25 Quick Wins to Boost Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Having an ecommerce site isn’t just as easy as having the products to sell and waiting for buyers to flock to your site. After all, without boosting your site’s conversion rate, you’re least likely to get the exposure you want to even sell anything.

Start with these 25 ways to improve your ecommerce conversion rate and see better profit:

1. Rank for main keywords.

This includes your brand name, products, and categories. Spend the majority of your PPC marketing budget on these keywords because these are the ones that will drive conversions to your ecommerce site. Ranking for your brand terms is important to catch navigational searches, which target users who are specifically looking for your business.

2. Find keywords for the homepage.

2. Keywords for the Homepage

Your homepage is often the first page that users visit. You may direct a couple of keywords here and there, but make sure you are not targeting a product term as the main keyword for this page — that is unless you are only offering one product for the entire site. Otherwise, keep each product-related keyword to their own landing pages to drive maximum traffic.

3. Look for the low hanging fruit.

If competitors have more high-ranking pages, work on a different set of keywords to improve your overall conversion rate. Look for keywords with a good search volume and concentrate your efforts on the ones that you can rank for quickly, so you can start gaining online traction.

4. Use keywords that your competitors are not targeting.

What better way to get past your competition than to target their blind side? Because competitors are not using these terms, you may get your site to rank for these keywords more easily. It might take a little extra keyword research to see which keywords they haven’t cracked yet, but if you have a dedicated keyword analyst to help you, it’ll be easier.

5. Find high-converting keywords.

Use a keyword explorer to check a competitor site for keywords that are working well for them. For instance, if they have a “best computers for students” keyword, look for keywords related to “best computers”. You can also try a Google search to look for related terms.

6. Engage AND educate.

Be more than a click-bait site. Offer something valuable, such as infographics and facts relating your product to your customer’s needs. This balances the content on your product pages as well, because ecommerce sites need not be text-heavy and purely sales-y.

7. Target “opportunity keywords”.

7. Look for Opportunity Keywords

You may have some keywords that are ranking low on the SERPs but have a good search volume and a low difficulty score. Target these keywords and use long-tail variations to rank for general terms and phrases.

8. Outrank websites on the first page of SERPs.

Not everyone on the SERPs are big sites. Check how many outbound and inbound links they have. If they have fewer inbound links than yours, you may have a chance at outranking hem. All it takes is implementing some changes on your target pages.

9. Change page titles to attract attention.

9. Change Page Titles

Don’t use boring and generic page titles. Your page title should be easy to understand while also being worthy of getting clicks. Include the name of the brand and the product found on that page when writing the page title. Words such as “discount,” “25% off,” and “free” may also boost traffic.

Pro-tip: Check the results pages and see how top-ranking pages format their titles.

10. Fill “content gaps”.

Your site may be ranking for keywords that you are not targeting yet. This is a good opportunity to optimize the site for those specific keywords. Use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to see which terms you’re ranking for, and create a dedicated landing page for these keywords.

11. Switch to https.

11. Use HTTPS

Ecommerce sites often require submitting important information. Consumers are likely to transact with your business if you use the “https” architecture. This also tells Google that you are more trustworthy than a regular “http” site.

12. Optimize category pages by adding unique content.

Category pages are not just placeholders — Google still indexes these pages. Check your Google Analytics account for indexed category pages that show duplicate entries. You can also try using “site:http://website.com” search to find out how many of your pages are indexed by Google, including the category pages.

13. Use consistent title tags.

This makes titles easier to organize, and also shows the general trend of your pages. This helps Google rank your site while helping your customers understand your website architecture. Make sure your title tags don’t have any duplicates across your site.

14. Add original content for each product.

It’s easy to assume that no one will be reading the product descriptions. But, as an ecommerce site owner, you can’t run the risk of Google flagging your site for duplicate content. Add a few paragraphs of keyword-optimized content to be on the good side of search engines.

