A friend of mine was commenting this weekend that she was missing her favorite chai tea. It used to be served in a local coffee shop and then, for whatever reason, the shop changed brands and the chai tea has never been the same. Being the uber-Web-nerd that I am, I asked if she knew the brand and when she did, I stepped up and said, “I bet we can find it on the Internet!”

A quick google search for Oregon Chai concentrate using the search terms “buy Oregon chai” delivered the following results:

Making Sure Your E Commerce Site Appears as Intended

The very first search engine result was exactly what I was looking for–a link to the Oregon Chai brand’s store locator so that I could see about finding some at a local retailer. (Keep in mind that any number of your customers use the Internet in exactly this same way–research online, buy in-store.)

When I clicked on the highlighted link above, I was taken to the following web page:

Making Sure Your E Commerce Site Appears as Intended full chai website

GAH! I stumbled on a page where the current design made it nearly impossible to read the text! Here’s a close up:

Making Sure Your E Commerce Site Appears as Intended close up

I’m guessing that this is not how the Oregon Chai Marketing Department–or Web Master–wants this page to appear to site visitors looking to buy Oregon Chai. Chances are pretty good (based on what I saw on the rest of the site, which looks great) is that someone put the wrong HEX code in for the copy on this page. Unfortunately, most consumers don’t really care about the hair pin turns of website code–they simply hit the back button and go to another website.

I don’t point out this boo-boo on the Oregon Chai website to ridicule them or make light of the error. Rather, I want to call out the importance of reviewing your website from the perspective of your customer to make sure that it appears the way you intend.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you consider how your own ecommerce site looks to the public:

Review each page after you publish it. Yes, I mean go look at every page you publish to make sure the font and color choices are right, your copy is accurate, prices are correct and the page layout is what you expected. A little review now can save you a ton of heartache later. Consider the pricing glitch that recently had Amazon selling items for $0.01!

Check each page in the four major web browsers. Just because I prefer Google Chrome as my web browser doesn’t mean I should ignore how my site performs in Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari. Make sure you check our your site in each of the major browsers to ensure that differences in how code is rendered doesn’t result in your site looking goofy to the visitor.

Run a broken link checker. Nothing is worse during the ecommerce shopping experience than running into a broken link. Avoid sending your customers to dead ends by running your site thorugh a broken link checker program. There’s a number of options available on the market and most of them are free, so there’s no excuse for having broken links on your website! Looking for a link checking suggestion? Try LinkChecker.

Have someone else check your website. The reality is that the closer you are to the layout and design and copy of your website, the more likely your eye will skip right over them, so it pays to have someone who isn’t as familiar with your site spend some time on it. Chances are good that they will notice mistakes that your eye didn’t even see!

Taking a little time to double check how your ecommerce site looks on a periodic basis will ensure that your customers are never left in the lurch!

For more tips on how to ensure your ecommerce provides the most personalized and customer-centric online shopping experience possible, download the white paper, Increase the Cart: Creating a Personalized Ecommerce Shopping Experience.