What you need to know about the 2021 Google Page Experience Algorithm Update

Whilst Google has declared it will not be rolling out any more core updates to its algorithm in 2020, it’s time to prepare for what stands to be a bit of a game-changer to website rankings in 2021, with the introduction of the Page Experience core algorithm update.

 

In Google’s own words:

“The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.”
Google

“Make the web more delightful” is what really stands out here and as with previous big core algorithm updates such as BERT, Penguin and E.A.T, again, Google is placing emphasis on understanding the user and delivering them not only what they want, but what they will seemingly ‘delight’ in. 

Google Algorith update - image of Google search in browser

 The page experience update was supposed to be pushed live in mid 2020 however, with the world pushed to the edge of sanity already, and with hundreds of businesses rushing to move their proposition online, they have decided to give us time to make sure we’re set. 

So it seems that after many years of speculation, Google does have a heart when it comes to releasing algorithm updates.

This is what they said:

“A note on timing: We recognize many site owners are rightfully placing their focus on responding to the effects of COVID-19. The ranking changes described in this post will not happen before next year, and we will provide at least six months' notice before they’re rolled out. We're providing the tools now to get you started (and because site owners have consistently requested to know about ranking changes as early as possible), but there is no immediate need to take action.”
Source: Google May 28 2020

Google has given us due notice:

 

“Today we’re announcing that the page experience signals in ranking will roll out in May 2021” (Nov 10 2020)

 

The clock is ticking and with this much lead time you can bet that the negative impact on websites that don’t meet Google’s Page Experience standards will be substantial

So, what is this page experience update all about?

 

In May 2020, Google Chrome announced the new ‘Core Web Vitals’ that many of us picked up on when it was pushed live in Google Search Console. This new set of metrics aims to give site owners insights into the user experience of their website by tracking metrics such as page speed, responsiveness and visual stability.

 

 

Here are the main metrics now highlighted in Google Search Console:

 

Largest Contentful Paint

 

As has long been the case, websites should aim to achieve an LCP (load time) of less than 2.5s

Google Pagespeed Insights tool has been around for a while and is the benchmark for checking your sites load speed. However there are many variables to take into account such as server and location, as well as the platform your website is hosted on.

It is important to bear in mind that different platforms have their limitations when it comes to page load times. For example, many custom sites will often score an average result in page speed insights, and this is fairly well documented and even the biggest brands out there (see Penguin below) who currently dominate search, struggle with poor site speed. There comes a point where a compromise is necessary because those custom sites that really do take into account user experience, often use several plugins and it is these plugins that will affect page load speeds. It will be interesting to see how these sites fare when the new update is rolled out.

 

Screenshot of Page Speed Insights - how to prepare for the Google Algorith Update

EXPERT TIP:

It is absolutely worth getting your site speed as quick as possible now. However, it is widely recognised that some platforms’ websites run slower than others. For example, using several plugins on Shopify can have a negative impact on page load times. But this may be the same for your competitors. It is worth benchmarking your page speed compared to that of your competitors around you in the results for specific keywords, as well as against those who are a few pages beneath you, or above. This will give you an idea of whether you need to do in order to defend your position from a site speed perspective, or you can continue as you are with caution. Once the algorithm rolls out, see how rankings have changed and which sites are ranking top – what is their site speed compared to yours? 

 

Interactivity (First Input Delay FID):

 

This is a metric to measure the load responsiveness of your web pages. It helps evaluate how a user will engage with pages that are unresponsive – a low FID shows that the page is usable. A low FID is considered anything less than 100ms.

 

Stability

 

Everyone has experienced websites that shift when you try and click a button and you end up checking out, or losing your basket, right at the crucial moment. The Cumulative Layout Shift check, assesses how much your content moves during load and as a user scrolls down a page, this is a direct check on the responsiveness of a website. The number to aim for is 0.1 or less.

 

EXPERT TIP:

Interactivity and stability are both areas that need to be looked at by developers. If your website is built using a template on a well-known platform (Squarespace, WordPress, Shopify), most of these areas should be ticked off. However, if you’ve gone down a more custom approach, you may run into some issues and it is worth getting your developers to have a look if any problems are being flagged.

