Sawaram Suthar is the founder of TheNextScoop and Jagat Media. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in branding, promotions, page optimization, research, and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on Twitter @sawarams.
Whether you're starting a new eCommerce website or want to improve your existing one, these 21 checklists will help to optimize your e-commerce store.
Getting ranked better than your competitors on search engines is no longer an option, but there are ways to optimize your eCommerce store immediately to get to the top of search results. This is one of the most effective ways to get clicks and stop missing out on sales. So how do you do it? First, you must rank #1 and make your site stand out from the crowd of millions of e-commerce stores to get the conversions you desire and more.
So what can you do when you know conversions can be made better? Suppose you’re just starting your newly built eCommerce website or want to improve your existing one. In that case, this 21 checklist will provide you with tactical suggestions for stepping up your game by optimizing your e-commerce store.
1. E-Commerce store platform to make your store live
With the advancement of technologies today, eCommerce platforms have many options. If your website is not running on a modern e-commerce platform, it’s the right time to consider relocating. If you are struggling with payment processing, SEO, or site reliability, it may be time to consider changing the platform and making your store different. You could check some great platforms like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce etc.
2. E-Commerce store branding to stay relevant
If you’ve been running your Site for years, you need to ensure that all your brandings are perfect and updated, including all your high-quality product images. According to Hubspot, people remember 80% of what they see but only 20% of what they read, which stands true for eCommerce.
Remember that all your product images and overall branding will help people recognize your eCommerce store.
3. Live chat option for quick assistance
Live chat is a valuable social tool if you want to make a quick sale. 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features an eCommerce website can offer. Yes, this is true; most of the time, people don’t want to make a call or send an email. They might get transferred to another good site. The main appeal of live chat is that it allows a company/brand to quickly answer the visitor’s questions.
Live chat software is an accessible customer service tool that customers can use to contact the company if they don’t want to send emails and wait hours to get a reply. The demand for live chat for e-commerce is high; we are receiving hundreds of such requirements. Even some client wants a personalized option like a trigger. If you aren’t aware of live chat, then referring to great live chat options like Acquire Live Chat, LivechatInc, and Zopim would be great.
4. Onpage SEO optimization to make your store stand out
Search engine optimization is always a moving target. Nowadays, on-page SEO is more crucial than ever, and every web admin needs to realize the true meaning of SEO besides its potential for every eCommerce business. Your eCommerce store must be responsive to fit every screen size.
Everything on the Site, from the product description to images, Meta descriptions to page titles, must be kept updated. These are a few things that entice potential buyers and make them click through to your website. So for all, you need to optimize the on-page of the Site.
5. Blog to add value to the site
A well-maintained and updated blog will be a core strategy for enticing more search traffic to your eCommerce store. If your eCommerce website doesn’t have a blog, it can be pretty tricky to attract inbound links; however, a blog that’s often updated with high-quality and original content will logically attract more links and make your site rank for high-intent, long-tail search queries.
Be sure to host your blog on your primary domain (i.e., www.yoursite.com/blog), as the traffic and link you get to your blog will also benefit your part as a whole.
6. Analyze customer engagement for more improvement
A must-ask question for every eCommerce— how often are you engaging with your customers? If your answer is ‘don’t know,’ or ‘once a month,’ it’s not enough.
If you want to improve Customer engagement, using surveys is the best. Organize a study, asking them questions about their experiences with your eCommerce store. Add a survey to your website or your customers' emails to know things about your business that you might not know otherwise. With surveys, your visitors will tell you what’s wrong, what issues they faced, and what they wish/expect to see in your store the next time.
Surveys are one of the fast ways of learning what matters to your customer/prospects, what's broken or missing in your store and what's holding up the conversions. Yes, this is true, even if they act as a great source of market intelligence.
7. E-commerce remarketing to increase exposure
Google Remarketing is all about anonymously reaching past visitors of your eCommerce store or Site, flaunting them with a personalized message after they leave your website. Your message will appear to those visitors when they browse other websites across the ad network.
Source: Ecommerce Laboratory
It’s an effective way of continuing the conversation you start with your visitors on your online store. You can tailor your creativity to show relevant products and offers to different audiences depending on the information, like products browsed and abandoned shopping carts. With retargeting, you can easily reach out to those potential customers even after they have left your website, offering them another chance to purchase on your Site.
8. HTML5 structure for improved layout
HTML5, or the markup language for creating and showing content on the web, is an incredible asset for eCommerce strategy. If it’s implemented rightly, it can boost SEO like old HTML specifications. The critical difference is that HTML5 incorporates particular elements because search engines and bots understand the intention of words within different parts.
HTML gives your eCommerce site a clean, beautiful, and clutter-free layout.
