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.
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.
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.
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:
ERP Systems – he
Taxes and Duties
Multi Currency Check Out – internationalisation
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
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.
Digital marketing should already be an essential cog in your marketing machine because whether your goals are generating sales from your Ecommerce website, awareness for your brand or leads for the service you offer, in terms of cost-effectiveness, nothing does it better than digital marketing. Of course I would say that, and here is why….
If you’re still on the fence about whether to invest in digital marketing, this guide should give you a good understand of the origins of digital marketing, the channels available and which ones may be worth it for you. For those familiar with this, feel free to skip over to the trends section.
A lot has changed over the last year or two, with the rise in popularity of voice enabled devices, voice navigation becoming an increasingly used feature in mobile phones, as well as the rise of Internet of Things (IoT); the start of the year is a good time to brush up your digital marketing knowledge and set out a plan for the year ahead.
With so many choices of platform, devices and audiences, it is important to understand the features and benefits of each so you can take an informed decision about where to invest your marketing budget.
The Origins Of Digital Marketing
The term ‘digital marketing’ can be traced back to the early 1990’s when the Archie search engine was created. This indexed FTP files and worked alongside the huge stores of data that companies were collecting, allowing them to track customer information. The result was the ability to target a customer with more relevant marketing material and essentially was the beginning of modern digital marketing.
Competition and increased usage led to an increased use of digital matter which enabled the first clickable banner ad going live; as long ago as 1994. It could be argued that the success of this ad is what drove digital marketing forward. Estimates suggest 44% of the people who saw the ad clicked on it i.e. click-through rate (CTR). Sure, you could make the case that it yielded those high CTRs only because it was a relatively new concept but it was a good metric nevertheless.
Of course digital marketing really started to take off in the 2000’s when the internet started to become more commonplace and not just reserved for the tech-savvy amongst us.
Moreover, the introduction of mobile devices and other ways to access the internet on the move such as tablets (called Personal Digital Assistants back then), over the last 20 years, has driven increased growth and transformation of digital marketing.
Types Of Digital Marketing
There are several different ‘types’ of digital marketing, and by type we’re referring to how it is implemented and the platforms put to use.
Social Media Marketing
Even if you don’t use social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn to share information about your business and your products no doubt you’ve heard about advertising on it before. This is a great way to engage with potential customers and promote your products and in terms of maintaining brand loyalty, it is perhaps the most effective way of increasing and maintaining awareness for your business.
But, you do need to choose the right channel for your products / services. Each social media platform has its own features, use-cases and what it can deliver for your business, you just need to choose the one that best suits your objectives.
Not all that you publish as a business will be about sales and neither should it be. You need to publish a lot of useful and informative content online for people to engage with in order for them to find out about you, your services and what you could potentially do for their business. These are all important factors to most potential purchasers. Good quality content will pass on valuable information while engaging with the customer; it needs to be easy to read and appeal to your target audience.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the method by which you rank your page within the first few positions on the search results. You need to choose keywords that are relevant to your business i.e. those likely to generate leads or sales for you and then go about implementing a SEO strategy to promote the content and the website.
The key is to choose the right keywords for your business as this can make or break your SEO campaign.
To make things more complicated there are many different strategies within SEO that will have a huge effect on the campaign’s success.
Get in touch to find out how we can help with your digital marketing campaign
Search Engine Marketing is another way to ensure that you maintain visibility across the various search engines across paid for channels. The pricing models for SEM will vary from one channel to another.
For e.g., in Pay Per Click (PPC) Google is the undisputed leader. When it comes to display marketing aka impressions, which is how often a prospect sees your ad, Facebook leads the way.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Simply put, PPC marketing is when you pay each time someone clicks on your ad
Compared to SEM which is often based on impressions, PPC costs work on a click basis only and they are therefore generally more conducive if lead generation is your goal.
Another way in which you can increase the awareness for your business and generate more sales is to use affiliate marketing links. In short anyone can list a product that you’re selling on their own site. If they end up selling a product of yours you pay them something. Think of affiliates as your network of sales personnel.
The great thing about this approach is that there are no limits to the number of affiliate links you can have and you only pay out after a confirmed sale. This dramatically reduces any risks associated with online marketing campaigns.
The email has been a wonderful invention not just for personal communication everywhere but for marketing purposes too.