 

Alongside these innocent-sounding tracking metrics (hmm?), Google is also including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS and non-intrusive interstitials as part of the latest ranking factor.

Mobile Friendly

This is an oldie but a goodie – is your website responsive? Check mobile-friendliness here

Increasingly users across all industries are using several sizes of screen a day to interact with content online and Google wants to ensure that websites are delivering their customers the best possible experience when they’re on the move, as well as when they’re at work or at home.

Safe-browsing

Google wants to drive users to websites that aren’t going to attack them, so it checks website to ensure that there are no potentially damaging downloadables or dangerous software. You can check your website to see if there are any suspected files in the Security Issues report.

HTTPS

Another factor that’s been on our minds for some time, but it remains equally important as it did when it was first introduced. Ensure your customers’ data is safe!

Interstitials

Hmm, this one is a topic for debate and whilst Google’s guidelines are clear, this can dramatically affect how people engage in websites. For example, many websites have country and language selector popups once you land on their website – this is within Google’s guidelines. What Google is trying to knuckle down on are those aggressive salesy ads and popups that frustrate users. The guidelines state that the size of the popup or interstitial is a key factor so this is one to watch. Read Google’s guidelines on interstitials for further clarification and we’ll be writing another article on this soon so sign up for update.

Expert Tip:

Don’t be too aggressive in pushing discounts and signups as soon as people land on your website. Give them time to browse and then move in with the more disruptive marketing tactics.

What’s more, as Google has done in the past, it suggests that it may even add icons in the search results that show what the experience of the page is like. As we know from previous trials they’ve run in the results, getting the nod from Google and having these icons displayed next to your listings will increase the click-through rates to your pages.

Covid has held the world in submission for the majority of 2020, and finding positives are few and far between. However, with the enforcement of national lockdowns, the shift to digital has accelerated and many businesses have been busy creating their digital platforms for the first time.

This is brilliant as even digital skeptics are reaping the benefits from their online offering and they will continue to do so once retail returns to normal.

As many are finding, the move to digital presents a steep learning curve and the competition to achieve visibility is often fierce, but people have been able to sustain their livelihoods and start generating incomes online in a year that is largely worth forgetting. Google has recognised this move to digital, and to speculate on Google’s feeling, they understand that many people are feeling slightly downtrodden owing to the current climate. As a result of this, or maybe by coincidence, this ‘grace period’ has given us all an opportunity to improve the way we sell online.

Feel free to get in touch with one of the Diffusion team if you have any questions about any of the above, we’re happy to help.

 

How to integrate Instagram with your Shopify store to boost online sales

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, a huge number of businesses have shifted their focus online to remain competitive during these uncertain times. This, along with the gradual decline of brick and mortar retail, has resulted in an ever-increasing demand to shop online. That said, now more than ever is a crucial time for store merchants to up their eCommerce game in order to maximise revenue. 

Instagram_Shopify_Integration_Logos

Why is Instagram important for online sales?

 

Instagram has grown to become one of the most powerful social platforms for facilitating online sales. The social media platform was quick to recognise this shift in demand and have over time incorporated a range of new shoppable features into the app, with a view to encourage its users to discover brands and boost eCommerce sales.

Having your Instagram linked to your Shopify store is a great way to build trust between you and your customers. According to PixelRocket, 62% of Instagram users are more likely to be interested in a product if they’ve seen it previously on Instagram. Not only is this an effective way to increase conversion, but it also adds high quality content to your shop.

 

How do I integrate Instagram with my Shopify store?

 

As of 29th June 2020, Instagram discontinued it’s API, meaning that Shopify store merchants can no longer directly integrate their real time Instagram feed with their store. But don’t panic, it is still possible to display your latest Instagram posts on your storefront. 

There are a number of third party platforms available on the Shopify app store that will allow you to keep your consumers updated with your latest Instagram posts and maintain synergy across both platforms. 

Instafeed is an example of an app that allows store owners to display their shoppable Instagram feed on their store, with the added ability to customise the layout, controls and filters so that it fits in seamlessly with the look and feel of the store.