15. Headers should contain the product name and secondary keywords.

Using headers with target terms can help you rank for relevant keywords. Include the brand and the product name, as well as secondary keywords that you’re targeting for the page. Secondary keywords should be variations of the primary keyword belonging in the same keyword group. Don’t try to target two main keywords in one page.

16. Write optimized and attention-grabbing Meta descriptions.

16. Attention-Grabbing Meta Description

Meta descriptions are snippets of what your page is about, which is why generic content will never work if you want to boost click-throughs. You also need to be mindful of the character limit, and use action words to prompt customers to visit the site.

17. Optimize product images.

Some ecommerce sites may have multiple images per page. Rather than adding big images, compress the size so that your site’s loading speed will not be affected. Don’t forget to provide an alt text and caption to help Google crawl your images.

18. Remove the boilerplate text on the footer.

Some ecommerce site owners argue that the boilerplate information is essential to the brand’s website, but that block of text on your footer may be misinterpreted as low-quality, spammy content. Remember that Google indexes each page individually. Seeing the same content over and over again will not bode well for your rankings.

19. Avoid keyword cannibalization.

Yes, you may target more than one keyword for a particular landing page, but you should only have one main keyword for each page. Use secondary keywords and variations instead, so that you are not cannibalizing traffic from another page that may be targeting the other keyword.

20. Check your competitor’s site architecture.

Check how your competitors structure their pages – from the categories to the tags, and how deep their link architecture go. If it works for them, they may be onto something that you can adapt to your website.

21. Check internal linking.

Site visitors shouldn’t have to go through so many pages just to get to the a particular page they want. Make sure your site is easy to navigate, and that each page is accessible with a few clicks. Use internal links to direct them from one page to another page that is relevant to their needs.

22. Improve social media integration.

22. Integrate Social Media

Customers usually check social media for product reviews and more information about your brand. Make the information they need accessible to them, so they can make an informed choice. Give them a way to contact you through these channels, as well.

23. Use user-friendly URLs.

If customers see gibberish on your URLs, they won’t click on that link. Rather than showing random numbers on your site URL, use the category and the product name when creating URLs. You can easily change this in your website’s settings, and even set the canonical URLs.

24. Improve your site’s usability.

Offer them assistance even before they ask. Customers say that having a live chat feature to answer their queries in the middle of a purchase is one of the best functionalities of a good ecommerce website because it allows you to tap into customer pain points.

25. Make your ecommerce site mobile-friendly.

25. Make the Site Mobile-Friendly

Your e-commerce site should be mobile-friendly, and there’s no excuse for it not to be. After all, many of your customers are likely using their mobile devices while shopping and completing transactions. You’re missing a lot if your site is not optimized for mobile.

Having useful items to sell on your ecommerce site is just one part of the business; you need to make sure your selling platform provides customers with a smooth experience. By implementing the best practices to optimize your ecommerce site, it may only be a matter of time before your conversion rate starts going up.

Why Do Customers Abandon Their Online Shopping Carts?

Everyone’s done it at least a few times while shopping over the Internet. They find something they like, put the item in their cart, and then leave the site without completing the purchase. Abandonment is the biggest obstacle e-commerce sites have to contend with in their interactions with customers.

It can become a frustrating part of the business, as reports predict that as much as $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be left behind in carts this year. In addition, industry analysts only see the trend increasing and become an even bigger problem in the future.

It is behavioral psychology without the personal interaction. There aren’t any monitors that can help webmasters make the necessary recommendations to enforce positive change. But, not all is lost; there are very direct and simple ways for websites to counter things and slow down the abandonment rate.

Preserving the Three Steps

Three Steps

The beauty of shopping online is that it makes everything easy with a direct step-by-step process that anyone can follow. Search for an item, select it, and then conclude the purchase. Finding out what happens during the second and third step is all about identifying what took the directness of the process away.

