The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

In our previous post, CRO Testing is Expensive, but Worth It, we covered the different ways to implement Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) into your webstore and the results it has produced for several of our clients. We know from experience that CRO is one of the absolute best ways to increase your ecommerce revenue. Focusing on generating more traffic without practicing any kind of conversion optimization is analogous to having an open house without cleaning or picking up the dirty laundry. Let’s discuss the statistics behind CRO and the benefits you can expect to see.

Why is CRO Beneficial?

CRO focuses on converting your existing visitors while increasing customer lifetime value, over investing in driving more site traffic that will convert at the same rate. Instead of investing money to get more visitors to convert at your existing rate of 2%, you’re improving the conversion rate of the visitors you’re already getting (or even paying for) while improving metrics like Average Order Value (AOV) and Revenue Per Visitor (RPV). 

The basic formula is:

 

 Number of Visitors x Conversion Rate = Number of Conversions

As an example, let’s pretend that Website A has 50,000 visitors a month, and a conversion rate of 2%:

50,000 x .02 =1,000

As we all learned in elementary school, increasing either one of first the two variables in the initial formula will increase the product. Therefore, by increasing either the number of visitors or the conversion rate, we can increase the total number of conversions.

But which one is more effective? 

First let’s talk about increasing the number of visitors. Putting money into paid search is a very standard tactic for increasing the number of visitors. According to HubSpot, the average cost per click on a search engine ad is $2.32. So, using that average CPC, let’s say we spend $3,000 on 1,294 visits.

51,294 x .02 = 1,206

Nice! By increasing the number of visitors to the website, we’ve increased the total number of conversions by 26. 

But what if instead of increasing the number of visitors we increased the conversion rate? Let’s pretend Website A ran A/B tests and improved the site’s conversion rate. InteractOne’s personal average track record with improving sitewide conversion rate is 30% over a 6 month period. A 30% increase on 2% is 0.6%:

50,000 x .026 = 1,300

Wow! Now we’re talking. The same investment into improving the conversion rate yielded nearly six times as many additional conversions each month! That’s an ongoing lesson you can continue to capitalize on as you increase traffic over time.

Unexpected Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization.

If you’re reading this and rolling your eyes because OF COURSE increasing conversions is a benefit of Conversion Rate Optimization, then stay tuned because there are also some unexpected benefits of conversion rate optimization.

1) Know Your Customers Better

  • Data provided in a CRO campaign is unparalleled. A creative campaign manager can research, mine and use that data to drive more iterative tests and further improve site engagement.
  • In addition, CRO data and feedback is unbiased: by testing, you are literally asking customers what they prefer on your site.
  • Even a losing A/B test teaches you what not to do or what customers prefer.
  • Experimenting with product sort orders and merchandising can help you expand or target your product offering to what customers are engaging with the most.

2) Improved Customer Acquisition Costs

  • This is an easy one – A/B help convert more of the same amount of traffic at a higher average order value.
  • A/B testing helps to drive increased organic rankings and PPC quality scores through improving your site engagement.
    • Bounce rate, pages/session, time on site and even conversation rate are known to impact both quality score and SEO.

3) Learn More About Your Website

  • Technical and UX issues are uncovered in A/B testing more efficiently, than via any other form of troubleshooting. Oftentimes clients resort to a CRO utility to help diagnose a reported problem that’s difficult to reproduce.
  • Refine the customer experience on specific devices individually. Sometimes successful tests on desktop don’t scale well on mobile. 

  • Improving your website on a per-device basis teaches you how customers are engaging on each type of device.

  • You’ll find yourself viewing and using your site more through a visitor’s perspective than the normal biased site owner approach that often occurs. 

Conclusion

Investing in Conversion Rate Optimization has long-term payoffs compared to any other traffic building campaign. Just like with home improvements and remodels, you’re building small upgrades into your site to make it more efficient and customer friendly. 

If you’re interested in working some CRO magic on your webstore, there’s no better time than the present. Contact us today and let’s discuss your needs in greater detail.

Six MORE Apparel eCommerce Webstore Strategies for a Post-COVID World

Six MORE Apparel eCommerce Webstore Strategies for a Post-COVID World

Last week we shared with you six ways to improve your apparel eCommerce website. Each tactic was tailored to be unique to the needs of the apparel industry. They were focused on  helping your site appeal to the eye of apparel customers and help your brand compete long-term in an economy that is only going to become more eCommerce centric. The more we got to thinking about it, the more we realized that there were well over six tactics that you should consider implementing. Which is why we’re back with a second post on this topic. In this blog we’ll be breaking down six MORE apparel-focused eCommerce strategies you can implement in a post-covid world to improve the user experience and ultimately increase your conversion rate. 

If you missed it, don’t forget to check out Part 1.

Question and Answer

Much in the same way that Customer Reviews add transparency and authenticity to your brand and products, so does a Question and Answer section. You’ve no doubt seen the Q&A section on Amazon product pages and it’s there for a reason; they work. No matter the product description or reviews on your product page there will always be very specific questions potential customers will have about your apparel or accessories. Their questions could be about fit, material, shipping, user experience – anything at all. The Q&A section gives a platform for these questions to be posed and an opportunity for your organization, as well as customers to answer them. For questions posed to your company, this is a great chance to showcase your customer service capabilities, product knowledge and openness. For questions posed to current and former customers about their experiences with your product(s), think of it as another form of Customer Review (or if the question or answer has negative components, an opportunity to correct a problem). Getting a fellow customer’s honest feedback about your product will make potential customers more secure in their purchasing decision and less uncertain about engaging in business with you. Making room on your product pages for a Q&A section is a must.

