17 October 2017
Once you’ve put together your ecommerce site and have published it for the world to see (hopefully setting up a Google Shopping feed in the process), you should constantly be analysing it, figuring out how to better improve your user experience and conversion rate as a whole.
Once the traffic is there, you need to ensure that you’re doing everything to ensure that they’re being guided towards a conversion – the goal for any ecommerce site. If you’ve discovered that your site isn’t converting as well as projected, there are plenty of areas you can look at and actions you can take in order to rectify that, improving your overall conversion rate.
Here, we’ll take a quick look at some great ways to both better understand your users and their behaviour, and things you can change or add to your site to improve your chance of users converting.
1. Create Clear CTAs
One of the most important parts of any site really, even aside from e-commerce, would be to add clear calls to action which stand out for the user.
Distractions should be minimised, with the clear focus of the page being to guide users towards the CTA and the subsequent step in the conversion process.
For a product page, the main CTA – to begin the purchasing process – should stand out, and should be located clearly above the fold.
For example, look at the Asos site:
The CTA button is in a distinct colour which contrasts with the general colour scheme of the page, is located above the fold, and isn’t surrounding by distractions, making everything simple.
Poor calls to action could be massively detrimental to your site and how it converts, so running tests for key CTA buttons would be recommended.
2. Analyse the User Flow of the Site
Better understanding precisely how your users are interacting with your site is a fantastic way to improve the user experience as a whole, helping them to convert.
A great way to assess this and look at the user journeys taken on a site would be via the User Flow report which is available in Google Analytics.
Here, you can look at the precise paths that users have taken, identifying where they started, the pages that they visited, and the page which saw them leave; the most salient piece of information.
Regarding the latter point, this is showcased via the drop-off rate; the percentage of users who either left the common user path, or left the site entirely.
If you look at this and see that the majority of users are dropping from your homepage, then you can change the calls to action used there, the imagery, as well as the overall internal linking structure.
You could potentially discover that the first step of the checkout process has a massive drop-off rate, leading to shopping cart abandonment.
This information could be the foundation for key changes to the site and how it functions for users, leading to improved conversions.
3. Use Heat Mapping
One method to get a much better understanding of how people are using your site is to use heat mapping software. Essentially, this showcases the parts of each page that received the most attention, indicating where users were looking and where they were clicking.
There are two core ways you can use heat mapping:
1. Scroll Mapping
This identifies if users are scrolling down the page, providing you with an overall look at where users become disinterested. This information can help you identify if users aren’t really seeing key calls to action.
An often seen problem is for a product page to have its main CTA – add to basket/buy now – located slightly below the fold. Scroll mapping will help you identify if core CTAs are receiving far less attention that you’d like.
2. Click Mapping
This will show you the areas of a page that are being clicked on the most, and is fantastic for really identifying user intent and which parts of the page are most enticing. Alternatively, it’ll tell you which areas of the page aren’t being clicked on – if these are links to key pages via core CTAs, then you’ve got a problem that needs to be looked into.
You can set up this tracking across key pages on the site, such as the homepage, product pages, as well as the cart/checkout pages. Analysing the first two will give you an idea as to how people interact with the site as whole, while analysing the latter two pages will showcase any potential issues people have when they’re attempting to buy their product.
A few fantastic heatmapping tools include HotJar, Crazy Egg, and Ptengine.
4. Improve the Checkout Process
So, you’ve brought the user through to your site, they’ve shown a clear interest in the product and they’re looking to make the final step, purchasing the product.
Once they’ve reached the checkout process, you really need to ensure that their experience is as simple and clear to navigate as possible, removing any risk of shopping cart abandonment.
In terms of why users tend to abandon the checkout process and leave their potential purchases behind, previous research by the likes of Business Insider and Formisimo have identified a few key areas:
- Shipping costs were too high/weren’t previously mentioned
- The user wanted to save the item for later and wasn’t ready to purchase
- They didn’t want to register an account in order to purchase the product
- The site was asking for far too much information
- The checkout process was too lengthy
- The website was too slow
- The user’s preferred payment option – usually Paypal – wasn’t available
With this in mind, it’s important to address areas like these, making sure that the checkout process is as quick and straight-forward as possible.
