Some Holiday Tips for Ecommerce

With Black Friday looming at the end of the week, and the craziness of the holidays quickly approaching, we wanted to give some great stocking stuffer ideas to give you a boost for your online store.

Make Sure You Have A Mobile Solution

With mobile ecommerce growing at an exponential rate (it grew by more than 28 percent in 2014, more than double the growth rate of desktop ecommerce) and more than half of all shopping done on smartphones and tablets, you’re going to lose customers if you don’t have a mobile solution in place. Thankfully, there’s still a small window of time to implement a responsive design solution for your store and emails.

Give It The Personal Touch

Tailoring the content and UX to each individual user according towards their history of interest, search behavior, and transactions in your store can go a long way towards boosting your sales in the holiday season. Put your user-data to work by identifying your high value customers so you can segment your email lists and send even more personalized (and most importantly) targeted promotions.

Keep the Purchase Process Simple

Recent studies have found that the average cart abandonment rate is 69%. That’s a huge drop, you can avoid this by making the checkout process easy, intuitive, and secure. Allowing guest checkouts, showing a progress bar, accepting multiple payment options, and only asking for the absolute necessary personal information are just a few ways of streamlining the purchasing process.

Free Shipping

Shipping is the #1 reason for shopping cart abandonment during the holiday season. Free shipping continues to be a top driver in purchasing decisions on e-stores. Over half of all shoppers are willing to add more products to their cart to qualify for free shipping and over 80 percent are willing to wait additional time for delivery if shipping is free. If you need a hand getting started with a shipping process, Freeshipping.com can help you get your business a shipping solution to provide free shipping for your products.

 

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Pinterest for Ecommerce

So, if you haven’t heard, Pinterest is now featuring a buy button on product pins on its network. So what does that mean for you and your business? Well, before we get into that, let’s just go over some of the statistics around Pinterest and what has made this one of the most successful social commerce platforms in recent memory.

Not Just Etsy Shop Owners and Recipe Bloggers

In 2013, Piqora did a study analyzing the ROI of using Pinterest, their findings are just the tip of the pin. They found that on average a pin generated 78 cents in sales in addition to 2 site visits and 6 pageviews. Now, by themselves, this might not sound like a lot, but if you’ve got an active board, and your stuff is getting shared, the snowball affect starts very quickly. This is compounded by another survey in 2014 which found that Pinterest users’ average order value was $123.50, which is about 126% higher than the average order value of Facebook’s users. Those are some pretty staggering figures, and like the sub-heading says, it’s not just Etsy shop owners and foodies showing the most success where this is concerned. Big names like Nordstrom are well-known in the pinning-verse.

Pinterest For Your Business

So as you can see, Pinterest is important for e-commerce and is leading the charge in integration between social commerce and e-commerce in general. However, every e-commerce store is different, and they’ll need to find their own way to use Pinterest to its fullest extent effectively. But, here are a few ideas on how to get Pinterest to work for your business.

Tailor Made Boards

When first starting with Pinterest, there is an easy temptation to just create a single board label it, “my company’s board” and call it good. While this is the easy way out, it’s not going to help drive traffic to your board and ultimately your site. Instead of making only a single board, try making multiple boards focused on specific themes or products.

Also, you’re going to want to pin more than just the product photos off of your site. Pinners are looking for ideas or inspiration most of the time, not a specific product so you can’t treat this as just another sales funnel/channel. Additionally, make sure to pin pictures of your products in use along with complimentary photos such as photos that fit the feelings of what your customers feel when using your products.

Pin Optimization

Along with making boards that are tailored towards specific products or services, you’re also going to have to follow some best practices when it comes to setting up your pins. Here a few of them that will help boost your engagement on your Pinterest board.

Firstly, you’re going to want to include a link to the item you’re showcasing, this way, if your prospect wants to learn more, they aren’t just stuck looking at a pretty picture. Next, make sure to include the price of the item with the pin, this will help put them further along the buying process then if it’s just the featured product. Finally, you’re going to want to have between a 200-300 character description. Yes, characters not words, think like Twitter, brevity is King.