You can view the full list of apps available on the Shopify app store here

 

Make your Instagram shoppable

 

You can also use Instagram’s product tagging tool to make your posts shoppable via the app. By doing so, you are providing a direct link to the specific tagged product on your Shopify store, so this is a great way to ensure a seamless shopping experience for your consumers, and will ultimately boost direct traffic and sales to your storefront.

 

How to get customers to fall in love with your eCommerce store this Valentine’s Day

By Gabby Coughlan

The most romantic day of the year has hit once again.

For some, it’s an opportunity to declare their love for their other halves. For others, it’s an occasion for watching The Notebook whilst consuming a life-time’s worth of chocolate.

Yet for online store merchants, it’s a time for winning the hearts of their customers by luring them in with Valentine’s Day deals that they can’t say no to.

But how do store owners make themselves attractive enough to rule out the competition?

Continue reading for some Valentine’s Day tips to make your users fall in love with your store and boost your e-Commerce sales.

 

Check out how we can help you with your e-commerce store!

 

1. Spoil Your Customers with Offers and Freebies

 

Identify your most popular products and increase sales by promoting special Valentine’s Day discounts, free shipping and special offers for your loyal customers. This year, Pandora are incentivising their consumers to purchase with a free gift when they spend £99 or more.

 

 

What’s more, combining certain products to create gift sets is a great way to attract those looking to spoil their loved ones. You could even go a step further by offering complementary gift-wrapping to add a final Valentine’s touch.

 

2. Spice Up Your Landing Page

 

What better way to promote your Valentine’s Day offers and discounts than by creating a themed landing page? Incorporate the cliché pink and red colour scheme, insert some heart icons and add some cringe-worthy messaging to get your users excited about the most romantic day of the year.

 

 

This year, Boohoo.com has dedicated a Valentine’s landing page promoting their date night outfits, keeping very much in line with the Love Island lingo.

 

3. Write Blogs… Not Love Letters

 

As special as it is writing love letters to your other half, don’t forget to write enough blog content around Valentine’s Day. Creating content with optimised keywords will help boost traffic to your eCommerce store, which will ultimately lead to higher conversion.

Think about what most users will type in when searching for Valentine’s treats, for example, flowers, romantic, boyfriend, in order to ensure you’re using the most suitable keywords to rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

 

4. Give Some Love to Mobile

 

With more than half of online shopping done on mobile, it’s vital that your eCommerce store is responsive for mobile shoppers – and it’s only going to get more crucial as mobile commerce is forecast to overtake internet shopping on desktop by 2021.

Optimise your mobile store by ensuring a seamless user journey and easy checkout to encourage users to purchase their gifts on-the-go

 

5. Give Your Customers Attention

 

We know you love receiving messages on Valentine’s Day, so why not fill your customers’ inboxes with Valentine’s treats? Be sure to start marketing your sales and offers a few weeks before to start building awareness around how they can benefit from your store.

This year, Michael Kors have been effective in their email marketing, by offering advice on what to wear on Valentine’s Day, whether you’re going for a candlelit dinner with your other half, hanging out with your mates or heading to the movies.

 

 

So there you go, those were just a few tips and tricks to help you fulfil your Valentine’s Day wishes. Want to know more? Get in touch with us through the link below to find out how you can optimise your eCommerce store for any day of the year.

 

 

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

 

Blog Preview Image Credit: Total Shape

How to Migrate your Website Correctly

By Jojo Taylor

 

Are you are considering re-designing your website? Do you want to move your site to a new CMS platform? Or do you just want to change your domain name?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you are considering a ‘site migration’.

Unfortunately, site migrations are not always as simple as they may seem and can hurt your digital presence if not done well.

But don’t worry! This article will help you understand the risks of site migration, how to mitigate them and how to recover your traffic when a website migration goes wrong.

 

What Happens When you get it Wrong?

 

Loss of Website Traffic:

Perhaps the biggest risk when it comes to migrating your website is the potential for a loss of website traffic. While this may often be temporary, in the worst cases a site may never recover.

Decline in Search Rankings:

Loss of traffic is often paired with a decline in Google’s search rankings. An initial decline in Google’s search rankings is all but inevitable when migrating your website. However, a bad migration can mean a site may never reach its original search position and it may even be dropped from Google’s index completely!

