November 4th, 2013
2013 is coming to an end, however, you still have time to make sure you are doing your ecommerce marketing right. Ecommerce marketing has evolved from businesses mainly focusing on consumers buying their products to now where businesses focus on establishing personal relationships between the business and consumers. As all ecommerce business owners know, traffic is a vital component in ecommerce marketing. That is why businesses have evolved their marketing strategy to focus on establishing relationships between the customers and their brand. Better relationships with customers helps businesses drive more traffic to their hub. This becomes difficult with the ever-changing Internet landscape and staying on top of your ecommerce marketing game becomes even more challenging. To help your business cope with the constant changes and enhance your bottom line, take note of these critical elements that can keep your company afloat amid competition and web changes.
1. Easy and quick checkout
A quick and convenient checkout process is a must for every ecommerce store. Many online buyers are known to abandon shopping carts that use overwhelming and slow checkout systems. A lot of online checkouts require buyers to go through several steps such as providing personal information, financial details and delivery data. These can be very tedious and frustrating for the shopper who wants everything done quickly. In many cases, the need to perform all these steps causes customers to change their minds and abruptly call off their purchase.
Install an express checkout model on your ecommerce store to fast track the entire checkout process. Use a system that uses a single page form and taps into the required information without requiring customers to repeatedly enter needed details. The lesser the clicks your ecommerce website requires, the better the chances that online shoppers will finish the buying process.
On-page markup allows search engines to digest the information provided on web pages and yield better and richer search results in order for users to find relevant information in the Internet. This is why schema markups have been on the SEO radar for a couple of years now and its value continues to grow.
Use markups on your ecommerce website to improve your clickthrough rates and to help increase your search engine results ranking. One way to incorporate markups on your site is by including rich snippets. For ecommerce stores, the most common snippets provide product information details such as the latest price, availability of product, condition, color, and product reviews. Integrating these into your ecommerce store helps your customers quickly find what they are looking for. With rich snippets, the key is to create and provide the best search experience for your site users so they can find the best and the most relevant search results.
3. Site performance
The performance of your ecommerce website is extremely critical. If you have a fast-loading website, your conversion rates are better and search engines will rank you well. For example, a website with a load time of 25 seconds is destined to lose business because that is considered a very lengthy wait time in the online shopping environment and customers do not have the patience for a page that takes too long to load. Also, site speed has now become a factor in the search algorithm of major search engines. For many online shoppers, quick page loading is vital to their site loyalty.
Use a tool that measures and analyzes your website performance. Check how long it takes for your website to load and find out what you can do to improve your site speed. A study showed that customers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. Make sure to aim for this load time to avoid customer abandonment and dissatisfaction. Also, make sure to check with your web server for performance issues. If your server is unable to handle the traffic your website generates, it is time to get an upgrade or server migration.
4. Be mobile-friendly
All ecommerce websites should have a version optimized for mobile devices. Forrester research revealed that mobile commerce sales will increase from $10 billion in 2012 to $32 billion in 2016. As the adoption rates of tablets and smartphones continue to increase, the percentage of sales are expected to be higher. Another study conducted by independent research marketing firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger revealed that 75% of users prefer a mobile-friendly site and 96% of buyers encountered websites that were obviously not designed for mobile devices. Creating and maintaining an efficient mobile version of your ecommerce store should definitely be in your to do list.
If you are not well-versed in creating mobile-friendly websites, there are service providers that offer website development services targeted for mobile interfaces.
5. Affiliate marketing
Launching an affiliate marketing campaign is a surefire method of drumming up business. However, many are hesitant about going this route because of two assumptions: (1) that it takes time and effort to supervise affiliates and (2) they lose a sizeable portion of their income. Today, there are pay-as-you-go affiliate marketing services that allow you to set up an affiliate program in minutes even without technical knowledge and launch campaigns that are easily deployable to affiliates and managed through a backend.
Choose an affiliate marketing program that allows easy integration into major payment getaways and shopping carts, have features that allow multiple-level affiliate tiers as well as a range of marketing method alternatives, and provide good exposure of your business through trusted affiliates. Also, the service should not require long-term contracts and allows cancellation without fees, does not require a complicated downloading process, and is ideally a hosted service to help you avoid upgrade, backup and security issues.
In order for your ecommerce website to flourish in 2013 and beyond, maintaining an efficient website is a requirement. Implement these fundamental strategies to get your ecommerce store on the right track to increased traffic, better conversion, and enhanced customer retention and loyalty.