After performing a visual survey of the checkout phase of many e-commerce sites, there are three common errors that webmasters can remedy today to improve abandonment rate. These errors are in purchase registration and hidden fees. These page elements derail the buyer from the state of mind of wanting to make a purchase, and impede the site’s progress.

More Contact, Less Information

The reasoning behind requiring buyers to register to the site before they can complete a purchase was actually sound when it was first formed. Site owners can better contact customers on the status of their purchases, buyers can continue making easy purchases, and analysts can track which items get the most attention.

Buyers InformationThis strategy backfired, though, as buyer concerns about online security and marketing spam trumped any convenience the measure offered. The added task of filling in the necessary data, and then receiving the confirmation e-mail also didn’t help, as it was too much work for something that was supposed to end with a single click.

The current strategy is to minimize the amount of information that the buyer will need to establish a reliable line of communication with the website until the transaction is complete. The best way to do this these days is to ask for phone numbers. This is the best overall strategy considering a growing number of transactions occur through mobile devices anyway; it streamlines the entire process without compromising contact.

Information Upfront

Consumer TrustOther than asking for too much information, websites can also fall into the trap of trying to hide things buyers might want to know beforehand. Shipping fees are the best example to illustrate this situation as they have a tendency to jolt buyers out of a sale. Websites don’t “hide” the shipping fees per se, but most buyers feel that finding additional costs just before they ultimately complete the purchase as a betrayal of their trust.

Informing the customers of a shipping fee, either on the home or product pages, will set the proper expectations of what the purchase would actually cost. It doesn’t matter how much shipping actually costs, the timing of when the information came to light is a better indicator of how people will behave on the website.

It’s always difficult to predict what people will do online, but preserving the directness of the approach will do wonders for keeping customers around for longer.

Amazon Could Be Joining the Ad-Supported Video Streaming Bandwagon

Amazon.com might be stepping into the ad-supported television and music-video streaming scene. Wall Street Journal reports that this information comes from people “close to the company,” who also said that the service will feature original and licensed content, and could launch in a few months. Amazon has allegedly outlined potential partners for this service, including the creators of “Betas”, a series that Amazon co-produced and offered to Amazon Prime subscribers last year.

A screencap of Amazon's Instant Video service page

The sources said that Amazon also plans to offer free music videos (with ads) to their retail website’s visitors. For example, searching for a specific artist’s album on Amazon could bring up an option to watch a music video by that artist.

WSJ says that this move could be part of Amazon’s attempt to “transform itself from a retailer into a force in multimedia.” Looking at Amazon’s current advertising and content personalization efforts, free, ad-supported, streaming video could potentially help the company reach a wider audience and earn more revenue through advertising.

If these reports are true, Amazon is a bit late to the party, with video streaming giants like YouTube and Netflix already hogging the spotlight. According to eMarketer, YouTube alone generated about $5.6 billion in advertising revenue last year, while Amazon’s current advertising efforts are expected to earn about $1 billion this year.

An Amazon spokeswoman, however, told WSJ that “We’re often experimenting with new things, but we have no plans to offer a free streaming media service.”

What we do know for sure is that Amazon is holding a press conference in New York on April 2. What they will cover there isn’t confirmed either, but many have been speculating that Amazon will be releasing a streaming video device that will have features similar to existing set-top boxes from Hulu and Netflix.

Japanese Ecommerce Giant Rakuten Buys Viber for $900 Million

Two weeks ago, it was confirmed that Israeli entrepreneur Talmon Marco would be selling Viber Media Inc. to Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten Inc. The call and messaging app, which is one of the top five most downloaded smartphone apps, carries with it a $900 million price tag. Rakuten has now completed this acquisition – Viber is now officially Rakuten Inc. property.

Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten (above) has finished their acquisition of messaging app Viber (below).

Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten (above) has finished their acquisition of messaging app Viber (below).

