Thursday, December 23, 2010

Maximising Your eCommerce Website

Christmas will soon be upon us, and consumers will soon be scrambling for the January sales. No longer is this a seasonal pilgrimage to the depths of the high street though. Consumers are savvy to multi channel retailing now and recognise that they need not queue outside Next at 4am in the freezing cold to grab a bargain or two. Instead they can log on at home and get their bargains in the comfort of their own chair with a brew in hand. This year the number of consumers looking for online deals is set to break records once again. Therefore it is paramount that your website provides the best possible shopping experience from a search engine query all the way through to the checkout stage if you are to transform causal shoppers in to buyers.

The following are 10 practical tips for enhancing conversion rates during the holidays:

1. Research Your Perfect Consumer: Knowing your primary customer is the most critical element of any eCommerce strategy. Your website should reflect the customer, in terms of keywords, within the website copy and advertising/marketing materials to help push your natural search engine optimisation

2. Product Categorisation Appropriate product categorisation is fundamental to the success of any eCommerce website. Products need to be easy to find, and accessible within a maximum of three clicks. Too many categories or clicks can frustrate shoppers and turn them away. However, having too few categories may have the adverse affect, in that you may not retain the shoppers attention and not keep them on the site as long as you would like. Multi-categorisation of products can help when looking to improve on site search, and also allows you to reach different audiences.

3. Interact With Your Customers: Make your customers visit more personal by understanding their past browsing/buying patterns and providing recommendations each time they visit. Utilising recommendations can help you place the relevant products to the individual customer on each visit and help you to gain further conversions.

4. Ensuring Support is Available: The amount of companies using live chat as a way of support on eCommerce websites is every increasing and can help reduce customers frustration when they are on the site. Social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook are also on the increase as a pathway for customer support.

5. Managing Your Natural Search: Search Engine Optimisation is a key tool to help ensure that your storefront lands at the top of the search engines. As opposed to Pay-Per-Click, SEO is a long term strategy that can take 6-12 months until you start to see the benefits. Although paid searches are an quick win in terms of getting you to the top of the search engines, consumers tend to trust organic search much more because of product reviews and commenting. A couple of easy amends that can help to make a difference are:

  • HTML Page Title: One of THE key pieces of information. Page titles should be populated with search-engine-friendly terms relevant to your business.
  • URL Structure: The URL should include both the category name and product name within its structure.
  • Keywords/ Meta Tags: Whilst this is important, the keyword field actually carries less weighting than many companies are lead to believe. We would suggest focusing on the page title first and the structure of the site before spending hours on the meta/keyword information.

6. Keep Your Web Content Up To Date: Google loves fresh content, which is one of the key reasons to the increase in blogging over the past few years. Regular content updates can help to increase your websites authority with Google which helps to aid a sites natural ranking. Regular updates are a key element to sustaining and improving your position in the search engines. Without regular updates, Google starts ignoring you altogether. In addition to a blog, why not look at adding product reviews, relevant editorial content or videos as this content is crawled by search engines as well.

7. User Generated Content, Aiding Search: As we covered in October, product reviews are playing more of an important role of eCommerce website conversion. Shoppers are growing more aware of customer reviews and trust these more than the ‘official’ product reviews. Google sees user generated content as high authority collateral and can help to improve your search rankings.

8. Speed Kills: If your website is slow and takes time for pages to load, you are highly likely to lose shoppers from your website, thus reducing conversion. Importantly, Google is now looking at processing speeds of websites when determining page rankings. Ensure that your website is not loading up large images on launch and if it is find out why. There are a number of different technologies available to prevent your website loading a large number of images up.

9. Multiple Payment Gateways: The last thing that you want is for a customer to get all the way through the shopping process to fall at the last hurdle. Offering multiple payment gateways is a great way to breed confidence into the customer, thus helping to complete the conversion. Customers are wise to stores holding details, so options like Sagepay, Paypal and Google checkout act as a great tool to allow customers to checkout without needing to provide you with personal information.

10. Keep Your Eye on the Goal: Be sure to maintain records and analysis of the checkout click through rates, and exactly where customers are exiting the process. A simple site analysis can help spot why customers could be dropping off. For example, check that the “Checkout” button is easily visible, that the “Add to Baskets” are obvious and that your checkout process isn’t taking too many phases to complete.

All of these tips can help to improve your eCommerce website site conversion. Some are simple changes that will help you immediately within the upcoming sales period, others are a little more of a lengthy process, but will ultimately lead to greater conversion.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Exact Unveil New NE Services Websites

Exact Abacus has recently unveiled five new eCommerce websites for Hull based NE Services Ltd, one of the largest and longest established suppliers of adult products.

