With more and more companies seeing the benefit of having a website that really ‘sells’ rather than ‘sits still’ we thought we would write a blog that offers updated information on the ecommerce side of things.
A large proportion of our Search Engine Marketing clients are ecommerce based and we’ve successfully helped them grow their initial ideas into thriving businesses, so it seems to be worth offering some useful insights and an idea of the kind of thing we hear from new SEO clients.
“My ecommerce site doesn’t make any sales”
“My ecommerce site has a high bounce rate”
“My ecommerce site gets visitors but they never buy”
Now while there are a hundred and one reasons that these things could be happening to you, there are also a hundred and one ways to resolve the problems.
First of all, your SEO or Search Engine Marketing should be bringing traffic to your site – and not just for the easy, localised key words either. If you sell hats and are based in London but you ship to the whole of the UK then you need to make sure that your SEO company is getting your site at the top of the search engines for the term ‘hats’ and not necessarily ‘hats in London’.
There are a lot of people living in the UK who buy online and many of them live outside of London, so your SEO needs to reflect this.
Remember, if you have a great website but no traffic you may need some Search Engine Marketing help and if you have lots of traffic but no sales you may need SEO and some serious amendments to your website.
If you have the traffic however, the next thing to consider is the website itself. Chances are, if you’re getting 300 hits a day but only making one sale then there’s something seriously wrong with the site. It’s a hard fact, but let’s assume you’re paying each month for a top level Search Engine Marketing package that is bringing in leads through good key words and relevance but you’re not making any sales – you will probably think it’s the SEO itself somehow not doing its job.
Unfortunately what many business owners make the mistake of doing is having a site built that THEY like. They’ve perhaps been in their business for five years or more and are very close to it. They love the bright yellow against the black background or the dark black and red writing reminds them of their bedroom when they were young! These are all very nice reasons but they will not sell you much these days!
The truth is while they may be excellent at business they’re not necessarily a genius when it comes to websites and don’t think about the implications of having a site that is hard to navigate.
Recently through a colleague we heard a story of a designer who wanted a new site. They wanted to reach more of a mass audience. They wanted to sell quantity. But when faced with the reality of ‘retail’ online they decided that THEY didn’t want it. Even though an experienced ecommerce site designer told them they needed a different layout they wouldn’t listen. Needless to say they have a lovely looking site but it will not bring in the mass sales that they wanted!
So, if you’re site isn’t selling – sorry to say but it’s probably one of these things:
- Key information is beneath the fold (that’s the area of your site an end-user sees when they land on the page
- It’s too difficult to search for items or items are not categorised well
- The shopping experience is okay but the checkout is hidden right at the bottom of the checkout process. This means when customers get to the checkout page, they can’t find out how to pay! We’ve seen this – it does happen so never assume anything!
- It takes countless clicks to buy things! The general rule is that a sale should be easily obtained in three clicks by the end user
- Too much text puts people off
- There are no calls to action
- The site looks cheap
- The site doesn’t have an SSL certificate and therefore appears unsafe to the end user
- A contact number and email is not on every single page of the website
- Delivery information is not clear – people often use websites to buy presents that are time sensitive for example so if they can’t see how quickly things will arrive. Take a look at www.amazon.com for very clever ‘delivery’ options placed throughout the shopping process
Okay there are other elements which we’ve not even covered, but if you’ve not considered at least two of the things on the list then you will never have an ecommerce website that will work as well as it should.
Tips and Tricks you can use now!
If you aren’t sure what’s going on with your ecommerce sites, but want some fixes that might help – here’s our top ten tips for making your ecommerce site sell more!
- Offer free shipping or a set price. No one wants to muck around with weights and measures. If they order something and it costs £5 to deliver they’re much happier than spending another ten minutes trying to figure out your delivery system to save a few pence! Free shipping is often the very best option because it means you can simply add a small cost on to your products and it will appeal to a lot of buyers.
- Make sure your phone number and email are on EVERY PAGE of your website. When people buy on line they have questions and want them answered. Don’t put them off answering them by making it difficult to contact you.
- Put a shipping banner at the top of your site. It needs to be clearly visible when a viewer visits your site. Again, look at Amazon for some key ecommerce tricks
- Make special offers visible and don’t cut so much that items seem too good to be true! Big retailers can get away with it but a smaller ecommerce site will seem ‘dodgy’ if you’re selling something so cheap it seems too good to be true
- Offer a gift wrapping service and gift tags! Many people buy presents on the net for family members or friends who are far away. Make it easy for them to turn one of our products in to a gift in a few clicks!
- Be very clear with your returns policy – this is again something that online buyers will want to know about you as it instils trust – especially for buyers who feel buying online is a gamble
- Create a ‘popular products’ page as this will lead people to products that you know sell well! Very often people who browse buy on impulse and this is where this tactic can work well
- Try and offer price bands to fit lots of budgets. Remember – clear navigation means making it easy for customers to find what they want.
- Consider getting someone to professionally audit the site. This is particularly useful if you’ve been looking at it for too long.
- Make sure your product list is added to Google Shopping for excellent search results. You can read our previous blog about it here.
As always there’s a lot to digest here, but if you’re spending money on your Search Engine Marketing or you’re looking for someone to SEO your site, then make sure you get the very best advice across the spectrum of options, because they will all be relevant in your quest to make your ecommerce site thrive!