ecommerce updates

THIS WEEK’S ECOMMERCE UPDATES - Friday 25th October 2019 📲

🧐 Amazon's deal with #Deliveroo examined by competition watchdog - The phase one investigation will decide whether the deal has created a serious lessening of competition in the British food delivery market - Link

🆘 Asos profits plunge 68% after a tumultuous year of IT chaos - The company said it had been wrongfooted by the extent of discounting undertaken by rivals. Link

👉Magento, an Adobe Company Amazon Sales Channel Extension for Amazon UK launched - Regardless of the Magento merchant’s location, they’re able to utilize the extension to list their products in the Amazon U.K. Link

🗣️ Forever 21 UK stores to commence £30m stock clearance sale - Forever 21 has commenced a £30m stock clearance sale from its three remaining UK stores, as its administrators look to wind up the business. Link

🚚 Amazon profits hit by rising shipping costs - The firm said it spent nearly $10bn (£7.78bn) on shipping costs in the most recent quarter. Link

👩🏼‍💻 Feelunique.com using new tech to enhance product ingredient transparency - The e-tailer has announced a partnership with EVRELAB. Customers can hover over an ingredient on product pages & receive a plain English explanation of the ingredient type. Link


man thinking about something with graphic light bulb

My Reasons For Keeping Bulk Text On Product Pages

So, DistilledODN did a study the other day on how effective it would be to remove SEO text that is below the fold (you have to scroll to see it) on your product pages.
 
Now, there was no definitive answer to this question and their recommendation was to test it for yourself and see.
Here's a snippet and quote  from Jon Muller (Google) below:

"Many e-commerce websites optimize their categories by adding a big chunk of text under the product listings. Nothing except an h1 heading above the fold. I don't consider this good usability since users need to scroll all the way down to read this. Does Google treat this content the same as any other or would you for improving rankings recommend putting the category text above the fold?"

"From our point of view, that's essentially keyword stuffing. So that's something...which I would try to avoid".

"I’d try to stick to really informative content and put that in place where you think that users will be able to see it. Especially if it is content that you want to provide for users. And more than that I would think about what you can do to make those pages rank well without having to put a giant paragraph of content below the page".

"Fair enough," I say.
 
However, from personal experience and following a flexible content marketing strategy. I only see 100% upside to having a bulk of RELEVANT AND USEFUL text below the fold on your pages.
 
Studying the heat map results on our product pages, I can see that a percentage of our customers do read this content.
 
Also - Our customer service teams have the ability to point customers in the right direction to answer a question or query and can also copy and paste this text into email answers to customers.
 
SEO WISE - I think having "relevant" and "useful" content on any page has to be encouraged, I think. The more relevant the content, the more useful it is in the search results.
 
Do your product pages have a lot of text content?
 
Is it right to have so much on a product page, or is it just overkill?
 
Let me know your thoughts. 👇

recording in 4k

eCommerce Stores Are Missing A Trick By Not Using Video (especially 4K)

I don't need to tell you about the advantages of using video on your product pages.

Video marketing is no longer on its way. It's here and businesses are now starting to feel the POSITIVE impact.

This is becoming more apparent in eCommerce especially.

With the competition hotting up by the day, it's important for merchants to continuously update their product pages with video content to help their visitors come to an informed decision.

Also,

It allows them to remarket to their prospects with the exact same video that was on that product page.

By doing this, you are getting so much more out of the video you produced instead of it just sitting there lonely on YouTube.

little boy standing in the field lonely

According to HubSpot’s, 97% of businesses said that video helped them increase their users’ understanding of their product or service and 81% linked it to a direct increase in sales.

Not bad, not bad....

Better still, shoot them in 4K

Video SEO

Speaking of YouTube, I have a tiny little rant about what I am seeing.

Seriously, this makes my blood boil (even the BIG PLAYERS are doing this)!!*!*!

Now, I hope most of you realise that YouTube is a search engine, right?

That means people will generally find your video by doing a search and YouTube matching that search to your title and description.

This means that you need to ensure the keywords are both in your title and description of every video.

Also,

Sorry, this another one.

Make sure that you have a detailed description of what the video is about.

