How to keep pace in an increasingly complex retail marketing landscape.
Are you getting everything you can out of your online store? Wish there were some quick and easy ways to coax more people to your site and boost your sales? You’re in luck.
We’ve got a list of 10 high-power eCommerce solutions that you can set up today. The best part? These are available to you no matter what platform you’re on.
Good security is the foundation of a successful eCommerce store. Not only does it protect you from liability, it goes a long way in building trust with your customers. LetsEncrypt is a service that provides free SSL certificates (the lock badge next to the URL bar), which means any information your customers send is encrypted from prying eyes. There’s no reason your store shouldn’t be SSL-protected from top to bottom. Most hosting providers even integrate with LetsEncrypt, so you can install a certificate with the click of a button.
For added protection, services like Sucuri offer powerful defense against external attacks, as well as content caching so your pages load faster. Added bonus: The extra speed boost is good for SEO.
Installing a free service like Google Tag Manager is like having a crystal ball that shows you exactly what your customers are doing. It’s essential for understanding how they interact with your site. Are your users going straight to the search bar and avoiding your category pages? Is a particular CTA getting more clicks than the rest? Analytics can help you identify what your site is doing well or not-so-well, so you can adapt accordingly with your UX, design and development team.
3) Mobile Optimization (AMP Pages)
In 2017, mobile passed desktop as the leading source for online traffic; in fact, many online retailers estimate mobile traffic made up 50-70% of their total traffic last year. If you’re on the leading edge, you probably already have a mobile-friendly website – but there’s so much farther you can go!
Most modern eCommerce platforms offer plugins to AMP-ify your site. This creates a separate version of your site that is hyper-optimized for Google, making your site that much more speedy – and less prone to users bouncing on a slow connection. Google even boosts your search ranking when your pages are AMP-ified!
4) SEO Optimization
Search Engine Optimizations don’t end at AMP pages. Plugins like Yoast SEO (WordPress) or SEO Manager (Shopify) provide a strong helping hand in your content optimization: they can autofill a lot of missing information, evaluate your SEO performance, and give straightforward recommendations on what you can improve. Many will even prefill social media tags, so when someone posts the link to your site on Facebook or Pinterest, other users will see as much information as possible.
5) A/B Testing
Have you ever taken a look at your website, and thought to yourself, “I wonder if things would change if I rearranged the homepage a bit?” Maybe you were tempted to test out a content tweak for a small portion of your users, just in case it doesn’t work. if so, you’re in luck – A/B testing to the rescue!
There’s a small army of services, like Optimizely or Monetate, that give you a drag-and-drop builder to test different features and content, control how often your customers see the test versus the original, and analyze if your tests help your site perform better or worse. Set up one of these services on your site, and get started squeezing out every drop of performance you can!
6) Social Media / Testimonials
Testimonials are powerful for building trust with your customers. They’re independent proof that your products have merit. A myriad of social services and plugins are available to give your customers a voice on your site (while still letting you curate). You can add everything from simple, embedded reviews with ReviewEmbed, to customized-to-the-page social content streams with Wyng.
7) Goodies – Promotions, Special Offers, Freebies
Who doesn’t love free stuff? It’s now easier than ever to find ways to incentivize and reward your customers, and keep them coming back for more. If you want to give a free gift to customers that spend $80 or more, if you want to drive more traffic from Facebook with a specialized $5 off coupon, or if you just want to announce your latest and greatest product sitewide, there’s a plugin that can help with that!
Because these features integrate so deeply within the platform, there are no platform-agnostic services that can provide them. If you’re on WordPress, WooCommerce has coupons and discounts built-in. If you’re on Shopify, you’ll find a wide range of plugins by Bold – from Product Discounts to Loyalty Points. Find what’s best for your platform of choice!
8) Outreach via Email
Depending on your industry and your product, a well-planned email campaign can net you 8-12% conversion. If you’re not already sending out a newsletter, you’re missing out! MailChimp and Mandrill work together to automate as much as possible for you – everything from capturing sign-ups to tagging your users with customized interest groups – and provide powerful analytics to see how your campaigns are performing. Combine with your goodies and special promotions for even more power!
UPDATED 2020: For an in-depth piece on the best emails to send, when to send them, personalization, and why social media hasn’t (and won’t) replace email, check out this great piece from Avasam: Email marketing statistics you need to know in 2020.
9) Multi-Channel Communications
We all know the frustration of poor communication support – endless phone trees, difficult-to-find chat features, or broken contact forms. It shouldn’t be surprising that easy-access, multi-channel communications makes customers happy.
Don’t stop with just one channel, enrich and enumerate them. There are endless options for rich contact forms, support ticket systems, and live chat on every modern platform. ZenDesk and LiveChat are especially popular because they do multiple. Improving your support channels can make a surprising impact on your customer satisfaction!
10) Checkout Options
Expanding your checkout options can add a surprising amount of value to your customers’ experience – even just enabling PayPal or offering overnight shipping can make all the difference between a good review and a bad review. Any eCommerce platform worth its salt will have a breadth of checkout options available, from payment gateways to shipping options to gift customization. Add some of these offerings to your site and show your customers a little TLC!