Site Search Can Pay Dividends

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Ecommerce

Improved site search and recommended products provides customers with a far superior user experience than most webmasters think. “If someone is looking for a product, quite often the very first thing he will do is go to the search box,” said Chris Cleveland, CEO of search-technology provider Dieselpoint. He also stated that if the person who searched for a particular product did not find what he/she was looking for they would leave the site and look somewhere else.

Using options like faceted search that will help customers narrow their search options increases the accuracy of the search results, providing the customer with a more satisfying result. With faceted search if a customer searched for shoes, he/she would be given the option to narrow the search by color, size, brand etc. A great way to increase sales volume is to provide a recommended items option. Amazon uses this feature extremely well. For someone who just bought a camera, he/she may also be interested in a carrying case for the camera. Providing an option to purchase a carrying case before checkout will ensure that the customer purchases it from your store and not someone else’s. Another important feature that is a must have is synonyms. People refer to different items using different names. One may refer to a pair of sneakers as Converse, while the other refers to it as leisure shoes. However, both customers are looking for the same footwear. If your website does not recognize it as a synonym one of these two customers will look for the product on another website.

10 Tips To Improve Usability

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Software

In the current market space usability plays a huge roll. Here are 10 tips that could potentially improve the usability of your projects.

1. Remove cumbersome graphics – research shows that most visitors will wait a maximum of 10 seconds for a page to load before they go elsewhere.

2. Use your words carefully – on the internet text loads faster than images. Therefore you can make your text stand out by making them bold, using bullet points or underlining them, attracting the user’s attention. Use your words wisely and make them count.

3. Familiarity is good – creativity is praised in a broader culture but you should focus on what users are familiar with. Familiarity will create more conversions than creativity.

4. Make sure the carts functional – a key reasons users abandon their carts is because they have to add an item to a cart to view its details. Provide your users with the details they need, colors, sizes, shipping costs etc., on the product page. Once they add the item to the cart, they should simply checkout.

5. Reply email queries – make sure your customer support team responds to email queries quickly. Today’s customer is busy and will not wait. Chances are that they emailed someone else too. First person to respond is likely to get the sale.

6. Make sure your links work – many visitors will abandon your entire website if the links do not work. Make sure you check them at least once a month and ensure they all point to the right web page.

7. Make your website accountable and relevant – it is easy to get complacent in the absence of complaints. However, carry out a small survey and see what your friends and family think, check if the site delivers what customers need and whether the information is relevant.

8. Break down the process – breaking down the process in to smaller portions makes it easier for users to swallow. Break down the checkout process in to smaller parts that users can comprehend, hence making the experience a better and less complicated one.

9. Reassure your customer – online buyers still worry about security, so make sure they are reassured by your security protocols on each page. Also post simple to read signs like step 3 of 4 so that the customer knows exactly where in the process he or she is.

10. Provide a pleasant finish – just like in your brick and mortar store, provide the customer with a pleasant thank you screen inviting them to come back. You should also send them a polite and pleasant thank you note with product details and order confirmation, creating a lasting experience.

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Ecommerce Know-How: Mobile Commerce in Four Steps

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Ecommerce, Mobile

Internet enabled mobile devices, cheaper data plans, wireless broadband are all making it easier for consumers to shop online while on the move. Is your store ready to take advantage of these on-the-go consumers? Here are four easy ways to get your website up to date in order to harness this new brand of consumers.

1. Site search – as opposed to viewing your browser on a large computer monitor, it is harder for users to scroll around and browse through all your products on a 2.5 inch mobile phone screen. Therefore you need to make your website search a priority and as accurate as possible. You will also need to make your site search intelligent, giving consumers suggestions as well as correcting misspelled search terms.

2. Prepare your CSS – it is important to prepare your CSS files to make your website accessible via all kinds of mobile devices. By tweaking your CSS you should be able to create your mobile site as 205px wide and move your search box right to the top and arrange your products as a list instead of grids.

3. Consider additional payment options – while offering the traditional cart checkout method you should consider offering other options like PayPal, Google Checkout or Amazon Simple Pay. All these systems allow the user to proceed without entering their card information on their mobile devices, and it may be a worthwhile option to entice some users.

4. Market to Mobile Customers – now that your website is mobile-ready you should include a mobile segment in your marketing plan. This could mean considering options like SMS advertising or Yahoo, Google and Bing and offline advertising at places like rail stations, coffee shops and other placed frequented by mobile internet users.

Ecommerce Know-How: Turn Customers Into Members

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Ecommerce

If your initial eCommerce campaign was successful you are probably getting a few customers coming to your website. The next goal is to turn these customers in to members so that you as a website owner can engage them and use them for other promotions and campaigns. Here are a few ways for you to do this.

1. Topical Newsletters – First thing about sending newsletters to your customers is that it should benefit the reader. Do not send random content that is absolutely of no use to the reader. Make sure you know what the reader has bought and what interests he or she has. One of the major reasons why email campaigns fail is the inability to provide relevant and interesting content.

2. Exclusive offers and promotions – run exclusive offers for members of your website. This will be something that entices average users to sign up and give you their details. You could also have promotions for signing up; perhaps include something free for or a 5% discount to all those who register on your website, for a limited period of time.

3. Preorder discounts – if you sell branded items such as video games you can use preorder discounts to your advantage. You can ask your visitors to sign up in order to receive a discount on the upcoming game and include accessories to their console in your confirmation emails. This is a great way to earn a second sale.

