The eCommerce Shopping Experience: Path to Purchase

The eCommerce Shopping Experience: Path to Purchase

eCommerce Shopping Experience

eCommerce Shopping Experience – It’s all about UX and CX!

Merchants know that the success of an eCommerce store relies heavily on the user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) provided during the path to purchase process. Every step of the customer purchasing cycle should be analyzed, optimized, and tested to ensure a seamless experience. Notably, if you’re building a new Magento 2 store without a UX/CX feature exploration process that includes modern UX and CX principles, then it’s important to start now.

The infographic below outlines the key areas merchants need to consider when optimizing their eCommerce shopping experience for customers.

Have You Thought About Ways to Optimize the Path to Purchase Process?

A simple way to get started is to create a new profile on your website and try to complete a purchase yourself. Better yet, ask a stranger or a friend who will give honest feedback to do it.  Consider everything from search results to the amount of time that it takes to locate a product and make a purchase.

The Important Steps in a Customer’s Purchasing Journey

We’ve researched the common elements in a typical customer’s shopping journey and outlined the areas to analyze and optimize. The 8 steps below break down the journey from the initial search to the shipment of packages to help merchants optimize their eCommerce shopping experience and websites to provide better customer service.

eCommerce Shopping Experience

Search

How do customers find you?  44% of shoppers will go directly to Amazon to start their search for a product, compared to 34% who use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for products. Ensure your site is optimized for SEO by including unique product descriptions, eye-catching metadata, long-tail keywords, page load speed, mobile optimization, and more.

Website

How long are new customers engaging with your site? Most new users will click away after just 10 seconds! Once a new customer lands on a page from a search engine, it’s critical to ensure every item on the landing page is immediately user-friendly. Elements such as clear images, accurate product descriptions, customer reviews, and an easy to navigate design all lead to those coveted conversions.

Reviews

How do your brand and products measure up compared to competitors? Two-thirds of consumers research products online before purchasing. In addition, shoppers focus on two areas when making a purchase decision: reliable websites and online reviews. It’s important to actively monitor reviews and respond to customers in real time. Also, consider adding user-generated review functionality so customers can leave product reviews.

Price

How are your prices compared to others in your industry? 80% of shoppers said they would do online price comparisons before making a purchase. Additionally, Google shopping ads and Amazon supply plenty of information and ways to quickly compare prices. Keep prices up-to-date across all platforms including 3rd party integrations.

Checkout

Do you suffer from cart abandonment issues? 25% of customers abandon their shopping carts due to unexpected shipping costs. Notably, 22% of customers will leave if they have to create a new user account. Create a successful checkout process by providing transparent shipping costs, a number of secure payment methods, and a guest checkout option, preferably all on a single page.

Confirmation

What do your order confirmation and transactional eMails look like? Transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of eMail and can generate 6x more revenue. A well developed transactional eMail can enhance the relationship of a merchant with their customers by encouraging loyalty and repeat business. As the sale comes to completion, it’s important to continue to provide a seamless experience for customers.

Ship

Do you have multiple shipping options? 83% of customers say they will wait an additional 2 days for free delivery. Providing multiple and reliable shipping options for customers is critical. For example, provide international shipping, free returns, and delivery updates to keep customers in the know about their purchases.

Repeat

What do you do to turn first-time customers into repeat and returning customers? 40% of revenue comes from returning or repeat customers. Encourage customers to come back and they are more likely to shop again and again. Additionally, a repeat customer is easier to sell to. Merchants can offer special discounts, promotional offers, and bonus reward points to entice customers back for another purchase.

Start Optimizing Your eCommerce Shopping Experience

Creating a seamless UX and CX for customers is critical to your business. If your site has hang-ups anywhere along the path to purchase process, potential customers will likely choose a competitor. In fact, 47% of customers go to another site the very next day after having a bad shopping experience at an online store. Therefore, your business cannot afford to overlook your customer’s unique buying cycle. In addition, focus on retaining customers as much as gaining new ones. In other words, remember that it’s much easier to convert a current customer.

We want to help optimize your eCommerce shopping experience and unique buying cycle to grow your business. Contact us to get started or give us a call: 513-469-3345.