9. Keyword-rich product descriptions to rank better
Google hates duplicate content, and many eCommerce sites are notorious for having duplicate— or approximately duplicate content, mostly on product pages. Online stores are often crowded with thousands of pages of product descriptions.
Crafting quality and unique descriptions boost site traffic and offer a better chance of selling. Customer feedback, reviews and competitive advantages are the fruits of precisely describing products but avoid keyword stuffing. Instead, use keyword-rich product descriptions.
10. Search box for easier browsing
Availing of a search box to let your visitors easily search for what they’re looking for is a great way to build a good relationship with them. It saves them time scrolling down the number of product pages to get their desired product.
11. High-quality content to engage customers
Unique, SEO-friendly, and relevant content must be crucial to any eCommerce SEO strategy. The kind of content you put on your site works as your sales pitch and how you set yourself apart from others. You can engage your potential customers with your brands with informative and quality content. This is excellent because search engine algorithms measure the time people spend on your website and further use it as a ranking factor. A good and engaging browsing experience is best achieved and matched when the content is informative.
You can engage your potential customers with your brands with informative and quality content. This is excellent because search engine algorithms measure the time people spend on your website and further use it as a ranking factor. Therefore, a good and engaging browsing experience is best achieved and matched when the content is informative.
12. Featured products to show latest collections or offers
Displaying featured products on the side columns or your website's home page will notify your visitors and returning customers about your store's latest sales offers or top-selling products.
This section shouldn’t be missed out because it’s something that visitors first search for.
13. Related products to make another sale
This extraordinary up-selling feature showcases your best products related to their search and browsing history. In this section, you can show your visitors what other products they can buy along with the products they’re currently viewing.
Just place with simple heading— “frequently bought together” or “related products” or “customers who bought this also bought.” It can encourage your visitors to buy more than one product right away.
14. Site speed for better customer experience
The speed of the page is a rising ranking factor; your site must loadoads quickly on every device. Having excellent and smooth navigation has a significant impact not only on the user’s browsing experience, but also it’s crucial for improved SEO.
If your page takes too much time to load, chances are your prospects will leave your page and look for other options— your COMPETITOR.
15. Mobile optimization to fit every screen size
A critical factor that Google considers while ranking websites is mobile responsiveness. This is because today, mobile is one of the most vital traffic sources for eCommerce, accounting for approx. 50% of total eCommerce traffic.
Even App store optimization is a crucial part of mobile SEO since 42 percent of all mobile sales produced by the top 500 eCommerce merchants occurred from mobile applications.
16. Newsletter subscription to keep customers & prospects updated
Give your visitors a chance to enter their email addresses and stay updated about your store’s latest offers and sales. With this feature, you can even build your mailing list, which can be further used in your subsequent marketing campaigns.
17. Simple payment gateway to complete checkout
A payment gateway is an application or software that lets an online store safely request customer payments. You’ll ease customers' paths to pay for your products with the right payment gateway.
Additionally, it’ll give peace of mind & assurance to your customers and prospects. Choose a payment gateway that your visitors are comfortable with.
18. Easy customer registration & login
Customers want clutter-free signup & login process. Give the option for visitors to register on your website so that whenever they return to your site, they don’t have to enter all their billing addresses and payment details again & again, providing them the flexibility to check out easily & quickly.
19. Delivery information to nonsense abandoned carts
One of the leading causes of cart abandonment is the hidden delivery costs during the checkout process. According to IMRG and eDigitalResearch study carried out in 2013, 77 percent of online shoppers have discarded their cart, with 53 percent quoting inaptly very high delivery & shipping costs as the key reason to bail.
20. Social media presence to grow your visibility
Make your customers and targets know that you are available on social networking sites by adding the logos and links of Social Media on your Site.
Most brands use social media to give customers the flexibility to interact with customer support for their orders or purchase queries. A robust social media presence can boost your online visibility and brand awareness.
21. Product sliders to flaunt your products
Product sliders on the home page can highlight a new collection of products or any latest promotional offers to your customers. Or you can also use them to flaunt your top-selling or best-selling products.
Sliders are most beneficial when you have to convey particular messages and promotional offers/discounts to the online shoppers you come to your store. It will help you grab the eyes of the shoppers.
Bonus: eCommerce plug-ins to ease everything
Undoubtedly, the quickest way to include e-commerce in your new or existing website is by using a plug-in. You may have an existing WordPress website to which you want to adjoin this different aspect, or you can even consider setting up a fresh one from scratch. If you use WordPress as the CMS and include a plugin for the selling side, it’s indeed a fantastic option.
There are millions of eCommerce stores on the web today, so you need to make yours stand out from the crowd. With these 21 checklists, optimize your eCommerce store well and encourage people to shop with you.
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