A few tips to improve the checkout process include:
- Ensuring that the site is fully secure, served via HTTPS to alleviate any security issues
- Provide a quick site that works perfectly well on mobile devices
- Use a progress indicator to show the user how far along they are in the checkout process, providing transparency
- Request essential information without asking for anything extraneous of the user
5. Create a Sense of Urgency and Fear of Missing Out
Moving back to the process of bringing users through to the checkout section and getting them to convert, one thing you can do is to create a real sense of urgency. This helps to ensure that the user will feel the need to make a decision, seeing as urgency or scarcity will cause users to act quickly.
In terms of how this can be done, there are a few ways:
- Create Scarcity: mentioning that a product is low in stock will help entice a user to pick it up now, seeing as they may not be able to by the time they return to it.
- Limited time offers: If a user only has a certain amount of time to purchase a product, they’ll be more inclined to do so now
- Use Time-Related Words: whether it be on a product page, a CTA, or even an email – using terms such as ‘Hurry”, “Quick”, “Fast”, and “Don’t Miss Out” will help create that sense of urgency.
6. Use Product Reviews
Another way to help entice users and build trust with them is to use product reviews. You’ll definitely have seen these all over e-commerce sites throughout the web, with star ratings and previous customer experiences being listed on the page.
If you see a product with 5/5 stars with hundreds of reviews, you’ll probably be more likely to pick the product up as the previous reviews will help incite confidence.
Chasing up users after a small period of time usually via email would be a possibility, as well as offering a form of incentive for users – such as a discount for future purchases – would help entice them to leave reviews for the product that they’d previously picked up.
This was mentioned in a previous post of ours, covering all-round ecommerce site optimisation.
Tags: conversion rate, ecommerce, optimisation
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9 January 2017
How to Optimise your Ecommerce Site?
Whether it’s a small site selling a few hand-crafted garments, or a commerce giant which ships out an array of products to a massive audience worldwide, your site has to be properly optimised for both users and search engines.
An ecommerce site which isn’t optimised for the user is bound to fail, considering how difficult it would be to keep them around throughout the buying process. If it isn’t optimised for search engines, you’re vastly limiting your potential pool of traffic and thus sales.
So, how exactly do you optimise your ecommerce website? Here are a few quick tips to get you started.
1. On-Page and Product Optimisation
Every website should be properly optimised for search engines, in order for people to be able to find you and buy your products. If your website hasn’t been created with SEO in mind, it’s vastly reducing the potential of your site as limiting its potential reach.
When it comes to optimisation for ecommerce sites, there are a few key points:
Page Title: This is the title of the page that you’d see on search engine results pages, or in the tab at the top of your browser. You’ve got 50-55 characters to work your magic here by including your keywords, as the page title determines the theme of the page for users and is crucial for search engines to understand what its content is about and thus rank your page accordingly.
For an ecommerce site, you’d include the product name, and possibly its category, and any branding. For example, the SERPs (search engine results pages) for a rather mainstream ecommerce product:
There’s the standard product name, the category (tees for men, t-shirts), and the brand name.
It’s all too common to see this be neglected in ecommerce sites – make sure your page titles are properly optimised.
Meta Description: This is the text that you’ll see under a title in a search engine results page. This essentially acts as ad copy for users who find your site through this way giving them some more information about what they can expect to find on your page, and also being crucial to ensure they click through to it. Your description should both describe the contents of the page, and entice the user to click it, by ideally including a call to action.
ASOS’ homepage description targets key search terms (women’s fashion, men’s clothing, etc.) while also showcasing benefits such as free delivery.
On-Page Product Copy: The actual on-page content of your page must be properly done, as well. The product description should concisely describe what the user can expect from the product, while also targeting relevant search terms in a concise way. Every page’s content should ideally be unique and contain at least 250 words for Google to properly index it.
TL;DR: Ensure that all on-page aspects of your ecommerce site are properly optimised for both search engines and users, such as titles, descriptions, and page copy.
