This case study outlines the exact steps we took to take a clients e-commerce website from £0 to over £11,000 per month.
As you can see from the sales report there has been a solid increase in revenue month on month after we took the site on in March.
Average daily sales for December were £342.39, which the client is delighted about, his profit margins are huge!
We predict the site will turnover £180,000 in 2016 and then £400,000+ in 2017 having devised and part implemented a long term strategy, which will make this a highly lucrative e-commerce business.
If you are currently struggling to generate revenue with your e-commerce website, this case study will set you well on your way to building a profitable business.
How To Uncover The Most Profitable Keywords For E-commerce
Finding keywords to target for your homepage, category pages, products and blog section should be based on relevancy, competition and search volume.
It’s important to target terms that are highly relevant to the products you are selling.
Before I get into the whole process of how to find the best keywords, I want to firstly explain how they can be categorised.
I’m Ready To Buy Keywords:
These are keywords that represent people that already have their credit card out.
They have made up their mind they are going to buy, they are just searching for where.
I’m ready to buy keywords will generally include:
- Discount code
These are keywords that represent people who are not as far along the buying cycle as the “I’m ready to buy” people, but are close and will convert well.
Product searches tend to include:
- Specific brand & product names
These are keywords which represent people seeking information related to your niche.
It’s likely the information seekers will make up a large chunk of your website traffic.
Informational type keywords tend to include:
- I need
While these type of visitors will be less likely to make a purchase the first time they visit your website, they could become loyal customers in the future.
An example would be a visitor landing on an online butchers website looking for information on how to cook a steak medium.
It’s highly unlikely they are going to buy steaks there and then, they probably already have them in the fridge or out at room temperature ready to go.
They may however buy in the future, if you provide a guide on how to cook a steak medium on your blog, turn them into a subscriber by offering more valuable information, a sauces for steak recipe for example and then gradually warm them up through a sales funnel until they are ready to buy.
The Freebie Hunters
The freebie hunter or tire kicker is highly unlikely to make a purchase now or in the future.
These are the people you should really make no effort to attract via you keyword selection.
Freebie hunter type keywords tend to include:
- Free download
How To Find The Best Keywords – Method 1
The majority of people will conduct their keyword research by entering seed keywords into the Keyword Planner Tool or other options like:
If you were an online e-cigarette retailer you might enter:
- Electronic Cigarette
Fetching keyword ideas will present you with lots of options in both ad group format:
And individual keyword format:
From this list you can select keywords appropriate for your home, category, product pages and blog posts.
If you aren’t familiar with the keyword planner tool it’s important to note the competition column has absolutely nothing to do with SEO.
How To Find The Best Keywords – Method 2
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with using method 1, I prefer to do things a little differently.
My research starts with knowing who my main competitors are, which can easily be found out via a little digging on Google.
Lets take the e-cigarette industry as an example and Google that phrase:
If we take the URL of the top ranking site and analyse the search traffic via SEMrush, we are provided with the following data:
662 keywords bringing in 70.8k search traffic.
We are also provided with some useful data on the 662 keywords:
- The keyword
- The position the web page is ranking
- The search volume
- The URL of the page from the site
- Percentage of the overall search traffic the keyword is bringing to the site.
Although the tool isn’t a 100% accurate with regards to the exact amount of search traffic, it provides a great overview.
From this I can normally obtain all the most profitable keywords in an industry and also uncover the majority of long tail terms.
For those interested in trying out SEMrush and finding out a little more on what this powerful tool can do, I wrote an in-depth tutorial on how to steal your competitors best keywords.
The Importance Of Long Tail
Broad and competitive keywords with huge search figures can look like an attractive proposition, but should be considered with care.
For example, if you sell coffee machines, deciding to target the broad term “coffee” is probably not a good idea.
While ranking highly for this term would lead to a considerable amount of traffic from the 200,000 searches per month, you need to consider the following:
- It’s highly competitive – have you got the resources to actually target it?
- It’s broad – What do people searching for coffee actually want? A coffee shop near them? Information on how coffee is made? To buy just coffee and not a machine?
Targeting broad phrases may also have a detrimental effect on your website by increasing your bounce rate.
This will be due to it receiving a high number of visitors that weren’t actually looking for the products or information on your website.
