In recent years, the number of online purchases has increased significantly. The pandemic has accelerated the process of business digitalization as more and more companies have begun to focus on the Internet as the primary source of customer attraction and apply digital e-commerce marketing techniques.
Consumer engagement, increased competition between sites, and technology development are shaping a new environment for e-commerce. This article provides recommendations for online store owners to help make their promotional strategy more effective.
1. Perform advanced site analysis.
Google takes into account more than 200 parameters when ranking. To improve a site’s visibility in search, marketers need to analyze as many metrics as possible, find areas of weaknesses and improve the website.
Site traffic and user behavior
It is important to pay attention to standard indicators such as the number of visits and session duration and end-to-end analytics: Track the entire path of a visitor from transition to the site to conversion, record resales, and evaluate the effectiveness of different sources of traffic. This will allow properly allocated costs for attraction channels in the future.
Comprehensive SEO audit of the site
Tools for website owners and SEO (search engine optimization) specialists provide an option for site analysis and its internal and external optimization. The report will contain information such as:
- a list of indexed pages
- site security (HTTPS)
- server response codes and redirects
- SEO tags (title, description, alt)
- duplicate content, and
- internal and external links, etc.
Improved site usability
Competitive advantage is gained by those companies that meet basic consumer requirements. A clear intuitive design makes it possible to quickly find the necessary information on the site and place an order. The fewer actions that lead to the customer’s ultimate goal, the better.
Another way to improve design is to switch to a Headless CMS. In this content management system, entrepreneurs can use several interfaces instead of one site interface (head), depending on the type of device. This will give the site more functionality and allow testing and selecting successful solutions.
2. Analyze competitors.
Business is moving online with new online stores emerging and popular resources in the field using tried-and-true methods to increase traffic and profits. To become one of the market leaders and hold high positions, the marketer needs to analyze competitors and their promotion channels, marketing techniques, keywords, positions in search results, etc.
Google Analytics only provides data about the website. To learn more about competitors, it’s worth using SEO platforms that aggregate statistics from many different sources.
For example, SE Ranking provides the following information during competitor analysis:
- related resources
- common and missing keywords against a competitor site
- positions of pages in search results
- the total number of keywords for which the website is ranked
- approximate organic traffic
- forecast of the advertising budget (cost of traffic), and
- backlinks (number of links to the site from other sources).
3. Use an omnichannel approach.
Omnicanality implies interaction with the client using different communication methods and integration of all data on their activities into a single system. The advantage of that approach is that all channels not only help to attract customers from different sources but also complement each other: The user can start an action on one device, continue on the second, and finish on a third, or receive notifications in the most frequently used way.
A single system, such as a CRM or SaaS platform, stores all the data the user reported to the company and the history of client actions: activity on the site and social networks, use of certain applications, email, etc. All of this makes it possible to personalize offers and search results.
Another advantage is proper budget planning. For example, the system detects that the client rarely checks email but often uses Viber on the phone. Therefore, it is worth excluding the email from the mailing lists and sending notifications of successful orders and promotions in Messenger.
4. Customize advertising.
Categorizing customers into groups and creating personalized offers for them works better than targeting a single target group. This approach is used for marketing channels such as email marketing, remarketing, and banner ads on websites and social networks.
What are the benefits of customized advertising?
- Quality traffic with a high percentage of subsequent conversions.
- The loyalty of clients and resales.
- Saving the advertising budget due to narrow targeting and targeted conversions.
According to marketing observations, customized mailings increase sales by 20%. To enhance the effectiveness of advertising, it is necessary to:
- make an analysis of the audience and customer interaction with the company,
- divide customers into segments: by interest, age, average order value, and
- determine the needs and problems of each customer group.
After that, customize content and set up ad targeting. Banners and messages should contain catchy texts about how the product solves the consumer’s problem and unique selling propositions. Targeting for each user segment is set up from scratch, or existing settings are adjusted.
5. Focus on new algorithms in SEO.
To improve the quality of results, search engines are adding new ranking criteria. Major trends include:
- Page Experience. When evaluating the convenience of a site for visitors, Google now considers the Core Web Vitals ― indicators that tell how quickly and correctly page content is displayed. For the online store to rank high in organic search results, entrepreneurs need to work on its loading speed and layout.
- Adaptability for different types of devices. It is predicted that the percentage of purchases via smartphones will be much higher than via computers shortly. The adaptivity of a website has long influenced its ranking. Google indexes the mobile version in the first place (mobile-first indexing), and its correct operation is a must-have for SEO.