Recommended Accessories or Pairings

No eCommerce site should ever miss an opportunity to upsell and the apparel industry is certainly no exception. Whether you’re selling a dress that pairs with a great pair of shoes and earrings or you’re selling a sports jersey with a newly available matching team hat, customers are often searching for a complete look and you should be presenting them the option to purchase it. How you present these recommended accessories and pairings is up to you (and perhaps the niche you serve). They can exist on the product page, you can offer them in a pop-up, or they can be presented just prior to checkout. And if customers pass up the opportunity to purchase your product’s accessories and pairings then these recommendations would make for a perfect follow-up email offer.   

Customer Reviews

We broke down the benefits of customer reviews in great detail back in a blog earlier in the year, but this has become such a hot topic that it’s worth repeating. Customer Reviews will benefit your apparel site in numerous ways. For one, they reaffirm your brand. Even the greatest product description ever written can’t compete with a customer review. A customer review makes your products and your company more authentic and accessible. Shopify has revealed that 63% of customers are more likely to convert after seeing reviews. Reviews give your brand transparency and build trust with your customers.  Good reviews, bad reviews, no problem! Even if you only had exclusively positive customer reviews the modern apparel customer is too savvy (or maybe cynical) to believe they are all legit.

 The Greatest Product Description Writer ever.

So, even negative or average reviews add authenticity to your brand and page. Reviews serve as useful tools to your merchandising and customer service teams (particularly if you have taken the time to thoughtfully respond to negative reviews – which you absolutely should do).. Customer Reviews are shown to increase conversions by as much as 63% and research shows that 70% of customers look at reviews on products and stores before making a final purchase. To take a deeper dive on customer reviews check out our recent blog.

A More Mobile Friendly Website

Is your webstore as responsive and as mobile friendly as it can possibly be? If your answer is anything less than, ‘absolutely’ then now’s the time for an upgrade. Mobile traffic accounted for more than 60% of all traffic in 2019. And, assuming we will soon return to some sense of normalcy and fully open retail stores, improving the mobile capabilities of your site could have a direct impact on your brick and mortar location too. 65% of all US shoppers look up price comparisons on their phone mobile device while in a physical location. So not only could your unresponsive mobile site be costing your sales digitally, it may be costing you sales in-store.  

If you’re looking for the most advanced and user friendly of all mobile experiences then you must invest in a Progressive Web App (PWA). A PWA is a mobile website made to look and feel more like an app. Users will browse a PWA just like they normally would, on their browser, with a URL, but the experience they receive is one more akin to an app. PWA’s give the customer the full app experience and usability straight from a mobile browser, all without having to download and install the app itself. It’s the best mobile experience you can offer with a fraction of the development costs of a Native app. To learn more about PWAs check our dedicated page here.

Free Returns

As an apparel merchant, it’s your job to remove as much uncertainty about your brand and products as possible. We discuss Transparency in greater detail in Part 1 of this blog and this topic is related to that. The greatest uncertainty that customers face when purchasing apparel online comes from the worry, ‘will this fit me?’ and, ‘will this look good on me?’. And while no product description or customer review can answer that question for an individual, you can remove doubt as to whether that individual will be stuck with a purchase they are unhappy with. By offering customers a no-hassle, free return policy, you’re showcasing your own belief in your own brand and products while improving their overall experience. Whether the customer ends up keeping your apparel or returning it, either way they will be much more likely to continue doing business with you if you have made the return process as easy as possible.

Free Delivery

Amazon Prime has set the ‘free delivery’ standard in recent years, leaving all merchants from large to small scrambling to keep pace. If you’re able to offer free delivery, even if it is above a certain order threshold, make sure that it is prominently displayed and not just on the checkout page. Make sure it’s listed on individual product pages. Free Delivery is such a powerful motivator that it’s worth adding to the banner of your entire eCommerce webstore. That way, all customers will know the extent of your offers and they can shop with the assurance that they aren’t in for a shock when they reach the Checkout page. After all, high shipping fees are the #1 reason for ‘Cart Abandonment’.

No matter your kind of apparel and accessories and no matter your target audience, if you’re looking to improve your conversion rates, traffic and your customer’s shopping experience these webstore strategies are a great place to start. 

Check out some of the apparel and accessories work we’ve completed for Medals of America, Fawn Shoppe, and Massif and let us know if you’d like to schedule a conversation.

Six Apparel eCommerce Webstore Strategies for a Post-COVID World

Six Apparel eCommerce Webstore Strategies for a Post-COVID World

Each apparel and accessories brand caters to a unique audience. But no matter who your audience is, there are a number of improvements you can make to your eCommerce store that will make it more appealing in a post-covid world. With the challenges that physical store locations are having and will have for the foreseeable future, the visual layout, style elements, calls-to-action (CTA’s)and cleanliness of your webstore are now more vital than ever.

This is the perfect time to dedicate some resources to ensure you’re getting the most from your webstore. In this guide we’ll highlight six strategies you can begin to implement today to capture the attention of visitors and convert more of them into customers.