Long tail keywords usually reflect people that are later on in the buying cycle and are more specific to what you are actually selling.
People searching for these terms generally know exactly what they are going to buy.
In order to illustrate this, lets first take a look at a typical online buying cycle:
People who fall within step 4 of the buying cycle “purchase” are perfect for targeting.
The keywords they are searching for can be categorised as “I’m ready to buy” and use very specific 3 to 4 word+ combinations known as long tail.
Targeting these type of keywords is not only easier, requiring less time and budget, but also ensures a greater ROI will be achieved.
On Page E-Commerce SEO Guide
Once you have uncovered the most profitable keywords to target, you should turn your attention to your on page optimisation, which can be categorised into the following 9 target areas:
- Keyword Optimisation
- Site Structure
- Internal linking
- Rich Snippets (Schema)
- Website Speed
- Internal Site Search
- Mobile Optimisation
- Identifying Site Errors/Problems
Although writing enticing, keyword rich meta descriptions will not propel you to the top of the search engines on their own, they will improve CTR, which does have a direct effect on rankings.
For those of you who are pretty new, the meta description is the snippet of the web page description you see from any search result:
They should read like an ad for your web page.
Meta Titles (70 character limit)
Meta titles should be unique to any other page or post on your website, include your targeted keywords and often reinforce your brand.
If you need to add your title manually, use the following snippet of code:
<title>Your Meta Title Here</title>
Meta descriptions (156 character limit)
Meta descriptions should also be unique to any other page or post and reflect a keyword rich description.
To add a meta description manually, use the following snippet of code:
<meta name=“description” content=“Your meta description here”>
Optimising category pages
Having researched and decided which keywords you are going to target, you can use them to optimise your category pages.
If we take the e-cigarette example and go to posts > category in WordPress, optimising the e-liquid category would look something like this:
The description has been written to entice the user, whilst including the targeted keywords naturally.
Image Alt Tags
It’s impossible for the search engines to understand what an image represents from the image alone.
The image alt tag is specifically used to provide screen reader users a text alternative. They do also provide a great opportunity to define the topic of your web page further, by dropping your targeted keyword:
Even if you sell a product that is extremely popular like i-phone cases for example, your headline should be unique and not the same as that of your competitors.
You should try and include the main keywords you are targeting for the product at the start:
One of the biggest mistakes I see e-commerce shops make is they copy manufactures or competitors product descriptions.
This was most definitely the case with our clients site and one of the reasons it was failing to generate any significant organic traffic.
Let’s get one thing straight, Google hates duplicate content.
Low quality product descriptions with stuffed keywords will also be frowned upon.
Luckily in the case of our client site there were only 80 product descriptions to re-write.
Fortunately we have several freelance writers at our disposal, who are not only great writers, but full of ideas and very creative.
It can be difficult writing product descriptions if you have little information about the product, or it’s not particularly exciting.
It’s all very well sitting here instructing you to write compelling sales copy, but that’s easier said than done when you are selling nails.
Below are some ideas of how you can beef up your product descriptions making them both SEO and user friendly.
- What can you use it for?
- How can it be used?
- What exactly does it do?
- How is it made?
- Do any famous people use it?
- Tell stories
- Explain the tiniest details
- Don’t be boring, be passionate
If you are still struggling your last option is to add the no index meta tag:
<meta name = “robots” content = “noindex”>
Using the tag will enable you to publish duplicate manufacturer product descriptions relatively safely. It won’t however provide you with any SEO benefits.
There’s almost always an angle you can take for even the most difficult products to describe, take time to find it.
Search friendly URL’s should be keyword rich, short, concise and memorable.
Your customers want to find you, make it as easy as possible for them.
Your e-commerce site structure has a major impact on both usability and SEO.
You should attempt to set up a flat architecture, which will ensure your visitors will need to make as few clicks as possible in order to find things on your website.
It’s beneficial to plan this beforehand using software like Photoshop, LucidChart or Visio.
Your e-commerce website should have an internal linking structure, which will improve user navigation and keep your visitors engaged and on your site for longer.
When deciding where and how to add internal links to your site, consider the following options:
- Product links from relevant blog posts
- Blog post links from closely related blog posts
- Product links from category pages
- Product to product links
Integrating Rich Snippets (Schema.org)
It’s likely you have seen evidence of Schema integration when you have searched for something in Google:
Described as microdata, the integration of schema will improve your search snippet appearance.
