eCommerce Replatforming: 3 Crucial Considerations

eCommerce Replatforming: 3 Crucial Considerations

3 MIN READ

Replatforming is sometimes essential to enable an eCommerce business to grow.

As customer expectations increase, retailers must keep up with trends in website functionality and the experience they provide. The prospect of replatforming can be daunting but with detailed planning and preparation the majority of issues can be avoided – there is no reason why retailers who’ve outgrown their current platform shouldn’t go ahead and make the move.

Here are three considerations for retailers who are looking to take the next step and replatform.

1. Data Migration

Failure to migrate the correct customer data can have a huge impact on an existing customer’s experience.

As a minimum, customer account details should be migrated to the new system with the exception of passwords, which should be updated for security. Retailers should alert their customers about any changes to their website functionality, highlighting any enhanced features or customer-facing benefits such as faster, cheaper delivery services. You also need to make sure that customers are provided with a seamless way to update their passwords.

Ideally customer order histories should be migrated so that the new platform has knowledge of previous purchases. Often this is not the case and so refunds and exchanges are manually managed within the old system for a period of time. If customer order history is being used for any marketing or loyalty programs then the migration of this data should be specified as a requirement.

2. SEO

The revenue generated from organic sessions often accounts for a huge portion of a retailer’s overall online income. This means that SEO should be one of the key considerations when deciding to replatform. The last thing you want is to spend thousands of pounds replatforming if you then see your sales drop off a cliff. You will hear many vendors saying that their platform is “SEO friendly”, however this means nothing without some manual considerations and a certain amount of custom work.

If, like most retailers, your organic revenue is critical to your business, make sure that you or your new provider makes a full list of SEO considerations and that these are all being addressed. If your URLs are going to be changing with the migration it’s important that you have a thorough redirect strategy in place. This should include the migration of any existing redirects stored in your live database.

A migration to a new platform is also a good time to review your meta content and make sure that it’s optimised for the new/migrated content. Often the data used to build product page meta content is pulled from product data within your installation so make sure you know which fields need to be optimised for search engines.

3. A Single Ecosystem

Customers interact with your business across multiple touch points, so integration is key. Your eCommerce platform should give you a single view of all the data your retail business owns. It should be the master of all customer, inventory and order information. Only by having a full understanding of how users are interacting with your business will you be able to make the data-driven decisions required to grow revenue. When replatforming, make sure that you map out your business’s eco-system to ensure all data is flowing back into your eCommerce platform. This will allow you to provide a frictionless shopping experience whether your customers are shopping with you in-store, on your website or on a third-party marketplace.

Replatforming is a complex process that requires agility and strong project management. Core business processes and requirements need carefully mapping out to ensure the new platform meets your business goals.

If you’ve outgrown the capabilities of your current platform and would like to find out if Venditan Commerce is the right eCommerce platform for you, get in touch.

Stephanie Fenton
20th March 2019

5 Mistakes With eCommerce Website Translation You Need To Avoid

5 Mistakes With eCommerce Website Translation You Need To Avoid

3 MIN READ
Translating your eCommerce website is key if you want to engage with your international customers and provide them with an experience that competes with local retailers.

9 out of 10 Europeans say they always prefer to shop on sites in their own language when given the choice.

– European Commission

You are probably already aware that a Google Translate job won’t cut the mustard, however even once you’ve identified a native-speaking translator, editor and proofreader, there are still common oversights we frequently see on translated eCommerce websites…

1. Forgetting certain assets

If you’re hosting your translated website on the same domain as your UK site, you need to make sure that all assets containing text are reproduced for your new market. This includes:

  • Banners and imagery
  • Size guides (make sure you include a translation to the local size)
  • PDFs
  • Offer messaging
  • Marketing materials – custom marketing should be created for each market
  • Invoices and delivery notes
  • Packaging
  • Blog content
  • Video content
  • Gift cards and loyalty cards
  • Pop-up messaging
  • Brand logos / names – for example The North Face are referred to in China as Bei Mian or 北面 which translates as Back.