Urgency

Creating a little purchase urgency in the mind of your customers isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s vitally important. Indecisive shoppers can change their mind and leave their cart abandoned. While that gives you the opportunity to follow up with ‘cart abandonment’ emails you’d much rather they complete the purchase process that they started. That’s where creating urgency can really improve your conversion rate. You want to make customers feel like if they don’t complete a purchase RIGHT NOW then they’re going to miss out. A great way to do this is to add limited time discount codes or timers to deals and carts. Let your customers know that this deal and/or product won’t be around forever, in fact, it won’t even be available in a few hours. That countdown clock resonates with customers and definitely capitalizes on their FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Improving Your Product Page

In the eyes of your customers, there is a lot of guesswork when it comes to apparel shopping online. One way to help put a stop to a lot of that guesswork is to make your product pages as detailed as they possibly can be. Include as many high-def product images as you can (from multiple perspectives), give extremely detailed descriptions, and prominently display user reviews. These are all great ways to show customers your product is great, real and has real-world advocates without overhauling your entire webstore design or layout.

A/B Testing

Header images, copy, CTA’s, color schemes. These are just a few of the elements that can be A/B tested with the goal of improving the customer experience and increasing conversions. Start by A/B testing how your apparel is displayed on your webstore. Show your wares both on a live person and against a solid background. Do your customers respond better to seeing your products in-action or as a static image. A/B testing will let you know.

There are so many variables that can be tested on an eCommerce website that this is a topic that could be an entire blog all on its own. In fact, we published that blog very recently and you can take a deeper dive into A/B testing by clicking here. It’s definitely worth a read if you are anxious to improve your site and test it with your audience but you don’t know where to start.

Clean up your storefront

Just like a brick-and-mortar store, your digital storefront can use some sprucing up every now and then. With eCommerce traffic being up dramatically in the last two months, there may be more and more potential customers stopping by your digital storefront each day. Don’t overwhelm your new visitors with too many links, specials, banners, tabs and copy. A clean storefront is vital to any apparel ecommerce site. As a merchant, you want to provide a straightforward visual design, with as few distractions as possible so that you can allow customers to get a clear view of your navigation choices and products, and the items you most want to push. Fawn Shoppe is a great example of this. We built them a webstore with a clean storefront with clear CTA’s and featured products. This is the type of the clean look-and-feel you want to emulate.

Transparency and Sustainability

Now, more than ever, customers want to know where their products come from, what they’re made of and who is selling them. Mindful consumerism has become the mantra of the modern shopper and these factors could play a deciding role in the customer’s buying journey. By being honest about where you source materials (bonus points if it’s local), who you employ and your commitment to social responsibility, you bring customers closer to your brand and increase your trustworthiness in their eyes. In a world where customers are getting bombarded with hundreds of messages and ads per day it is the authentic and the decent that most resonates. Make sure you’re touting these factors prominently on your home page, product pages and promotional material.

Keep Checkout Simple

No matter what your target market is, you’re going to need to remove as many barriers as possible between ‘add to cart’ and completing the purchase. A seamless and streamlined checkout experience must be a priority. Take a serious look at your checkout process – are there any additional, unneeded steps or screens to click through? Look into adding an unobtrusive pop-up, like the one offered by One Step Checkout  that prompts customers with direct, but not distracting CTA’s like ‘edit cart’ and ‘checkout now’. Whether selling apparel to the tech-savy crowd or to retirees,  leave as little opportunity as possible for them to get lost and abandon their cart.

Of course, there are more strategies you can begin to implement on your apparel eCommerce site. And we’ll be exploring more of those in Part II of this article in the coming days. Until then, check out the work we’ve done for other eCommerce apparel  and accessories companies Massif, Tafford and Medals of America

To learn more about how to improve your apparel or accessories site today, contact us and a member of our expert team will be in touch with you shortly.

CRO Testing is Expensive, but Worth It

CRO Testing is Expensive, but Worth It

Conversion Rate Optimization. No doubt you’ve heard of it by now but if you’re still not running tests on your website in order to improve your conversion rate… Why not? 

The number one reason we hear as to why clients don’t invest in conversion rate optimization is, you guessed it, the cost. If this is you, keep reading!

Unfortunately, they’re right. On-site optimization testing comes with a myriad of costs – the platform, the labor, and not to mention – what if your test fails and you lose money in real time?

But while there are a number of risks and costs that come with optimization testing, for many companies, CRO is the single best thing you can do to increase your revenue. 

So yes, CRO testing is expensive. But it is so worth it.

Instead of spending money on new traffic (which only lasts as long as you pay for it), investing in CRO means you’re investing to increase the entire website’s conversion rate, thus doing what is necessary to get more out of each visitor. In addition, if you’re doing it correctly, Conversion Rate Optimization will even improve your search engine efforts!

It’s known that lower bounce rates and higher engagement rates lead to higher organic search rankings. These are metrics that you can measure alongside conversion rate improvements as you are testing. But the SEO/CRO connection is a conversation for another time. Stay tuned for an additional blog post on that topic!

The best part of CRO is that it’s directly measurable. SEO is hard to measure as most benefits come about after a few months and often don’t have a super clear cause and effect, but when you are running on-site optimization tests, you get actual real-time insights as to what changes are moving the needle.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, a survey across almost 3,000 CRO users showed an average of 223% return on investment. Of course, results will differ for every company, but if you have a strategic CRO team working for you, it is possible  to surpass those results. 

Here’s a real example of one of our clients:

“Discovering CRO

Last year, we suggested five A/B test templates to our client, who decided to run all of them. These A/B tests were not chosen based on data or any specific needs of our client – it was completely random.