5 Ways Social Media Can Help Increase eCommerce Sales

5 Ways Social Media Can Help Increase eCommerce Sales

Social Media Can Help Increase eCommerce Sales

5 Ways Social Media Can Help Increase eCommerce Sales and Grow Your Business

If you think all people do on social media is share new baby photos, pictures of their dinner, and funny cat videos, think again.  However, while some do that, there are plenty of others looking for helpful information about the products and services they need.  For example, consider some of these numbers collected by Hubspot:

  • 82% of Facebook visitors use the site as a springboard for external sites and information
  • 63% of Twitter and Facebook visitors use the site to get news and information unrelated to social sharing, family, and friends
  • About 3 in 4 users of Facebook say they go there “for professional purposes”
  • Users of Pinterest, like those on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, go there with the intention of making purchases but spend on average 50% more than visitors to those other social media sites
  • 90% of marketers say that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses

For millions of consumers, social media sites have become a conduit to a wide variety of non-social sites, including eCommerce sites.  Therefore, social media can help increase eCommerce sales via this new and growing crossover.

More eCommerce Businesses Are Embracing Social Media

Most merchants wouldn’t open a new brick and mortar 20 miles from the center of town.  Brick and Mortar merchants go where the customers are.  The same applies to eCommerce.  To reach and engage customers, merchants need to go where the customers are – and they are on social media.  As eCommerce Platform notes, engagement with social media equals business value:

“For Web businesses, effective social marketing represents real value. Social networks offer new ways to reach first-time customers, engage and reward existing customers, and showcase the best your brand has to offer. Your social network profiles and the content you share are as important as a business’ storefront signage and displays in the 1950s.”

How Social Media Can Increase eCommerce Sales

Social media sites provide an unparalleled opportunity to sell eCommerce products because:

  • So many of your prospective customers are already on these sites;
  • The majority of them are there looking for help buying the best products; and
  • Social media sites provide useful tools and a wealth of data to help you drive people to your eCommerce site.

Here are 5 ways social media can help Increase eCommerce Sales on your eCommerce site:

1. Fine tune customer research

Social media is perhaps the only marketing venue which allows merchants to see what customers are saying in real time.  Business owners can even join that conversation, posing questions and raising topics to learn more about what customers think.  Notably, social media can be very successful for sales campaigns. For example, merchants can offer incentives, discounts or rewards points and see immediately if the campaign takes off.

2. Improve customer service

Sometimes people don’t want to contact customer service staff directly. Actually, they feel more comfortable talking about problems with your business on Facebook or Twitter.  Social media allows merchants to respond quickly to customer complaints and direct people to call the right customer service number.  Notably, if there are a large number of complaints surrounding a particular issue, it’s possible to quickly make changes and reduce issues.

3. Generate more quality leads

According to HootSuite, 90% of potential consumers of your products won’t respond to cold calls. However, 76% are willing to talk via social media.  Leverage this dynamic to generate new leads to fill the top of your sales funnel.  For example, post content with links to a landing page where prospective customers provide their email address in exchange for content.

4. Engage customers to build trust

Social media marketing is one component of a comprehensive inbound strategy to increase trust and credibility.  In other words, social media posts are less about direct selling and more about customer engagement.  Notice, for example, how camera maker GoPro uses Facebook. Gopro doesn’t use social media for direct sales, but rather to show prospective buyers the quality of videos created using their product.

5. Conduct highly-targeted social media advertising

Social media collects a vast amount of data about the people who visit their websites. Notably, that wealth of data is available to businesses to create highly-targeted ad campaigns.  Through social media advertising, merchants can direct ads to the target customers based on their activity on social media sites. Therefore, providing an effective (and cost-effective) means to drive new website traffic.

The Brave New World of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing, including social media marketing, has made it easier than ever to reach and engage with prospective buyers.  The challenge is in standing out among the tidal wave of content that already exists on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.  That requires a smart strategy but when done right social media can help increase eCommerce sales and grow a business.

To learn more about how Social Media can help increase eCommerce sales and grow your eCommerce business, contact us today.

3 Ways to Improve Conversions with Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails

3 Ways to Improve Conversions with Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails

Almost 70% of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart

There are plenty of reasons online shoppers abandon shopping carts before making a purchase. Some may be reacting to the fact that shipping charges and taxes don’t appear until they’re asked to place their orders. Others may have security concerns about sharing their personal information (like their credit card numbers). And for some, an interruption pulls them away from their computer, like a phone call, or someone knocking on their door, or dinner burning on the stove.

