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A Guide to Preparing For the Holiday Shopping Season: Drive more eCommerce Revenue Instantly


 

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With the holiday season in sight, it’s time to capitalize on new search and merchandising technology and take advantage of what is sure to be an excellent e-retail season. This season is poised to top last year’s $56 billion threshold. According to the U.S. Census Bureau News, online retail spending neared $97.5 billion for Q2 2016, an increase of 4.5% over Q1 2016 and up 15.8% percent versus the same time period a year ago, strong indicators that this holiday season will break all records.

Let’ take a step-by-step look at how you can improve your eCommerce website to increase your conversions and grow your revenue.

The first step is for people to find you

SEO

Assuming you want potential shoppers to find you, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical. ROI metrics should include data from inbound links, traffic from social media sites, search rankings for phrases, and numbers of interested, potential shoppers. Knowing how a site’s keywords rank in search engines, and how it compares to key competitors, is critical in determining SEO effectiveness.

SEO that helps shoppers find your site is important, but equally important is how well optimized the site is once the shoppers find it. Use your site’s analytics to:

  • Fine‐tune internal links to showcase products
  • Boost rankings by trying new promotional tactics
  • Track search phrases that bring search engine traffic
  • Identify long‐tail searches that bring eyeballs, and credit cards, to the site
  • Find phrases that work and use them frequently

Other important SEO tactics include tracking inbound links and monitoring search engine referrals over long stretches of time to see variations. Delivering a complete SEO XML sitemap is critical to increasing a site’s findability.

Now that they’ve found you, make sure they stay a while

Why Shoppers Typically “Jump Site”

In less than half the time it takes to blink, people make an aesthetic judgment about a Web site. If they like what they see, they stay, if they don’t, they click away. Once they’ve decided to stay, there are multiple landmines that make shoppers jump site. The top three cited reasons for jumping site:

  • Slow loading pages
  • Irrelevant search results
  • Tough‐to‐navigate pages

With two of these top three issues related to search and navigation it’s easy to see how vital good search tools play in online commerce. It is critical to outfit eCommerce websites with proven best‐practice search, navigation and merchandising strategies to capture that elusive wallet‐share.

Let’s make sure they have a great (and non-frustrating) shopping experience

Effective Search, Navigation and Merchandising Solutions

“Why can’t I find what I am looking for?” That’s the fundamental question asked by many online shoppers as they try to find the one item they want to buy right now. Likewise, merchandisers are trying to find ways to effectively show buyers the product they want as well as other products and services that complement that product.

While we haven’t yet reached that technological milestone where Web sites can magically “read the mind” of each visitor, there are now technologies available in the market place that give eCommerce merchandiser tools that practically put a Sales Associate inside that all important “Search Box”. These technologies propel consumers to quickly find what they need and complete their purchases – greatly increasing conversion, even including the ability to ‘listen’ to the shopper: using Mobile Voice Search. The best of these tools also increase AOV by allowing eCommerce retailers to easily deliver an optimal, relevant and personalized shopping experience.

Smarter Natural Language Search

Reducing the number of clicks a shopper takes to find products is an important step in delighting them across their journey.

Natural Language search engine understands the intent of the query to return the desired results

When a search engine understands the intent as well as the content of the shopper’s search, the right products are found and delivered faster. This is the crux of a natural language search engine. As we all know, when a shopper uses the search box they are far more intent on purchasing. The challenge then, is to make sure the right product is always on the first page.

 

For example, if the buyer typed a phrase that described what they were looking for – “black and blue winter jackets” or “portable gas grills under $200” – and get specific, highly tuned results they can make their purchase in 3 clicks. One to find the product, two to drill‐down to detailed product results, and three to put it in their cart, all taking a matter of seconds.

Natural language search interprets what the shopper is looking for so that the most relevant products are returned. If no exact match is found, the search returns the closest thing available. It’s the easiest, most intuitive type of search—since it allows shoppers to type in or say exactly what want.

NL search does much more than just enhance the search box. The ability to understand the context and intent of the search provides a strong foundation for site navigation. With a natural language engine, the entire user experience is enhanced.

It’s All About Mobile

timberland-mobile
All recent studies prove that most searches are now originating on Smartphones, however very few are converting into sales. Why is this? There are only 2 possible scenarios. The first is that the shopper has no intention of purchasing. Example: you’re in an electronics store looking at a new large-screen TV. You go to Amazon to price check. Clearly you have no intention to buy anything, you are information gathering. But the other, more important issue is that the User Experience on mobile sites does not provide an expedient way to shop on the small Smartphone screen. Navigating is very difficult and typing is even worse.

Smartphone manufacturers have figured out that the ideal UX should be voice driven. Apple led the way with the introduction of Siri, Google followed with GoogleNow/OKGoogle. Just push the button, speak into your phone and get your result. Great eCommerce tools will find the right product the first time.

How to make a great site even greater

eCommerce strategies to enhance your shopper’s experience and immediately boost conversion and revenue

Search box Layout – Location, Location, Location

Every millimeter of web page real estate is beachfront property and no place is more important than the location of the search box. Here are the four cardinal rules to remember regarding your layout:

  • Put a search box on every page in the same location
  • Choose a location that is easily visible and near the top of each page
  • Ensure the search box is large enough to contain longer searches
  • Don’t confuse shoppers by putting other text boxes near the search box

search-bar

Trend Spotting

analytics_top-searchSite search analytics provide fascinating insight into customer intent and behavior. No online retailer can ignore the rich insight revealed by search analytics. How to use this knowledge can make the most profound impact on boosting conversions, whether it’s:

  • Stocking the warehouse with merchandise people are hunting for
  • Showcasing complementary products
  • Identifying slow‐movers, which may need an extra promotional push BEFORE moving to the “on sale” page

Studying the analytics ensures that the retailer stays nimble. Merchandising managers can easily act on search analytics insights and stay ahead of trends. 

Let your Merchandiser Merchandise

Your team needs easy to use tools to leverage their knowledge of the market, your customers and your products. Today’s merchandising‐friendly software allows merchandisers, not IT personnel, to easily and efficiently use simple instructions and easy‐to‐use templates to creatively up‐ and cross‐sell complementary products, and limit search results to only what is in stock.

In Conclusion

The most successful eCommerce sites provide rapid, relevant products and information to potential shoppers making it easy for them to find and purchase your products. The easier and faster you can get in front of a prospect the more sales you tally up. Get in front of the right shoppers, match them with the right products, manage your own merchandising and trend analyses, keep a larger share of shoppers that arrive at your site, and watch sales climb and your bottom line grow.

Now is the time to ensure that your website is maximized to capitalize on the holiday shopping season. Employing the practices discussed in this paper, you will be able to increase eCommerce conversion and grow your revenue. Plus, shoppers who have a positive experience purchasing from your website the first time are more likely to come back over and over again. The good news is currently there are solutions available that allow this to be done quickly and effectively.

About EasyAsk

EasyAsk is radically changing the speed and ease of how people find and use information through our groundbreaking natural language search software. EasyAsk eCommerce software products go far beyond traditional search, analytics & merchandising. The EasyAsk eCommerce Edition uses this unique technology to deliver an industry leading website search, navigation, analytics and merchandising solutions that boosts online revenue through increased conversion rates, better customer experience and agile merchandising.

Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, EasyAsk has long been a leader in eCommerce shopping software, The North Face, Timberland, Journey’s, Personalization Mall, United Notions Aramark, TrueValue, and Harbor Freight Tools, just to name a few rely on the EasyAsk software products to run eCommerce operations daily.

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