An eCommerce Case Study – Hairhouse Warehouse Online Store (Part 2)

The eCommerce team and the Marketing team collaborate on many tasks through the week. It is not uncommon for the eCommerce Manager to report to the Head of Marketing, however they may also be equal heads of their departments.

A tight knit relationship between these two roles oversees the compiling of data and communicating with customers. Listed below are some areas where the two teams work together.

Starting a Blog for your online business

Blog content is different to informative written and visual product content. Companies who spend time on their own blog are likely to reap the benefits of higher search rankings, greater traffic and ultimately better sales. Blogging about your products, your business and services clearly has advantages. Google lists more pages of your website on its search engine and your internet ‘visibility’ gains a distinct advantage over your competitors. A Blog Article is just another web page. The difference is largely in the content. The content is generally more informative and industry based, helpful and useful to the consumers of your product. A great Blog article confirms you are an expert in your field. It takes time though! The key is to be consistent and try to blog each week. Even if you blog once per month to begin with, you may find yourself with a better chance of receiving enquiries organically in the ensuing months.

Dedicated blog websites

In Hairhouse Warehouse case, they created a dedicated blog website called www.hairhouse.com.au This blog website has articles that provide inspiration, obsessions, how-to’s, makeovers, offers and more. Links to the Online Store are prevalent throughout the blog and it soon becomes a major source of referral. In addition to the 7,200 pages listed on Google for the Hairhouse Warehouse Online Store, the Blog has captured a further 1,600 pages of relevant hair and beauty content. This increases the ‘online visibility’ for the online store considerably whilst at the same time, serves Hairhouse Warehouse customers with fresh, social, informative content.

Consistency the key to successful blogging

Every Wednesday! A new blog article was written and published each week at the same time. A habit of writing articles each week was instilled in the marketing team. We always had a few articles up our sleeve, scheduled to be published over the next few weeks. A consistent flow of articles is the key to blogging success.

Send e-Newsletters to your customer database

Newsletters are a great way to keep your current crop of customers up to date with your company and your products. They are also one of the likeliest ways to attract repeat sales. We used Mail Chimp for many years because it is easy to use, offers a variety of great template layouts and shows helpful statistics such as open-rates, who reads your newsletter and comparative campaign statistics. When you’re just starting out, it is also free to use!

Pre-schedule your newsletters

Hairhouse Warehouse generated some very high open rates and enquiries for products. Receiving a newsletter from one of your favorite retail stores offering you a specific deal on a product or membership to your VIP program can produce lucrative results. Much like Blogging, writing a newsletter can be written well in advance of its scheduled publish date. Marketing can often be 12 months in advance and having a monthly e-newsletter ready to go is time efficient and gives you more opportunity to refine it before you send it.

Is Facebook your social media priority?

Facebook pages can provide significant audience engagement for your business. Facebook Advertisements and Sponsored Posts can reach thousands of new people, converting them to fans of your page and potential customers in the process. Facebook allows you to run ads or posts for the sole purpose to gain more fans for your page. You can also strategically run an advertisement to direct traffic to your website and sell product. In Hairhouse Warehouse’s case, we tried both and had some spectacular results along the way.

From zero to 100,000 in 18 months

The Hairhouse Warehouse Facebook Page grew to 100,000 fans in 18 months and now broadcasts to more than 117,000 fans. During my time running the Hairhouse Warehouse Facebook page, it was not uncommon to see engagement in the thousands of clicks and many hundreds of consumer comments. This often resulted in the website gaining sales from an advertisement with a conversion as high as 40%. In order to gain these sales and be in a position to broadcast to so many people, we paid for advertisements and paid to boost our own social ‘wall posts’ with the company credit card. Put simply, our sales outweighed the cost of the advertisments and we could see a return on our investment. Facebook worked.

Facebook tip

Facebook Insights is a free analytical tool which will help you measure the performance, analyze competitors and increase engagement on your page. I highly recommend you use Facebook Insights for your business Facebook page.

Google Analytics

Wikipedia describes Google Analytics as “…a *freemium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic”
*“Freemium is a pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering or application such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features.”

Correct.

Understand the terminology, learn how to read the data

For the layperson, let’s discuss what Google Analytics does on a basic level. What tools do you need to gain immediate results from this incredibly powerful, free software?

Website statistics should be standard practice for any ecommerce website. There are many statistical packages built into many ecommerce software packages but there are possibly none better than Google Analytics. This program gives you the fundamental traffic and conversion statistics you and your online team need to know.

At a glance, you can see how many *sessions from *users hits your web pages, how many *page views were had long they stayed (*Pages / Session) on your website, the *average session duration, the *bounce rate and how many of those sessions were *new sessions.

Conversion tracking

Picture this. Today, you just published a new blog article and sent a e-newsletter to your customer database. The information in both the article and the newsletter was a description of your ‘bright shiny new product’. You have links leading straight to this new product and we cross our fingers hoping lots of people buy it.

How do we really know if the blog article and the newsletter gained traction? The answer is Google Analytics. It will tell you where the customers came from, highlighting your most lucrative form of digital marketing. The answers lie in the data and Google Analytics provides us with real-time, accurate information.

Google Analytics Terminology

Sessions

Total number of sessions within a date range. A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce etc) is associated with a session.
Users – Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users.

Pageviews

Pageviews is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are viewed.

Pages / Sessions

Pages/Sessions (Average Page Depth) is the average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted.

Avg. Session Duration

The average length of a session

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)

New Sessions

An estimate of the percentage of first time visits

Coming Up Next

In the following articles I will outline how we approached these other important areas of running an online store.

  • In-house Graphic Designers
  • Daily Operations
  • B2B and B2C
  • Materials and Presentation
  • Third Party Logistics (3PL)


Andrew Murphy
Author:

Andrew Murphy

Andrew is a designer whose focus lies within developing digital based design outcomes. He has a significant background in web design and recently completed his Bachelor of Design qualification at Swinburne University of Technology which encompassed user centred design methodology, along with generating and effectively communicating derived solutions across multiple digital platforms.