Make sure you have a native speaker reviewing the entire buying journey, with several different user stories, before your translated website goes live.

2. Not providing customers with support in their local language

Allowing customers to place orders in their own language is all well and good, but what happens when they contact you with the details provided on your translated contact page? As a minimum you should be providing a local telephone number where customers can have their queries answered in their own language.

You should also make sure that your courier’s tracking details are in the customer’s language.

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3. Not considering the formatting of your website

If translating your content to a language with a different structure, such as Arabic or Chinese, you may need to think about a website redesign, or at least rethink which fonts you use. Not all fonts support foreign characters – this could potentially impact the layout and readability of your content.

When choosing a new font, think about the length of words in the language you’re translating to. Short Chinese words may look better in wider fonts; long German words may look better using shorter fonts.

4. Language doesn’t equal location

Don’t assume you know which currency and shipping location the user will want by the language they select. Instead present them with a global landing page at the start of their session where they can select their shipping location, language and currency.

Don’t restrict your customers by only showing them flags to select their language. For example some Canadian customers may want to view your website in English but others may want to view it in French. It’s far better to provide a list of languages for the user to select from. Make sure that these are listed in the local language e.g. Français.

5. Cultural Misunderstandings

The last thing you want is to invest in translation with the hope of providing a better user experience, only to find that you’ve actually damaged your brand in that market by not considering cultural differences.

Make sure that your translator and editor are native to the location you’re translating for and can spot any potential issues with product names, marketing campaigns, promotion codes and slogans.

Don’t forget to consider that you might need to rethink your brand name, tagline and product names for the new market. For example, Vicks needed to rebrand as Wick for the German market after they initially entered the market failing to realise that “V” is pronounced “F” in German – not ideal for a family-friendly brand! Similarly KFC’s famous tagline “finger lickin good” translates to “eat your fingers off” in Chinese!

Always make sure that new content is reviewed before it’s launched

Don’t neglect your translated website once it’s been launched. Make sure that you continually work with your native-speaking team to review any new product descriptions, marketing campaigns and landing pages before they go live.

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Get in touch to find out how Venditan Commerce could help improve the shopping experience for your international customers.
Please call John or Chris on: +44(0)161 826 3098 or email us at: startyourjourney@venditan.com

Stephanie Fenton
18th March 2019

Here’s How To Reduce Your Customer Returns In 8 Steps

Here’s How To Reduce Your Customer Returns In 8 Steps

6 MIN READ
Reduce your product returns, protect your profits and increase customer satisfaction with our top tips.

In a recent study, Barclaycard calculated that UK shoppers are returning £7 billion of purchases every year [1]. Online retailers need to give the subject of product returns serious consideration then in order to maximise their margins. This should include strategies for firstly reducing return rates and then streamlining internal processes to deal with the percentage of returns that remain unavoidable.

According to PostNord, 40% of UK consumers have returned at least one online purchase in the past year. This figure increases to 52% in The Netherlands and 53% in Germany [2].

To protect their profits, retailers may consider transferring the cost of product returns to the customer, however with 55% of online retailers now offering free returns and almost 70% of consumers expecting free returns as standard [3], if retailers want to remain competitive they are going to need to look at this issue from a different angle.

Although some returns are inevitable due to the remote nature of eCommerce, there are a some adjustments that could see your returns rate plummet.

1. MAKE SURE YOUR IMAGERY PROVIDES AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF YOUR PRODUCTS

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s incredible the number of product pages we see containing a single product image. Products have multiple sides, angles and hidden features – the customer needs to see them all. Providing 360 degree product images is a great way to get this across in an elegant way, and is especially useful if you’re selling a technical item or a piece of furniture.

If 360 degree product imagery isn’t something you’re able to invest in at the moment then make sure you provide the ability to zoom and view close-up images of any details such as stitching, fastenings and the inside of drawers.

Don’t overlook the images you are providing on a mobile. For the majority of eCommerce sites, mobile and tablet traffic will now amount to more than desktop traffic.