 

Things to Consider when Migrating a Site:

 

Sound a bit scary? Don’t worry, there are steps you can take!

While there are indeed a number of SEO risks that come with migrating your site, a successful site migration can improve your digital presence in the long-term.

This site migration checklist highlights the common mistakes that people make, how to avoid them, and what actions you should take to migrate your website successfully.

To make it easier for you, we have split the stages of migration into four: Plan, Test, Launch and Monitor.

Plan:

You need to consider any potential issues that you could run into before they happen. Here are some actions that you can take to plan for your website migration:

  1. Consider your timing – Even with a well thought out migration strategy, you are still likely to lose website traffic during the first couple of weeks after you launch your new website. Choose to migrate when business is quieter, and your temporary loss of traffic won’t be such a blow.
  2. Engage with your audience – Engaging with your audience by informing them of the website migration will help them find your website much easier when you first launch.
  3. Audit your current website – To conduct a website audit, you need to examine thoroughly how well your website works. How fast are the pages on my website? Which pages are generating the most traffic or conversions? Which pages rank highest on Google? Are there any broken links on my website? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself as you go through your site. By answering these questions, you will be able to find out which parts of your current site you should carry over to your new one, and which parts need to be changed so that you can optimise the new site after you migrate.
  4. Create a redirect spreadsheet – Make a spreadsheet that shows how all the URLs on your current site will correspond to the URLs on your new site. This will come in handy later when you need your old URLs to point to new pages on your site!
  5. Make an XML sitemap for both your current site and your new site

Test: 

A surprising number of people underestimate the importance of testing their site first. The testing stage of the process helps you to identify any problems with your new site before it goes live. This allows you to fix them before they affect your search ranking.

The most important thing to remember when testing your site is to make sure that your testing site is not being indexed by Google. This will stop your current site (and your new site) from being penalised by google for duplicate content, and stop users being able to see your site prematurely.

You can do this using a few methods, but we recommend using a ‘noindex’ meta tag in the site’s code to tell Google not to index it. You can also protect your test site with a password to be extra safe.

 

Launch:

Having prepared for your site migration and tested your new site, the day has finally come to migrate your site! Once you have migrated the site successfully, there are some steps that you need to take immediately to retain web traffic and search rankings:

  1. Remember that redirect spreadsheet that you made with your old website’s URLs? Now is the time to use it! You will need to add a 301 redirect to every URL from your old site so that it directs your customer to the appropriate page on your new site. This will prevent returning customers from getting lost on their way to your site.
  2. Add your Google Search Console and Google Analytics tracking codes to your new site and check that they work – you will need these working to keep track of how your new site is performing.
  3. Remove any meta tags or passwords that might prevent your site from being indexed by Google.
  4. Submit your XML sitemap. This will make a big difference when it comes to SEO. Submitting sitemaps allow Google to understand the structure of your site and to identify important pages quicker.

 

Monitor: 

If you think that the hard work is over, you’re wrong. It’s important to keep a close eye on your site after a migration as issues are most likely to appear in the first few weeks.

You will need to check daily that all of your internal links are working correctly. If there are any broken links that lead to 404 error pages, it is best to identify them as soon as they happen to avoid any collateral damage for your website traffic. You will also need to keep an eye on GoogleAnalytics. If you notice a drop in traffic, you will need to figure out the reason for this as soon as possible.

 

How to Recover from a Bad Site Migration:

You may be wondering if you can recover from a bad site migration. The answer is yes, you can. However, the journey to regaining traffic and search ranking is long and perilous.

To recover from a bad site migration, you will need to start by identifying your problem areas, and this can be a very time-consuming task.

To do this, you will need to conduct a full audit of your site and address all the errors that you find. These will often include problems with redirects, your sitemap, meta tags, canonical tags, links and badly optimised content. Sadly, fixing any number of these can be difficult, and it will be much harder to recover your site once the damage has been done.

 

Fortunately, there is always expert help available! Diffusion Digital is an eCommerce agency who specialise in WordPress and Shopify as well as digital marketing, so if you’re thinking about migrating your website, we’ll be able to help you through all stages of the process.