But whatever the reason, an alarmingly high number of consumers are abandoning shopping carts. In fact, according to the Baymard Institute the number is almost 70%. Some eCommerce businesses view those lost sales as irrecoverable. Typically, they make incorrect assumptions about the reason consumers walked away. Perhaps they think those people don’t like their business anymore, or that they’ve jumped to one of their competitors.  Those could prove to be costly assumptions.

The truth is that approximately 75% of sales lost through shopping cart abandonment can be recovered, but you need to use some smart strategies to succeed in recovering them. One of the best ways to bring people back to your shopping cart is through shopping cart abandonment eMails.

Why Use eMail Remarketing and Shopping Cart Abandonment eMails?

Email remarketing (shopping cart abandonment eMails) involves sending an email to online shoppers who’ve abandoned your shopping cart.  According to Internet Retailer, 66% of all sales recovered from abandoned carts come from these emails. One of the reasons is that consumers pay attention to them—for example, the open rate for these emails is 57% compared to just 21% for all other marketing emails.

To maximize sales you recover from abandoned carts, you need to employ best practice strategies, including the following 3:

Send Your Shopping Cart Abandonment eMails As Soon As Possible

The more quickly you send your cart abandonment email, the higher your conversion rate will be. For example, on average emails sent within 20 minutes of cart abandonment achieve a 5.2% conversion rate. That drops to 4.9% at 40 minutes, 4.5% at 1 hour, and 3.6% at 1 to 4 hours.  

If you wait a full 24 hours, your conversion rate will be just 2.6%, one half of what it would have been if you’d sent your email immediately.

Know What to Include in Your Subject Line

What you put in your subject line matters for any kind of email, but it’s especially critical when you’re trying to bring consumers back to your website, and back to their abandoned shopping carts. For example, the most important element to include is the name of your company (probably because this tips off consumers that your email has to do with their abandoned purchase). The most important things to include in your subject line, and their associated open rates, include:

  • Company name: 53%
  • Product details: 52%
  • A customer service tone: 46%
  • An urgent tone: 44%
  • The consumer’s name: 38%

Make It Easy for Customers to Return to Your Website

The body of your shopping cart abandonment eMails is at least as important as the subject line. For example, it’s important to include a link in your content that makes it as easy as possible for consumers to get back to the cart they abandoned, and to frame a clear and simple call-to-action, such as “complete your order.” Remember that one of the reasons people abandon carts is that they found something about the process inefficient. This tells you that making their shopping experience more fluid will help to push them back to your business – and your shopping cart.

Other useful links to embed in the abandoned cart eMail include:

  • Continue shopping
  • Recommendations
  • Cart products
  • Social links
  • Navigation bars
  • Promotional banners

Getting Started with Triggered eMail Marketing

Many eCommerce marketers will tell you that attempting to re-engage online shoppers who have abandoned their shopping carts is a waste of time, but if you press them, they’ll probably admit they never tried. They never tried because they were guided by specious assumptions rather than reliable data. Or they simply don’t know how to get started with shopping cart abandonment eMails or a triggered email program.

If you would like help with setting up shopping cart abandonment eMails to reduce your cart abandons, we can help! Contact us today or give us a call at 513-469-3345.

Upgrade to an eCommerce-Centric eMail Marketing Platform

Upgrade to an eCommerce-Centric eMail Marketing Platform

Why is an eCommerce-Centric eMail platform necessary?

Contrary to social media fans, eMail remains one of the most effective platforms for digital marketing. The success of an eMail campaign, like most marketing strategies, is measured in terms of open-rates, click-through rates, engagement, and most importantly conversions. When done correctly, eMail will help to solidify and strengthen a brand. By adopting an eCommerce-centric eMail service provider (ESP), merchants take the first step in ensuring successful campaigns with documentable ROI.

Personalization, Integration, and Increased Revenue

A predictive analytics program with aggregated consumer data such as transactions, search, and onsite behavior, will create a personalized experience for customers. This enables merchants to send customers product information based on their actual data, getting them information on the products they are searching for at the appropriate time. A personalized eMail approach will turn new and returning customers into loyal brand consumers.