For context, here are quick descriptions of the five A/B tests we chose: 

Two of the tests were focused on the product page and moving the location of the SKU:

    • On the Control site, our client had their SKU located at the top of the product page – next to the price. This Treatment page tested moving the SKU down into the “More Information” box:

WINNER: Treatment page 

Product Title Location

    • On the Control page our client’s product title was located below the product image. This Treatment page tested moving the title to the top of the page, above the main product image.

WINNER: Control Page

Sticky Header

    • Similarly to the aforementioned Sticky Add to Cart test, this test was mobile only. When a visitor would scroll up and down the page, this template tested out the benefits of having the header remain “sticky” and always remain visible

WINNER: Control mobile page

Cart Total

    • When a visitor to the Treatment page had at least one item in the cart, the total cart value would display as a bubble on the cart icon in the upper right hand corner 

WINNER: No clear results

Quick Checkout 

    • This Treatment site focused on the “Checkout” button, to see if different verbiage could impact conversion rate. The template simply changed the verbiage from “Proceed to Checkout” to “Quick Checkout.”

WINNER: Treatment

Unsurprisingly, two of the tests were immediately identified as losers, and traffic was stopped on them within the first two weeks (lost about $1,500 in revenue – yikes!). 

However, the other three tests looked promising enough to continue and these ran through the remainder of the 60 day trial. Of the final three, Move SKU and Quick Checkout proved to be extremely positive, each touting a statistical significance of 98% increase in conversion rate. The Cart Total was a wash as we saw no distinct statistical change in performance in either direction. 

We were thrilled – when testing at random, a 50/50 chance is about as good as you can hope for.  

As mentioned before, the best part about CRO testing is that you can directly measure successes and losses in real time. Just as we could see how much we lost, we can see how much extra revenue our client made during a test. 

In 60 days, the Move SKU template generated  an additional $16,500, and the Quick Checkout generated over $12,000! 

If you’re floored by those numbers, remember that this was only the additional revenue generated during the two month trial period. The beauty of CRO testing is that by the end of the test, you have ideally identified a better-performing version of your website. This new and improved website has a higher conversion rate and revenue per visitor (and whatever other metrics you measured), so the winnings keep on coming!

If  revenue per visitor increases by, say, $0.04, it might not seem like a lot, but if you have 30,000 visitors each month, we’re talking about $12,000 in additional revenue each month.

With over $20,000 additional revenue generated during the testing period, and more than double that amount projected in each of the coming months, it’s no surprise that our client made the right call to invest in their future conversion rate optimization efforts.

Testing Strategically

 

While the above is absolutely a success story, remember, those tests were chosen at random. They could have all failed! Once our client officially hired InteractOne to help them with strategy, the testing success rate continued to improve. 

A/B testing can be vital to the success of your eCommerce site. The idea of letting your visitors decide what the website should look like/how it should function through real-world use is a phenomenal opportunity. And when you employ strategic data analysis to come up with informed hypotheses that drive your testing decisions, it is absolutely incredible what you can uncover.

When we run CRO tests for our clients, it’s not just the test that we’re running. It’s a complete analysis of the website’s data so our team has the best understanding of the site and its customers before we start the tests. Our hypotheses are driven by extensive health checks on the website, where we combine user experience (UX) testing with behavioral and quantitative analyses. This, combined with our past experiences in optimization, helps us identify areas on the site that have the greatest potential for improvement.

In these audits and analyses, it’s often normal to incorporate more than one test per page (also know as Multivariate Testing (MVT). This is not a problem and can be quite powerful, as long as appropriate measurement systems are in place!

If you thought the revenue lifts for the A/B tests were high, wait until you see how powerful an MVT can be. But we’ll get to that in another post.

Conclusion

Optimization strategy is the most important part of testing. You can test all the templates in the world, but if you are not being strategic, you’re just as likely to lose money as you are to improve revenue performance. This is what you pay for when you pay for CRO – not just the tools, but the people who know what to test so that you maximize your opportunity to increase revenue WHILE testing – not just after.

Don’t get the wrong idea – random A/B testing can still accomplish very  much. Thomas Edison has famously touted “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

However, if you employ a little strategy and reason, you’ll be that much more effective. Nikolai Tesla was quoted, referring to Thomas Edison “If he had a needle to find in a haystack, he would not stop to reason where it was most likely to be, but would proceed at once with the feverish diligence of a bee, to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. … Just a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety percent of his labor.”

At InteractOne, we’re all for a little theory and calculation. 

To learn more about CRO, A/B Testing and our unique and measured approach to improving eCommerce, contact us today.

ByPassing Mobile Limitations – The Rise of the Progressive Web App (PWA)

ByPassing Mobile Limitations – The Rise of the Progressive Web App (PWA)

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are the next big thing in the eCommerce world and for good reason. They provide a better mobile user experience and have proven to lower development & maintenance costs and increase conversions.

In this blog we’ll be exploring the current limitations of the mobile experience, both with sites that feature Responsive Web Design and Native Apps. And then, we’ll be analyzing the strengths of Progressive Web Apps and how they address the shortcomings of Responsive Web Design and Native Apps. 

To learn more about PWAs, check out our PWA Services page and read our most recent blogs Powering PWAs with the Payment Request API and What’s Next for Tech? PWAs, Headless eCommerce & Cryptocurrency

Check out our live PWA Demo Site too. 