 

 

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads – Which suits your business best?

Ask most online retailers what their preferred eCommerce platform is and more often than not, they’ll mention Amazon.

And, for good reason too because when it comes to selling online, Amazon reigns supreme…by a long margin.

But you knew that already.

What you may not know is that you’re leaving an awful lot on the virtual table if you’re only selling on Amazon.

Enter Google Ads and Facebook.

Google Ads popularity for selling products has been on the rise and as of this writing, it is still the number 1 threat to Google.

Facebook’s platform for selling products has been proving popular and effective too over the last couple of years and that’s a good thing: more choices = more competition = higher value.

If you’re an online retailer that want to increase your sales and expand your brand presence it is a must that you start exploring platform beyond Amazon and the 2 that we’ll discuss here are Google Ads and Facebook.

Comparing Google Ads with Facebook Ads

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Cartoon

To get started, you should first understand the fundamental differences between the 2 platforms in terms of sale, buyer and cost attributes.

Buy intent

Buy or commercial intent refers to the level of ‘intent’ the click or keyword has. In other words, what is the likelihood of that click converting into a sale and more often than not, Google Ads will outperform Facebook here.

That shouldn’t seem surprising either when you consider that the buyer’s search was initiated on Google with an objective in mind: finding that product or service to purchase.

A click from Facebook on the other hand has less buy intent. No matter how targeted your Facebook campaign, your prospective buyer wouldn’t have started browsing through their Facebook feed with the goal to make a purchase which is why you will find that Facebook’s cost per sale is higher.

Digital Marketing - what platform is better poster

Cost per sale

The higher buy intent on Google means that the total number of clicks it will take to generate a sale is lower than from Facebook. This means that the cost of generating each sale on Google will be lower than Facebook.

This is something you want to bear in mind if you’re deciding between the 2 platforms. If your profit margins aren’t enough and you could only sell on the 1 platform, start with Google.

Return on Investment

If you’re looking to maximise your ROI above all else then Facebook might be a better choice for you.

Wait, what?! I thought we said the cost per sale from Google is lower so how can Facebook deliver a higher ROI?

The reason for this is compared to Google, Facebook is still a much more untapped marketplace with lesser competition so if you’re selling something that is even a little bit unique but you’ve setup targeted selling campaigns, while your cost per sale might be higher you may end up selling more.

And, that is because of the targeting tools available only on Facebook (we’re talking about custom and lookalike audiences here) and Facebook’s ability to allow you to scale your campaigns.

Scalability

If you’re looking to scale your Ecommerce business and cost isn’t a barrier then Facebook can give you a higher chance of making that happen than Google.

With Google, you’re limited by the no. of searches across all your target keywords across your target location.

With Facebook however, you can target customers based on several parameters which means that you can scale your campaigns more and quickly, too.

So, which platform is right for you? Google or Facebook?

The simple answer is both.

If you’d budget allows for it, you want to sell on both platforms so you can compare the results from the 2 and then gradually allocating more resources to the platform that is working better for you.

If you don’t have the necessary resources to sell on both however, then our recommendation would be to start with Google and if possible have a small retargeting campaign on Facebook to try and capture those visitors who didn’t convert during their initial visit via your Google Ads click.

If you need help deciding on which Ecommerce platform is right for you, check out this ecommerce guide which will help show you the way. Hint: It’s Shopify.

The Ultimate Guide To Selecting an eCommerce Platform

By Will Wigram

 

Thinking of building a new eCommerce store or replatforming an existing one?

 

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to choosing an eCommerce platform to help your store get off to the best possible start from the get go.

 

1)        Getting Started / Business Objectives

 

So, what are the key considerations or questions you should ask yourself? Well…

 

What are the reasons behind the re-platforming? What are the key business objectives form this project?

 

Perhaps its your global growth ambitions that is spear-heading this, or potentially to reduce costs and management overheads.

 

Whatever the reasons are its key to make sure that these have been discussed, considered and that everyone is in agreement.

 

What are the key success metrics of the website?

 

Increasing overall sales is probably up there but what other metrics can you attribute to the success of the website?