2. USE VIDEO TO BRING YOUR PRODUCTS TO LIFE

You only have to look at the success of home shopping channels to understand how effective videos are for remote selling. They are a great way of bringing products to life and can be especially effective when used for the two highest returned categories – clothing and home electronics [4].

With clothing, models can show off the movement of the garment, giving shoppers a better idea of the fit and flow.

For functional, home electronics items, videos can demonstrate the product in use. AO.com do this particularly well with detailed videos talking through all the features and benefits of each product in order to help the customer make the right decision.

3. WRITE DETAILED PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS

Not only are detailed product descriptions great for SEO, they also help shoppers decide whether or not your product is right for them.

Descriptions need to be clear on the particulars of a product so make sure that the person writing your descriptions knows your products well. Ideally they should have tried the product for themselves and have it in front of them as they write the description.

We often recommend explaining all the features and benefits of a product as if you were describing it to someone who could not see it for themselves. Would they still know what they were getting?

You should talk about the product in an appealing way as if you were selling it face-to-face in your bricks-and-mortar store, however don’t exaggerate as this will only come back to bite you.

Specification information is a must for technical products. Different customers will be looking for different attributes, for example, bigger isn’t always better – don’t try to make out a TV is big if it isn’t – your customer may be looking for a small TV to fit in a specific spot.

4. REVIEW YOUR SIZING INFORMATION

Two in five consumers (40 per cent) say they return clothing bought online because items don’t fit as they expect them to.

– Barclaycard

You may think that you already have this covered if you provide sizing charts on your product pages but take a look back and consider just how accurate and useful this information is to each of your customers.

One of the biggest and most common mistakes we see is offering a single default sizing chart covering all categories, across all your product pages – this is not accurate and will be highly frustrating to your customers!

Make sure that the sizing chart you provide on a particular product page is relevant for that particular product, category and brand. Don’t use a clothing size charts on a footwear product pages and make sure you provide accurate sizing charts for different brands – one brand’s size 8 may be the same as another brand’s size 10. If using a model in your imagery, make sure you give information on their height and which size they’re wearing.

If you sell overseas, make sure that you are providing international conversion charts for clothing, and both metric and imperial measurements for dimensions. Some customers may think they know how to convert the numbers in their head but do you want to rely on that?

Show measurement charts and dimensions in image form so the customer knows exactly how your item has been measured. You can even provide fitting tools such as ASOS’s Fit Assistant.

5. ENCOURAGE CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK

Encourage customer reviews and feedback so that you can learn more about the products you sell and how they’re used in real life scenarios. This will help you identify any potential quality issues with either the products that you stock or the information you’re providing about them.

On returns forms, provide tick boxes that will help flag issues such as if it looks different in the images or it seems larger/smaller than expected. You can then go back to review your product listings to see if they could be improved.

Offer incentives to increase the number of reviews such as ‘win your shopping’ or a voucher for a discount off your next purchase.

6. OFFER LIVE CHAT FOR REAL TIME SUPPORT

 

Let shoppers quickly ask you questions about products in real time. This will help both conversion rate and prevent customers from ordering items that don’t meet their requirements.

If the items don’t meet the customer’s requirements, this also gives the customer service team the opportunity to suggest a more suitable item or an add-on purchase to make it better suit their needs.

If you’re going to offer live chat to your customers, make sure that you educate customer services on your products so that they know the best product to suit the customer. Hold regular team meetings to showcase new products and discuss feedback you’ve been getting on existing products.

7. PACKAGE YOUR ITEMS WITH THEIR JOURNEY IN MIND

From leaving your warehouse to reaching the customer’s door, you have little control over how your packages are handled. Prevent damaged and broken goods by ensuring you use protective packaging.

If your items are susceptible to water damage, use waterproof packaging – it could well be raining when your package is out for delivery.

For fragile items make sure you use enough padding and bubble wrap – it’s likely to be sat under a pile of other boxes at some point on the journey.