The Core Web Vitals score and the level of mobile optimization of a website can be seen in the Google Search Console service for website owners or the website analysis report on the platform for SEO specialists.
6. Post product video reviews.
A new era of video advertising is shaking up digital marketing. According to Forbes, advances in smartphones and streaming services have triggered changes in video viewing habits. Content in video format is easy and interesting for users to grasp. This is a way to deliver information and clearly demonstrate the product quickly. Quality video reviews, which show all the benefits and features of the product, encourage consumers to buy and help them make a choice. They help increase sales in the online store and attract new customers from YouTube and social networks.
There are different kinds of videos that will be useful in e-commerce: product reviews, novelty presentations, customer feedback, instructions and tips, and expert opinions. The recommended length of a video is from 30 seconds to several minutes.
7. Use AR technology on the site.
Visual content is a way to present products on the site in the best way to give the visitor a better idea of what the product will look like in reality. Visual commerce aims to increase sales with the help of high-quality images, interactive elements and augmented reality (AR) elements.
AR technology is based on maximum visualization and product projections, such as the virtual fitting of clothes and accessories, selection of cosmetics, and rendering of furniture in the interior.
Currently, AR elements are used mainly by major brands such as Apple, IKEA and Sephora. According to forecasts, the virtual and augmented reality market will grow, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 62% by 2026.
8. Make service a competitive advantage.
There are factors not related to the quality of the product that still impact the final decision on a purchase, in particular:
- Easy payment process and support for different payment services
- Fast delivery
- Chatbots and live support.
For example, many users do not complete an order due to the lack of a convenient payment method. In addition to alternative payment systems like PayPal, mobile applications, such as Google Pay, Apple Pay and QR-code payment, are becoming more and more popular. Also, to save the buyer’s time, it would be useful to provide a link for quick payment.
Another barrier to an order can be long or uncertain delivery terms such as the company does not cooperate with postal services suitable for the customer. Marketers should calculate delivery days for different product groups and try to keep this time to a minimum.
One more aspect that affects sales is online consulting. Many visitors to the site have questions, but not everyone is able and willing to call the contact numbers. Online chat provides an opportunity to keep the user on the site, answer his or her questions, and encourage him or her to make a purchase, as well as analyze frequently asked questions and expand the content of the site.
9. Work on reviews and reputation.
Product and company reviews online are important to consumers today. Statistics show that 57% of Google users research product reviews before purchasing a product.
Reviews, in general, are becoming more common. Users actively share their experiences on Google Maps, independent review sites, and forums. A good rating builds trust in the company and brings a natural flow of new customers. SEO managers should strive for more positive ratings, respond to negative reviews and use feedback to improve product and service quality.
It’s also helpful to add a rating feature to product cards and micro-markup of the HTML code of the pages. This way, the product rating, and the title and page description will appear in search results in the form of stars, thus attracting users’ attention and increasing the number of clicks to the site.
10. Use Google My Business for local promotion.
Users often search for certain products in their location, specifying the name of the locality or indicating “nearby,” “near me” and others in their queries. Google can also automatically take a user’s location into account and show Google Maps in search results — a map showing stores in a certain region and a list with ratings, reviews and other information about them.
To be included in the results of Google Maps and attract more attention to the company, SEO managers need to register the site in Google My Business and fill in the basic data in the service.
11. Adapt website for voice search (voice commerce).
Users prefer voice-based searches to text-based ones. Voice-activated applications are also growing in popularity, enabling users to not only find websites with a product they want but place an order without taking any physical steps.
One way to adapt a site for voice search is to analyze the search queries in the field and use long-tail phrases as keywords. Long-tail queries contain qualifying words and are close to spoken language. If the SEO manager adds them to the site’s content, the search engine can determine its pages relevant to voice commands and display them in search results.
Search engines provide lists of queries that users make and their frequency. Special services for SEO specialists provide extended statistics, e.g., which sites are highly ranked for perspective long-tail queries. There is also an option to select keywords and further monitor the site’s position according to them.
Another way to use the voice assistant to benefit e-commerce is to implement technology to search and consult within the site using voice. This will allow the company to save on the service center and tech support and be in touch with customers 24/7.
Under dynamic digitalization, new technologies, and trends, it is necessary to track changes in time and adapt the company’s strategy to them. In the sphere of e-commerce, it would be useful to collect detailed statistics about entrepreneur’s online stores and competitors’ sites; use different promotion channels, fixing the user actions (omnicanality); improve the site from within: usability, service, elements of augmented reality; create customized advertising and mailing lists; adapt the website to search engines; use video marketing and work toward good reviews and high ranking.