 

Knowing these is extremely helpful for both you and us when we take on a project as we can link back all of activity and proposed work to these to make sure we are achieving these initial goals.

 

 

If applicable, how is the current website failing?

 

What are the current pain points? – This could be user experience / navigation issues, it could be inflexibility with scaling or a dated look and feel.

 

Whatever they are, it is imperative they do not crop up again and therefore need to be made clear from the get go.

 

But also think about the successes that we can develop even further going forward.

 

What are the main features and functionalities that you want?

 

Of course you will refine this as you go through this process (and we’ll discuss this more in a minute) but its useful to lay everything out on the table to start with. From here you can try to organise them into must haves and nice to haves.

 

Knowing what the priorities are is really useful as it can help point us to the most appropriate platform, and in cases where there are budget limitations, it can help us put together a phased project plan.

 

There are a huge amount of factors that can and will consider in this process, but beginning with the four points above will get you off to a good start.

 

I think one of the most important takeaway’s here is to make sure you involve all departments in these initial discussions. As you go through the process it won’t always be necessary to have all departments involved, but including everyone at this early stage is only going to result in a much more rounded view of the needs and objectives.

 

2)        Product Make Up

 

At the core of any eCommerce website are the catalogues of products. Again on the surface this may seem quite straight forward – items for sale, different colours, different sizes, prices, descriptions and images. But actually, the make-up of these catalogues can be quite intricate and there may be certain limitations on some platforms that could prevent you from running your business effectively.

 

Some of the SaaS platforms (like Shopify & Bigcommerce) are more suited to less complex catalogues than the likes of Magento. For example the number of variants a product can have cannot exceed 100 on Shopify. There are ways around this but it involves customisation and/or the use of a third party app.

 

In isolation this is not that much of a problem but if this type of customisation is needed throughout your product offering, it can become a bit of a pain to manage.

 

So, to alleviate the risk of this happening here are some of the the product questions you should be asking yourself:

 

  • How many products do you want to sell online? Quantity in isolation is rarely an issue but it’s good to know this nonetheless as it will have implications in various ways such as design and site speed optimisation.
  • How many categories and sub categories will you have? This could be quite small to begin with and then grow, so future ambitions is good to also bare in mind at this stage.
  • How Complex is your product taxonomy? Think about the number variants each product will have – colours, sizes, types etc. Will these be presented as single products or as SKUs within the products
  • Is there a requirement to be able to group / bundle products? This has implications for stock management so it’s good to know
  • Will products be sold on a subscription basis? If so, what are the rules here? What does this model look like?
  • Is pre order a requirement? If so should this be triggered automatically when a product is out of stock or manually? Can pre order be managed through other channels such as by phone?
  • Do you have a BTC and BTB product offering? How do these differ and should they be set up completely separately?
  • How will your product make up change and grow over the next few years? Linking back to what I mentioned earlier, what are the ambitions for all of the above?

 

Ultimately it is preferable to choose a platform that can accommodate as many of your requirements as standard features of the platform. Of course, one of the great perks of many of the eCommerce platforms out there, is the vast range of third party apps/plugins that are available that you can bolt onto the website to enhance functionality (we get to this later).

 

However from experience, it’s not advisable to have heaps of plugins as this can have a negative effect on overall site performance and speed.

 

If the majority of the functionality of your website comes from third party plug-ins, it’s probably a pretty clear sign that you are not on the most appropriate platform.

 

This is why it’s important to have all of this detail clearly available when selecting a platform, to alleviate the risk of choosing a one that restricts you and does not allow you to create and evolve in a hassle free manner.

 

3)        Content Requirements

 

Content is at the core of every website and different platforms offer different solutions to the variety of different elements that you may or may not require, some making it easier that others.

 

Types of Content:

Ediorial – Blog, News, Press – archives

Campaign – Projects, Case Studies , Look Books

Brand – About, Philosohy, Process / Craft, History,

Social – integrating 3rd party content

 

Again, try to think about how this will evolve as well as what you’re launching with. How often are you going to be adding new content to the site?