4. Product of the Month Club- This model allows you to get permission from the customer for recurring sales. The customer grants you permission to provide them the product of the month for an annual or monthly fee. This goes on continuously until the customer puts a stop to it. This is great if you sell books or magazines.

Seven Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Ecommerce

Almost every eCommerce merchant experiences shopping cart abandonment and no matter how popular your product is, there will still be a few people who abandon the cart. Here are 7 ways to help reduce this rate.

1. Disclose shipping costs in advance – one of the most popular reasons is that people add an item to a cart to see how much it costs to ship. Therefore indicate your shipping costs or add a shipping cost widget to calculate the costs before the customer adds an item to the cart.

2. Show security icons – reassure your customers by clearly showing them the security precautions you have taken.

3. Communicate Trust – you should clearly communicate your trustworthiness and one way to do this is by placing your physical address
and phone number in a clearly visible place.

4. Easy shopping cart return – you should allow your users to easily return to the shopping cart and view their items without having to
go through the entire purchase process.

5. Offer comparison shopping from your website – This allows you to point out differences and offer your customers value.

6. Offer coupons and discounts – create compelling coupon offers and provide discounts to your returning customers. This is a great way to keep customers coming back to your website instead of looking for other vendors.

7. Encourage user reviews – Encourage user reviews on your products and services. This provides potential customers with first hand feedback about your product. You should also reward customers who take the time to review your products or services.

Tools To Detect Slow Load Times

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Ecommerce

Checking for slow load times is important because it causes poor user experience. Many users do not hang around and wait for the website to load. In fact research states that the page or major elements of the page should load within four seconds or the user will quit the page and look for another source. Another reason is that search engines and pay per click advertising hosts will penalize you for slow load times. Google recently stated that it has incorporated this feature in to its quality score matrix. You may also lose out on appearing closer to the top of organic results as well. Thus, load time for your web page is crucial.

There are many free tools that you can use. One of the more popular tools is available at Tools.pingdom.com and gives you a detailed breakdown of elements that load on your website. Run this site test and you can show this report to your developer and have the website optimized to load faster. Another great tool is YSlow which is available as a plug-in for Firefox. This provides a detailed report as well as recommendations on how to improve your website’s performance.

While you optimize your site you should also check with your hosting company to ensure that you have enough bandwidth for your website. Also, if you are on a shared hosting plan, make sure your hosting provider is not overloading the server with other high bandwidth website.

Monitor “Bounce Rates” to Improve Conversion Ratios

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Ecommerce

A key characteristic of an effective web page is that it draws visitors and it keeps them there. A bounce rate indicates the rate at which visitors come to your landing page and leave immediately. The term was initially devised by Google Analytics and then used in several other similar visitor tracking packages. These figures can be used to find out if your website has a usability or design flaw that is sending visitors away. If your landing page has a high bounce rate it means that visitors are “bouncing” off your page in search of other providers who can supply a solution to their need.

Mathematically, bounce rate is calculated by taking the number of visitors who arrive at your landing page and then leave without visiting any other pages within your domain, divided by the total number of visitors to that page. The general goal of a eCommerce website host is to have a low bounce rate. A low bounce rate would indicate that much of the visitors are clicking on a link that is taking them to the next level on your buying process. You can also use the bounce rate to determine which of your pages is not performing and tweak the pages and check back to see if there is difference. It may take some time but checking your bounce rate and tweaking your website will help you immensely to improve your conversions.

Using Google Analytics for Keyword Segmentation and In-Depth Analysis

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Ecommerce

If you are serious about SEO and keyword performance you are bound to have used Google Analytics. However Google Analytics provides a wealth of information and digging through this is a vital to achieve the right results. Therefore, here are a few tips on how to extract the information and use it to your advantage.

Segmenting your keywords is a great way to focus your campaigns. Use the Traffic Sources tab and click on Keywords. Inside Keywords click on eCommerce tab to gain access to the top keywords that users have typed and how they relate to revenue. The eCommerce conversion tab tells you the specific number of sales for each keyword. This information will help you to determine the best course of action. For an example, if you are running a PPC campaign you can shift your focus to the high performance keywords. You can also analyze which pages are the best landing pages and what keywords users used to arrive at that particular page. You can also use this data to update your pages to push the best performing keywords more strongly.

Segmenting your traffic is an effective way to fine tune your traffic analysis and gear your website to cater to the best performing keywords. This will ensure that qualified traffic find the right landing pages and increase your conversion rates overall.

Ecommerce Know-How: Picking the Right Shopping Cart

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Ecommerce

As an eCommerce retailer it is important to have the right type of shopping cart. Here are a few ways to choose the right shopping cart to enhance your customer’s buying experience.

1. SEO friendly cart – It is often difficult to dictate how the technological aspects of the website relate to marketing strategies such as SEO. Therefore it is better to choose a SEO friendly shopping cart to ensure your pages get indexed quickly and with the right content highlighted. The best way to find out an SEO friendly cart is to check the way it rewrites URLs. Your shopping cart should rewrite the URLs to human readable titles, creating a rich source of keywords.

2. Coupon Code Support – In today’s competitive eMarket place it is vital that your shopping cart supports coupon codes. You may want to create promotions and give out discount coupon codes to customers or affiliates and having a cart system that offers this support will help you to conduct these promotions easily.

3. Customer Reviews – Reviews are an important part of a website for customers as well as the merchant. Reviews help customers learn more about the practical and real-life functionality of the product, while providing valuable feedback to the seller.

4. Images and zooming – Product images are a powerful way to entice customers in to making a purchase. You may also want to provide your users with the ability to zoom in and have a closer look at your products.