Boost Your eCommerce Sales With These 4 Strategies

Boost Your eCommerce Sales With These 4 Strategies

5 MIN READ

Looking for ideas on how your can give your online revenue a boost? Here are four effective strategies you can adopt to grow your eCommerce business in 2019.

1. Optimise your checkout for mobile conversions

 

Thanks to the recent rise in mobile-first websites, customers are now confident completing the whole shopping journey on their phone. Take advantage of this by ensuring your mobile checkout is as easy and pleasant to use as possible.

Complete regular testing and analysis of the checkout funnel to identify areas for improvement. Mobile users can easily become frustrated so make sure that their checkout journey is made clear and simple to follow.

At the account creation page make sure that you aren’t asking for any unnecessary information such as date of birth or gender. If you’re asking for the customer’s mobile phone number, make sure they know why you need this. If the user has already registered with you, prepopulate any known fields.

Ask yourself if your delivery options are as convenient and competitive as they could be. If not, speak to your suppliers to see if they are offering any new services such as same day delivery or if they are willing to negotiate on rates. Don’t forget to offer click and collect from either one of your physical stores or a local delivery collection point e.g. CollectPlus or DPD Pickup.

Finally, reduce the amount of typing the customer needs to complete by offering 1-click-payment options such as Apple Pay, Amazon Pay and PayPal.

For more ideas on how to improve the shopping experience on a mobile, read our post – 6 Essential Mobile First Features For Your eCommerce Site

2. Develop a better post-purchase relationship with your customers

 

It costs five times as much to convert a new customer yet many retailers focus the majority of their marketing efforts on acquisition. To make more of your marketing budget and give your revenue a boost, make it a priority to nurture your existing customer relationships.

Excel at post-purchase customer service – give your customers several ways to get in touch with you so that they can choose their preferred method. Some customers may want to speak to you on the phone whereas others may prefer to get in touch via live chat or email. Remember that if new customers aren’t provided with the level of service they expect, they will be less likely to place further orders with you.

Host focus groups, send out surveys and request customer reviews to get feedback on the quality of your products and services. Address any issues raised and provide additional training based on any negative feedback.

Delight customers by sending out relevant and personalised follow-up content, either about the products that they’ve bought or complementary items. Tell stories about your brand and products so that you are always front of mind when the customer is looking to replenish, replace or order similar items. For example if you have customers who bought school shoes last August, the chances are they’ll need to order replacements 12 months later, so send out marketing towards the end of July showcasing this year’s styles and offers.

At the checkout, always make sure that you are requesting consent to use the customer’s data for marketing purposes.

Design and automate the post-purchase funnel utilising customer data from all selling channels. This will ensure that every opted in customer receives a consistent but personalised experience based on their orders, location and interests.

Reward loyal customers with a tiered loyalty scheme that will make them feel special and encourage them to spend more with your brand.

3. Look out for international growth opportunities

 

International markets present huge growth opportunities for retailers. If you already receive orders from overseas then you could be missing out by not optimising your offering for those audiences.

For countries where you think there could be a growth opportunity, complete some analysis into the competition to see if you could compete on price and delivery. If you can then make sure that you accept the favoured payment methods for that market. For example, if you think your products could be popular in France, offer the option to pay with Cartes Bancaires. Similarly, for Japan offer the option to pay with JCB.

To increase awareness of your brand in the new market, partner with local influencers and complementary businesses who can showcase your products to your target audience.

If not an English speaking country, consider investing in website translation so that you are able to provide your new customers with an experience that competes with local retailers.

For more advice on expanding overseas, read our 7 Step Guide To International eCommerce Success.

4. Offer a subscription model

 

Subscription models for TV streaming, car leasing and mobile phone contracts have been part of consumers’ lives for some time now, but the past couple of years have also seen a boom in eCommerce subscriptions. Royal Mail forecast that the subscription box market will be valued at £1 billion by 2022, putting its popularity down to convenience and flexibility.

Look at your order data, are there any products that customers purchase on a recurring basis? For example, beauty products, vitamins, pet food or contact lenses. Take advantage of the possibility that customers might welcome the saving in time and money that a subscription model could bring. By automatically replenishing their products when they run out you reduce the threat of them shopping around and potentially being enticed by one of your competitors offers.

In addition to replenishment plans for products, consider offering an annual subscription for delivery. This works particularly well for next-day or international delivery which would normally cost the customer a significant amount. Instead of paying for delivery each time they order, they pay a larger one-off cost that gives them access to free delivery on all their orders throughout the year. This can help you to offset the cost of free delivery while still making sure that the customer feels like they are getting a good deal. This strategy has been particularly successful for Amazon (Amazon Prime) and Selfridges (Selfridges+ global delivery charge). By having an annual subscription with your brand, you will always be their first choice as they want to ensure they get value!