I’m yet to see any evidence that this improves a web pages rankings directly, however it will improve your CTR which as mentioned will affect rankings.
If we compare the same product listed from two different web pages, one with schema and one without, it’s clear which one you are more drawn to and likely to click:
Research into this matter suggests you have 3 seconds before 40% of visitors will become impatient and abandon your website.
To find out how fast your website loads, head over to the Pingdom Website Speed Test:
In order to improve site speed you could consider the following options:
- Improve your hosting package
- Change your WordPress theme – over complicated themes with tons of options are often clunky and slow your site to a crawl
- Install a caching plugin
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) which essentially serves your website files on servers as close to your website visitors as possible
- Use a plugin to reduce image file sizes
- Use a plugin to clean up and optimise your WordPress database
- Add LazyLoad to your images which ensures only the images above the fold will load
Internal Site Search
It’s likely many of your e-commerce visitors will have no patience.
They need to be able to find what they are looking for quickly or they will leave and probably never return.
Adding and optimising internal search functionality is the perfect way to make finding things on your website quick and easy.
Make Your Search Functionality Visible
It seems obvious but you need to position your search box in a prominent position.
It’s design features should also represent more than a small magnifying glass icon which can hardly be seen.
Make Your Search Faster
Google is definitely setting the standard here.
If they can find anything on the entire world wide web in under a second, why should it take a user longer to find a product on your website?
To increase the speed of your site search you could consider getting a bigger server or using a cloud based hosted search.
Your website visitors will all be familiar with Google, Amazon and eBay, which means they are use to autocomplete search and will expect it from every website they visit.
To add autocomplete functionality to your search bar you could use a plugin like this one.
Optimise for Mobile Devices
Mobile usage exceeded that of desktop back in 2014.
You simply can’t ignore the fact that many of your visitors will be viewing your website and looking to make a purchase from a mobile device.
To ensure your website is optimised with the mobile user in mind, you should consider the following:
Use a fixed navigation bar
With the rise in popularity of mobile shopping, swiping, tapping and scrolling has become second nature to the average mobile online shopper.
In order to ensure your websites important information is kept visible at all times, you should consider implementing a fixed navigation bar:
(Image Credit @ Shopify)
Product photography is key
Seeing as the majority of online shoppers make their buying decision from the visual appearance of a product, photography should be at the forefront of any mobile product page.
If we take clothing giant Top Man as an example, you can see how their category pages places huge emphasis on the visual appearance of the product:
Minimise use of text on product pages
Long worded descriptions work for desktop, not so much on mobile.
Cutting back on the length of the product description will help keep your visitors engaged and increase the chances of them making an impulsive buying decision.
By optimising your product pages to include the title, price, closely related products and of course the all important buy button will ensure your website visitors decision making process is not made more complicated than it has to be.
Additional product information which is necessary for desktop, can be hidden on mobile via collapsible menus.
Making sure your e-commerce store is user friendly is super important for both SEO and keeping your customers happy.
You need to make the buying process as easy as possible.
Locating the product, adding to cart and then checking out should be possible in just a few clicks or taps.
Making the website fun to use will ensure repeat visits, a longer time spent on the site and increased sales as a result.
Making it easy for visitors to contact you with questions and queries is also a vital aspect, consider installing the Zopim Chat Plugin to address this.
Identifying site problems
We used screaming frog to identify site errors and missing information.
The software which is free to use and can be downloaded here, crawls your websites css, images and links, reporting 404 errors, duplicate content, meta titles and descriptions.
Errors which you should take immediate action to correct are redirecting all your 404 pages to pages with content and updating duplicate meta titles, descriptions and content pages.
Screaming frog is relatively easy to use if you follow the instructions in this video:
Off Page SEO – Link Building
The first thing I do in any link building campaign is find out how and where the top ranked web pages for my targeted keywords are building/earning their backlinks.
To do this I use Majestic. While no backlink checker tool will uncover every backlink pointing to your competitor’s website, it will give you an idea of how they have obtained their links.
The initial goal is to obtain as many of your competitors best backlinks as possible.
While this is easy to write, it’s not as easy to do. It’s important to understand that many of your competitors backlinks will be impossible to obtain.