Part of Rakuten’s Reinvention

Rakuten Inc., run by billionaire Hiroshi Mikatani, owns the ecommerce platform Rakuten Ichiba, which is the sixth largest in the world in terms of sales. Rakuten Ichiba offers shopping, online video, financing and other services. Mikatani is looking to expand their offerings with a messaging app, and sees the acquisition as moving a step closer towards being a one-stop online shop.

According to Mikatani, Viber will be integrated with Rakuten Ichiba to get online shoppers in touch with online stores while deciding on their purchase. This move will add 300 million Viber users to Rakuten’s 200 million users, expanding their reach and connecting more online stores and consumers. It also makes their plan of improving online communications for ecommerce easy – according to Mikatani, having Viber within their group saves them the trouble of developing an in-house messaging app, something they feel they are not equipped to do on their own.

Still Running Independently

The acquisition doesn’t mean Rakuten will take over Viber’s operations entirely. What happens from hereon out is quite the opposite – according to the deal, Viber will continue to operate independently, but they are now part of the Rakuten Inc. group. This means all employees, management, and offices will continue to run as usual.

Just as Rakuten will benefit from an increase in users and from the technology, Viber is also looking at the benefits brought by the acquisition. Marco sees the merger as an opportunity to tap into the Japanese market, and to ride its global expansion. “This combination presents an amazing opportunity for Viber to enhance our rapid user growth in both existing and new markets,” Marco said in an interview with a local newspaper in the Philippines.

In addition, Marco also revealed that they will not be changing Viber’s basic services anytime soon. There are no plans of including Rakuten’s ecommerce features into Viber just yet, but this could change in the future. He did note that “it is likely that Rakuten’s massive span of services ranging from ecommerce to e-books to travel businesses and many other ventures will be made available over time to Viber users.”

Ecommerce Expected To Grow in the Philippines in 2014

According to several ecommerce watchers in the Philippines, the ecommerce industry is expected to grow bigger in the Philippines this year. The predictions for this year include more ecommerce start-ups, traditional businesses moving towards online marketing, and an increased demand for services to be made available online.

Retail, Online Services to Pick Up This Year

According to Janette Toral, founder of ecommerce watcher website DigitalFilipino, 2014 is the year for services to pick up in the ecommerce market. “For 2014, it’s more of not just the super stores becoming noticeable but services picking up as well. Services will continue to bring in new ideas that we never thought possible,” she explained. She also noted that rural banks are also joining in the ecommerce world.

You can easily see this with the growing strength of sites like Sulit, Zalora, and Lazada. The most recently offered mobile apps also show this pickup in services – transportation apps Uber and Tripid have started providing services to the Filipino audience (although they have a public hearing pending due to conflicts with Philippine regulations), while GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi are being used by many Filipinos, cab companies, and individual cab drivers already.

Car service provider Uber is only one of the companies who are now offering services to Filipino consumers online.

Car service provider Uber is only one of the companies who are now offering services to Filipino consumers online.

Internet Penetration Increase to Boost Ecommerce Further

Meanwhile, according to Our Awesome Planet founder Anton Diaz, 2014 is only the beginning of the rise of ecommerce. As the Internet penetration rate in the Philippines approaches 50% in the next three years, ecommerce is expected to grow.
“The additional internet penetration will actually come from increase in mobile broadband usage which will make more Filipinos connected,” Diaz explained.
“This is the best time to start your own online store project where you’ll still have that wild, wild west landscape,” he continues, saying that the ecommerce revolution in Manila starts in 2014.

What This Means for You

Now is the ideal time to create online presence with added ecommerce functionality, whether for products and services. Ecommerce is still relatively in its early stages, with travel, consumer electronics, and online vouchers taking the top 3 spots for most searched and purchased products / services (at 33%, 20% and 17% respectively, according to a Reader’s Digest survey). However, the arrival of new online services and ecommerce platforms shows that there is a viable online market in the country, and that the consumers’ trust in ecommerce sites is increasing. It’s the perfect time for you to set up your presence now and establish your brand as a trusted ecommerce provider.