NE Services had wanted to develop a new range of websites for their products, of which all would be supported from one back office solution. The 3ex.net solution by Exact Abacus offered exactly that.

The project consisted of five new websites being designed and developed on the 3ex.net platform, utilising the white label eCommerce software that is included within the platform.

The implementation of the 3ex.net back office solution allowed NE Services to control all five websites from the same platform via the integrated content management system, and also further allows NE services to control all orders (via multiple channels), stock levels, customer enquiries, warehouse management and fulfilment.

For further information about NE Services visit www.nesmailorder.com

Purekit Go Live With 3ex.net Back Office Software

Exact Abacus has successfully installed the new back office system for Outdoor Kit retailer Purekit in record time, some 372 hours after the ink drying on the contracts.

Purekit offer a superb selection of outdoor kit to support all activities and budgets. With products ranging from running shoes through to travel luggage the website contains something for everyone.

Exact Abacus were commissioned by Purekit to install 3ex. net, so that the existing website would integrate with the software and all orders and back office requirements would run off the same platform. The implementation of the 3ex.net back office software allows Purekit to manage all orders being generated from the website from sales order processing through to supply chain management, stock control and warehouse management.

For more information about Purekit visit www.purekit.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Exact Abacus Launch New eCommerce Website for Harrison Cameras

Sheffield based Harrison Cameras has recently launched their brand new eCommerce website. The website offers a comprehensive range of leisure and professional cameras, along with a wide range of ancillary products, including; lenses, bags and cases, albums, tripods, darkroom, and studio lighting.

The Harrison Cameras website and back office has been designed and built by Exact Abacus using the 3ex.net Pro platform. The eCommerce platform has tied in with the new Harrisons warehouse, allowing for a smooth integration with all levels of the software, from sales through to order processing, fulfilment and distribution.

You can view the new website at www.harrisoncameras.co.uk

Friday, December 10, 2010

Exact Abacus Unveil All About Underlay eCommerce Website

Huddersfield based All About Underlay has recently launched their brand new ecommerce website. The website provides an impressive range of underlay solutions for all home room types, from traditional sponge rubber underlays to PU foam underlays, and includes specialist underlays for laminate floors and underlay for underfloor heating. With a multi-function navigation, the All About Underlay website will provide a fantastic underlay solution for your own unique requirements.

Developed on the 3ex.net Pro platform, All About Underlay commissioned Exact Abacus to deliver eCommerce website design, and a comprehensive back office solution. The 3ex.net Pro platform allowed for exactly that, with functionality based in one single platform including order processing, customer relationship management, and warehouse management.

In addition to the website design and back office solution, All About Underlay have also commissioned Exact Abacus to manage their Customer Service and distribution & fulfilment process through the 3ex.net system via Exact’s call centre and warehouse facilities at the head office in Chorley.

You can view the new website at www.allaboutunderlay.co.uk.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Exact Abacus Reveal Outdoor Casuals eCommerce Website

Exact Abacus has recently launched the brand new eCommerce website for Outdoor Casuals Clothing Company, who are part of the All About Everything Group. The website will offer a superb range of quality casual clothes to suit all, including women’s and men’s sweatshirts, hoodies, rugby shirts, polo’s, shirts, jackets, bodywarmers and gilets.

The Outdoor Casuals eCommerce website has been designed and built by Exact Abacus using the 3ex.net Pro platform. The 3ex.net platform provides a solution for companies demanding a truly integrated front-end eCommerce and back office software platform. Key product features include eCommerce, CRM, purchasing, stock control and finance modules.

The Outdoor Casuals Clothing Company will also be using the services provided by Exact Abacus for fulfilment and call handling.

You can view the new site at www.outdoorcasuals.co.uk

Exact Abacus Launches Manage at Home eCommerce Website

Exact Abacus has recently launched the new eCommerce website for Manage at Home, which is part of the Siddall and Hilton Group. The purpose of the Manage At Home site is to provide an extensive range of products, such as mobility aids and ergonomic utensils, to help aid individuals in their daily routines.

The Manage at Home website has been designed and developed by Exact Abacus using their 3ex.net Pro eCommerce platform. The 3ex.net Pro solution is designed for entrepreneurial businesses looking to take their ecommerce offer to the next stage. The Pro product provides a comprehensive shopping cart and standard range of website tools to take your business to the next level.

Manage at Home will also be using the Call Centre services provided by Exact Abacus for their customer support services.

For further information about Manage at Home please visit www.manageathome.co.uk