Writing a couple of lines of text and calling it a day may have been OK in 2005. However, in order to compete on a level playing field, you really need to ensure you video SEO is on point.

So what are the advantages?

1) 4K Gives You More Options - Allows you to zoom in cleanly without losing focus
2) It's simple, it just looks better - Good looking product videos means improved conversions
3) Stabilise your footage post-production - A lot easier with higher quality shots
4) Storage is now a lot cheaper! - enough said
5) The YouTube algorithm prefers them - Just like they will with 360 videos (that's for another post)

Embrace the change before your competitors do!

I guarantee, in 5 years time, you will be glad you did.

If not, come back here and tell me where things went wrong.

Have you embraced the change yet?

Image credit: Joey Huang@onice


man holding picture of angry board

To Popup or Not To Popup? That's The Question

This info applies to all types of websites and not just eCommerce ones.

When's the best time to show a popup to your clients (if ever)?

First of all, we all hate pops. There's no getting around that fact. However, when introduced correctly they work really well and for most websites these days, it's a must!

The idea that your potential client will love your content so much, that they will tweet it, Facebook/Instagram share it and leave a lovely comment commending you on your fantastic work is a little deluded and not that realistic.

So what works?

The answer is, they all work depending on your niche and the type of industry you are in.

Here's what I found works:

The Content Upgrade - This bad boy is the best-converting popup we have tested without pis*ing off potential clients.

Ok, how does it work?

backlinko content upgrade

As you can see from the image above, Brian Dean aka Backlinko is using this technique.

If you like the content he has written, you can download additional resources (in this case a step by step checklist) by clicking on the "Download" hyperlink.

Whatever type of content you are showing on your page, you link out to an additional resource (a brilliant piece that you have created ) within the text of your description/article. A hyperlink linked to a popup asking for their email.

backlinko content upgrade popup

As you can see from the image above. As soon as you click the "Download" link you receive a popup asking for your email address.

Can you see how this works?

Instead of receiving an annoying popup as soon as you land on a page or when you leave, you are in full control of when you see this popup. Additionally, the content is totally relevant to the content you are reading.

There are various different apps that can help you do this.

If your store is based on Shopify, then I would recommend using a combination of Privy and Klaviyo Shopify apps.

My advice > Do this on an article or resource page (this could even be a PDF of the same article)

Note: For eCommerce - DO NOT do this on a product page.

 

Photo by Andre Hunter


guy placing an order online

Understanding The Customer Journey is Key For eCommerce Stores No Matter What The Size or Niche

Understanding the customer journey is 🔑 for eCommerce stores no matter what the size or niche.

 

Customer eCommerce JourneyDiscovery >> Research >> Ordering >> Delivery >> After-Sales

 

Now, each of the elements above is important, but where so many people go wrong is focusing on the "ordering" section instead of giving each one the same level of importance.

No matter where your client is on their journey, there needs to be a positive call to action at every step.

Discovery & Research

The goal here right off the bat is to collect email addresses (we've heard that a thousand times, right?).

We all know that conversion rates totally suck in our industry.

If you are getting above 1.5%, my hat goes off to you. However, in reality, the vast majority of eCommerce stores have conversion rates around this sort of level.

You may think that they will absolutely love your store. The truth is, the research stage is about them visiting multiple websites and at some point, they all merge into one.

Ordering

Equally, this is an important part of the funnel. The previous steps allowed us to further educate the client, this step allows you to confirm and update them on delivery and further support.

This part will cut down customer service queries when communicated to properly!

Most eCommerce stop communicating with their client as soon as the item is delivered (crossing their fingers and toes that there won't be any issues). But, this is totally the wrong way to think about it.

The more touchpoints you have with your clients the better. In essence, you want them to remember you and your brand, recommend you to others and share your content on social media.

Delivery & Aftersales

This section allows another touchpoint with the client to ask for feedback, referrals and testimonials.

I touched on this previously, but I can't specify this enough. The journey between you and your client has just begun. Good things will happen if you just make the effort to stay in touch.

Takeaway

Treat all parts of the funnel EQUALLY!

The best eCommerce platform to help you with this is Klaviyo email software. This is a specialist email marketing software that will help you optimise your sales funnel at every level.

