Practical Ecommerce

10 reasons your mother makes your best beta tester

If you sell B2C products and/or services, your mother (or grandmother) could be your best beta testing panel member ever.

Here’s 10 reasons why.

1. Number one advocate

Can you imagine a more fervent supporter of your work? It’s like a grown-up version of her wanting to hear what you’ve done at school, but with your online business. Imagine her telling her pals at lunch, bridge, golf, Church or the community association that you got her – imagine, little ol’ her! – to test out your website for you. Naturally, she’ll tell them what you sell…

2. Less experienced

Your mother may well represent the older consumer who is still getting used to shopping online. Anything unfamiliar will make her stop in her tracks, unsure whether to continue. These points are the issues you need to address. Does she wonder if she’s filled out the right details and how to check them? If she’s accidentally ordered the wrong colour or size? How does she clear items from her shopping basket? How easy is for her to contact you mid-session: do you have live chat, a toll-free number, or a very fast email response team?

3. First impressions matter

You’ll soon find out if she understands what you sell by the images on your website. Does she think it looks classy? Appealing? Worth the money? Is she in any way offended by the imagery? She may perceive something you’ve not intended. Does she think your product requires step-by-step instructions? Does she click on your video demo?

4. Font size testing

Does she screw up her face, squinting fiercely to read your copy? Or is it large enough for her to read? The Baby Boomer generation is the largest slice of the population, and they’re shopping online in droves. But they’re not getting any younger. Make it easy for her to read what you sell so she doesn’t give up.

5. Shopping patterns

Does she click on items under $50, choose by occasion, recipient, brand, product type or go straight to the sale section? Does she prefer looking at the new products, best sellers or highly rated by other customers? Does she use search to locate specific products?

6. Show me the money

How much convincing does she need to buy it straightaway? Do you need long copy with testimonials interspersed to explain a complex product or is it a straightforward item like a floral bouquet? Does she want the option to pay via internet banking, COD, pay-by-the-month instalments or a subscription? Does she prefer paying by credit card or Paypal?

7. Gift options

Would she consider buying your product as a gift? If not, why not? Almost any product can be a gift if “packaged” properly. Does she look at the gift certificate section? Would she send an e-gift card? Does she want it gift-wrapped? Is she concerned the recipient will see the receipt in the package?

8. Are you trustworthy?

Does she ask if her credit card is safe? You may need to show your security seal more prominently. Does she read the customer reviews? Does she think they need more identifying factors ie surname, city, state? Does she expect to see a seal of approval from a particular organisation?

9. Social media

Does she give any importance to the number of likes you have for each product on facebook? Does she read your blog (if you have one on your website)? Does she spend any time looking at your YouTube videos? Is she interested in user-generated content?

10. Receipt of goods

What does she think of your email receipt layout? Does she scan it carefully, finding it hard to read, or she can see it at a glance? What parts – if any – does she check? Does she get anxious if the email receipt hasn’t been sent instantly? Does she feel properly appreciated as a customer with a thank you message?

Why not hire your mother as a beta tester? She will thoroughly enjoy getting involved, and you get a panel member who is dedicated to your success!


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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Derek Bacharach May 17, 2012 Reply

    Totally agree with this. After I changed the design and navigation on my website last year, my parents (in their late 70s and 80s) were one of the first ones to give it a test drive and they said it was easier for them to shop and browse. I thought that was a good sign.

  2. Elizabeth Ball May 17, 2012 Reply

    Hi Derek,
    That is a good sign! I increased my font size after my mother said it was a little hard to read. She did, however, find it easy to go through the ordering process which was a relief! It was also kind of funny as she wanted to click the product’s Like button on facebook thinking it was a popularity vote- and she’s not on facebook,.

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