Mark your boxes with information about what’s inside and how they should be stored e.g. if it’s a plant, which way up does it need to be positioned and which temperature should it be kept at.

8. CLEARLY DISPLAY DELIVERY ESTIMATES

With approximately 33% of UK households now subscribing to Amazon Prime [5], shoppers are accustomed to receiving their online orders on the same or next day. If orders are going to take any longer to get to customers, you need to make it clear on your product pages, basket and checkout BEFORE the customer has placed their order. This is especially important in sectors where products are manufactured on demand and can have long lead times, for example furniture.

Make sure that any estimated dispatch and delivery dates take Bank Holidays and weekends into account. Allowing customers to select a specific day for delivery, can sometimes provide a more favourable experience even if they have to pay for the privilege.

Download our free e-book
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For more advice on how you can improve the shopping experience for your customers, call us on +44(0)161 826 3098 or email us at: startyourjourney@venditan.com

Stephanie Fenton
8th March 2019

Increase Google Shopping ROAS With These 5 Tips

Increase Google Shopping ROAS With These 5 Tips

As an e-tailer you know how important it is to make sure your products are appearing in the Google Shopping results as these listings increasingly dominate the SERPs for product-related long-tail search queries.

With the peak shopping period fast approaching then, this Friday we give you five tips to help improve your performance on Google Shopping.

1. Optimise Your Product Titles & Descriptions

Your product title is the most important attribute in your Google Shopping feed. It gives the strongest indication to Google whether your product is relevant to a user’s search query. This means that you should try to get as much information about the product into the available 150 characters as possible. Mention anything that a user might include in their search query such as size, colour, brand and gender, including the most important keywords at the start of the title.

Your description may not be as important as your title but it will still contribute to your relevancy and the click-through rate your listings receive. The first 150 – 600 characters are the most important so make sure that these read well and that you include any keywords potential customers might be looking for.

2. Pay Attention To Negative Keywords

Although you can’t add keywords to your Google Shopping campaign, you should still be creating negative keywords for any search terms that are going to drive the wrong kind of traffic. Make sure that you’re reviewing the search terms report on a regular basis and excluding any phrases that have a high click-through rate/cost but a low conversion rate.

3. Try The New Showcase Adverts

The search term report may also highlight opportunities for Showcase Adverts (only available within the new AdWords interface). These allow you to select a range of products to showcase when the user searches for generic phrases that might have a low click-through rate, e.g. “televisions” or “dresses”. Instead of letting Google decide which of your products are most the relevant, you can choose to display your bestsellers or the products with the highest margin.

4. Shout About Your Promotions

When running any special offers or promotions, make sure that you’re setting these up within your Google Merchant Center. These will make your product listings stand out from the competition and can create a sense of urgency if they mention a timed offer. The types of offers you can set up include postage discounts, percentage-off offers, and bundle offers such as 3-for-2. If you don’t see the promotions feature available within your Merchant Center, you can register your interest here:  https://services.google.com/fb/forms/merchantpromotionsform/

5. Seller & Product Ratings

Another way to improve your click-through rate and help your listings to stand out from the crowd is to have product and seller reviews on your site. After you’ve received around 150 reviews, Google will display star ratings as part of your product listings. To gain these ratings you can either take advantage of the free Google Customer Reviews programme or use a third party review source such as Reviews.co.uk or Trustpilot.

 

For more advice on how you can drive more traffic to your website, call us on +44(0)161 826 3098 or email us at: startyourjourney@venditan.com

 

Stephanie Fenton
3 Oct 2018

10 Tips On Clearing Surplus Sale Stock

10 Tips On Clearing Surplus Sale Stock

Are your stockrooms and warehouses getting more and more jam-packed by the day? Are you struggling to shift your surplus summer stock and still make a profit? Fear not! Our top 10 tips for clearing sale stock will have you freeing up storage space for your new autumn product ranges in no time at all.

