The online marketing world is constantly changing and evolving, including the online retailing industry, which continues to grow. The e-commerce market is one of the segments that is hugely affected by the changes that happen on the web. It’s becoming more competitive, since new businesses and platforms are always appearing on the Internet; and it’s getting more difficult for online market players to thrive and prosper.
We wanted to figure out the most common problems with e-commerce websites and find out tactics that can help online retailers survive and even grow in the online space. But this time, we decided to test a completely new format for our SEMrush Chat. We analyzed a real online store in real-time together with our chat participants! If you want to learn how to improve your e-commerce website’s performance and achieve online success using this example, check out the recap!
Let’s move on to the first question.
We chose to analyze Waggle.com.au, an online store that sells gear for dogs. To start, we asked our guests to name the first good element that they noticed when they visited the website. Here’s what they found:
1. Proof and Customer Reviews
One of the most important elements of any online store is proof that your product or service is really good. And one of the strongest things that can confirm this is customer reviews. According to Graham Charlton, 61 percent of customers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Consumers are more likely to buy things from websites that have reviews and ratings. These sites have real value for people. That’s why online retailers should encourage their customers to leave feedback and share comments.
On the homepage of Waggle.com.au, we can see the “Over 15,000 happy customers” banner in the top right. Once you click it – and I’m sure most visitors would be willing to do this – you can read multiple client comments.
2.Context and Good Visualization
Several of our chat participants noticed that the website clearly describes the products it sells. It uses images of dogs that are nice-looking and that attract people, especially their target audience.
But what’s more, the pictures serve as a great visualization of the product in context. Once you’ve entered the website, you clearly understand what it offers.
3. A Clear CTA
Even if your online store looks great and your pages load quickly, visitors still might not add products to their carts. Maybe the problem is that they simply don’t know what to click on. But a call-to-action button tells users where to go, where to click and what to do.
As we can see, Waggle.com.au has clear CTAs, like “view details” and “need to return an item?” – both of them perfectly describe what the next step should be.
An effective call to action will catch a customer’s eye and can make them complete a desired action. But CTAs shouldn’t be limited to just the most obvious “Buy now,” “Here,” or “Shop here” buttons. Make yours eye-catching, appealing and compelling. There’re multiple options for call to action: questions, sidebar CTAs, pop-ups, CTA, with social proof and others. Test different colors and types, optimize and modify the buttons, depending on your specific online store. HubSpot collected several examples of CTAs on real websites.
4. Delivery Information
Another important factor is your delivery information and options. These details play a major role in many customers’ decision to purchase something on the internet. It’s great when an online store provides next-day or express delivery and flexible delivery slots.
The cost of delivery is also a crucial factor; online retailers should ensure that their shipping rates charges are easy for users to find.
Also, it’s better to provide a return option, as most people who buy things in online stores expect this.
5. A Handy Menu With Images
Some of our chat participants also mentioned Waggle’s handy menu, which includes pictures. It’s segmented by categories, such as “dog apparel,” “safety gear,” “toys,” “accessories” and others. Waggle’s menu is easy to find, and it has a clear structure that includes categories and subcategories. There’s also a “quick view” button on every item. When you click it, a window with product details pops up.
Our guests noticed several of the online store’s handy elements. Now, let’s see what can be modified and improved.
Back in a day, not many online stores had a lot of content. Today, the situation is a bit different. Now it’s becoming even more important to add unique and relevant descriptions to products, because these small pieces of content are crucial for both humans and search engines.
As for the latter, product descriptions contain key information that search engine bots use in order to understand the topic of and the content on your website, as well as the keywords it should rank for.
We asked our guests to share their views on how Waggle.com.au can rank higher for relevant keywords in its specific niche. Let’s see what tips and tactics the experts gave.
The more specific the keyword, the easier it is to discover the user’s intent. According to Moz, long tail keywords make up over 70 percent of online searches. Also, these keywords tend to catch users further along in the conversion and buying cycles.
Don’t underestimate the power and opportunities of specific terms. Instead of targeting two or three highly competitive general keywords, it’s worth focusing on several long tail phrases that are easy to rank for.
Today, quite a few e-commerce websites have business blogs, which can be very beneficial, if utilized properly. To start with, Waggle should improve its blog and update its product pages to match keywords, as 360Partners @360Partners suggests: “Improve the blog (design and calendar), update its product pages to match keywords.”
Also, after building a keyword list, Waggle can create an editorial calendar for seasonal topics. Seasonal content sells; it’s a good way to capture buyers’ attention and boost search traffic during this specific period of time.
By doing thorough keyword research, website owners can find relevant terms in their specific industry; then they can discover which keywords are currently generating a large amount of organic traffic.
But some of our chat participants believe that ranking higher is not the most important goal for websites like Waggle, because the online store has some other issues with a higher priority: “They should not worry about ranking higher at the moment. They should focus on fixing what is wrong with the site,” explains Chris Desadoy @EliteYouTubePro.
As some of the experts mentioned, UX is a very important element that website owners should pay careful attention to. Google takes your site’s user experience even more seriously than many people might think.
Darren DeMatas collected some very smart tactics in his post “ 105 E-commerce UX Tips: How to Seduce Visitors to Buy,” in which he writes that your site’s user experience should be geared towards building your visitors’ confidence by assisting them on the way towards completing their goals. This takes more than simply ranking at the top of Google. It’s crucially important to make sure that people can easily navigate to your product, which they must trust enough to purchase.