That would be my recommendation. However, no matter which email software you finally opt for, just ensure have one in place.

 

Image Credit: Austin Distel@austindistel


7 Ways to Make Your E-COMMERCE Business Successful

Becoming successful in eCommerce is a relative question really. Bearing in mind there are many different types of eCommerce businesses, merchants, employees etc.

I suppose the way we could categorise this is mainly in the most general sense of eCommerce where the merchant has their own website.

The reason why I'm looking at this categorisation is down to the fact that I strongly believe that all merchants, big or small need to be at the very least operating their own eCommerce store/website which means they have a platform that they are in complete control over.

Unfortunately, the truth can't be said about eBay and Amazon.

With their terms and conditions changing by the hour (yep, an exaggeration, but you know where I'm coming from) the security and peace of mind merchants once had is fast disappearing The world on these two platforms is massively different to how it was just 2 short years ago.

So how exactly can you run a successful eCommerce store/brand effectively?

Take a look at this video by Evan Carmichael who goes through "7 Ways to Make Your E-COMMERCE Business WILDLY Successful."

I've broken his video down into the seven core ideas and written a bit of blurb in case you can't watch the video.

Believe in the product

Have you actually used the products you are selling in your store? Because, if you haven't, then you can never feel that confident about selling it anyone else. It also helps when writing descriptions or explaining to buyers who contact you the features and benefits your product has.

In essence, use the product to build a personal connection with it. That way it will be much easier to encourage others to buy it from you.

Now, there will be many of you that sell thousands of products and it just isn't possible to try all of your products. If this is the case, choose your best sellers and get to know as much about them as possible.

Make sure there is demand

Again, this might seem like the most obvious thing, but I can't tell you how many merchants purchase products in China with minimum order levels without checking to see if there is a demand for this product first.

The best way to list products in your store is to list a small number of them first, promote them and then see if they sell. Don't just test it out for a few days either. Ensure you run this test for a least a month before you place your order.

Depending on where you get your products from, you should be able to order a small sample first which should give you the numbers you need to try them out with your customers. In fact, if you have regular customers, try introducing them to it first and start receiving feedback.

You're basically looking for positive feedback. Customers should be holding up their hands asking for the product and even requesting more of them. If you do this, you'll know if you are onto a winner or not.

If you have built your store on a platform like Shopify, Bigcommerce or Woocommerce, you should have the ability to feature these products on your home page or at the begging of a category or collection so people see this product first before they see any others.

The image below is an example of one of the largest eCommerce stores on Shopify (GymShark) who are promoting the latest product on their front page.

Whenever you introduce a new product, always put in the effort to give it more exposure at the beginning of its sales life. This will really give it the very best chance to do well. If you simply add to your list of products without any form of extra promotion. The odds are, it probably won't do that well, even though it has the potential to if enough eyeballs see it.

gymshark-new-product-example
Image courtesy of GymShark

Get distribution

If you've been in eCommerce for a while, you probably have this figured out already. However, if you are entering a new market and find that you need a new way of distributing your product, then you may need to think out of the box.

The fastest way to distribute your product is to sell into the channels that are already selling to your potential audience.

This could mean partnering up with an influencer who already has a sizeable audience in your space or running some display ads on a blog, forum or question and answer site like Quora.com that already serves your potential audience.

Have beautiful images

This is eCommerce 101. However, the number of times I have visited a website only to greeted by really poor images is astounding.

We're not just talking about small players here either. We're talking BIG multinationals that have the money and employees to get this right each time and every time.

Having beautiful images is a great way to stand out from the crowd and get your product noticed.

eBay is a great example of people uploading really bad images. Whenever you upload an image, make sure that you upload in either Jpg or PNG format. Depending on the platform you use, they may even have an image optimisation tool that helps optimise your images. In fact, here's a free one from Shopify - Shopify.co.uk/tools/image-resizer. This tool is free to use, even if you don't have a Shopify store.

These days, having good looking well-optimised images is vital. With the trend to scroll really fast on websites and social media, it is becoming harder and harder to get people to stop scrolling. Having beautiful looking pictures is one of them.