 

If this is regularly (as, of course, it should be to help your SEO rankings) it is so important that it is an easy to do, otherwise it will cause such a headache to whoever has this job, wasting their time going through a tedious process or even worse deterring them from adding any new content.

 

WordPress, is a great option for content rich sites as there is no real limitation from a creative or management point of view. We have historically connected this with WooCommerce to offer a powerful eCommerce solution for our clients – and this is definitely a combination we still recommend.

 

Bigcommerce has recently developed a WordPress integration that creates a really powerful solution giving you all the benefits of WordPress, but weaving this into a very capable and solid ecommerce platform.

 

Shopify is also improving as a content management system and whilst it used to be tricky to manage editorial style content, this is no longer the case.

 

4)        Technical Requirements/Integrations

 

You will find that a lot of the more common integrations are easily achieved with ready made plug ins available. These include:

  • Connecting to email marketing platform to capture newsletter sign ups
  • Connecting to Payment gateways – to allow a seamless check out experience
  • Feeding your instagram account onto the site to offer fresh and dynamic content

 

But it’s not always this straight forward. The recommend approach therefore is thinking about which integrations are going to add value for your customers and your business, rather than going off what you have on the existing site or copying current trends.

 

Once we have this list we can start to evaluate how these can be executed on different platforms, and what level of integration is needed.

 

As mentioned, on the one hand you don’t want to be in a position where you are having to completely customise and bolt on hundreds of apps to achieve your desired offering

On the flip-side you also don’t want to buy into an expensive enterprise level solution when you actually only need 2% of what they offer and are therefore hugely over engineering the situation.

 

We’d be here all day if I was to attempt to list all of the different types of integrations that could be incorporated into your site, but these are some of the potentially more complex but really useful ones that definitely need consideration, and will really help with the seamless running on your business:

 

  • Stock Management
  • Accounting
  • ERP Systems – he
  • Taxes and Duties
  • Multi Currency Check Out – internationalisation
  • Multi Language
  • Fulfillment / Shipping

 

Internationalisation especially, is often one of the biggest factors that will shape platform choice. Giving your customers a local shopping experience, and allowing your business operations to work efficiently on a global scale is essential.

 

Up until now we would only have suggested the more enterprise level platforms – like Magento or Shopware, for this type of requirement.

 

This said a lot of the SaaS platforms are now getting up to speed with this.

 

For example, implementing Shopify to target several countries around the world was always the biggest deal breaker as the only option available previously, was to clone the store in order to enable check out in another currency. However now, multi currency checkout is available through their premium offering -Shopify Plus. In 2019 the road map for Bigcommerce also has Internationalisation at the top of its agenda.

 

As the capabilities of every platform is constantly evolving, it is really important to think about what your technical requirements are and what integrations are needed so that we can help pair you with the a platform that’s the best fit, now and in the future.

 

5)        Costs and Timings

 

And last but by no means least – money! Ultimately one of the determining factors in this process is going to be the available budget and deadlines.

 

The time (and therefore cost) it takes to build an eCommerce website will vary hugely based on the size, complexity and platform you are using.

 

Whether you choose to disclose your budget with your agency at this stage is up to you – from our point of view this is helpful as we can tailor an appropriate solution.

 

Either way, though, it is just crucial to have these figures worked out in good time.

 

So, there are two key factors that must be considered and budgeted for:

 

  • The initial cost of the build of the website
  • Ongoing costs to keep the site running.

 

This initial cost can include:

 

  • Discovery costs – could be UX, brand work, concepting, SEO
  • Design and build costs
  • Data import
  • Content creation – copy writing and photo shoots
  • Third-party integration costs,
  • SEO Set Up

 

Once the implementation is completed, you have to account for the ongoing cost. Items included in this are:

 

  • Maintenance and support retainers,
  • Ongoing host fees,
  • Platform licence costs
  • Payment gateway related fees,
  • Third-party apps / plugin subscriptions
  • Ongoing SEO and marketing

 

Depending on the type of platform you choose, some of these costs might not apply which might be a deciding factor for picking one platform over another.

 

So, there we have it. Once you have a good idea about all of the above points, let’s organise a time to sit down and discuss which eCommerce platform will help propel your business forward.