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.
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!
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Make an XML sitemap for both your current site and your new site
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove any meta tags or passwords that might prevent your site from being indexed by Google.
- 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.
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.
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
To get started, you should first understand the fundamental differences between the 2 platforms in terms of sale, buyer and cost attributes.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
By Rupert Rowe
You may not have heard of Google Optimize yet. You may not even be familiar with what Landing Page Optimisation is. But, I’m guessing you understand why testing all your marketing activities is important…whether that is the ad copies on your Google Ads campaigns, your SEO keywords and perhaps above all else, the pages where you direct your marketing traffic to.
This is where Google Optimize (GO) comes in.
Similar to the first generation of tools such as VWO and Optimizely, Google Optimize is brought to you by Google to make the task of A/B testing your landing pages easier and in typical Google fashion, it brings you a range of enterprise-level software for free.
And, this really is the biggest selling point of GO.
Most of us are already using Google Analytics which means getting started with your A/B testing is not only super easy, you will get access to far more metrics and KPIs to measure, test and evaluate than you would with a 3rd party solution such as VWO.
This deep integration also enables the storage of most of your testing data in GO of course but also Google Analytics which is a huge time-saver if you’re running tests frequently.
The other benefit is the shorter learning curve in learning how to use GO compared to other tools.
If you’ve never setup an A/B landing page test you’re not alone. Although, majority of most small business budgets is spent towards traffic acquisition as opposed to conversion, landing page optimisation is extremely important as the cost of implementing any digital marketing strategy whether that is SEO or PPC or Social rises every year as competition heats up and after a certain point, maximising your website’s conversion rate is where you will get the additional rewards.
VWO and Optimizely are the 2 other biggest landing page testing tools and whilst none of them are particularly difficult to work with, they aren’t as effortless as working with GO.
What’s more, if you’re familiar with the dashboard of other Google products such as Google Analytics or Google Ads, you’re likely to find GO rather easy to use.
Here’s a quote from Krista Seiden, Google, who looks after GO
“Your test stats are available in the Reporting tab within the Optimize UI. They are also available in Google Analytics in a number of ways: Every hit from Optimize is sent to GA with an Experiment Name, Experiment ID, and Variant number automatically attached. This means that you can get much more creative with how you analyze your test data outside of the Optimize UI. You can:
- Segment and add secondary dimensions to a report with Variant #, Exp ID, and Exp name
- Create audiences and segments based on previous test behavior, and even target to future test experiments based on being a part of a prior test” (via Digital Debrief)
Finally, GO offers quite a few options on what sort of test you want to set up and whilst that can be a bit overwhelming at first, esp. If you’re new to the world of A/B testing, getting the hang of it won’t take too long.
Here are some examples of tests you can carry out in Google Optimize:
A/B – The most basic type of test where you compare one element against another. You could test one landing page vs another or a headline or a call-to-action…the list is endless.
Redirect tests – Similar to a A/B test excepting that you’re testing the 2 elements separately. For example, before launching your new website, you could test it with real users showing only one version to one set of users and another to a different set.
Multivariate tests – Think A/B/C/D… You can test multiple variants of multiple elements at the same time. In other words you can combine testing landing page with the headline on one version with the call-to-action on another and so on….
And there you have it.
We hope this serves as an easy to use starting point if you want to try out Google Optimize.
We highly recommend it not only because it’s fairly simple to use once you get used to it but as importantly, because split testing is a great way to improve your conversion rates and your ROI from your marketing efforts.
Of course, if you ever need help with setting up Google Optimize or split tests for you, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.
Choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business can be a daunting and sometimes confusing process. There are many platforms to choose from and key factors that must be taken into account before you even start looking at individual platforms. We recognise the difficulties that come with platform selection, which is why Diffusion Digital have partnered up with dotdigital to host a breakfast event at Rise London that will assess platform suitability and the best approach to take when making this decision. The breakfast will be a great opportunity to learn about the current landscape, some key considerations to take when re-platforming and the benefits and functionalities of some of the market leading platforms, including Shopify, Magento, Woo Commerce, Big Commerce and Shopware.
Whether you’re already in the discovery phase of re-platforming or you’ve only just started thinking about it, we’ll provide you with noteworthy talks and a Q&A session, which should answer your questions and clarify your decision-making process.
On the day
Prior to setting up Diffusion Digital, Will worked in media for 6 years. He left to join Matter of Form (sister agency to Diffusion Digital) and subsequently set up Diffusion as an effective alternative for ambitious businesses, delivering eCommerce websites and SEO strategy with an emphasis on simplicity, beautiful design and exceptional technology. During the breakfast event, Will will be outlining the steps you should be taking when choosing your eCommerce platform.
Gavin Laugenie is an expert in the email marketing industry with over 10 years’ experience, helping brands to solve complex marketing and technology problems. He has worked closely with organisations in both the B2B and B2C sectors with experience in the retail, travel and financial sectors in both the UK and US. Gavin will be giving us an insight into his top eCommerce marketing tactics and an approach towards re-platforming your marketing stack.
Want to get involved?