In addition to providing personalized eMail, leading ESPs integrate well with eCommerce platforms like Magento. eCommerce-centric ESPs enable seamless customer data integrations that enable powerful data-driven and targeted eMail marketing. Examples of important synchronized data would include all historical information regarding customers, orders, wishlists, cart contents, and browsing behavior.

Perhaps the most relevant argument for investing in an eCommerce-centric ESP is that personalized and relevant eMail campaigns lead to more revenue. It’s that simple.

The infographic, “eCommerce Goes Personnel” details how profitable personalized eMail can be for merchants while noting some impressive stats:

  • 54% of retailers reported a rise in AOV
  • 65% of merchants reported an increase in conversion rates
  • 53% of retailers reported increase on returning shoppers

Similar results proving ROI was also reported by Internet Marketing, which found that a successful eMail campaign results in a $44.25 return on every dollar invested. That’s a 4300% ROI! Make sure eMail efforts are successful by investing in an ESP that provides notable personalization features and seamless Magento integration.

Best eCommerce-Centric eMail Service Providers for Magento

There are several reliable eCommerce-Centric eMail service providers that integrate well with Magento. InteractOne is partnered with three top ESPs that work well for every business size and marketing experience level.

MailChimp

MailChimp is a great option for smaller merchants that are growing their mailing lists and eMail efforts. MailChimp offers customized subscriber profiles, automated options, and measures metrics such as engagement rates or revenue and profit generated. MailChimp Mobile, MailChimp Editor, and Chimpadeedoo are mobile apps that make it easy to check reports or send a campaign from anywhere. They also integrate with hundreds of other apps.

According to their eMail Marketing benchmarks report, MailChimp sends billions of eMails a month and, as would be expected, tracks their data. As of February 1, 2017, here is their breakdown by a few industries of their average eMail campaign.

  • Retail: 20.96% opened – 2.50% clicked – 0.35% soft bounce – 0.30% hard bounce.
  • Restaurant: 21.17% open – 1.33% clicked – 0.24% soft bounce – 0.22% hard bounce.
  • Sports: 25.41% open – 3.19% clicked – 0.46% soft bounce – 0.41% hard bounce.

Listrak

Listrak is recommended for mid-sized merchants that need more functionality than what smaller ESPs can provide.  One of the top features of Listrak is its ability to combine digital marketing platforms. The platform offers personalized, multichannel marketing strategies, and provides social media integration. By collecting data from every touchpoint, Listrak can offer insight into your customer’s future purchases, allowing you to create targeted campaigns. Other valuable features includes their Product Recommender and Back in Stock Alerts. Their interface works seamlessly with Magento and is considered user-friendly.

Statistics from 950 of their retail clients from the months of January to March of 2016 revealed the following:

  • The average open rate increased by 13%.
  • Triggered messages such as browse and cart abandonment had, on average, the highest open rates which ran around 28%.
  • Back in stock alerts had very high open rates of 48%!

Dotmailer

Dotmailer is recommended for larger merchants that have established extensive mailing lists, eMail campaigns, and need to implement greater personalization. Dotmailer can follow a customer’s history including their wish list, cart contents and browsing habits. The ESP can also build integrated branded data acquisition surveys, create unique coupon codes, and provides “hot prospects” reporting. Another notable feature of Dotmailer includes their abandoned cart series.

Dotmailer notably invests time into analyzing and helping merchants improve their marketing metrics across the board. According to their 2017 “Hitting the Mark” benchmark report, Dotmailer found that out of the 100 retailers studied, “many brands are failing to migrate beyond basic email marketing methods and move towards tactics that are proven to drive up ROI and customer satisfaction.” The report also found that many top brands were missing out on proven ROI boosting methods with only 40% of the brands included in the study providing abandoned cart reminders.

Get Started on an eCommerce-Centric eMail Marketing Platform Now

As one of the most successful methods for digital marketing, eMail is more important now than ever before. Multiple sources note the profitability of eMail with statistics showing retailers experiencing as much as a 50% increase in eMail revenue for trigger-based programs. There’s never been a better time to move to an eCommerce-centric ESP. For Magento merchants, there are several great options available for every type of retailer.