If your store is doing well, I would even consider taking on a professional photographer or hiring a freelance photographer to take your pictures. Not only will this save you a ton of time doing it yourself. But, you are pretty much guaranteed to get the best quality images for your eCommerce store.

Write detailed descriptions

You've got the images covered. Now, you just need to have a detailed description of your product.

Now, we're talking features and benefits here. We're talking about writing to your buyer persona and explaining how this product will solve their problem.

There is a time and place to go over the features and benefits. However, the description isn't the place. The description is about telling how the product will solve their problem, the way in which they will feel after they purchase your product.

This all comes back to believing in your product and getting to know it. Only then will you be able to craft a really good description telling a story that resonates with the buyer. If you don't have the time or skills to do this, then I would recommend hiring a digital marketing agency to do this for you. Not just any agency, but an eCommerce agency that knows the nuances in writing for an eCommerce store.

Of course, I know of a good agency :) But, I recommend using an agency you feel comfortable with and is actually skilled in this type of content marketing.

A lot of stores suffer from SEO because of the short length of time people spend on the site and the fact that their descriptions aren't comprehensive enough to engage the buyer.

Note: features and benefits can go in the text below your description, or better still in a clickable tab below your description.

Get their emails

This is one of the most important points that Evan makes in this video. Grab your customers email at the soonest time possible. Either via a popup promotion or a link/box subscribe on your product pages.

Did you know that the conversion rates for the vast majority of eCommerce stores are either 1 or below 1%? That means 99% of your traffic leave never to return. That's why it is vital to collect their email address.

For those that work in the auto industry, furniture or big-ticket items, this really applies to you. This is because the buyer journey is much longer. The chances of someone purchasing the first time they visit your website or purchase within a few weeks is pretty slim.

That's why you need to communicate with them and hold their hand through the process until they are in the right state to pull the trigger.

By getting someone onto your email list, you have a way to follow up with them. This means you can tell them your brand story, educate them about the buying process or guide them through the many different options available and, yes, encourage them to purchase one of your products.

This one step alone could add up to 30-40% on your bottom line.

The key is to add value emails and not just send them promos. Think of the 80/20 rule. 80% of the emails should be educational and add value and 20% should be promotional.

Depending on your niche, this metric will vary. However, it's a great starting point for most companies.

This is called permission marketing. By giving you their email address, they are giving you permission to market to them.

We found the best eCommerce email autoresponders were Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign.

Get your tech right

Things like your webpage load time and shopping cart optimisation may not seem that important. However, your buy has become a lot more sophisticated and have even less time than they did a few years ago.

Conversion rate optimisation is key to increasing sales and having a successful eCommerce store. There's no point in paying a lot of money getting people to visit your store only to let yourself down by having a really slow website or a badly designed checkout process.

Again, if you are not confident doing this, then your best bet is to hire an agency to do this for you.

 

 

 

I'd love to hear from you. Which one is your favourite or which one provided you with the most value?

Feel free to leave your comments down below.

 

Image credit: Kyle Hanson@kyledarrenhanson


woman-walking-in-a-warehouse

Amazon Launched A New Program Called Sold By Amazon

So, there's a new kid on the block which is a new "Sold by Amazon program." The idea is to remove repricing tools and gives Amazon full control of what price it sells your product for.

To be clear, this a scheme that will be introduced to third-party sellers on the Amazon platform, but it won't remove complete control. You still have the ability to set a minimum price and if Amazon price your product below that threshold, they have agreed to pay you the minimum price you have set.

Initially, this new scheme isn't for everyone and will only be available to a few hand-picked US sellers who agree to signup for it. It is being described by Amazon as a complete "hands-off experience" as Amazon gets to choose the price your item is sold for using a complex algorithm.

You might be thinking at this stage, "this is cool, but why would Amazon decide to take a loss on these products be selling below your set minimum threshold?" This is a great question to ask and you're probably aware that there is always a good reason for Amazon to introduce a program like this.

Killing The Competition

This will be a six-month renewable contract and gives you the flexibility to opt-out after this period.

So, what's the game here? Why would Amazon do this?