In terms of acquisition costs, few platforms can rival the cost-effectiveness of email marketing especially when you’re marketing out to a warm or hot list i.e. your previous or current customers and qualified prospects.
You can use email to market just about anything – a new product or service launch, an event or sale you’re having, updates about the company or simply to stay in top-of-mind of your customers.
The only caveat with email marketing is not to overdo it as it only takes a single click for your audience to have had enough and them abandoning your list.
It may seem old fashioned but advertising on the radio can still work very well for certain types of businesses and offering. A lot of people listen to the radio at some point during the day and often at times when their attention is undivided for example in the car or at work.
SMS messages sent directly to your phone is an established digital marketing technique and works very well for most B2C industries especially those in the restaurant trade and/or offering local services.
WhatsApp is often touted to be the next iteration of SMS marketing but hasn’t quite taken off fully yet but with Mark Zuckerberg planning on integrating Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook, hopefully this is going to be on the rise, giving businesses yet another way to interact with and market to potential customers.
Prospects For The Digital Landscape In 2019
The traditional way of carrying out digital marketing is via a single channel. This could be something as simple as telling your existing customers to invite their friends to support your business; you could even offer an incentive to ensure people take the right action.
Alternatively you can do what Facebook and several other firms do and invite all your friends for you; you’ve given them permission somewhere in the small print. This is still a single channel approach but a very effective one.
Although this method does still work, it is no longer as effective as an omni-channel approach which as the name suggests, you target users at multiple ‘touch points’ and at different times.
With the myriad of ways consumers now engage with content online, from different devices, starting and stopping and then starting the explorative journey again, building a marketing campaign across multiple channels will dramatically increase a campaigns potency and effectiveness in 2019.
The internet has swollen to such a size that all the digital marketing channels are being flooded by online businesses. In order for you to stand out from the crowd and reach those customers you need to hit all the channels possible.
The types of digital marketing discussed at the start of this guide are all important, but the key here is you can’t target just one of these channels; you need to be utilising as many of them as possible in order to ensure your business is seen and heard as often as possible. This will help to ensure you are the first one they think of when after your specific product; helping to ensure they buy through or from you.
In addition, there are certain trends that are likely to be prevalent all of 2019 so it helps for you to familiarise yourself with these.
Understanding & Utilising Voice Search
It is estimated that by 2020 half of all the searches done on the internet will be by voice search. Searching using voice commands is the natural progression of the smart home systems such as Alexa and Google Home, and the beauty of these devices is that you will be able to find information on what you need while completing other tasks. This is important as most people lead exceptionally hectic lives making anything that saves time a hugely desirable commodity.
This means that you should start thinking about optimising your site for voice searches in order to ensure you are at the top of the page rankings when searches that are displayed may be read out on these devices. This obviously depends on the products you sell as it is widely accepted that repeat buy items are benefited by voice search where as one-offs and unique things will generally remain as they are in terms of search strategy.
The good news is that the tactics you are currently using for SEO and content marketing are still very relevant. In essence the voice search is no different to a typed search the only difference being the length of the search query.
Your website, the amount of time it takes to load, it’s engagement (or lack of it) are all important factors too so here are some things you can do to improve it:
In order to rank high when a voice search is performed you need to have pages that load quickly. You should take a look at each page and remove unnecessary clutter, pieces of code that are weighing the site down, heavy images and anything else unnecessary. The faster your page loads the better.
If your site is not already on HTTPS then you need to incorporate it today! This is essential for SEO and so must be an essential part of your digital marketing campaign in 2019.
It is important to keep your answers short. Users are increasingly asking long questions but want short answers that can be easily digested on the move.
You should perform a voice search on some of your keywords regularly to see how high you rank and what pages are linked; this will help you to improve your marketing focus. It is important to remember that people will phrase the same question differently; you need to infer the intent of a question not the literal response.
Getting good quality of traffic to your website is only half the job. You need to make sure that the website is doing the best it can to convert those visitors. and , it doesn’t matter whether you have a Shopify powered website you use to generate sales or a WordPress site to generate leads leads – having an engaging website is a must.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) – The Facts
Most marketing people don’t like to think about the conversion rate; after all marketing is about making people aware of your brand and getting them to visit your site. However as wonderful as it would be to have 1 million followers this is not much use if none of them are purchasing your products.
