How to Drive Ecommerce Revenues by Reducing Friction.

ecommerce_revenues

Firstly, I’ll begin with this - if you make the path to conversion easier and more seamless, you can increase your ecommerce revenues.

One of the biggest questions we get asked by brands is ‘how can I increase my website’s revenue?’ Most companies believe the way to achieve this is by driving more traffic through to your website in the hope that this will boost conversions.

In reality, the real problem here is that if there are 100 users visiting your website and only 1 of these is converting, the issue is not around traffic but instead the user experience itself and why are more of the people that you already have visiting the website not converting?. Increasing traffic is a short-term, quick win but what you really need to do is refine your marketing strategy to retarget visitors, add value, deliver better onsite experiences and get more of the people you already have in your sales funnel to convert.

This means your marketing funnel should look a little like this:

ecommerce_revenues_1

So what marketing channels can be used to achieve this?

Retargeting

Retargeting is a key element to any marketing strategy and is the perfect way to re-engage an audience that has the habit of abandoning items in their basket. You can use retargeting methods to get people back to your site and back into the purchasing funnel by displaying third party, social media adverts and ‘did you forget something’ emails. Brands also use this method to attract visitors using discount codes with 54% of buyers more likely to purchase when offered a discount.

On-Site Search

On the other hand, ensuring that your website itself has a good, well-functioning search option should be a key feature of your site to reduce the friction for users who already know what they’re looking for. Products such as SOLR which offers basic search functionality such as ‘did you mean’ queries, predictive search, priority and weighted results and exclusion of certain pages. However, if you’re after a product that will take you to that will take you to the next level something such as Coveo which includes AI, ML and personalisation functionality is the product for you. 

AI Powered Search

As mentioned above, AI-powered search, delivered by technologies such as Coveo deliver the most relevant search results to your website visitors, from a number of possible content sources across your business and marketing landscape from within your CMS and also referencing external sources. AI-powered search can automatically learn from each individual search query and then goes on to use that information gathered to deliver relevant to the search instead of just a list of results.

Chatbots

With advances in the last 12 months of AI and ML technologies in digital, it's now possible to smooth the path to purchase and even customer services with online chatbot functionality. Whether to help with product selection, discuss product return information or opening times of stores or depots, chatbots can be used to assist the buyer across your website and again, ultimately deliver a better digital experience.

Easy Checkout

The first step in reducing the online buying friction is creating an ‘easy checkout’ for visitors. Give them a choice between signing in/registering and guest checkout options, some users might not want to create an account and sign up to your brands marketing to make their purchase and this will stop the first level of visitors from dropping out.

Clear & Simple Navigation

When users reach their checkout screen they should be greeted by their items, checkout options and a simplified navigation to keep distractions to a minimum.

Purchase Process Indicators

Progress indicators are also a good way to give visitors an idea of how many steps are required to complete purchase. You should also make sure all costs are shown upfront ahead of checkout as 28% of online shoppers are more likely to abandon their basket if there’s hidden shipping costs.

Payments

In 2017 it was reported that brands that included PayPal checkout on their website had a 70% higher checkout rate than those that didn’t so it’s a good idea to include existing 3rd payment options where possible on your ecommerce website to add extra reassurance of payment gateway authenticity for your users.

Embrace Returning Customers

For returning visitors you should give them the option to remember login details as well as address and payment information to make this process as slick as possible, as after all, it's always easier to sell to existing customers than to go out and find new ones! ‘One-click’ payments such as Apple Pay or Google Pay are also great ways of de-complicating this process.

Personalisation & Contextual Marketing

You can improve the user experience of your website by incorporating personalisation features which will in turn, increase your conversion rates. This is because personalisation, although only part of the solution, helps you surface relevant contextual marketing messages, content and calls to action at each stage of the sales process so that you can refine the sales process, give the visitor a more personal experience and really try and sell them what they are interested in buying. 

Search Engines

Being able to deliver relevant results through search engine results is essential. If someone is searching Google for a specific item i.e. ‘temporary site fencing’ or parquet flooring tiles your website needs to be showing in the first few results for those specific search terms and if you don’t have an exact match… the next best thing. You, therefore, need to ensure that the products that you are selling on your website have the right schema defined and are being indexed by the search world in the correct way. In 2017 ecommerce sites saw 43% of all their traffic came from organic Google searches.

As you can see from the above, there is not one silver bullet to success but ensuring you reduce the friction and make the path to purchase smoother will for sure increase ecommerce revenues from digital. Its a number of things that all need to be working harmoniously in sync to deliver great digital brand experiences and to also, to encourage repeat purchases.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Naomi Harper
Head of Marketing & Communications
Naomi is the agency's Head of Marketing & Communications with a strong background in Public Relations, events, Marketing and Brand campaigns.

Naomi joined Sagittarius in January 2021 to deliver exceptional external brand experiences, engaging internal communications and to assist with the driving of sales and the developing of relationships with key strategic suppliers.
 

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Naomi Harper

10 Sep 2018 - 9 minute read
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