As a certified Magento partner and digital marketing experts, we can help you and your team upgrade to a eCommerce-centric eMail marketing platform. Contact us today to learn more about ESPs and about getting started or give us a call to talk to an expert: 513-469-3345.

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7 Tips to Streamline Checkout and Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

7 Tips to Streamline Checkout and Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Streamline Checkout

Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment for Magento

If you own an ecommerce business and your shopping cart isn’t functioning as well as it should be, you’re losing business, period. The truth is that some of the consumers who abandon your shopping cart will come back, but some won’t—these are the ones who left not because something’s burning on the stove, but quite likely, because they became frustrated with something that happened on your website.

According to eMarketer, almost 75% of all online shoppers worldwide abandon a shopping cart before they make a purchase—and some portion of them never come back. The aggregate value of all the products in abandoned carts in 2015 was more than $4 billion, according to Business Insider. To increase sales, you need to determine the problems which lead to cart abandonment and fix them. Following are 7 ways for you to streamline checkout and boost shopping cart conversions:

1. Use breadcrumb navigation

Online shoppers often want to move quickly to another product in the same category or to a different product entirely. Make it easy for them to move around your products pages using breadcrumb navigation, a site feature which shows them how the page they’re on is related to previous pages. For example, if you sell clothing online, and someone is on a page displaying Nike running shoes, the breadcrumb thread (often in the upper left-hand of the page) might be Shoes/Athletic/Running/Nike. Each piece of the breadcrumb thread is clickable, making it as easy as possible for users to move around your site, and that means they’re also more likely to buy.

2. Put customer service within easy reach

If someone’s having a problem, they don’t want to waste time trying to figure it out on their own. Make it easy for them to reach a human being. You could add a chat feature to your site, or you could make it easy on yourself by simply including your phone number on every page of your website. LessEverything tested the effectiveness of doing this and found that simply adding your phone number increases conversion by almost 2%.

3. Include product ratings and reviews  

A study from CompUSA found that 63% of online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase if product pages include user reviews. That just makes sense—people want to know if a product does what it’s supposed to, and if other people had problems which they might encounter if they buy it. One other tip: it takes more time, but make every product description unique and as compelling as possible. Having duplicate content on multiple pages hurts SEO.

4. Don’t make visitors hunt for the add to cart button

You’ll notice that eCommerce giants like Walmart and Amazon make the add to cart button prominent and easy to find, and you should do the same. Make sure the add to cart is surrounded by white space and in a distinct color, like orange, and that the type is in a large, bold font.

5. Add a secondary call to action

Of course, you don’t want anything to detract from the add to cart button, but some of visitors won’t be ready to buy. Give these people a second option, like “save for later.” The mere fact that shoppers have saved a group of products increases the likelihood that they’ll come back and purchase some or all of those products. The next time they visit your site, you can remind them of their saved items and ask if they’re ready to add these to their cart.

6. Let shoppers “edit” their carts

If someone is reviewing their order prior to purchase and changes their mind about one or more items, give them the option of deleting those items or saving them for later. Let’s says someone has added 5 items to their cart, but wants to remove one. If you don’t give them the option to do that, they’ll probably junk the entire order and possibly go to the website of one of your competitors.

7. Let shoppers know all prices upfront  

One of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment is shoppers seeing pricing surprises just before they hit “place order.” If you think hiding shipping charges or taxes will make shoppers more likely to add items to their carts, you’d be right—unfortunately, it also makes them less likely to complete the purchase. Be transparent about all costs, and the true total, as soon as possible in the process.

7 of every 10 of your online shoppers is abandoning your shopping cart – that’s not acceptable.

Hitting the industry benchmark for shopping cart abandonment means that 7 of every 10 of your online shoppers are abandoning your shopping cart – that’s not acceptable. To surpass the industry average, you need to partner with Magento development experts who understand user experience (UX) and know how to create sites that load quickly and are easily adaptable for future changes. To learn more about the ways our Magento ecommerce site design, development and maintenance services can help you optimize your online sales, contact us today.