2. Add Product Reviews
Reviews are a massive part of ecommerce websites. See a product with 1 out of 5 stars? You’re having none of it. A product the full 5 out of 5 rating from hundreds of pleased customers? You’ll be far more likely to pick that product up.
They’re a powerful feature that can help drive sales through for your products.
In fact, here a just a few compelling figures:
- 67% of consumers read 6 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business enough to make a purchase. (MarketingProfs)
- 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (iPerceptions).
- 80% of consumers have changed their mind about purchases based on NEGATIVE information they have found online. (ReputationAdvocate)
Products with a flurry of quality ratings will reflect well on your brand, and will inspire more trust from all users.
In order to get these reviews, you could chase users up after they’ve completed the checkout process, sending through an email asking for any form of feedback/review, or just offer a small incentive for a quick review such as a prize or discount on their next purchase.
In addition to the use of ratings for products, the ratings can actually appear in search engines next to your product listing which will help increase your CTR. This can be done through the Data Highlighter in Google Search Console, or through specific code added to the site – you can learn more here and here.
TL;DR: implement proper product reviews on your site.
Bonus: integrate schema markup date in order to have these ratings shown within search engine results pages.
3. Implement Proper Filtering
A filter is a vital part of the ecommerce building process. Being able to filter products based on certain values or characteristics is massively helpful for the user, and helps them to find their product much more rapidly, thus encouraging purchases.
The main problems that occur here are:
- Sites simply don’t have a filter for their products
- Sites don’t implement them with search engines in mind
Regarding the former – having a filter on your product listing pages helps users in the decision making process. Being able to take a few seconds to select things such as colour and size makes a world of difference for the user.
The latter? Well, having a poorly implemented filter can cause problems for your site and how it performs with search engines, tying into the first point of this post. If your filters haven’t been handled properly from a technical point of view, you may have duplicate content issues, where one page is accessible through multiple URLs – a big problem when it comes to SEO.
To avoid this, ensure that all categorisation is properly done within the filter, and that canonicalisation is used in order to prioritise a single URL – learn more about this here.
TL;DR: Implement a proper filter for your products, use canonicalisation in order to avoid any search engine hiccups.
4. Optimise Your Images
Semi-linking back to the first point about optimisation, your images play a big role in your ecommerce site. A user will make a decision on your product based on the image, and images can also rank in Google, similarly to pages, albeit in the image search feature.
In terms of actual optimisation, each image should be given a unique Alt Tag. This is a line of text code that accompanies an image, providing search engines with a description of the image, seeing as they can’t understand the image itself. Hence, alt tags are essentials to SEO, giving you the opportunity to describe it.
<img src=”//www.taggr.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/feed-add.png” alt=”Start Selling Products Online with TAGGR”>
Taken from: http://www.taggr.com/tour/ (feel free to have a look around, of course)
This tag can be used for keyword optimisation, as you can use a keyword relevant to the image and the page itself.
On top of the value they have to purchasers and image searchers, images also have an effect on how fast your site is, too. If an image file is far too large, it will take longer for users to load the page, resulting in a far worse user experience.
If a user has to wait too long for a page to load, they’ll have no second thoughts about ditching you for another site. Page speed has also been known as a key Google ranking factor for a few years now, as it plays into the user experience, a key determining factor for search engines.
TL;DR: Ensure that images on your site are high-quality, optimised with a proper alt tag, and don’t have a large file size.
If you are looking to start selling online and on Google, a key point will be making sure your product feed is also fully optimised. Here are 5 easy steps to get started.
Any questions on how we can help? Just get in touch with us!
Tags: ecommerce, Google Shopping, optimisation, seo
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15 December 2016
7 reasons why ecommerce is the new commerce
1. The Rise of Online Shopping
Why? More convenience, more choice and less stress.
Although online shopping is nothing new, the last 10 years has reported unforeseen exponential growth.
The availability of bandwidth, acquisition of smartphones and a generation of digitally-native millennials have made online shopping the norm.
2. Profitability of Scaleability
Nobody had heard of Amazon or Ebay in 1996. In China, TaoBao was just a distant dream. Everyone saw retail as localised and self-executed. In fact, Amazon started off as a bookseller and Ebay as a local, internet-based auction site.