You need to try and work out which of the best links have been built without any special relationship in place, which you can instantly go out and build.
Quick Word On Anchor Text
Backlink checker tools will also provide an overview of the anchor text distribution:
You’ve probably read varying reports on the amount of times you should use your targeted keywords as anchor text if you get the chance.
Normally it’s not that many, in some industries for some keywords it has to be more.
A few years ago you could build link after link using your targeted keywords and that worked.
As with most things Google has got a LITTLE bit smarter and it no longer works.
People make a big deal over anchor text (I use to) but there really is no need.
If you get the opportunity, build the majority of links with a URL, branded, variation of both or generic “click here” type term as your anchor.
Use your targeted keywords or variations every now and again.
It’s that simple, lets move on.
We have obtained some incredibly powerful links to our clients site, by offering discounts to organisations.
Fancy a backlink from Saga?
Or maybe the AA?
Maybe even the London Metropolitan University?
All you have to do is offer them a discount for their members and you can get yourself one of these highly powerful links and some direct sales – well kind of!
The image above is a screenshot from Saga’s partner offers page, to which many of the companies offering discounts have been provided with a direct link to their sites.
While we pitched a discount offer to all the organisations mentioned above, we failed to build a relationship.
Much like many SEO tactics you have to play the numbers game and keep grinding.
As you can see Saga are only offering discounts from larger multi-national companies, but that isn’t the case for all organisations.
There are two methods we use to find organisation discount opportunities:
1) Following the paper trail
I’ve already provided 3 organisations that provide discounts for their members.
There are approximately 25 companies listed on the Saga page, chances are they have provided a discount for other organisations as well.
Lets take Warner Leisure Hotels as an example and place the URL into majestic to analyse the backlinks:
As you can see 398,683 backlinks from 1,400 referring domains
If we start working our way through the backlinks, it doesn’t take long to find the first organisational discount link:
It’s for the English Indoor Bowling Association:
An organisation that can not only be approached with a suitable discount offer, but also another list of companies we can analyse to find further opportunities.
2) Google search
“members discount directory”
Offering organisational discounts is probably the best way to get educational (.edu) backlinks to your e-commerce store if you stock products which are of interest to students.
To find opportunities you could use the following search string:
site:.edu “student discounts”
Giveaways In Exchange For A Review
Offering free giveaways to influential bloggers in your niche, is a great way to get some promotion and also build links.
It’s important you do your homework and work out who is actually influential and who is not.
While many companies have huge budgets and can afford to wine, dine, giveaway high ticket items and offer free luxuirious travel to bloggers I would call anything but influential, it’s just not possible for campaigns on a tighter budget.
You need to pick and choose wisely and be fully prepared to negotiate and say no if the bloggers try it on and ask for to much.
Things to check:
- Majestic metrics – strength of the domain
- SEMrush – traffic figures from search
- Social media – follower numbers & engagement within accounts.
If none of these look appealing I’d seriously consider sending anything of any real value.
How to find opportunities:
Following the paper trail also works well for finding review opportunities.
Uncover one blog that has published reviews, make a list of all the companies which have been provided with those reviews and run them through a backlink checker tool to uncover more opportunities.
You could also use the following search strings in Google:
(Image credit – Optimize Smart)
In general this method proved successful for our clients link building campaign, however we were provided with 2 reviews that were bundled with others and failed to provide a link back, we just got a mention!
We also sent out products to the tune of £150 to 2 bloggers and failed to receive anything back – bit dishonest.
Like I said be ready to do your homework and possibly prepared to loose a little money using this tactic.
As the name suggests a sponsored post involves paying to publish content on a website.
The difference between this and buying links is you are paying to promote and should be provided with a no follow link.
If you are thinking why don’t I just guest post for free? You will often find the best blogs to publish on will only offer guest posts to other bloggers and not commercial businesses.
Much like the free give-away tactic be fully prepared to do your homework, negotiate on price and say no
How to find sponsored posts:
I don’t need to explain how to follow the paper trail again, use the method it will work for finding sponsored post opportunities.
You could also use the following search strings in Google:
(Image credit – Optimize smart)
Many of the search strings can be adjusted replacing “guest” with “sponsored”, however as mentioned if they offer guest they will likely offer sponsored.