Up-sell and Cross-sell Techniques for Magento

Up-sell and Cross-sell Techniques for Magento

Up-sell and Cross-sell Techniques

Get Started on Up-sell and Cross-sell Techniques for your Magento Website

When considering how to improve the business performance of your store, it’s important to check your foundation. Make sure the product catalog is well organized and takes advantage of Magento’s most valuable native features. Before a cross-sell or an up-sell can happen, your store’s shopping experience needs to be intuitive, clear, and informative. Fast doesn’t hurt, either! Instead of diving into the Magento admin for up-sell and cross-sell features, start by optimizing product descriptions, product attributes and product types.

Product descriptions should be clear and original. Don’t spare relevant detail because you’ve been told descriptions should be short. But also don’t add subjective selling language. Cross selling won’t happen if the shopper doesn’t gain a sense of credibility from the information you present.

Don’t ignore attributes. Magento plays well with attributes – so be generous with them! Make sure your items carry all the attributes that you’ll need for cross-promoting and associating them in the “related products” space or with other products in widget-controlled promotional blocks. New attributes are easy to make and assign individually or as a set.

Learn about the Magento product types. Learn how and when to use a bundled product, vs a configurable product. If you are asking developers to do things to Magento so that you can set up simple products the way you want, first make sure you have exhausted the software’s built-in capabilities.

Master Magento’s Built In Up-sell and Cross-sell Merchandising Tools

Sometimes, you just want to stand out and be different. This business impulse makes sense when we’re talking about branding, product quality, service, and packaging. Other times, it pays to meet the shopper’s expectations and habits by simply employing eCommerce best practices. Notably, Magento has several helpful merchandising tools built into its platform.

The best place to get started is right here in Magento’s admin:

From any product page, scroll down to and expand the “Related Products, Up-Sells and Cross-Sells” section in the Magento Admin. The simplest vehicle for helping your customers fill their cart in Magento is the “Related Products” functionality.  See below:

Merchants can also use the “Up-Sell Products” feature to display other catalog items. See below:

The “Up-Sell Products” feature is easily selectable via the admin and requires no customization.  If information on the product pages and overall User Interface (UI) has built trust with customers, they might be feeling confident enough to crack open their wallet a bit wider for a more expensive alternative. The “Up-Sell Products” feature is an excellent opportunity for an up-sell, and the temptation also conveniently happens on the product detail page.  

The third element listed in the Magento Admin is “Cross-sell products”, which will display in the Magento cart. The “Cross-sell products” feature can be an especially effective tactic to create an impulse purchase. The customer has already added at least one item to the cart – why not just one more?

All three of these Magento-native merchandising tools can be implemented individually, or via user-defined rules and conditions including: display; start date; duration; quantity; price differentials; and other aspects of the promotion.

Accelerate Beyond Magento’s Native Features

Inevitably, as businesses takes off, merchants want to extend Magento via extensions. Hundreds of choices are available for advanced up-sell and cross-sell techniques such as photo tools, video plugins, couponing, custom widgets, loyalty programs, etc. Some require installation of an extension, others run remotely as a subscription. As developers, marketers, and observers of our clients’ businesses, we always counsel to make these choices strategically to save time and money.

We recommend optimizing what’s already available in Magento to start. Once product descriptions, attributes and product types are in place, we help clients focus on Magento’s native up-sell and cross-sell features. Once those are used to their greatest effect, we will recommend and install some of the great merchandising and sales-building extensions available for Magento.

Contact us to learn more about Magento’s Up-sell and Cross-sell features. Or, give us a call to talk to a Magento expert: 513-469-3345.

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3 Reasons to Incorporate a Blog Into Your Magento eCommerce Website

3 Reasons to Incorporate a Blog Into Your Magento eCommerce Website

Blogs are Important for Long-Term, Sustainable Success in eCommerce

Maintaining a blog might seem like the furthest thing from your mind when running an eCommerce business. Between operations, day-to-day management, and the myriad of other aspects that go into running an eCommerce business, a blog may not seem like an effective use of your time.

However, in a world where success is now largely driven by digital marketing, a blog is a necessary effort for a successful marketing strategy. Blogs are a way to differentiate yourself from the competition while providing a method of engagement for your users. There are several reasons to incorporate a blog into your marketing mix and here are three reasons specifically for eCommerce.