Make sure that your eCommerce platform is right for your business

 

Finally don’t forget to make sure you are using the best eCommerce platform for your business. If your current software doesn’t allow you to easily implement any of the above ideas then it might be time to consider alternative options.

You need to choose an eCommerce supplier that pushes you to grow and a scalable platform that can create efficiencies through automation and flexibility.

Stephanie Fenton
31st May 2019

Dos & Don’ts Of An eCommerce Replatforming Project

Dos & Don’ts Of An eCommerce Replatforming Project

5 MIN READ

Moving to a new eCommerce platform better suited to your needs can present huge growth opportunities for your online business. However, eCommerce replatforming can still be a daunting task with a number of considerations and risks involved.

Here At Venditan we have a number of highly experienced migration experts who have put together their top dos and don’ts for your replatforming project. If you have any queries about the points mentioned below, please get in touch.

DO

1. Nail down a specification and stick to it

 

To prevent misunderstandings and remove room for confusion it’s critical that you define the requirements and expectations of your eCommerce replatforming project in a detailed specification.

This should include:

  • The key drivers for the project and current pain points
  • Mobile-first designs that cover each web-page layout
  • Features and functionality
  • Technical and functional specifications for any bespoke features or third-party integrations
  • Data migration requirements
  • A project timeline and launch plan

Defining what the project will encompass means that you will have a clear picture of what will be delivered and when. If your wishlist changes part-way through the project, add any amendments or additional features to a post-launch roadmap. This will ensure that the project launches on time and doesn’t snowball into a never-ending build.

2. Choose a platform that allows your business to scale up

 

It’s important that you choose an eCommerce platform that promotes growth and fits with your business goals. Think about your revenue targets for the next couple of years. How many orders would you need to be shipping? How much more stock would you need to hold? By how much would you need to increase your website traffic?

If your order levels increased to where they need to be, how efficient would the suggested dispatch process be? Choose a platform that comes with intelligent picking and packing functionality that can work for retail operations of all sizes. Ask if manual processes can be automated for larger order volumes and vice versa. For smaller order volumes automated processes may be more time consuming than manual ones.

Make sure that the platform can understand the layout of your warehouse and create picking lists following the most efficient route. If you’re really looking to scale up, make sure that the platform understands the concept of multiple warehouses and which location would be best to ship from if delivering to a specific postcode.

If you want to increase your revenue it’s likely that you’ll need to think about increasing traffic levels. This means that you need to think about the impact they’ll have on your server. If additional resources aren’t spun up, extra visitors could slow down your site or bring it down completely. Choosing a provider that uses cloud hosting means that your website will be able to respond to extra visitors in real time.

3. Utilise your new eCommerce platform’s out-the-box features and functionality

 

Before specifications are produced, review your chosen eCommerce platform’s out-the-box features. Could any of these increase your profit margins, improve efficiency or help you to provide your customers with a better service?

Find out which couriers your new eCommerce platform has already integrated with. Speak to these couriers to find out which delivery services they provide and whether they could offer you a better rate than your existing suppliers.

When thinking about the delivery services to offer on your new website, find out if your platform has the ability to understand weight and postcode-based delivery pricing. Offering this to your customers could save you both money. This is especially important for free service categories where you’re going to be taking a hit.

One of the keys to providing a good shopping experience in 2019 is to allow your customers to checkout using their preferred payment method. If your new platform allows you to offer e-wallet payments such as Apple Pay, consider including these on your new checkout.

4. Use as an opportunity to cull and optimise content

 

Don’t just carry all content over to your new website, use the migration as an opportunity to get rid of any thin or duplicate content that doesn’t enhance the shopping experience for your users. Optimise and clean up any valuable content by updating copy, adding structured data markup, and reviewing keyword usage in your copy, alt text, heading tags and meta content.

DON’T

1. Forget to redirect all changing URLs

 

When migrating to a new platform and launching a new website, it’s likely that many of your URLs will be changing. It’s important that 301 redirects are put in place at the point of launch so that users and search engines can easily find your equivalent pages on your new website. Not doing this can have a devastating effect on your search engine rankings and ultimately the revenue driven from organic sources.