Twitter can also be a great place to uncover opportunities.
You could search “recipe + sponsored post” if you were working in the food industry and work your way down the opportunities:
You may have read that listing your business in directories is a bad thing to do.
While many low quality directories did get shut down a couple years ago, it remains an easy and solid way to promote your e-commerce store and build some links.
Depending on the industry we are working in, we always prefer to list in industry specific directories and pay for the privilege.
Although having to pay normally indicates the directory is going to be that of a higher quality, we still check the metrics in majestic and are happy if the site is a little more than just a directory.
By more than just a directory I mean you should see images and other content other than just business listings.
We will also take a look at the type of websites which are currently listed and ensure it hasn’t been spammed.
In order to find opportunities you could use the following search strings in Google:
<industry key phrase> + submit URL
<industry key phrase> + submit site
<industry key phrase> + directory
Create Amazing Content
The create amazing content old chestnut!
While I’m not going to insult your intelligence and suggest that all you need to do is create amazing content and your SEO campaign is complete, you should consider how you can produce linkbait content which will appeal to your target audience and industry.
Note how I said industry as well as target audience.
I think one thing that is often overlooked is the fact that amazing content is created without a thought of how to promote it.
It’s all well and good creating something that is visually beautiful or packed full of useful information, however if it’s tricky to promote, chances are it’s going to flop.
A great example of creating amazing link bait content is the Dollar Shaving Club.
With a budget of just $5000 they were able to create the following:
The video which has received over 20 million views to date was a great way for the subscription shaving company to make a grand entrance into the industry and add a little humour.
The Dollar Shaving Club also introduces us to the subscription based model, which could be a very lucrative add on to many of your e-commerce stores.
Another example of the model being utilised successfully is in the pet niche:
It’s definitely something you should consider if you feel your customers would welcome receiving a selection of your products on a regular basis.
Ok, back to creating link bait content and ThinkGeek (not you, the company).
They provide an excellent example of link bait content associated with an interesting product!
Looks delicious, as does Canned Dragon Meat:
I’m sure you can think of some interesting products that would generate a little buzz in your niche?
Leverage Business Relationships
Do you have a relationships with:
- Software companies
- Payment gateway companies
A great way to approach these companies is to offer testimonials. Companies love to publish them and often provide a link back.
Offers & Deals
There’s a good chance you are running deals and special offers for your e-commerce site.
If you aren’t you really should be!
I’m sure you will agree that creating one deal page, promoting the hell out of the offer, getting some good backlinks to the page and then deleting it after the deal has expired isn’t the best idea in the world.
The simple solution is to re-use the page
If your deals are good and promotion thorough you will likely gain a lot of links over time.
Turn Brand Mentions Into Links
Turning non linking brand mentions into backlinks is one of the easiest ways to build some great links.
You will of course need to have been mentioned online, which is unlikely if you are just starting out.
After you receive a notification head over to the page and see if they have provided a link back, if they have your work is done, if they haven’t reach out with something similar to this:
Turning website visitors into subscribers is key to developing any e-commerce store.
Email marketing provides a high ROI and is generally cheaper than other marketing channels.
We have gathered a total of 8,342 subscribers in 10 months for our client to date:
In order to turn website visitors into subscribers, you are going to have to offer them something in exchange for submitting their email address.
In the case of our client we offered two, a generous discount and useful content.
Note how we refer back to the keyword categorisation at the start of this case study and offer two sets of visitors two different things.
We do infact offer the same discount to the useful content subscribers, just further down the sales funnel.
If you want to keep your subscribers engaged you should consider the following:
Relevance Is Key
Any decent auto responder software like MailChimp, will provide functionality to easily segment your subscriber lists.
A promotional email may resonate perfectly with one subscriber, but not the other, making it important you work out which customers are going to find it of interest and which aren’t.
An example would be an online clothes retailer, that sells both male and female clothes.
Sending out a promotional email for a special offer on women’s shoes will probably be of interest to the ladies but not so much for the men (well most of them).
MailChimp recently performed a study comparing segmented and non segmented campaigns, to which the results speak for themselves:
Personalise Your Campaigns
It’s important that each of your subscribers feels like you have written the email personally to them.
Where possible you should always try and include the customers name, which can be added easily using the merge tags within your email marketing software.