You must consider how to maximise your conversion rates. Whilst there are several great guides on this subject online, this section is about giving you a basic understanding of CRO and making your website more ‘conversion-friendly’.
The first step is to establish where the majority of your customers are coming from. You’ll probably find that an increasing share is coming via mobile devices. If your site is not optimised for mobile devices then you are going to lose conversions; people need to be able to see all the relevant information without having to scroll left and right continuously.
Your site needs to look good on a mobile device, be fast and be exceptionally easy to navigate – this is where my friends in UX come in. The longer a visitor spends on the site the more likely they are to become a customer. Don’t forget that people do still access websites on laptops and desktops, the screens are different sizes and your page needs to adapt to all of these sizes effortlessly and instantly. If you have an eCommerce website then simple things like showing when an item is out of stock will help customers not to waste time and help prevent them from leaving your site annoyed.
It’s also a good idea to create several mock sites and test them for conversion rates. This can help you to find the design that works best for converting visitors into customers. You can then change your official site to match.
Another key point is to answer the question of “why should I buy from you?” This is actually more important than what you are selling! Once people have connected to you and believe in your brand you’ll be able to guide them through purchasing your product. You can do this by making it instantly very clear what you do and what your values are.
You can do this with a prominent image and simple slogan. Although it’s simple, it will improve your conversion rate.
Conversion optimisation is intricately linked with leverage funnels. This is actually true for many of your digital marketing strategies and the reason why it can appear so complicated. A leverage funnel is the process of gently guiding the customer from their first awareness of you down to their ultimate purchase.
Not every customer will complete all the stages, hence the potential customer numbers will diminish creating the effect of a standard funnel. Getting this process right will help to ensure the maximum number of visitors possible will end up purchasing from your site.
The first stage is to identify the need. You’ve made the product but you need to let everyone know that they need it. This can be achieved through content marketing, SEO and social media, by illustrating your product and demonstrating its value, you’ll create a need for it.
Next you need to proceed to the second stage of the funnel, this is where potential customers will search for information regarding the product they now know they need. 70% of people will use a search engine to find out more info; you need to have your keyword orientated content ready to help them realise that you are offering the best product for their needs.
Stage three involves checking out the competition. This is when you need to have something unique on offer, whether it be an introductory discount or some other sweetener. If you’ve done these stages correctly the visitor will see your product as the logical choice and proceed to purchase.
At this stage you can attempt to up-sell a better version of your product or even use a down-sale to encourage the purchase. In addition you can link to other relevant products and increase your income via cross sales.
It is important to record the data from each customer, you will want to confirm the lifetime value of your best customers and offer them extra incentives as they past certain thresholds; this will help them to stay loyal.
People may tell you that content marketing is on the decline as more people use alternative ways to find the answers they need.
In fact the real threat to content marketing is the number of posts on the internet, all saying similar things. You need to design content that is unique, memorable and most of all, easy to read.
Content marketing remains one of the best ways to get your site established and known; with the right content and links you can build a good reputation. To do this you need to develop your content marketing plan today.
As mentioned all content should be original but it should also be relevant to the visitor. It can be difficult to make content personal but it is important as this will increase your conversion numbers.
Alongside this, some links to local and even national leaders of your industry will help to establish your reputation and advocate your brand. This will help you to get the visitors and conversions you need to stay competitive in 2019.
You probably won’t find it surprising to learn that video content is becoming increasingly popular. Videos can help a subject to seem more entertaining as well as allowing potential customers to feel like they are connecting with a real person in a more interactive and visual way.
Videos need to be short and informative but they are also a great way of showcasing a specific product. However, remember it’s a video so you need to treat it like a mini-film and create a storyline that shows the value of a product without needing to feature the product too much.
This will appeal to the emotional side of a potential buyer and increase your conversion rate. Don’t forget many visitors will only stay on your site for approximately 10 seconds; your video needs to get straight to the point!
If you can get someone to forget reality for a minute and make them laugh then your video is sure to gain more traction. Tagging it across different channels as much as possible will help it to be seen which in turn will increase the likelihood of it turning up in organic results.
Finally consider adding podcasts to your digital marketing strategy. A whopping 45% of podcast listeners have a household income above $75,000; that’s a lucrative market you want to be accessing.
A podcast can be listened to in the car, while working, cooking or even when doing the gardening. This means people can be finding out more about what you have to offer when they wouldn’t normally have the time to be surfing the internet.