Here at Venditan, we will use the Screaming Frog SEO spider to crawl your current website and pull off a full list of URLs to be redirected. We will also request a list of all 301 redirects that exist within your current eCommerce platform so that they can be migrated into your new Venditan Commerce CMS with any chains removed.

2. Think that integrating with the best-in-class software for each area of your business is the right solution

 

Ideally, to create a true omnichannel experience, you should aim to manage your entire operation through a single piece of software. Managing different areas of your business through different systems is likely to be an administrative nightmare and leads to issues such as overselling and a disjointed customer experience. It’s also likely that you will be wasting money by using expensive third parties to do something that your platform is already capable of. Make sure you fully understand the capabilities of your chosen platform before planning integration projects.

3. Miss the migration of any key data

 

Ahead of the migration process it’s important to map out all areas of the business and the data required for each to function. This can then be used to form your specifications and prevent any key data from being missed.

Your eCommerce platform should be the master record of all data that your business owns. As a minimum you should ensure that all inventory, customer and order information is transferred to your new platform. This will prevent you from losing any of the data you have acquired that could help you to better understand your customers and provide them with personalised marketing and loyalty rewards.

4. Forget to give staff adequate training ahead of launch

 

Ensure that you allow enough space in your project timeline to train each of your teams thoroughly ahead of launch. The last thing you want is to lose out on sales because your customer service teams or store staff aren’t able to locate stock or take payments.

Representatives from each of your teams should have been involved from the planning stage and should have guided your decisions on future functionality and processes. If you’ve chosen the best eCommerce platform for your business it should create efficiencies and make the lives of your staff easier so they should be happy with any changes to their workflow.

Don’t forget that we’re offering free migration from Magento to Venditan Commerce for a limited time only. Enter your details below to speak to one of our migration experts about your requirements and to see if Venditan Commerce is the right solution for you.

Stephanie Fenton
24th May 2019

End Of Life For Magento 1: Everything You Need To Know

End Of Life For Magento 1: Everything You Need To Know

Back in November 2015 when the highly-anticipated Magento 2 was released, merchants and developers were made aware that it would only be a matter of time before Magento 1 became obsolete.

 

An original end date for support of November 2018 created panic within the Magento community. There weren’t enough Magento developers in the world to migrate every Magento 1 site within the set timescale. With no security patches after the cut-off date, any sites that missed out on a migration would be vulnerable to security breaches and hacks.

6 Essential Mobile First Features For Your eCommerce Site

6 Essential Mobile First Features For Your eCommerce Site

3 MIN READ
mCommerce sales account for 43.3% of all UK retail ecommerce sales.

– The London Economic

Mobile commerce is growing at a rapid rate – according to eMarketer, mobile now accounts for almost 60% of total global eCommerce sales.

New functionality, such as e-wallets, and optimised eCommerce sites mean that users no longer need to move onto a desktop or tablet device to complete their purchase.

Worldpay have predicted that UK mobile commerce sales will nearly double by 2022. So how can retailers optimise their eCommerce sites for mobile conversions?

1. Sticky Navigation For Key Actions

 

Having a fixed header across your eCommerce site is now seen as key to providing a mobile-friendly navigation however not many sites are utilising this functionality at other stages of the buying journey. Adding sticky navigation to other shopping pages will ensure that key calls-to-action are always visible, no matter where the user is on the page. This is especially useful for long pages where the user would normally need to scroll up or down to continue their journey.

 

Fix the following CTAs to prevent needless scrolling and streamline your customer’s journey:

 

  • Sort and filter functionality on listing pages
  • Size selector and “Add to Basket” button on product pages
  • “Checkout” button on the basket page

2. Smart Site Search

 

Make it easy for mobile users to find what they are looking for without having to rely too heavily on typing in the correct phrase. Upgrade your site search feature to autocomplete partially types phrases, correct misspellings and suggest search terms. Guide users of large eCommerce sites to better search results by suggesting results within specific categories.

3. User Friendly Filters

 

Provide optimised filters to make it easy for users to narrow results. It is widely understood that poor filter functionality is a common cause of high bounce rate on product listing pages. Before the user selects a filter, let them know how many results they can expect in brackets. This will prevent frustration when the user lands on a page with more or less results than they expected.

Once filters have been applied, display them at the top of the page to provide users with confirmation that they’ve selected the correct option. You should also make it easy for users to deselect filters directly from the results page.

4. Clear, Upfront Product Information

 

Display available colour and size information on listing pages to prevent pogo-sticking. For high-spec products use a single-file list view rather than a grid so that more information can be displayed without the page looking cluttered.

