This blog post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated to reflect today’s eCommerce environment.
The following are five functions you should be doing daily in your e-commerce business.
1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Generate unique relevant content. Google loves unique content that is related to what your site is all about.
- Ensure you are using good keywords that you want to focus on.
- Ensure H1 tag is added around the focus of the page. For example, product name, category name, or static content title should be wrapped inside the H1 tag.
- Leverage H2 tags as well for other important page sections.
- Keywords in optimized page titles.
- Internal linking. Link keywords in your unique content to pages related to that keyword.
- Friendly URLs with related phrases. E.g. When talking about Zobrist’s Mobiecom, the URL looks like this: “https://www.zobristinc.com/products/mobiecom/”
- Avoid any duplicate content appearing on multiple URLs by using the canonical tag. The canonical tag tells the search engine to group multiple URLs together since they share the same content.
2) Selecting New Products
- Sell what the customer wants to buy, not what you want to sell! This is a common mistake, especially when merchandisers are given a great price to sell a particular product. If nobody wants to buy that product, it doesn’t matter what price you set it at.
- Find out what customers want. What is your value proposition on products you sell? Capitalize on your niche!
3) Merchandising New Productions
- Pictures, pictures, pictures! It is very important to have high quality images of the products.
- Hero photos: if you have a big seller, feature it on a category page with a hero image of the product.
- Promote the latest releases in your newsletters and feature them in categories or on your homepage.
- Market to customers who have purchased related items in the past.
4) Customer Service
- Be proactive, and engage customers on the site constantly. If a customer stays on a page for some time, chances are they need help. Prompt the customers, and see if he/she would like to chat with one of the representatives. Business and technical teams should look into what the “friction” is, and address accordingly.
- Provide delivery estimation. If customers subscribe to the notification, ensure that you push any shipment updates information to customers via different channels (e.g., email / SMS / IoT devices — Amazon Alexa / Google Mini). Customers should not need to login and research the status of their orders.
- Deliver orders on time.
- Reship promptly if a package failed to be delivered to the customer, if it was damaged, or if it had missing parts. If an order was not delivered to customers within the estimated timeframe due to package loss, the system should determine if an order should be re-shipped. At the same time, a notification should be sent to customers and let them know of the delay or that the order has been re-shipped.
- In order to retain customers’ loyalty, we need to make sure customers feel comfortable with the purchase experience. We must earn their trust. With trust, customers will come back again.
5) Monitoring your KPIs / Analytics
- Monitor your analytics reports. View what items are selling and bubble them to the top of product listings so customers can find them more easily. A great tool for this, if you are on HCL Commerce (formerly IBM WebSphere Commerce), is our Smart Merchandiser product. With it, you can see analytic overlays on each product, in each category, to help you make smart merchandising decisions. Tackle cart abandonment. Remarket those products to the customers if you have their email addresses. Incentivize them to complete their checkout within X days.
- From the report, you should also check for possible “friction” on the site. A good indicator would be where the number of sessions dropped. For example, customers have added items to their carts, but not many of them have placed orders. In this scenario, there might be “friction” in the checkout flow where the customer has no choice but abandon the cart.
Improve conversion rates with these steps
These simple steps can really improve conversion rates and, again, need to be done on a daily basis for any successful online retailer. Gearing up for the holidays takes months of preparation. For tips on how to make sure your online store is ready for the holidays, read, Best Practices for Holiday Readiness – Site Performance and more.
At Zobrist, we’re here to help make your holidays a smooth one, please contact us for a free Whiteboard Session to keep ahead of the technology changes.