What To Include In Your Pin

 

 

 

Now that we’ve gone over what to include with your pin, lets go over what makes an effective image for a pin, seeing as this is the meat and potatoes of Pinterest. According to a study done by Ripen Ecommerce, lighter images are more than 20 times more likely to be pinned over dark images. Additionally, Tall images are shared 67% more often than short ones. Finally, brand images that don’t feature faces within the pin are 23% more likely to get repinned.

What To Include In Your Pin Image

 

Pinterest Optimization Doesn’t Stop At Pinterest

Like the heading says, optimizing your Pinterest boards is only half the battle. To truly capitalize on the referral traffic from Pinterest, you need to make sure your site is prepared for it. According to Pinterest, over three-quarters of their traffic comes from mobile or tablet. What that means, is that you need to make sure that your e-store has a mobile solution, whether that is a mobile site, or your store is responsive. If a pinner lands on a page on your site and it isn’t mobile optimized they’re most likely going to bounce right back to Pinterest.

Put A Pin In It

Social sharing buttons on product listings has become a industry recognized best practice across all social media. Pinterest is no different where this is concerned. “Pin It” buttons and widgets make it easy for customers to share what they like on their own boards. While having relevant pins on your company’s board is great, getting on customers’ boards is fantastic.

Pinterest Isn’t For Everybody

A lot of ecommerce sites have been seeing some amazing success on Pinterest. However, Pinterest isn’t for every ecommerce store. If you have a very visual industry like fashion or cosmetics then pinterest should definitely be part of your social strategy, but more demanding and physical industries like construction or IT should probably look elsewhere since the customer you’re trying to reach most likely isn’t on Pinterest.

For businesses using Pinterest and not seeing a good ROI, I hope these tips help boost your engagement and you see an increase in conversions from it. Curious to see what we can do to help? Give us a call or email us and we’ll see what we can do to help your social commerce flourish.

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Improving Web Development: Getting the SEO and UX Experts to Work Together

SEO today is nothing like what it was a few years ago; it continues to evolve and improve in order to give internet users the best possible experience. Search engine optimization is a vital part of building a healthy web presence – everyone, from technical architects and back-end developers to web designers and SEO experts know and accept that fact.

In spite of this, many web design and development teams approach SEO as an extra to take care of on completion of the project, forgetting or disregarding the fact that user experience is a vital component of any website. Even worse, some designers just do the barest minimum to ensure a site isn’t misbehaving, and then throw in a meta description here and an optimized tag there before calling it a day.

In order to realize any website’s maximum potential, search optimization must be just as important as the design phase; approached holistically and with due diligence. Every webmaster and business site owner will benefit by including SEO experts as early as possible in the project.

This necessitates a development scheme that will ensure harmonious co-existence between the SEO and the web design/UX expert team. It’s well known that there’s some inherent animosity between the two parties. However, all these must be left behind, knowing that both teams’ core objective is the same, to have a properly functioning website that performs well in search.

Here are a few places to begin:

Take Advantage Of The Tension

Marketers and UX experts aren’t too fond of each other, approaching each other as though they’re complete opposites: one responsible for catering to user needs, and the other focused on business goals. Inevitably in the process of development, there will be some friction, but a healthy team should know how to use that friction to the client’s benefit.

The success of both SEO and online marketing depend on a site’s ability to give a good user experience. In turn, marketers are more in tune with what users want and can therefore contribute to the UX development process. Understanding this is essential to foster mutual respect and an atmosphere of collaboration throughout the project development lifecycle.

 Set Up Common Goals and Use Them in Decision Making

Before beginning the process of design, the SEO and UX experts should clearly define and understand the website’s core objectives. This should guide every idea put forward for content, design, or marketing. If both parties willingly collaborate, the two perspectives on the website goals can yield powerful results.

Come together to develop buyer/user personas for the business, which will inform the decision-making process for the entire project. If, as an SEO you find yourself disagreeing with the UX, consult the pre-developed buyer/user personas which supports your idea.

