People love shopping. And, with over half of shoppers preferring to do so online, ecommerce has boomed at a rate of 23% year-on-year.
However, increased popularity has resulted in a rise in competition. That’s why it’s never been more important to stay ahead of the game.
The way to do this is by ensuring your online store has constant digital footfall, and below, you’ll find several ways to do that.
Speed is important
You hear about website speed a lot, and for good reason — it’s one of the most important elements.
If your website takes more than three seconds to load, you could be losing as much as 50% of your visitors. A customer’s online journey is the same as in the real world – if there are interruptions or delays, they’re likely to become frustrated. Online, nearly 80% of those who become frustrated leave and never come back, resulting in a lot of abandoned shopping trolleys and lost sales if your site can’t keep up.
Recently, Google announced it would be combining web speed metrics, and more, into the search ranking algorithm. This is based on Google’s observations of internal studies and industry research into users preferring a great page experience. And, with Google dominating the world of search, with 35% of users purchasing a product within five days of Googling it, ensuring your website scores well on the new metrics is vital.
Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that relate to speed, responsiveness and visual stability, helps you to measure user experience on the web, and will soon be combined with the existing signals for page experience. This is to provide a more holistic picture of a user’s experience on the web page, which Google says will help online businesses become more successful.
These can significantly increase the traffic to your website, with 24% of people less likely to abandon web pages that meet the criteria according to Google.
SEO is key
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term you’ll have heard of when operating online. The process of optimizing your website to gain more organic traffic from search engine results, it’s easy to see why it’s so important — 93% of web traffic comes through search engines.
Of those searches, less than five per cent visit the second page of results.
Therefore, you must have as much control over your SEO as possible, which comes from the structure of your website. Having this control will allow you to make changes to your website design, content, meta tag information, URLs and more to ensure your site is as attractive to the search engine as possible.
As a retailer, there are many ecommerce platforms to choose from. However, many platforms can, and should, be viewed as starter platforms. While these may be good while starting your online retail business, as you grow, you’ll begin to see several limitations, especially when it comes to SEO, which will end up costing you dearly, not just in revenue, but in hits and visibility.
One example is Shopify. A good starter platform, you’ll find it hard to become an SEO juggernaut using it as you grow. This is down to SEO, where, it has been quoted, you can only become 80% competitive, and, while that may sound good, that last 20% will be hugely visible when you see how your competitors are doing.
Issues you will encounter include:
- Canonical URLs – using starter platforms can result in copies of the same content being thrown out on to Google, cannibalizing your search results.
- Breadcrumb URLs – platforms like Shopify create breadcrumb URLs, meaning you’ll find two copies of the same page in the Google index which adds no benefit and can be very conflicting.
- Content marketing – blogs are key to the success of a website and are the perfect place to maximize SEO. However, content that shares the same subdomain implies a closer affiliation and many ecommerce platforms won’t allow you to do that.
SEO is critical to the success of your business, especially when it comes to driving customers to your website, and choosing the wrong platform can have a huge effect on how well you manage and control it. Aero doesn’t restrict your ability to implement your own ecommerce and SEO strategies, making everything about the customization work for you and your business.
Word of mouth and loyalty schemes
Repeat customers have a greater lifetime value for your business than those that buy once or twice — 80% of your profits will come from just 20% of your customer base.
This shows how important customer loyalty is, and why you should never underestimate word of mouth marketing. 78% of customers are willing to spread the word about a business to friends and family, while 92% of people prefer to buy from places suggested by those close to them rather than advertisements.
Therefore, customer loyalty is essential to not only ensure customers come back but to increase the potential of others visiting and spending too. Loyalty schemes are a great way of doing this.
A way of rewarding your customers, loyalty schemes can include:
- Rewards points
- Exclusive access to sales and new releases
It works too. American retail chain Costco says loyal customers spend up to 67% more than new customers and cost five times less to retain. But, you need to get them to shop first, which is why your website needs to be the best it can be everywhere from load time to the shopping basket and signing up for an account.
You’re in control
All of the above has been proven to help retailers and will help you too. But, getting your website right from the get-go is the key to ensuring everything you’ve read so far can be achieved.
Opting for a platform that allows you to dictate how you do SEO and make changes when you see fit is the most important thing you can do.
You can achieve this with open code platforms such as Aero rather than closed source platforms, which dictate what you can and can’t do within a defined set of limits.
Over 75% of online shoppers saying their first impression of a website can make or break their purchasing decision. Having the control to change your online store as you see fit — while monitoring what’s working and what’s not — will retain existing customers and increase traffic to bring in new ones.
If you want to be in charge of how you conduct and control your website, put in place a long-term content marketing and SEO strategy to increase traffic and sales, and minimize the long-term cost to your business, get in touch with the Aero team today.