As the experts recommended, Waggle should improve its business blog, do keyword research, fix its website’s UX and focus on low-competition long tail keywords.
Many businesses have blogs and are publishing content on a regular basis to attract more traffic to their websites, as well as to build, nurture and grow their online audiences. But the thing is, these businesses might be not getting all the possible benefits from all of their content.
Today, social media is a very important source of traffic for many websites, including e-commerce sites. For some websites, social media traffic can be even more crucial than search engine traffic. But the number of visitors that you can attract to your online store from social channels and the level of engagement that you can drive from doing so depends on several factors. First of all, your posts should be worthy of sharing and structured appropriately.
After reviewing Waggle’s website, our guests suggested several tips for utilizing social media.
By using different social networks, online retailers can interact with their existing clients and potential customers. They can promptly answer their questions and provide users with information on the products they’re looking for.
If you want to engage a larger audience, remain active on social media, but don’t be too pushy. Although your ultimate goal is sales, instead of convincing people to make a purchase, you should communicate with them, because this will drive organic traffic to your website. “Don't use social as a sales platform, use it as a social tool, and let customers fall into the funnel naturally,” recommends ThinkTank @Think_Tank_Mktg.
Many of our guests recommended that Waggle use Instagram, since it has a large community of dog lovers.
A3: Looks like they're on FB & Twitter. Would recommend Instagram 4 sure. Huge community of dog lovers. Also, try social ads #semrushchat
— Rachel Howe (@R8chel_Marie) June 1, 2016
Bobbi Brant @Bobbifaye93 assumes that for products like Waggle, it’s worth focusing on image-lead social campaigns: “Instagram is their friend! A product like this should focus on image-lead social campaigns.” By posting regular pictures of dogs in Waggle gear, the company can build an active Instagram community: “Cultivate an Instagram community that posts regular picture of dogs in Waggle gear, and feature the ‘best of bunch,’” as Jared Keleher @Jaredkeleher suggests.
Another great option is to create valuable and useful content, such as buying guides and informative articles and videos. This can help online retailers effectively increase their audience engagement.
When creating content and posting it on social, businesses can use relevant and humorous hashtags. ThinkTank @Think_Tank_Mktg gives several examples: “Use fun hashtags on social content that's relevant and unique, like #dog, #dogs, #dogpics, #dogsonline, #mydog, #dogz, #doggy, and #d0g.”
People love contests, and they are a good way to earn more followers, engagement and even leads. There are plenty of different kinds of contests, like voting contests, photo or video contests and “like and comment to win” contests to name a few.
However, keep in mind that social media marketing doesn’t always work the same way for every single company. As Reva Minkoff @revaminkoff points out, it depends on your specific niche: “Social doesn't have to work for every company – depending on what the product is, sometimes it won't.”
So what would you recommend that this website do to effectively utilize social media?
Google is constantly searching for new ways to provide users with the most relevant results and answers that they need. One of their recent additions is the Featured Snippet, which was introduced to provide users with quick answers right within SERPs.
Google’s Featured Snippets can provide serious value for a website’s organic visibility. It provides a huge competitive advantage, but getting your content in one can be very tricky. Let’s figure out which queries Waggle should target in order to show up in a Featured Snippet.
It’s important to create high quality, relevant and trustworthy content. Answer users’ questions and help people solve their problems. This will give your content an excellent good chance of becoming eligible for the Featured Snippet.
Andy Drinkwater @iqseo recommends using bullet points, because they help to provide an easily digestible structure for complex information: “Answer questions that people are asking. Bullet-point information and use short sentences. Don't focus on short tails.” The advantage of short sentences is that they provide clarity.
One of the most common problems that dog owners have when buying gear for their pets is choosing the right size. An online store that offers dog gear should describe the problem.
Some of our chat participants suggested that Waggle target cost-related queries, like those that start with “how much.” Bobby Brant believes that these queries are likely to appear in Featured Snippets, rather than “the best” ones.
Some online businesses aren’t familiar with Google Merchant Center or they’re simply ignoring it. But the thing is, this tool can help them effectively increase the impact of their web marketing efforts. Google Merchant Center allows you to provide the search engine with a feed of all your products that you sell and promote online. Consequently, this allows some particular products and information to appear in Google SERPs with images and item details.
Also, don’t forget to use Google Suggest and Google Trend. The former can influence users’ decisions on a subconscious level. For many people, the auto complete function has become an integral part of Google searches. As for Google Trends, this powerful marketing strategy tool can be used for smart keyword research. Both of these services can help you find ideas for Quick Answer Box content.
Now, let’s see what we have so far.
In a nutshell, providing knowledge, facts and clear answers increases a website’s chances of showing up in a Google Featured Snippet.
To get a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t on your e-commerce website, it’s essential to analyze your site’s performance and measure the behavior of its visitors. Knowing which of your products are more popular, how long your visitors typically remain on your website and which blog posts they click on more often will help you make more informed decisions concerning the direction your online store should take.
There are various services that can test different elements of your website. At the end of our chat, we asked our guests to name tools – if they used any – to analyze Waggle’s online store. Here are their answers.
That’s it. A big thanks to our guests who joined us for our analysis of this e-commerce website! Together we figured out how this online store can improve its performance.
If you have any other tips or suggestions, let us know in the comments!