eCommerce has, over the last decade, slowly grown to be a dominant industry that has sprung up due to the evolution of technology and digital platforms. However, no-one could foresee the impacts that COVID-19 would have on the online retailing industry.
The global pandemic that spread globally forced billions of people to self-isolate and go into lockdown, and with that online shopping sky-rocketed. eCommerce companies all over the world saw unprecedented growth spurts in their businesses, and even non-online businesses had to rapidly adapt to a digital format.
So, if you are looking to get into eCommerce for the first time, are looking to adapt your company, or looking for ideas to expand your current business, we took a look at some ways to do so. In this article, we unpack how you can use technology and online tools and platforms to grow your business.
Heightening Your SEO Rankings
SEO is one of the most spoken about topics in the digital marketing sphere. And there is a good reason for this! SEO is vital for companies to rank on search engines and be found organically by potential customers.
SEO is also highly intricate and can be resource-intensive, so if you don't know what you are doing, you could find yourself spending excessive amounts of time trying to get the basics right.
So, where do you start? Luckily, there are hundreds of platforms and tools that you can use for your SEO efforts. Start off with keyword research tools. Your site will need to have keyword-intensive content in order for Google to categorize and rank you correctly. This will mean knowing what keywords are being searched in your industry, what your competitors are using, and what is absolutely necessary to add to your site.
Next, you will need to take a peek into the inner workings of your site. How long are your pages taking to load? How big are your images? Are your URL's correctly optimized? Ensuring your blogs are also SEO ready is also vital, and if you are using a platform like WordPress, Yoast is a great plugin to have to perfect those blogs.
In saying this, SEO can be a long, drawn-out exercise, so if you are just starting out, or simply have no idea what to do, we highly advise making use of eCommerce SEO services to help you get your site running smoothly from the start.
Improving the Customer Experience with an App
Many companies don't like the thought of spending money on an app, especially if they are just starting off. But the fact is, having an app increases the customer journey experience and heightens conversion rates.
If you launch your app at the same time as your website, or within close proximity of time, you can encourage your new customers to use your app primarily to transact and make purchases through the app. One of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment is due to lengthy checkout processes and having to create a profile every time you want to make a purchase.
This challenge can be circumnavigated by creating an app whereby the customer completes their details once, adds payment details, and can simply tap to purchase their products or services.
If building an app from scratch while building your website is too expensive, and resource-intensive, look at using an app builder. These are quicker, easier, and cheaper ways of getting something to the market for your business. You can market your new app on your site, through your social platforms, and in your emails, and incentivize your customers to download it with discounts and special offers.
Expanding Your Reach With Content
We touched on content earlier and would like to expand a bit on the importance of it. Content not only increases your SEO rankings, but it provides your audience with useful, informative content that they can actually use. A loyal customer is one that trusts your brand and you can do this by educating them, informing them, and keeping them entertained.
Not only should content pages be content-heavy, but as mentioned previously, blogs are incredibly important for customers and potential audiences. You just need to find ways of getting your articles seen.
Luckily, there are a few ways of doing so. Emails are a highly successful marketing strategy to market products and specials to your audiences. Adding educational blog posts and content in the emails, and adding the topics as subjects has been seen to increase click-through and open rates.
There are a number of mailing platforms, like MailChimp for example, for you to choose from. Each comes with its own unique features and offers that may or may not suit your company. So, do some research.
The next step is to get it seen by audiences outside of your database. Here, social platforms, affiliate marketing, and influencer marketing can come in handy. Social media has hundreds of tools and platforms to assist you in heightening your social posts, while there are a number of online platforms that can put you in contact with the right company for link-building, or introduce you to the right influencer.
Measuring, Monitoring, and Testing Your Efforts for Increased Success
The last piece of advice that we simply cannot overlook is to use technology to keep an eye on the success of your site. How is your traffic doing, how are customers behaving on your site and what are the drop-off rates? Google Analytics is a great tool to keep an eye on this and to see what is actually generating traffic on your site. Are your blogs bringing in traffic, or are your social posts making an impact?
By using this, you can see what is working in your marketing strategy and what is simply falling flat. Most social platforms and mailing tools allow you to monitor the activity directly on them. You can keep track of open rates and click-throughs and in the case of Facebook, identify your lead count.
It is also important to keep track of how your customer behaves on your site. Where do they gravitate toward? Are your CTAs in the right place? How far down the page do they scroll? Hotjar is a great tool for monitoring your customer's behavior on the site, and you can easily make changes to your site to increase conversion rates.
Lastly, make use of A/B testing tools. Make it a habit to test every single thing that you include on your site. From images, to copy, to CTAs. Put up two different versions of them and test to see which is a higher convertor. Remember though, do not index one of the versions, as Google will pick it up as duplicate content and penalize you.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different online platforms and technology. Most provide you with free or discounted trials, and there are usually several different offerings in the same categories. Some will have features that work for your company and some will be too expensive for the size of your business, so spend some time researching, trying and testing.
Keep your customer in mind throughout the process. The customer journey is the key to online success, and you want to keep your customer surprised and delighted, from entry to shipping. Luckily, there is a lot of technology to help you achieve this.