And, download this excellent Magento-produced piece, which dives deeper into a number of topics that we cover here.

Limitations of Responsive Web Design (RWD)

RWD is a one-size-fits all grid system. A website with RWD scales itself to match each user’s screen, automatically resizing the website’s elements. While this does allow for a smoother, contextual browsing experience, there are a number of limitations that come with the RWD solution.

While RWD sites are functional, they are unable to take advantage of the unique features of a smartphone. Your camera, microphone and GPS services cannot be accessed by an RWD website. With an eCommerce webstore, this could prevent you from providing accurate shipping information or in-store local availability. Also, consider this impact on product reviews. The vast majority of people use their camera on their smartphone as their primary camera. With an RWD site lacking in camera access, you’re preventing users from uploading images of themselves and your product directly to their reviews. And, as we’ve covered in recent months, the importance of customer reviews and social confirmation are only growing. 

Mobile users also have different intents, interactions and expectations than desktop users. By using an RWD to ‘fold down’ your desktop into a condensed mobile version you’re unable to meet the unique needs of mobile shoppers.

RWD sites also drastically increase load times and, if the mobile user isn’t connected to a dedicated internet connection, this can quickly cause a data drain. This is due to the fact that RWD sites download the same code to display on mobile as it does on a desktop.

Limitations of Native Apps

Unlike RWD sites, Native Apps are built specifically for the features and functionality of smartphones and to meet the needs of mobile users. They feature simplified navigation and visual orientation tailored for mobile users. They also have access to the features of a smartphone like the camera and GPS. But while Native Apps do not suffer from the same problems as RWD sites, they come with their own unique set of disadvantages.

The biggest impediment to Native Apps is downloading the app itself. The act of downloading any app is a major (albeit one-time) commitment on the part of the mobile user. Users must go to their app store (Apple Store or Google Play Store), search for the app, find the app, select the app, download and install the app, register the app and login to the app all before being able to actually use the app.

In addition to the time commitment there is also the data commitment that comes with downloading an app. If the mobile user isn’t connected to an internet connection, then they are forced to dedicate a significant amount of cellular data to downloading an app. This is a commitment that many mobile users are either unwilling or unable to do. And even if a mobile user is connected to WIFI that doesn’t mean they’ll have the memory space available on their phone to complete the download. Smartphones all have a finite amount of space, much of which is taken up by a user’s personal photos, music and podcasts. They may not want to sacrifice their personal content for your app.

A fully functioning ecommerce app can be quite expensive to develop as well, especially if you’re building one for multiple platforms. Your Apple Store app and your Android app will each have unique requirements based on the platform. For smaller eCommerce stores the development of an app can run between $50k and $100k and some come run as high as $500k. And even if you get an app built, tested and uploaded to the App store, there is no guarantee that it will be embraced by your users or drive sales. In fact, a recent Forrester report showed that 4% of mobile commerce transactions in 2018 came from mobile apps and 49% of smartphone users download zero apps per month. In addition they only account for 5% of all online traffic and convert at 2.8%

The Power and Potential of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

Customers are searching for an app-like experience that transcends the limitations of apps. That’s where Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) come into play. PWAs provide an engaging and smooth user experience that has been shown to increase conversion rates and accelerate growth. PWAs combine the best of both your ecommerce website and mobile app functionality. Here are a few of the benefits that PWAs add to your eCommerce capabilities.

Studies show that if your mobile pages are taking longer than 2 seconds to load then your customers are likely to take their business to a different site. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to get them connected to what they’re searching for. PWAs do not require a mobile web browser to re-render or shrink down the site, meaning that pages load faster and transitions are smoother.

PWAs are readily available to any smartphone user on any web browser. There is no need for any sort of additional download. Meaning that your customers no longer have multi-step installation and data roadblocks between them and a smooth, clean mobile shopping experience. PWAs are great for customers who have low bandwidth or limited data plans. This allows your customers to avoid heavy data usage associated with app downloads. And customers who use PWAs on their mobile browser don’t need to take up much space on the smartphones themselves. The data commitment for a PWA is a fraction of a native app.

PWAs make it easy on the development team too. A single codebase is used for both mobile and desktop. A PWA doesn’t require a seperate desktop solution, eliminating the time and resource investment that come with the development and maintenance of a native app. Your website will have a lower cost of ownership and a quicker time to market once your development standards have been established. The cost of a basic Magento PWA begins at $10,000 but can go as high as $35,000 with an average development time of two months. While, that commitment is nothing to scoff at, it is remarkably less than the time and money required to develop and maintain a Native App.

Your PWA is also able to be deployed, unrestricted, since there is no need to go through an app store. Meaning you are not bound by the terms and agreements or revenue share agreements demanded by these platforms. Additionally, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, nearly all web browsers on iOS and Android support PWAs.

Conclusion

Overall, PWAs simply make for a better customer experience. They minimize required touchpoints, allowing for a faster browsing and checkout experience. With a streamlined purchase process PWAs boost shopper engagement, leading to revenue growth and higher conversion rates. 

To learn more about PWAs and to implement one of your own, contact us today and let’s bring cutting edge technology and a more dynamic user experience to your site.