The great thing about a podcast is that your latest podcast will be made available, via applications such as iTunes, without you needing to do anything. Your customers can access you without any effort and all you need is a script and somewhere to record it; the script doesn’t even have to be rigid.
You can also add advertisements into your podcast breaks which are surprisingly effective at creating sales.
The Bottom Line
Digital marketing in 2019 is set to become even more competitive as more and more businesses began to abandon traditional forms of advertising in favour of going digital.
Looking at the types of marketing in this article and the trends that are likely to prevail in 2019 can leave you feeling a little disorientated; but it doesn’t have to. By creating a plan you can tackle each of these elements one step at a time; ultimately creating and applying the perfect digital marketing plan for 2019. Of course, if you’re unsure in any way or need some extra guidance then you can simply ask for the advice and support you need.
It’s great to have someone there to help you, try us out today to see just how much we can benefit you!
This highly anticipated development from the global eCommerce heavy-weight, for the moment at least, is only available to Shopify PLUS partners. This said it is Shopify’s intention to role this out to all of their clients down the line.
This article is going to outline the features of Shopify’s new multi currency checkout as well as addressing some frequently asked questions.
First things first – what does selling in multiple currencies mean?
The customer who arrives at the store will have the ability to complete the entire checkout or buyer experience in a currency of their choice. Until now, the customer could only check out in the currency that the store had set up.
The new Shopify multi-currency option adds a number of features to both the customer and vender experience.
Prices are set initially by the merchant in their preferred currency
IP address will indicate where the user is and automatically select the most appropriate currency
There is a currency selector in the top navigation – when a new currency is selected the page will refresh automatically showing the new currency
When a new currency is created they are generally friendly and accurately reflect the price in each one of the countries i.e. you will not get peculiar decimals like £85.99 > $109.36 – instead it is rounded appropriately
The selected currency will flow through the cart experience and once they arrive at the checkout, the currency also remains in this currency – beforehand it would revert back to the vendors default selection
Discounts are applied in the customers selected currency
Rates do not update every minute – they are generally pretty stable throughout the day.
The authorisation on the credit card will come through in the currency the customer has selected, regardless of what currency the card is in.
Merchants can select default from nine different currencies – USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD and merchants can enable whichever ones they require
On the orders page there is an indicator showing whether or not the order was multi-currency or not. However the currency displayed to the vendor is the one they selected
When you click on the details of each order the default is in the currency of the buyer. There is an option to change this into the vendor’s own shop currency
In the timeline you are able to see all of the conversion rates that have been implemented throughout the process
In the product description page you can see each one of the different prices associated to that product so that you can judge whether or not the automatic currency selector is sensible
Once setup the multi currency feature is relatively intuitive to use, but getting there is a different kettle of fish. Fortunately Shopify have published a detailed migration guide that is constantly evolving based on customers feedback and lists all of the different setup options and functionality. This being the case I’m not going to try and turn it into something more palatable – apologies if this comes across as a copout, but some things just can’t be shined and its better for everyone to go straight to the source.
If you are a Shopify partner you can now find a development store in your partner dashboard which you can make use of to play around and test some of the newest features.
Does the merchant need to update prices in different currencies or does the currency conversion happen automatically?
In this particular release all prices are generated automatically. Shopify takes the prices that the merchant puts in. The merchant sets the Shop currency and all of the prices and then Shopify will apply FX rates and rounding roles to generate a price for every other currency.
What if the merchant needs to offer a different price in a different currency instead of automatic conversion – is this possible?
In this particular release that is not possible however Shopify is working towards this in the future. So, currently the prices can only be set in the shop currency and then the automatic conversion is implemented.
There are rounding rules with currency conversion. What are these rules? Does it only apply to the sub total or does it apply to discounts as well?
Rounding rules apply to the specific line items and there are a few options that can be changed per currency. Currently these numbers only round up so as to minimise risk to the merchant. This may change in the future as more is learnt about the strategies that merchants are interested in using. There is no rounding added to totals, it is only at the line item level and it doesn’t apply to Shipping, Discounts or Taxes.
If I wanted to send a refund request through the API, which currency value should I be sending?
You should always use the presented currency used for the particular order.
When will multi-currency be rolled out across all Shopify tiers?
There is no specific release timeline at this point but there is no doubt that Shopify is going to role this out too more plans
Are all the current templates compatible with multi-currency?
