce website managers are juggling a million things but optimization can and should still be top of mind during Q4.

One way to make sure that happens is to run ecommerce website audits. Amplify the impact of your team, bring in the experts, and get extra eyes on the surges in traffic you are sure to get from your marketing efforts.

You can level up against the competition by continuing your optimization work through the end of the year.

8 Benefits Of November Ecommerce Website Audits

So what benefits can you expect from running website audits in November?

1. You Have More Sessions And Data Than Normal

During the holiday season, ecommerce stores experience a surge in traffic and transactions, with many of them coming from new-to-file customers (who you really want to optimize the shopping experience for).

This increased activity provides a wealth of data and user sessions, making it an ideal time to perform an audit.

With a larger dataset, you can quickly identify trends, patterns, and issues on your website, gaining valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t.

2. Your Site Is Full Of High-Intent Visitors

This is also a time of year when a greater portion of visitors are high-intent.

Holiday shoppers are actively seeking products and deals.

By auditing your website in November, you can better understand and assess the behavior of motivated shoppers. This knowledge enables you to tailor your user experience and marketing strategies to cater to their needs effectively.

3. Learn About Different Types Of Shoppers

The holiday season attracts a diverse range of shoppers, including first-time buyers, gift shoppers, and regular customers.

By conducting website audits, you can gain insights into these various customer segments that you may not typically have data on.

Understanding their preferences and behaviors allows you to supplement your optimization program and create a more comprehensive strategy that considers the needs of all customer types.

4. A Code Freeze Means Fewer Variables

If your ecommerce business is in a code freeze during Q4, you won’t be making significant changes to your website’s code or structure. This means that the variables affecting your site’s performance remain relatively stable.

Website audits performed in this context provides a clear snapshot of how your site is currently performing without the influence of continuous testing and changes.

5. Prove Your Investment

During the peak holiday season, ecommerce businesses invest heavily in improving the customer experience.

An audit allows you to validate this investment by assessing the impact of your CX initiatives. It’s an opportunity to showcase the positive changes you’ve made and identify areas that may require further attention to maximize your ROI.

6. Extend Your Visibility During Busy Times

With so many priorities during Q4, it can be challenging to keep an eye on your website’s performance.

Having an external set of eyes on your site through website audits helps extend your visibility. Experts can identify issues and opportunities that you might miss amid other responsibilities, ensuring that you make the most of the holiday season.

7. Leverage Time & Budget

Instead of letting your time and budget go underutilized towards the end of the year, conducting ecommerce website audits in November is a productive way to make the most of your remaining resources.

It’s a strategic use of your budget and can have a substantial impact on improving your site’s performance, conversion rates, and overall customer satisfaction.

By capitalizing on these benefits, ecommerce businesses can maximize their potential during the busy holiday season and position themselves for continued success in the upcoming year.

8. Set Yourself Up For A Successful 2024

Conducting user research in Q4 provides a strategic advantage by setting your ecommerce business up for a successful year ahead.

By gaining insights into user behaviors, preferences, and pain points during the holiday season, you can tailor your strategies for 2024.

This early knowledge allows you to hit the ground running in January and make data-driven decisions based on real-world user interactions.

Why Is It An Especially Good Year To Conduct Q4 Ecommerce Website Audits?

So, now you know why I think November is misunderstood. There are tons of benefits for running an ecommerce website audit. But, normally, I would still hesitate to emphasize November as better than other months.

Every season has its benefits. But this year in particular there is an advantage to conducting an audit in Q4.

Shopify shared at a recent enterprise event that in their ecosystem:

  • For about half of sites, traffic volume is down YoY
  • Conversion rates are down YoY
  • Average order value is down YoY

We have seen similar trends across clients and contacts in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce space.

If you’re nodding your head and thinking “thank goodness I’m not alone,” then let’s talk. Conducting website audits is the first step to figuring out WHY you’re experiencing these declines and understanding how your website can be optimized to help combat any further dips.

A Q4 Website Audit Could Be The Hero Of Your Ecommerce Team

So, I hope you agree that website audits in November aren’t a terrible idea, they are just totally misunderstood. I would argue that it’s the most underrated time of year to bring in an external perspective and amplify your impact.

Don’t miss the opportunity to set yourself up for success in 2024. Review your site now, do your user research, get a roadmap ready, and then hit the ground running.

I promise you’ll be strides ahead of your competitors and well on your way to being just like that hero at the end of a sports movie.

Originally published on thegood.com.



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