5 Strategies to Improve Your Automotive Aftermarket Webstore Today

5 Strategies to Improve Your Automotive Aftermarket Webstore Today

Spring time has officially sprung and with it brings a boom in business  for the automotive aftermarket industry. Thanks in large part to the combination of tax return season and DIY’ers getting outside from the winter months. To meet this increased demand and traffic merchants are continually trying to make the webstore more appealing and accessible while adding product lines to spur growth and satisfy shoppers’ requirements. This can be labor intensive with the vast amount of data and content involved. With this being such a vital time of year and resources limited its important to focus on webstore improvements that will be the most impactful. In this blog, we’ll be covering five techniques to improve your automotive aftermarket website and improve traffic and sales.

Update Your Images

Don’t just settle for stock images. You’re better than that! (At least you should be.) Using just stock imagery makes your site bland, and doesn’t inspire any sort of emotion or urgency on the part of site visitors. Invest in original imagery, and perhaps video if you have the resources, especially for your primary galleries and marketing material. Shooting your own images and videos will provide your site with unique lifestyle-driven content that will connect with customers and give your brand more identity and personality than stock images. Use stock imagery is ideal for part number-specific images. There’s no need to spend time and money shooting your own images of specific SKUs, lug nuts, windshield wipers and other items – focus your efforts on primary gallery and lifestyle content.

Improve Search functions to Include Fitment Data

If you are selling auto or truck parts, you should already have search functionality with fitment data, but it’s important to also ensure your keyword site search delivers the same vehicle filters and product results as your year/make/model or categorization lookup. For many automotive sites it does not. It is imperative that you make it as easy as possible for customers to find the parts they need for their specific vehicle as quickly and easily as possible. One way to ensure this is to program your fitment data into your on site Search functions for those more specific site searches, such as “year model product line” or even “year model brand product name”. This will give customers another, more direct way to find the parts they’re looking for,which will lead to more time on your site and more sales. 

Update your Homepage and Messaging and Be Consistent with Your Branding

It may seem like a very basic task but it’s one that many companies, not just those in the automotive aftermarket industry, often overlook. We see many teams focusing on onboarding new products, while letting the homepage and general marketing graphics go stale. This next suggested technique is more popular in the apparel industry, but update your promos and hero banners regularly to entice repeat visitors and stay on top of your competition. In a somewhat related topic, all of your graphics used in site banners, remarketing, even product images, should be consistent in their theme and style for consistent branding. Your name and logo must be prominently displayed on your header, social media channels and official communications. A great example is the page header for Tonneau Covers, which you can see below:

 

Include your contact information on your site  footer and on the social media channels as well, as customers continually reach out on channels most convenient for them. And don’t make them search all over the site for your phone number or location. We also recommend adding a Chat option to your site, like Zendesk, to give customers another way to interact with your brand and have their questions answered. These may seem like basic items, but you’d be surprised how many companies overlook them, and it’s the small details that differentiate your brand and site from the noise. 

Invest in Content that Adds Value

It’s not just your product catalog and UX/UI that will keep customers coming back and attract the attention of new customers. It’s your expertise as well. Luckily, there are a number of ways to showcase your automotive expertise and reach an audience that both needs your help and your products. Installation videos, which can be created for auto enthusiasts of all skill levels. These can be embedded on your site.

Comparison videos are also an excellent way to showcase your industry knowledge. These videos can be placed on to your homepage or on specific product pages to make them more skimmable, provide professional guidance and add value to a customer’s visit. If a customer can get the guidance and knowledge they’re looking for directly on your site, or on a product page, then they’re less likely to leave your website to find information or the product that they need. 

ITC Billet offers a great selection of Value Added Content

These installation and comparison videos can also be posted to YouTube, where they can be viewed by car owners who are searching that platform for guidance. Make sure to brand the videos with your logo and include links to your webstore and any relevant products in the video description. That way, viewers searching YouTube for product comparisons or tutorials who view your content can easily click over to purchase the product(s) you’re working with or explore your webstore. Adding video content to YouTube can also boost your Google search ranking as well.

Buyer’s Guides are another great form of original content that will attract auto owners to your site. Creating a guide around a series of products or components of a vehicle (Brakes, Cooling, etc) will showcase your expertise and, just like tutorial videos, these guides will bring customers to your site who were searching the web for these sort of information already.

Merchandise Upselling & Cross Selling that Follows Fitment

Another aspect that many sites or modules get wrong is that their upsell and cross sell products don’t fit the customers’ vehicle. This inattention to detail reflects poorly on your brand, and your automotive knowledge. Plus, it could lead to more abandoned carts,  canceled orders and returns. Simply put, you must have your fitment data programmed into your cross/upselling functionality. Not only will it help prevent these fitment issues, but by recommending merchandise that is relevant and fits your customers’ vehicles, you can actually sell more products and create long-term customer loyalty. Which is what this is really all about.

Conclusion

There may be a no better time than the present to update your automotive aftermarket webstore with some of the techniques we’ve described in this blog. If you would like help with any or our recommended ideas,  contact us today to speak with an automotive eCommerce expert and start your trip down the road to more sales.

COVID-19 & eCommerce: Augmented Apparel on the Rise and Kount’s New Platform

COVID-19 & eCommerce: Augmented Apparel on the Rise and Kount’s New Platform

There is new information and stats being released daily regarding the COVID crisis and its impact on economies world wide. We are continuing to closely monitor the situation so that we can provide our clients and the rest of the eCommerce community the most accurate and up-to-date information available.

In our latest update we’ll be taking a look at how augmented reality apparel is in high demand, Kount’s new information hub and how your business can begin to adapt.