1. Summer isn’t over yet!

Autumn stock may have started to land in stores and online but the summer has only just begun, especially for families who are planning to go away during the school holidays. This is great news if you’ve still got lots of summer stock left. Make sure that you aren’t focusing too heavily on autumn stock when planning your marketing activities and merchandising your landing pages. Your customers may not be ready to start shopping for wooly jumpers and coats just yet, so show them all the beachwear and sunglasses you still have in stock.

2. Short of sizes

This tip stands for both full price and reduced items. One of the most frustrating things about browsing a website is seeing something you want on the category page, clicking into the product page and realising that they don’t have the size you need. To prevent your users from experiencing this negative feeling (and associating it with your site), if you don’t have full size ranges then display available sizes clearly on the category listing page so that the user can see whether or not you have what they are looking for before clicking through. You can also provide size filters on large category listing pages so that customers can easily identify the products that meet their requirements.

Many users browse sale sections of websites without a specific item in mind. Depending on the size of your sale section, it’s unlikely they will go through every single item. Therefore the quicker you can get suitable items in front of them, the more likely they are to buy.

3. Be clear on delivery charges

Many retailers exclude sale items from counting towards their free delivery thresholds. If you are one of those retailers, make sure you are displaying the delivery pricing clearly on sale items. Delivery charges are a big cause of basket abandonment so make sure you are clear from the outset.

4. Make it as easy as possible for users to find what they are looking for

We see many retailers adding all of their sale items (sometimes hundreds) to a single listing page. Some don’t even offer category or product type filters! This is a nightmare for users in this time-poor age of impatience. Why make your customers work to find what they are looking for? A few additional landing pages will save them time and improve your chances of ranking organically for sale-related search queries. Break your sale into sensible categories but don’t go overboard – make sure you have enough product to fill each of the sub-categories.

5. Create a sense of urgency

It’s likely that you’ll only have few units per size/colour left by the time you go into sale. Use this to your advantage and highlight when there are only one or two left. This will create a sense of urgency and encourage the user to order now so they don’t miss out.

Source: http://www.topshop.com/

6. Marketplaces and comparison engines

As you’re in a hurry to sell your stock, make sure that it can be found in as many places as possible. Lots of users visit sites like Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping when looking to find the lowest price for an item. If you aren’t already, get your products listed and make sure that the feeds to sites like these – and any other third party sites – contain up-to-date pricing.

7. Highlight your returns policy

Let your users know that it is within their rights to change their mind and make sure that the returns process is as simple as possible. Offer a collection service and the ability to return to a local store, for instance. This will encourage them to act on impulse and not put too much thought into completing their purchase. Offering this kind of customer service may increase returns in the short term but it is likely to give you a competitive edge and increase lifetime value through repeat custom.

8. Cross selling

Don’t exclude sale items from the related/complementary items displayed on your basket and product pages. Their lower prices make them ideal as ‘add ons’ as users are far more likely to purchase discounted items on a whim. So long as you have your targeting set up right, this feature could be a great way to increase your average basket value during sale time.

9. Checkout optimisation for devices

As the purchases of many sale items are completed with less thought and consideration, the customer is also less likely to have a real need for these items. This means that if they have any problems completing their journey through the checkout they are more likely to drop out than persist.

Make sure you know which devices your visitors are using and ensure the checkout is optimised accordingly. Many retailers make their checkouts responsive but fail to optimise them for touchscreen users. Typing on a touchscreen can be painful so avoid making the user type where possible. Add placeholders to your fields and add validation ticks as confirmation that they’ve been filled out correctly – this will prevent them from having to go back and re-enter their details if they get them wrong. Offering options like PayPal, postcode look-up and saved card details all make the process much easier for a touchscreen user.

10. Highlight the saving

Make sure that your users know exactly how good your offer is. If you believe that you are selling at a competitive price then be clear and display the amount the customer is saving. Highlight this in red along with the sale price so that it stands out on the page.

To discuss unified commerce for one great customer experience, why not give John or Chris a call on 0845 521 0444 to see if we can help!

Stephanie Fenton
6th August 2018