If for whatever reason you have been unable to obtain the customers name, you should try and keep the opening relatively relaxed and casual, starting off with something like “Hi, how you doing?”
You should also make it clear who you, displaying prominent logo and contact details:
The internet is full of spam, your subscribers are weary of emails that they can’t quickly identify who they are sent by.
Email Campaigns All E-Commerce Stores Should Be Sending
Everyone loves their Birthday don’t they?
Well, till you get to a certain age and have to start reducing the actual number!
The best thing about subscribers birthdays from an e-commerce business point of view is people like to treat themselves with the extra cash they have burning a hole in their pockets.
Sending out an automated birthday email, with a special birthday offer not only makes that subscriber feel like part of the community, but also encourages them to visit your store and spend some of that money.
New Stock Notification
According to research it costs an e-commerce store 5 x more to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones.
A great way to encourage repeat purchases from existing customers is to let them know when you have new stock for sale.
Online butcher Donald Russell does a great job of informing subscribers of their new butchers special products:
Weekly Newsletter Email
Sending regular newsletters is a great way to keep your subscribers up to date with your latest stock, offers and news.
It’s important you keep newsletters relevant to your subscribers, referring back to what I have previously mentioned.
Clothing retailer The Iconic, takes care of this immediately by asking subscribers to confirm whether they are male or female:
Discount In Exchange For A Review Email
61% of consumers read online reviews before making a buying decision.
Have a think about your own online purchasing routine – view the product images and then straight down to the reviews?
You only have to look at the success of Amazon and the impact their customer reviews have on their customers buying decisions.
I even find myself heading over to Amazon before I start watching a film, yes I’m fully aware of Rotten Tomato etc, but I want to read real reviews from real people, not from film critics.
Some interesting stats for you:
- 50 or more product reviews can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates
- Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than product descriptions that come from manufacturers
- 63% of online consumers are more likely to purchase from a website that has user reviews
Unfortunately I have no statistical data from our clients website in relation to reviews, other than we put a system in place to get them and have so far received 73 in total!
How To Get User Reviews.
Instead of just asking customers to provide reviews, we thought providing a little incentive of a 10% discount would lead to a higher return.
The plugins, which work in conjunction can be set up to send an automated email to customers asking them to leave a review for the product/products they have purchased in exchange for a discount off their next purchase.
The plugin automatically recognises when a customer has left a review and will automatically send a discount code.
It’s a brilliant automated system that can be set up and left to work it’s magic.
We had the following email sent to all customers 7 days after making their purchase:
Lets not forget about the SEO benefits as well, isn’t fresh, keyword rich user generated content an SEO’s dream?
For many product related Keywords you will find that “product name + review” has significant search figures, having reviews on your site will increase the chances you start ranking for these type of terms. Note how we refer back to the keyword categorisation again.
What about bad reviews?
All reviews are valuable.
Recent stats from Reevoo actually suggest that conversions can actually be increased by 67% due to the presence of bad reviews.
This by no means suggests that bad review after bad review is going to increase your conversions however, because it won’t.
One or two bad reviews however is nothing to panic about and might actually be a good thing.
If you are selling a good product, deliver when you say you are going to deliver and provide good customer service you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Unfortunately there is simply no pleasing some consumers, known as attention seekers they will write bad reviews for their own satisfaction, don’t spend time worrying about it, just move on.
Abandoned Cart Email
Cart abandonment can happen for a number of reasons, hidden shipping costs, not offering a fixed date for delivery, or even just not providing enough information.
It can also be caused by your online shoppers environment, baby wakes up, cat jumps up and smashes a vase etc etc.
As long as people are shopping on the internet, they can leave their basket on the floor of the shop and make a quick exit without feeling any embarrassment at all.
This is a big problem for any e-commerce store, to the tune of a 67.4% average checkout abandonment rate, according to hubspot.
So What Can We Do?
In the case of our client we installed and set up the Abandoned Cart plugin.
We sent the following email 30 minutes after the customer had abandoned their cart:
Note how we place the emphasis on whether we can help with anything and try to instill a little urgency by suggesting there is a possibility of the product running out of stock
Up-Sells, Cross-Sells, Related Products
Offline retailers have been upselling and cross-selling for decades – Would you like a muffin with that? Would you like a large?