Apparel Augmented Reality is Booming

It’s no secret that eCommerce sales for apparel are down, but what is surprising is that the traffic on digital fashion apps and websites is on the rise. According to Quantum Metrics, as of April 10th, online revenue for apparel was down 11% over last year. But even though sales have stalled, interest in fashion and apparel certainly has not. The try-on app Forma has seen its New Users double each of the last 4 weeks, with users spending 50% more time on the app and trying on nearly double the amount of outfits per user, compared to pre-COVID activity. Brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Marc Jacobs have seen an increase in traffic as well as time-on-site. Digital apparel sites and apps offer customers a respite from real life and have the opportunity to increase engagement and attract long-term customers during this crisis. If you’ve been thinking about adding Augmented Reality or digital ‘try on’ capabilities to your apparel site, now might be the perfect time to do it. There is also an opportunity to create long term customers by allowing them to ‘play around’ on your eCommerce site today. The clothing and accessories that customers ‘play’ on today, during the crisis, may very well be the exact items that they purchase in the near future when the markets and uncertainty have leveled off.

Kount Announces New eCommerce Trends Platform

One of the leaders in digital fraud prevention and account protection, Kount just announced that they will be launching a new weekly tracker for up-to-the-minute eCommerce traffic and purchasing trends as related to the COVID pandemic. The purpose of this site is to help businesses worldwide monitor trends including shifts in eCommerce models, ebbs and flows of shipping requests, the latest in fraud prevention and tracking online. “With this eCommerce Data Tracker, we want to help businesses navigate the current state of eCommerce,” said Brad Wiskirchen, CEO, Kount. “With the number of external factors businesses face today, understanding patterns and vulnerabilities in eCommerce is key to adjusting operations and commerce models. This in turn allows businesses to address their customers’ critical needs in a timely manner.”

New Acationable Business Guide

Is your eCommerce business struggling to add value during these uncertain times? What should you be doing during this shut-down? How can you connect with your clients? Is there any way to adapt your services over the next few weeks? Customer Think surveyed a number of business owners and has just released an actionable guide to help businesses during this time that includes suggestions and tips such as; create educational content and how to connect with your existing customers. You can read the entire guide here.

Conclusion

As always we will continue to monitor the COVID situation and its effects on eCommerce so that we can keep you and our clients up to date on the most relevant information. Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy.

Search Ads Maintenance Checklist

Search Ads Maintenance Checklist

Competition in the eCommerce space has always been fierce and as we now find ourselves in a world where eCommerce seems to be growing into a more prominent and vital role this competition will only increase. One way to separate yourself from your competition is by creating and maintaining solid Search Ads. Whether you’ve neglected your campaigns and let them run on auto-pilot or if they’re just due for a refresh, there’s no better time than the present to bring them up to speed. 

But what is most important to pay attention to as you work to improve your Search Ads/Campaigns? In this guide we’ll take you through a maintenance checklist that will help you troubleshoot, improve and refine your search ads on both the Google and Bing Ads platforms.

Quality Score

Quality Score is tied directly to how your ads perform and how often they are served in both Google and Bing Ads. There are three metrics that contribute to how overall Quality Score is determined: landing page relevance, expected CTR and ad relevance. Ads are “scored” for each of these metrics as above average, average and below average. These scores can give an idea of how your keywords are performing for your ads. If they are performing poorly, we recommend these steps to improve quality score – it all revolves around the relevance of the search query:

Organize your ad groups in a way to optimize quality score. It’s best to have fewer keywords per ad group to help ensure your ad copy is as relevant to your target keywords as possible.

  1. Optimize ad copy for your keywords – use your target keywords in the headline and line two.
  2. Ensure your ads are leading to the best landing page available on your site, or create a new one if it will help with relevance. Likewise, optimizing your landing page to improve click through rate and engagement will assist with quality score.

Search Terms Report

Make time to look through the search term reports in each ad group. This report will give you the best indication of what shoppers are interested in  because it shows you the queries that are triggering your ads.  You can see which search terms are getting the most clicks, if any have converted and which search terms are costing you the most money. This data will help inform decisions about determining negative keywords, new ad groups, new keywords, etc. If there is an abundance of common search terms, you can break those into separate, tighter ad groups.

Ad Copy

Adcopy should always focus on the keyword the ad group is built around. It is a best practice to put the keyword in the first headline. This makes the ads as relevant as possible to the queries being targeted through your keyword groups. Maximize the space available in each headline, description and extension. Do not “keyword stuff” but try your best to use all the space available. Keep ad copy focused, up to date and fresh.

             Blanking on adcopy? Use these resources for inspiration;

      • Previous search query reports to better identify with how people actually search.
      • Keyword Tools such as Answer the Public
      • Borrow copy from the landing page to help with relevant verbiage and even improve your quality score.
      • Product Pages often have features and benefits you can use in your ad copy.
      • Search Engine Results Pages to review what competitors are saying.

Ad Extensions

Audiences are a great way to maximize spend. By creating different types of audiences and using segments from analytics to create audiences, it becomes easier to find and bid up on engaged audiences. There is no harm in creating and adding audiences to all ad groups. (Harm can only be done when bidding on them.) Take the time to thoughtfully create audiences, watch how they behave in each adgroup and bid accordingly.

Audiences

Audiences are a great way to maximize spend. By creating different types of audiences and using segments from analytics to create audiences, it becomes easier to find and bid up on engaged audiences. There is no harm in creating and adding audiences to all ad groups. (Harm can only be done when bidding on them.) Take the time to thoughtfully create audiences, watch how they behave in each adgroup and bid accordingly.