1. Search Engine Optimization

Content marketing via blogging is one of the best and most legitimate ways to rank well in search engines. Blogs are a prime method of website traffic, so it is imperative to have an SEO strategy in place that maintains your ranking. A recent Medium article stated that “More than half of all mobile searches lead to a purchase, and 78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase.”

Blogs signal that your website is active, which helps it rank higher in search engine rankings. As time goes on, certain keywords will become connected to your niche, driving further engagement. Moreover, if your keywords have a better chance of being highly ranked if they are inserted organically into blogs rather than being stuffed on each page of your site. Remember, SEO is dependent on quality, not quantity. A blog is a great way to bridge that gap and drive better SEO for your eCommerce website.

2. Effective Marketing

Blogs are a resource through which your business is able to display its legitimacy, authority, and credibility. Writing helpful, valuable content will not only drive your SEO but will be a great component of your marketing strategy. Balancing promotional content with evergreen, helpful topics in your blog is an effective way to market without being too aggressive. While many customers, both new and existing, may not be very receptive to overt marketing, blogs tend to be a good middle ground.

Merchants can use a blog to showcase new products, highlight existing products, and provide helpful tips and advice relating to your niche. It is a way to become a valuable, trusted source for information and this will help build relationships with your customers rather than aggressively pushing out campaigns that they are not interested in.

3. Steady Website Traffic

Think of blogs as part of a puzzle in maintaining a steady flow of website traffic. A blog will help you rank in search engines, which provides one flow of traffic. The other flow will come from your current customers who choose to come back for updates. In both cases, you will have tapped into customer audiences that are normally very hard to captivate but are loyal when they find something they enjoy.

Blogs are a great method to engage with your customers, learn more about what interests them and market accordingly. If you find that certain blogs seem to be more popular than others, analyze the content and means of dissemination to see what exactly is resonating with the audience. Blogs provide a way to understand customers like never before. Use that data to your advantage.

Ultimately, blogs are incredibly important for long-term, sustainable success of an eCommerce business. They provide a way to engage with a niche customer audience, as well as ways to learn more about what interests them and create a laser-focused marketing strategy going forward.

With some patience and dedication, blogs will become a valuable component of your eCommerce business. Contact us to learn more about the importance of blogs and how we can help incorporate them into your marketing mix and Magento site.

InteractOne Launches Watsons.com

InteractOne Launches Watsons.com

Contact Information:
InteractOne, Inc.
513.469.7042
[email protected]

new site for watsons.com

InteractOne Launches New Magento Site for Watson’s

Cincinnati, OH – InteractOne, Magento Solutions Partner, recently redesigned and launched www.watsons.com, a responsive-designed Magento website devoted to indoor & outdoor entertainment products for the home on February 16, 2016.

Watsons.com features all the products customers enjoy in the popular brick and mortar locations including pools, spas, furniture, fireplaces, pool tables and more. Now customers can research products with detailed descriptions and updated images before shopping in store.

The new site is built with a  responsive Magento design, allowing full access from any device. The new site was created with a special focus on easy navigation. Specifically, a left column with attributes was added to make filtering easier. It was important to Watson’s to show customers they offer more than their well-known selection of pools and spas.

In addition, Watson’s needed a dependable and flexible content management system that was easier to manage in house. With quick product turnover and ever-changing seasonal promotions, it was critical that their in-house staff could make quick and easy updates to the website.

“Our experience with the team at InteractOne has been superior. They are extremely responsive to our needs and questions and expertly deploy solutions while relaying the information back to us in layman’s terms. says Tracy Kuethe, Marketing Manager at Watson’s. 

About InteractOne:
InteractOne has provided web development and Internet marketing services since 1998, becoming a Magento partner in 2009. We have helped many companies develop and establish very successful eCommerce sites and internet marketing strategies.

The Rise of Merchandising in Ecommerce

The Rise of Merchandising in Ecommerce

Mobile Store Front PictureBy Tom Deutsch, VP Creative Services at InteractOne

Visual Merchandising is not a new term among retailers. Have you seen an episode of PBS’s Mr. Selfridge? Based in the early 1900’s, the show spends a lot of air time showcasing Selfridge’s cutting edge merchandising innovations.

Mr. Selfridge

In today’s retail world, visual merchandising still plays a critical role in overall sales. Trained merchandisers (the folks “behind the curtain” strategically placing items and watching how customers shop) have product placement down to a science.