However, they both had one thing in common: Scaleability.
The internet has the power to transcend local habits and give people choices beyond their vicinity.
And as a result, Amazon and Ebay are now both multi-billion dollar companies, and have not only seen off competition from the high-street, but spawned an entire new industry and paved the way for thousands of online retailers.
3. Better Distribution = No Shop Required
Most start-out retailers now reject the high-street altogether.
Stores with no permanent physical presence on the high street or out of town shopping parks, such as Asos and Amazon, took nearly 50p in every £1 spent with online retailers in 2015, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
This is up by nearly a quarter since 2010, when 41p of every £1 via the internet was spent in “online only” shops.
4. Supermarkets Made Convenient
Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and Waitrose now deliver shopping for next to nothing. They even give you a designated hourly time-slot. All four of these supermarkets have mobile apps for iOS and Android. Morrisons sell through Amazon’s ‘Prime Now’ service. Groceries. Within the hour.
5. Startups Accessible to All
It’s now easier than ever to sell online.
Companies like Shopify, Magento and Stripe have made it possible for non-technical people to build an e-commerce website and take payments quickly, easily, and automatically.
6. The Sharers Economy
Airbnb. Uber. Schpock. Gumtree.
Now you don’t even need a shop, or an office. You can buy and sell your goods, space and time through an app in seconds. Could this be the future of retail?
The household name so frequently used that the Oxford English Dictionary now allows it as a verb.
Google Merchant and Adwords are like matchmaking services, bringing retailers and customers together, allowing the seller to bid for search terms and easily create product listing ads (PLAs).
Not only can everyone now start selling online, but the rise of ecommerce makes it un undeniable reason for all businesses to start selling online.
You can download the infographic here.
To find out more about how we can help you get on on Google Shopping today, just get in touch!
Tags: ecommerce, google, Google Shopping, online shopping, PLA's
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22 May 2016
For many shoppers, social media is now a primary driver. In a recent global sampling by PwC, 78% of shoppers said that their shopping habits were influenced by social media (up from 68% is 2015).
Consumer views matter now more than ever, and their propensity to share online is constantly growing. As is traffic from online referrals. In fact, online referrals is the fastest growing revenue source for online retailers. This can be attributed to two things:
1. The ubiquity of mobile devices.
2. The culture-shift in the readiness of people to share opinions online.
The most successful online retailers in this environment have managed to link a vibrant online following with a seamless purchasing procedure. Seth Godin has been writing for years about how buying online needs to be seen as a set of stages, all part of a process. That process begins with a share on social media, and ends with the consumer clicking a buy-button.
Even though both Google and Facebook have entered the PLA (Product Listing Ad) market recently, the data on how effective and seamless the process is from social channel to clicking that ‘buy’ button is limited. What we do know, is that retailers need to start investing in this process if they are to compete in the future.
10% of US consumers currently purchase directly through social media. While this doesn’t seem high, it’s significantly higher than last year. Given that 2 in 3 shoppers claim social media influences their purchasing decision, It is only a matter of time before direct purchasing through social media becomes a much more significant process.
Many companies use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy that overlooks customer interaction within their social communities. This simply doesn’t work. The selection of the right channels is the first port of call. Discard the rest. Then, foster transparency and authenticity, and invest time and care into your customers through these channels. Previously, relationships with customers were private, now they are public, and many retailers fail to understand this.
Consumer-shared, user-generated content is now seen as the holy grail of social communities. It helps foster strong customer relationships, but the main takeaway here is that it encourages brand-trust and brand-loyalty far more readily than any billboard, TV ad or radio jingle. Why? Because it’s not created by people trying to take your money. It’s created by your peers. And we trust our peers, as they are less likely to have a concealed motive for giving a positive review or recommendation.
When a retailer goes beyond simply selling, and focuses on providing services that fulfil customer aspirations, based in part, of course, on the data that social media yields, they get a seat at the dinner-table with online communities, and a real insight into their target customer’s demographic and psychographic profile.
This is good branding and good business. And the most successful brands know this.
Tags: brand, ecommerce, retail
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