Decisions in web design and development should not be based on hunches, whether it’s user flows or keyword research. Instead, take advantage of your collective knowledge, user feedback, and industry research to make choices which will improve the website. When you struggle to come to an agreement, ask yourselves these questions:

  • Which objective does this idea contribute to?
  • Is there a better way to achieve the objective?
  • Will the user appreciate this idea?
  • How does the content/design element affect our user’s buying/decision-making process?
  • Does the idea drive conversions?

This will ensure you accept or reject ideas based on the most important considerations, instead of just doing it to be right/superior to your counterparts.

Content Should Not Be Created In A Vacuum

Never create content without having the website design in mind. Similarly, design should not be taken as the major decider for the tone and messaging of any content. Early on, figure out which would be the best method to develop content according to your website goals – make decisions about site architecture, pages which need to be included or redone, average length of content and all design elements that would be included.

Deciding the content structure together is important as it will curb any delays once the project begins. In addition, it makes for a better user experience. Having high quality content will ensure that site users convert according to your goals, but only if supported by proper application of various design elements, including appropriate use of white space. Good design without high quality content will create inherent distrust in the brand message passed on to users.

Remember that design is not only important as far as human user experience goes. Consider that Google is continually improving its interpretation of web design elements, including the use of human performance indicators (fast page-load speed, low bounce rates, mobile-friendliness etc.).

These performance indicators tell Google that you have created a user-friendly site, which boosts your authority and consequently ranking. Google robots are now able to identify whether sites are mobile friendly, the font sizes used and a few JavaScript elements among others.

Don’t Get Tired Of Repeating

If you have previously participated in web development projects, you probably know that you are never truly ‘finished’ with any project. This is because the Internet landscape is never static; user needs and requirements are constantly evolving, as are web best practices and search engine requirements. To stay relevant, your website must change accordingly, and in a time-sensitive manner.

The SEO and UX teams will utilize their knowledge from user and market research to inform decisions on user requirements prior to product launches. However, you must also be equipped to ensure that the website’s performance is measurable on rolling out of the product.

After the launch, the SEO and UX teams will now use feedback from users in real life to evaluate the performance of the site, making small iterative adjustments to create the optimal user experience and drive conversions.

By improving collaboration between SEO and UX experts throughout all phases of the project, all projects will get positive impact, giving higher returns to clients by providing better overall experiences for users.

Author Bio

Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.

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Is Your Online Store EMV Ready?

On October 1, the major credit card brands shifted to a new security standard, otherwise known as the EMV shift. Transitioning to EMV requires merchants to make a significant investment in new technology, such as the implementation of a new terminal which can read the traditional magnetic stripe, but also, the new “chip and PIN” cards which are the new standard with debit and credit cards.

Now, if you’re thinking that because you’re an online merchant with no physical storefront that this doesn’t affect you, think again. Due to the new security technology, counterfeit card fraud will shift to the path of least resistance, which will be card-not-present (CNP) transactions, such as mobile and desktop purchases.

Fraud Doesn’t Go Away, It Just Shifts Venues

In every country that has migrated to the chip-embedded EMV cards, fraud hasn’t really gone away, it has just shifted to the online channel, which has historically held weaker authentication protocols. Data from the UK, France, and Australia all show CNP fraud accounting for a greater portion of overall fraud after each country’s respective migration to the new security protocols. In 2005, when the UK shifted to EMV, there was a 40% increase in CNP fraud over 10 years. In France and Australia, who both adopted the EMV standard in 2007/8, there was a 20% increase over the next three years.

To help protect against this upcoming increase in CNP fraud, the best defense is a good offense. No single security mechanism will be a silver bullet to protect against fraud. We recommend taking a multi-faceted approach using a variety of security tools that work well together. Stay informed of best practices for your online store and your merchant account. Right now there are over a dozen of security options available for online transactions. A very helpful resource dealing with the EMV migration and what online stores can do to protect against fraud can be found here.

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