It's all about controlling prices in the marketplace, basically. Their algorithm will go out into the marketplace and see what price other sellers from different websites are selling the products for and adjust accordingly. Also, if they are a bit low on inventory, they will have the ability to jack the prices up if demand is higher than supply. Of course, this is basic economics that has been around for a long time.

You know that!

However, never before has this been done at such scales using third party seller products.

For example, Uber (the ride-hailing platform) adjusts its prices on the fly based on demand. If their system is busy in a certain area and they have a limited number of cars available, their algorithm automatically changes the prices normally upwards) to take advantage of the supply-demand problem.

This system will really be seen at times of high activity such as "Black Friday" when demand is always going to strip supply. Amazon will effectively change prices based on the overall demand for a category and products.

Nice For Amazon

So the deal is, you need to send your products to Amazon to fulfil. This means using the Amazon FBA system instead of keeping them in stock in your own warehouse. This will give Amazon control to adjust stock levels depending on how they are selling and realtime price changes by other merchants on other platforms.

During this process, Amazon gets to charge you storage fees and in effect sell your goods at no risk.

Think about it, they didn't purchase the stock, so capital wasn't spent by Amazon, their revenue will come from storage and transactional fees to the merchant (you).

Our Take

If the tone of this article is a little sceptical, you could forgive me for raising my eyebrows when I came across this story.

This is certainly a win, win for Amazon and kind of a win for you, the merchant. I can totally see why they are doing this and it makes complete sense in conjunction with their business model.

Don't forget, the Amazon brand is one of the strongest out there. By attaching your name and products to their brand isn't a bad thing (in the short run).

I can't help but think that this is going to be some kind of precursor to how things will operate for merchants going forward.

These things are often tested and if they work are generally rolled out nation and worldwide.

We'll wait and see, shall we?

Image credit: Sikai Gu@gentle_kay


malibu-how-to-curl-straight-hair

How Beauty Merchants Can Also Win At Search

How Beauty Merchants Can Also Win At Search

Anyone in the beauty niche knows how competitive it is and most aren’t taking advantage of the high upper funnel keywords.

Searches for beauty-related tutorials are on the increase and terms like “how to style short hair” or “cute and easy hairstyles” are low hanging fruit for those that are willing to go the extra mile and actually help their customers by providing them with useful info.

Interestingly, brand paid visibility for these terms has actually decreased and organic visibility has increased. Go figure.

Google Prefers To Show Organic Results

It seems as though Google’s search algorithm is prioritising this type of organic content by showing 95% organic listings which is up 13% year over year.

Instead of writing really generic posts like top 5 this and top 10 that, eCommerce merchants need to focus their efforts on producing helpful articles based on user questions and also partnering with brands that want to promote their products whilst also getting their message out there.

These types of keywords are being targeted by the likes of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire who make up a whopping 72% of total search results. Since these keywords are not “buyer intent keywords”, they normally lend themselves for organic targeting rather than paid targeting. However, these upper funnel keywords allow you to compete head to head with larger brands by writing really great content and publicising it on social.

Elle.com did a great job with this exact strategy by writing a tutorial article entitled “how to curl short hair.” I fact, it is position number 1 in the Google search results for this exact phrase.

 tutorial-focused-search-by-elle

What Elle has done differently to others is position products directly below the content to be helpful to their readers.

So, how exactly do you go about this?

  1. Ensure you have your own website with blogging capability.
  2. Take a look at your Google Analytics to see which search terms people are using to find your store.
  3. Research and write an in-depth article answering the specific question or term people are asking Google.
  4. Publish and publicise your content on social media.
  5. If you can produce a video, post on YouTube and then embed it into your post. Great! If not, do a search on YouTube and find a video that you can embed.

Paid placements is a billion-pound industry. If you stock these types of products in your store, linking back to them allows you to be both helpful whilst promoting your store products at the same time.

Photo Credit: INSTAGRAM/@MILABU.CO


Top Ecommerce Experts Q&A | With Gretta Van Riel

Foundr magazine often comes out with some great videos on eCommerce.

Check out this latest episode that has eCommerce experts such as Gretta Van Riel who is known for having founded several companies including SkinnyMeTea, The 5th Watches, Drop Bottle, and Hey Influencer.

She is recognized for her social media presence and has over 70,000 followers on her personal Instagram account.