People are discovering your Shopify store. Your marketing channels are coming alive, and your messaging is resonating with potential customers. That’s a great starting point. But how do you know what’s actually working? Further, how do you know you’re not leaving even more conversions on the table? What if you could interview every single person who comes across your store?
This is where website surveys and polls enter your strategy.
Owners of brick-and-mortar businesses benefit from watching customers browse their goods and by asking common questions like, “What brings you into the store today?” Though you probably can’t have this level of direct in-person interaction, you can use a strategic surveying plan to help you better understand visitor intent and adjust your products or services accordingly.
In this post, we discuss reasons to survey, some example question sets, and a few basics to keep in mind if you implement a survey plan for your business.
Reasons to Survey
Before you begin developing your survey questions, identify why you’re asking them in the first place. This is important because it allows everyone involved to align their efforts to that goal.
Even if you’re a team of one, establishing the “why” behind your survey (and subsequent optimization efforts) is a powerful step forward.
Here are a few ways to use website surveys to better inform your customer experience strategy.
Better Understand Customer Expectations and Demographics
The most common reason to survey website visitors is to better understand their intent. If you know why people are in your store, you can increase add-to-carts and more effectively battle cart abandonment (Baymard Institute puts the average for cart abandonment at just under 70%). Are people hoping to see if you have a specific product, or are they just browsing because a friend mentioned your brand? Are they trying to contact customer service or find your shipping costs?
Ask this simple series of three questions to get to the bottom of customer intent:
- What is the purpose of your visit to our website today?
- You can provide answers such as “Compare products,” “Read blog post,” “Find reviews,” “Contact customer service,” and “Make a return.”
- Were you able to complete your task today?
- You can provide these answers: “Yes,” “No,” and “Not yet.”
- If you weren’t able to complete your task today, why not?
- Answers to this question are generally open-ended, meaning that visitors write a response in their own words in an open comment field.
You can also survey to get deeper demographic information than you’d be able to find with a tool like Google Analytics. This type of survey focuses on questions about past purchases, brand recognition, or use cases for your products or services.
Doing this can help refine your marketing messaging and channel mix. It can also help inform your competitive research and discount offerings.
Quickly Resolve Website Experience Issues
Whether you’ve spotted a problem by analyzing dynamic heat maps or are simply seeing a downturn in conversions for a specific product, surveys can help you diagnose and fix the issue. In this case, your survey questions are informed by an existing or suspected issue in the website experience.
Use these three questions to diagnose website experience issues:
- Are you finding what you need today?
- You can provide answers such as “Yes,” “No,” and “Not yet.”
- If not, what seems to be the issue?
- You can provide answers such as “Size/color/type not available,” “Can’t find the product I’m looking for,” “Can’t see product images,” and “Trying to find shipping costs.”
- What can we do to improve your experience?
- Here, again, visitors generally give their answers in an open comment field.
You’ll notice this series of questions is quite similar to those you asked when judging visitor intent. The key difference is that these answers also target potential website issues like image rendering or product availability.
Build Brand Equity
Your messaging, products, and services do most of the talking when it comes to building brand equity. However, surveys can help deepen your connection with visitors by showing just how much you care about their satisfaction.
Here’s a way to use survey questions to build brand equity:
- Is this your first time shopping with us?
- If yes, offer a discount code or helpful links (top products, relevant content, and so on).
- If no, thank them for returning to the store and offer them a referral discount code.
- Which products are you most interested in?
- Provide product links to top products in this category.
- Reorganize product listings based on feedback.
- Develop partnerships with other relevant businesses.
- Is there anything we don’t sell that you wish we would?
- Update product offerings to better align with visitor goals.
Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores
If you’re making an investment in a survey tool, you want to get the largest revenue return possible. One way to get a lot of value from a survey tool is to run regular ongoing surveys to monitor your customer satisfaction score (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS).
Much has been written about these two types of surveys (see Resources below), so I won’t go into detail here. The most important thing to plan for when it comes to the CSAT and NPS surveys is what you’ll do with the data. Are you willing to make changes to customer service or sales processes if you see a dip in your score? Will you set goals around improving these markers?
Website Survey Basics
Surveys are a powerful tool, but that doesn’t mean you can ask any question you’d like of any visitor on the site. Truly impactful surveys use the right combination of questions as well as audience segmentation (for some useful examples, see Resources below). They are served through well-designed tools. And they’re also a part of a broader strategy that includes solid reporting and an intentional optimization process.
Keep the following in mind when you’re ready to build your next survey.
If a visitor is willing to take your survey, the last thing you want to do is make it difficult for them to complete. Remember, the goal is to collect as much information as you can with as few questions as possible. Encourage completion by keeping things short and intuitive. Avoid questions that make the visitor think too deeply as even momentary pauses can lead to an increased abandonment rate.
We recommend making your surveys no more than five questions in length. If you do wish to ask more questions, consider setting up 15-minute customer-research calls instead. These can be arranged by including a call to action in an email or even at the end of a site survey by asking, “Would you be willing to take part in a 15-minute call with our customer-research team?”
Who will you survey? As mentioned, you can certainly survey all site visitors for broader functions like customer satisfaction or net promoter scores. If, however, your survey goal is to clarify and fix a website issue, you’ll want to narrow your targeting.
Here are some key audience segments to consider:
- New versus returning visitors
- Visitors browsing a key product section
- Visitors who’ve added to their cart but not made a purchase
- New visitors during a sale or other promotion
Survey tools are pretty straightforward. Of course, you need something that can be customized to match the look and feel of your website and that delivers clean response data on the back end. Other considerations include monthly cost (some free options exist) and other tools bundled alongside surveys, like session recordings or other site analytics.
Reporting and Optimization
You developed a concise set of questions and delivered it to a highly engaged audience. You’re now faced with a set of questions and responses. The next step is to delve into the data to find insights. This can be as simple as discovering a trend in responses or finding noteworthy suggestions or comments.
Either way, you’ll want to create tracking documents for your surveys or create a folder where you save all survey data. If your organization is lucky enough to have a team of people who optimize the customer experience, you’ll want to establish communication expectations. With ongoing surveying like NPS, consider adding an update section to your monthly reports.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with survey data and end up doing very little with the new knowledge. Having an optimization plan in place (no matter how broad it is at the beginning) will pay dividends when you get to this step in the process.
Improved communication with website visitors is a key part of building for the long term. It’s easy to get “too close” to your business and start acting on poorly informed assumptions. Use surveys to test your assumptions, confirm your decisions, and build rapport with key visitors.
Baymard Institute. (2020). 41 Cart abandonment rate statistics.
Birkett, A. (x). How to design customer satisfaction surveys that get results [+templates]. HubSpot.
Qualtrics. (n.d.) What is net promoter score (NPS)? Definition & examples.
Sharma, R. (2020). 16 Excellent customer satisfaction survey examples. HubSpot.
Sean is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Lucky Orange, a leading CRO toolkit serving over 250,000 websites around the world. He helps businesses of all sizes better understand the role of a great website in the customer journey.