Retail merchandisers focus on store themes, overall coherence, interior design, lighting, store layout, displays, colors, and that’s just the physical part. There are scores of people also trained in the Psychology of retail shopping.

For example, watch this quick video interviewing Ken Nisch, a retail design expert on his store design with North Face.

The take-away here is that there are trained and experienced people designing and strategically planning the beautiful stimulating brick and mortar stores. Why are we not actively applying their methods to our eCommerce stores?

In the eCommerce world, merchandising has largely been ignored. 

Lost somewhere between early innovators of the first decade out to reinvent the world of business and the initial reluctance of many old-school retailers to embrace online selling, merchandising fell to the wayside.

For a lot of online retailers the defacto merchandisers are marketers, designers, and product planners. This leads to haphazard product presentation and grouping for the simple elements of a promotion, not to mention an annoying chore arising out of Magento’s “related products” feature.

E-tailers who utilize merchandising professionals benefit from a shift away from the practical and toward the strategic.

With eMerchandising, merchants move beyond standard A/B testing and analytic research to increase conversion rate optimization. Not that there’s anything wrong with A/B testing and analytic research, but most retailers don’t have optimized processes in place, nor do they have the amount of traffic needed to take a purely data-driven approach to product planning and store design.

Site analytics can tell you a tremendous amount, but they can’t make decisions. 

The “human” element, as applied by a merchandising professional, does not simply rely on intuition, opinion or habit.  Instead of only relying on analytics, merchandisers will consider product mix, customer profiles, competitive pricing and customer behavior- on a strategic level – in making tactical decisions about design and user interface (UI).  Those merchandising decisions can then be tested and optimized for a much higher conversion rate.

The Customer Connection

In the gradual process of business maturation and rediscovering merchandising, eCommerce has brought the practice closer to the customer. Forward thinking eCommerce merchandising includes creative, in-depth content, easy to navigate pages and inventive interactive customer interaction through videos and state of the art photography.

Consider the example below from hubba. Their graphic doesn’t just feature video and good images as examples but also shows what social, interactive color swatches and sizing can do for products.

Product Content

 

Magento merchants especially have a strong merchandising advantage built in the platform’s uber-flexible product categories, attributes and configurable products. Time to put them to use!

Learn more about InteractOne’s Merchandising 360 Analysis

Think you may need some merchandising help? 

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Mixed Results from January Retail Sales Figures

Mixed Results from January Retail Sales Figures

Overall retail sales rose 0.4% last month, which only represents half of the increase that most analysts anticipated.  An interesting item to note was a chart that gave side-by-side results of January consumer spending for “General-Merchandise Stores.”  Overall sales for January 2012 compared to January 2011 showed an increase of 5.8%.  Online sales for the same segment and period showed an increase of 12.7%.

Of the 15 sectors analyzed, only one showed a negative net growth in January 2012 over 2011 (in brick-and-mortar locations)- and that was Consumer Electronics and Appliances.  However, when online sales were analyzed for the same sector, it showed an increase of 3.2%.

No one needs to further preach the importance of a retailer having an eCommerce presence; that sermon has been preached many times before.  However, too many times the conversation stops there and once the site is developed- some assume a “sit-and-watch” approach.  Getting an eCommerce platform up is, unfortunately, the easy part.  Once the site is built and deployed- the hands on, dirty part of the job begins:  marketing.  Companies need to develop a sound plan for SEO to make sure when keywords are typed in to Google, their widget is found.  Sound strategies for email marketing, PPC, retargeting, Performance reviews, and Social Marketing need to be created and deployed.

The last decade has seen a year-over-year decrease in the importance of a brick-and-mortar location in favor of being online.  Though the need for a physical location will never completely go away, being online gives your store the ability to offer a 24/7 operation to all points on the map.  That alone is elementary in thinking; the post-graduate course in that education is figuring out a strategy that lets people 1000 miles (or more) away from your nearest location that you exist.

InteractOne has been eCommerce Marketing Specialists for well over a decade with experience in getting our clients “front-page” results in search engine results.  We are a turn-key operation that can not only get your Magento eCommerce project deployed, but also partner with you to get your company noticed from all corners.