Devices

Keep an eye on device performances. Be sure to look at how users interact with your ads on devices. Keep to the intention of investing in the devices that are most likely to convert. If there is a device that is converting more than others, you can bid up on that device.

Return On Ad Spend

Return On Ad Spend or ROAS is key to tracking performance and likely will be the metric your clients care about the most. Keeping an eye on this metric is essential in determining the overall performance of ad groups. Something to keep in mind while evaluating this metric are the return in relevance to the price of the product or products linked to in the ad.

Conclusion

At InteractOne, we don’t just build and maintain eCommerce sites, we also market them. We’ve learned that it is more important than ever to have strong and efficient Search Ads, especially in today’s constantly shifting marketplace. If you’d like to learn more about how we can improve your Search Ads and their results contact us today.

COVID-19 & eCommerce: Buyer Behavior & the Apparel Industry

COVID-19 & eCommerce: Buyer Behavior & the Apparel Industry

There is new information and stats being released daily regarding the COVID crisis and its impact on economies world wide. We are continuing to closely monitor the situation so that we can provide our clients and the rest of the eCommerce community the most accurate and up-to-date information available.

In this update we’ll be taking a look at larger, national trends as well as taking a closer look at the apparel industry.

COVID-19 and the Apparel Industry

While we have seen a surge in the digital sales of ‘essential’ items like non-perishable goods, cleaning products, even camping equipment, apparel has taken a solid short-term hit. Notso has revealed that fashion sales slid 30% in March compared to the same period in 2019. It’s not just sales figures that took a hit, overall sales revenue plummeted by 32% and visits by 24%. Average order value fell by 6% and conversions by 9%.

But since the worst of the numbers were reported on March 20th there has been a bit of a rebound. The global head of marketing at Nosto, Matt Levin stated, “Since that low-point on 20 March, the data shows some signs of a recovery beginning with sales revenue and visits recovering somewhat in all countries, while conversion rates are staying relatively the same. Increased traffic with stable conversion seems to mean these new shoppers are still buying at typical rates, which could be a result of merchants reacting with discounts and merchandising shifts, or consumer behaviour simply stabilising.”

The current situation  also provides an opportunity for apparel eCommerce retailers to shift their strategy to meet the current unique needs of customers. Highlighting and featuring products/collections that are more relevant to our current ‘stay at home’ lifestyle can go a long way in alleviating the stress customers feel when shopping for items they didn’t even think they needed just a few weeks ago.

Buyer Behavior and Online Shopping Survey Results

As suspected, online shopping is increasing as the Pandemic spreads. Retail Systems Research published a piece on April 2nd 2020 that shows 93% of all respondents expect to use eCommerce the same amount or more frequently than they have before COVID spread.

RSR’s report also shows that online shopping will be vital to customers for the indefinite future.

We’re also beginning to learn more about shoppers’ current behavior. A survey released by Yotpo this week saw some interesting, but not unexpected results.

Conclusion

Consumers are looking to spend less (56.75%) rather than spend more (23.65%) during this time, or they’re aiming to maintain their typical spend (22.80%). Almost a third (31.7%) are shifting to buying online more than in physical stores.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and report the most interesting and pressing facts and figures we can find regarding the COVID crisis and its direct impact on eCommerce. Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy.

 

COVID-19 and eCommerce: Update 3/27

COVID-19 and eCommerce: Update 3/27

The world’s economy has basically been ground to a halt in the wake of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. While no one yet knows the permanent depth of the damage caused by COVID, more and more information is being released everyday.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation so that we can provide our clients and the rest of the eCommerce community the most accurate and up-to-date information available. Stay tuned for more as the situation progresses.

Here’s the latest:

Listrak has just released the results of their survey of 850 US-based eCommerce domains. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Since the State of Emergency was declared in the United States on March 19th, these eCommerce stores are reporting a 40% increase in revenue.
  • In response to the crisis, eCommerce brands are releasing more promotional content. A 10% increase overall in the number of emails sent has been reported since March 19th.
    • In spite of the increased email output, Customer Engagement with these emails remains consistent with pre-crisis time periods
  • With more and more people quarantined to their couch, ad spend is up in the following verticals: eCommerce (+35%) and Gaming (+24%). Which means that any eCommerce brand that offers a digital product can expect to see an increased competition for ad rankings for the indefinite future.

In our previous COVID-19 report, we discussed the increased online demand for essentials (particularly related to health care and grocery goods) but we’re just now starting to see how the crisis is affecting other eCommerce industries. 

  • In spite of the turmoil, revenue of Housewares/Home Goods and in the Automobile industry remain flat and unchanged for the time being.
  • Apparel revenue is down 14%
  • Groceries aren’t the only companies doing great business online. Revenue is up for Toys & Sporting/Camping Goods (+200%), Industrial (+150%) and Firearms (+200%).

Forbes is reporting in their report released this week that 30% of customers say they plan to increase their eCommerce purchases in the next 12 months.

It’s important to keep in mind that while eCommerce companies and industries that produce what many consider to be a ‘non-essential’ product are seeing a downward trend, that will not last forever. As people become more accustomed to staying at home and if/when the economy stabilizes there will be a renewed interest in non-essential products. Many of which could receive a shot-in-the-arm from the Stimulus Bill which was passed this week.

Check back with us in the coming days for another COVID-19 & eCommerce update. 

Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.