We’d be glad to offer our consulting services to help you develop the best ecommerce strategy. Talk to us today to get started.

Holiday Sales Data Shows an Increase in eCommerce and Mobile Activity

This year’s holiday season is revealing interesting statistics and data on the popularity of ecommerce and mobile purchases. Custora, a company offering an analytics platform for ecommerce marketing, is currently gathering data from over 100 online retailers to provide a detailed report on this year’s holiday sales.

Increased Holiday Sales and Traffic

Based on this report (as of December 4, 2013), holiday ecommerce revenue is up by 20% from last year, with Black Friday sales going up by 16.2% and Cyber Monday sales increasing by 18.2%.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales data from Custora

Ecommerce visitor traffic has also increased by about 21% compared to 2012, with Cyber Monday traffic increasing by a significant 23%. Total holiday ecommerce orders are up by 20%.

Mobile Purchases Continue to Rise

Mobile and desktop orders data from Custora

Orders placed via mobile devices (phones and tablets) have increased at the expense of orders placed through desktop computers. Mobile orders shot up to 28% from last year’s 20%, and desktop orders fell from 80% to 72%. Apple is still driving most of mobile purchases, but Android is starting to gain more traction. Orders placed using Android devices have gone up by 3% this year, while orders placed using Apple devices went down by 3%.

Organic, CPC, and Email are Still the Top Online Marketing Channels

Organic search, CPC (cost-per-click), and email continue to be the best channels for online marketing for ecommerce websites.

Online marketing channel data from Custora

Another interesting thing to note is that Google Shopping saw an increase in sales and outperformed Amazon in terms of same-seller sales, based on a report released by Mercent, a company offering a robust software platform for ecommerce businesses. Their eCommerce Performance Index compiles and measures sales growth data for over 550 retailers selling across different channels such as Amazon, eBay, and Google.

Same seller sales data from Mercent

Google Shopping launched new features last month, just in time for the holiday season. These features made it easier for consumers to browse, preview, and compare different items in their paid product listings. This move might have contributed to their success this year.

With the popularity of online and mobile shopping growing each year, it’s important to reach out to your customers on different channels effectively. Working with a digital marketing and online advertising company can help your business gain more sales and loyal customers during peak shopping seasons.

Talk to us to get started!

Effective Ways to Deal with Shopping Cart Abandonment

The holiday season brings in a lot of new customers, but you’ll be seeing abandoned shopping carts, too. On average, 67.44% of online shopping carts end up being abandoned for a variety of reasons. Some shoppers simply abandon carts to compare prices with a different vendor or to come back to them later, while others abandon because of shipping policy issues or bad user experience.

Many of these abandoners are still good prospects, but you need to give them a push in the right direction. These three methods can help you get them to come back and complete their purchases.

Retargeting or Remarketing

I’ve already talked about retargeting (or remarketing) in the context of turning one-time buyers into repeat customers, but its main purpose is to get people who visited your website without buying to come back and complete a transaction.

A retargeting ad by Outdoor Technology

We saw this retargeting ad for Outdoor Technology back in July, and we still think it’s brilliant.

Retargeting ads follow your prospects around the web and serve them ads that remind them to return to your website. Relevance and timing are crucial when it comes to a retargeting campaign. Knowing your customers’ buying habits and product preferences can help you develop an effective retargeting strategy that results in more sales.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a particularly effective strategy when dealing with shopping cart abandoners. A survey conducted by the E-Tailing Group showed that 61% of retailers reported that their triggered email marketing tactics were “very/somewhat” successful.

Timing is also crucial when it comes to triggered emails. It’s best to send three emails out in this order:

  • Right after the customer leaves the website – This email typically asks the customer if there was a problem checking out, and gives them a little nudge to complete their order.
  • Within the first 24-hours – This email should reassure customers about the quality of your products and services through reviews and testimonials.
  • Within the first 7 days (after the first 24-hours) – The third email should offer an incentive to encourage the customer to come back, whether in the form of a freebie, a discount, or a coupon.