There are benefits to not only you the online e-commerce retailer to the tune of 10 – 30% in up-sell and cross sell sales, but also to your online shopper.
To increase user experience, you should display related products within your product pages. Many people are ready to buy, but the product isn’t quite right and they need a similar alternative.
If you look at billion dollar empire Amazon and the options they provide their online shoppers via related product listings, I’m sure you appreciate this is a feature not to be overlooked.
What’s The Difference Between Upselling And Cross Selling?
Lets say a visitor is looking to purchase a mid-range laptop for £600.
An upsell would provide the customer with options to upgrade the processor, to a more powerful computer:
A cross-sell would present the customer with the option to add a printer, laptop bag or mouse:
Adding related products to a WordPress website using WooCommerce is simple, if you follow this guide.
How To Increase Customer Spend
Although a great deal of time and effort should be dedicated to driving new traffic to your online store, it’s important you attempt to increase the customer spend for those that are already buying.
In the case of our client we installed the product cart notices plugin, in an attempt to do this.
The reason for installing the plugin was we had noticed that although the site was offering free delivery for orders over £80, many sales were just falling short:
The plugin can be set to calculate the amount the customer has left to spend in order to qualify for free delivery, and displays a prominent notice:
By displaying this alert we were not only increasing the chances that a customer might place an additional item worth £30 for example to make up the free delivery, but were also providing a better shopping experience for the consumer.
How to deal with out of stock items
You should always leave the product pages of out of stock items up as long as you intend to keep selling the product.
While the product is currently out of stock place a clear notice on the page informing your visitors of this and information of when it will be available to buy again, if you know.
You should also offer alternatives, which can be included in much the same way as adding upsells and cross sells.
Things you could offer:
- The same item in a different colour
- Newer or older models of the products
- The same product but from a different manufacturer
How to deal with products you are no longer selling
For whatever reason it’s likely any e-commerce store will feature product pages for products which have become obsolete.
Many site owners simply delete the pages, which from an SEO perspective isn’t advisable
If the obsolete product has been replaced with a newer model, the best action is to permanently 301 redirect the page to the newer model page which can be set up easily with this plugin.
By redirecting, you are telling Google you want the newer model page to rank instead and any SEO juice should be passed on.
If the situation is a little different and you aren’t stocking exactly the same product in the form of a newer model, but have similar options, set up a 301 redirect to the category page.
Another option would be to reuse the URL for another product, which will only be possible if you sell relatively generic products, rather than those with specific model numbers and specifications.
Never Lead To Nowhere
Your e-commerce store should have no dead ends, everywhere must lead to somewhere.
Make sure your visitors are channelled to products, sales, information or service, even if they have completed a purchase.
If you view your basket at online retailer Very, look at how many options you are presented with:
Even after you have completed your order at Asos, they provide you with a prominent option to carry on shopping:
Website Design Guidelines For E-commerce
It’s important to briefly cover the topic of web design, which will affect conversions.
Our clients site had previously been built by a developer to the tune of £7,000!
While I have no problem offering web development services using a CMS, charging £7,000 for an un-customised, bland solution with very few products is frankly taking the piss.
Although our contract didn’t explicity state any web development work should take place, we spent about 10 hours customising the CSS and making a few minor structural changes like making the navigation fixed.
We wanted to create a look and feel that would immediately reassure visitors they had landed at the correct place.
It’s relatively easy to customise a WordPress theme by adding a little CSS and using a few plugins.
If you are using WordPress you should always set up your site using a child theme, which is a theme that takes it’s style and functionality from another theme, known as the parent.
The benefits are the ability to tweak and customise the parent theme without loosing the ability to upgrade.
It’s also quicker to customise the site, as you are editing a blank CSS or PHP file, as opposed to trawling through hundreds and hundreds of lines of code.
Editing the PHP incorrectly can often break the site completely, using a child theme can also speed up the process of recovery!
To set up a child theme follow this tutorial by elegant themes.
For a basic customisation you should look into editing the font, adding background gradients and/or images and making colour changes, that’s it.
Uploading and using custom fonts is simple via the Use Any Font Plugin.
It enables you to upload any font in ttf, otf and woff format. Once uploaded you can assign the font to the built in text options:
Or assign custom elements:
In order to add background images and gradients to various sections of the site you should follow this tutorial.