Make product detail pages easier for users to navigate by separating information out into collapsed sections. Be clear when naming sections so that users know what to expect when they click through e.g. description, product specifications, customer reviews, care instructions, delivery and returns, accessories.

5. In-Store Product Availablility

 

Let the customer shop on their terms by providing the option to check stock levels at their local store. The customer may not want to wait for delivery or may want to physically see the product before buying it. If possible, offer reserve and collect to give the customer reassurance that they won’t be wasting a journey.

6. A Hassle Free Checkout Process

 

Make the checkout process as seamless as possible with minimal form entry and clear error messaging.

Only request essential information required for you to process the user’s order. Disable autocorrect on checkout fields to prevent the user’s phone from incorrectly updating name and address information. When requesting dates, telephone numbers and email addresses make sure that you are offering the correct mobile keyboards. If the user makes a mistake, preserve the information they’ve entered rather than clearing the form.

When offering the user multiple delivery options, calculate and display the estimated delivery dates rather than how long each service takes. This will make it clear to users when they will receive their order without them having to work it out for themselves.

Prevent checkout abandonment by offering alternative payment methods. E-wallets, such as Apple Pay, Amazon Pay and Alipay, allow customers to complete payment without the disruption of finding and entering their physical card details.

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Stephanie Fenton
17th April 2019

3 Ways Retailers Can Prepare For The Rise Of Voice Search

3 Ways Retailers Can Prepare For The Rise Of Voice Search

3 MIN READ
20% of searches in the Google App are now by voice.

– Google Data

The past couple of years have seen a huge increase in the number of searches completed using voice assistants. So much easier than typing out a query, voice search is the perfect fit for today’s busy lifestyle – allowing users to quickly ask questions at the same time as performing other tasks.

At the moment the majority of voice searches are being completed on a mobile, with most people in the UK owning a smartphone with a digital assistant pre-installed. However ownership of smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, has doubled in the past 6 months, with 1 in 10 UK households now owning one (YouGov).

Back in September 2014, Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu, predicted that by 2020 half of all searches would either be completed with images or speech. Could Christmas 2019 see his prediction come true?

With such a rapid increase in home-assistant sales, and a high percentage of mobile searches already being performed with voice, what can retailers do to ensure their web content is optimised?

Ensure Your NAP Is Consistent Across Third Party Sites

 

As previously mentioned, at the moment the majority of voice searches are completed on a mobile. This means that lots of searches have local intent, e.g. searches for directions, local services, store details and opening hours.

 

46% of voice search users look for a local business on a daily basis

– Bright Local

So that voice-assistants can easily find your company’s information, make sure that all of your locations are claimed across third-party websites such as Google Places and Yelp. Also, check that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) is correct and consistent across the web.

Write Content In A Natural Way

 

Data shows that the majority of voice queries use natural language and are longer than text-based searches. Users speak to voice-assistants as they would to another person rather than a search engine. This means that your product descriptions, buying guides and customer service information should be written in a conversational way – as if you were talking to a customer.

Although assistants aim to provide short, concise answers, research shows that articles with a higher word count actually tend to perform better in voice-search results as they provide more context to match a snippet to the user’s query. For this reason, aim to provide long-form content on topics but include definition statements to answer common queries.

When returning results for queries, voice-assistants take into consideration the snippet’s grammar and ease of pronunciation. Make sure that all content is reviewed for grammar and typos ahead of publishing and use simple everyday words that are easy to read out loud.

Speak to your customer-service team and sales assistants to identify the most frequently asked questions about your key products and ranges. You can then use this knowledge to update product descriptions, create buying guides or add FAQ pages to your site. Answerthepublic.com is another good way of finding out what potential customers might be searching for.

Implement Structured Data MarkUp

 

Help search engines to better understand the context of your content by implementing structured data markup. This markup highlights important parts of your content so that it’s easier to find. It’s also used to display rich and featured snippets in the search results. These featured snippets are often used as the top source for voice answers.

For eCommerce sites, Google recommend implementing all relevant markup below:

Google are also currently trialling a new form of schema called Speakable – this allows you to mark up which parts of your articles or webpages are suitable for voice search results. This is currently only available in the US, but Google plans to roll it out to other countries soon.

So What Should Retailers Be Doing Now?

 

1. Claim and update all business profiles and locations on third-party websites including social accounts.

2. Prioritising best-selling ranges, optimise and create content to answer common customer queries. Ideally plan and create all the content you think your customers will need for the Christmas shopping period.

3. Implement all relevant structured data markup so that voice assistants can easily make sense of your information.

Stephanie Fenton
17th April 2019