Each of your emails should be designed to convince customers to complete their transactions, and have a clear call-to-action button.

A triggered email by Banana Republic

This email by Banana Republic is a good example of marketing to shopping cart abandoners through email. The entire email is worded like a simple “reminder”, offers incentive in the form of free shipping, and creates a sense of urgency by saying “These styles are not reserved and may sell out.”

Preventing Shopping Cart Abandonment

While the two methods I talked about above can help you recover those abandoned sales, it’s still better to reduce abandonment from the start. Try performing some of these steps to make sure your shopping cart is optimized for your users:

  • Use high-quality product photos.
  • Display security logos and provide information on how you protect your users’ personal information.
  • Make it easy for shoppers to edit their cart so they won’t have to repeat the whole process if they make a mistake or want to modify their order.
  • Offer different payment methods aside from credit cards.
  • Offer support and display your contact information where they can easily see it.
  • Add social proof in the form of customer testimonials and reviews.
  • Offer free shipping or discounted shipping, and price guarantees, and good return/refund terms.

Our digital marketing and ecommerce development services can help you provide an excellent online shopping experience to all your customers. Talk to us today to get started!

Turning One-Time Holiday Buyers into Loyal or Repeat Customers

Your ecommerce business will probably get a lot of new customers this holiday season, but this influx of sales is only temporary. Seeing a rapid decline in conversions after when the holidays are over is

“I want you to keep shopping” Santa Claus cartoon by R.J. Matson

nothing new, but tapping into the right online marketing channels and using the right strategies can help make the drop less steep.

Customer Personas

Holiday shoppers are usually different from your average shopper. Many of them have never visited your site before, and are only focused on buying a specific item. Turning these single-minded consumers into repeat customers can be challenging if you don’t take the time to understand them better. Why would they want to buy from you again? What can you do to make them want to buy from you again? Developing customer personas can help you answer these questions. Here are some of the personas to consider when brainstorming your post-holiday marketing strategy:

  • The Self-Indulgent: These are the shoppers who like giving people presents that they want to receive themselves, or those who will readily include something they want in their purchase to save on time and shipping costs. Showing them “recommended” or “related” item lists during the conversion process might encourage them to buy more from you.
  • The Generous Giver: Some shoppers will buy only one item for one friend on your store, but most people will probably buy more than one gift for multiple recipients. Recommending other products or offering shipping discounts for multiple items can help you
  • The Sharer: Many consumers are will gladly talk about their positive shopping experience or share photos of their favorite products on social networks. Adding sharing buttons and options to your product pages encourages them to post on social networks and can helps you earn more exposure.

Conversion Channels and Strategies

You can use different online marketing channels depending on the persona or market you’re targeting, and what kind of content or incentive you want to serve them. These include:

  • Email: Working with email marketing companies or running your own email campaign has always been a great way to nurture leads. Creating a newsletter that specifically targets first-time buyers or offering exclusive discounts or deals to email subscribers is a good way to keep them coming back to your store.
  • Social Networks: Social networks are great avenues for communication, engagement, and promotion. Every business needs a social media strategy if they want to succeed. Encouraging first-time buyers to follow you on different social networks allows you to reach out to them on their preferred network. Social networks are also great places to host contests and giveaways.
  • Remarketing or Retargeting: Serve remarketing (or retargeting) ads are typically served to people who visited your website and left without buying, but it’s also possible to use it to get one-time buyers to come back. You can serve remarketing ads featuring new offers or products to these shoppers during Q1 to get them to return to your site after the holidays.

Planning how to make the most of your successful holiday conversions will help your business start Q1 of the following year on a good note. We can help you improve your website’s conversion design and develop campaigns that will turn your website’s visitors into loyal brand advocates and customers.

Talk to us today!