Shopify are working with their theme partners to update their code to enable multi-currency option
There is no denying that advancement in technology is one of the key driving forces behind the 10% year on year growth in eCommerce sales which is expected to reach $706 billion annually by 2022, according to Forrester Research.
There is also no denying that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are defining factors in this extraordinary growth.
From predicting user behaviour to intelligent product suggestions, the speed it takes for a customer to pass through a digital shop is increasing all the time and not because they dislike it and want to leave as quickly as possible, but because merchants are able to put the right products in front of the right customers eyes more accurately and with greater speed.
When was Artificial Intelligence created?
AI has been used in eCommerce for many years, one of the most obvious examples being personalisation through targeted products, which has infuriated many for the last decade or so.
It is now rare to land on an eCommerce site that doesn’t implement AI somewhere on their site and even off their site in that retailers and brands are are able to personalise the experience of the search results pages or the category listing pages based off the visitor behaviour from their website.
AI technology is increasingly set to replace marketers and merchandisers in selecting which adverts to place where and at which time across the Internet.
Predictive analytics is an extremely important field of AI and increasingly it’s becoming more accessible to smaller companies. It gives the opportunity to provide deeper insights into what consumers want and need and suggest to marketers and advertisers what the next action should be. So if you are able to analyse all of the activity on a website and serve this to a merchandiser and say which customers are likely to purchase next if you send them an email or offer them a promotion. Because these machine learning algorithms detect patterns that human beings often miss, it is able to serve a lot more intelligence to marketers a lot more efficiently and catch things that we wouldn’t normally find, at least not as efficiently as AI.
The ability of artificial intelligence to connect dots that would be tricky for humans to do, combined with it’s capacity to crunch numbers on a massive scale is an extremely powerful tool to possess.
AI Merging with eCommerce
We’ve all heard the rumours about being tracked around brick and mortar shops by cameras tracking what is in our shopping baskets, what are shopping trends are and even the route customers take around the shop.
Granted this is designed to make retailers see more but, whilst it is a bit (well, a bit more than a bit) of an invasion of privacy, we, the shopper, gain from it as well.
Customer experiences are becoming tailored to the individual which is great! No?
Personally, and I know I speak for many others out there, I want to spend as little time as possible traipsing around shops trying to find that illusive product, whether it’s cotton buds or ink pots, and if someone makes this easier for me then I will welcome it with open arms.
For some time in America billboards have concealed cameras behind the motorway billboards to track which cars have been exposed to the ad it’s displaying.
So when Brett Bushkin (for some reason this is the name that has sprung into my head when trying to come up with an American sounding name) drives past the ad displaying a package deal on some Jesus sandals and frog socks, when Brett later drives up to the store in his olive green Chrysler to follow up on the ad, the store knows that Brett is likely to have seen the its billboard and they can now build a detailed profile on Brett which it can then use to apply to others. The stores can machine learning system can now sort this data and roll out ads at the correct time of the day to when Brett, and those like him, are likely to see it.
The leading digital researcher Gartner predicts that by 2020 around 80% of customer interactions will be handled by artificial intelligence and in as many as 95% of all customer journey’s, artificial intelligence will have been employed at some point.
Should we be weary of this or should we embrace it?
AI disruption in eCommerce
Disruption is a loaded word and it is often used as the link between AI and eCommerce. To me ‘disruption’ undeservedly carries various negative connotations, especially when associated with eCommerce. Invasion of privacy jumps to mind.
So when it comes to AI and eCommerce, I don’t think ‘disruption’ fits the bill.
Revolutionising, enhancing and refining are words that should be sandwiched between Artificial Intelligence and eCommerce. We must accept that we live in a data driven world and when handled correctly it has the power to turn the mundane into the sublime.
Shopping experiences are truly bespoke and whether you want to spend an hour or a minute in shops, you will increasingly leave more satisfied as AI enhances these often tedious experiences.
On a personal level, as I’ve already mentioned, I cannot stand the thought of wandering around shops, either online or in real stores, looking for the colourful cotton boxer shorts that I’m particularly keen on, or what ever the product is… If I can be signposted to them more efficiently, or better yet them brought to me, then I’m going to be happy.
Over the past decade we have seen how much AI has changed the way we spend our time, most of the time unknowingly. However most people don’t appreciate that AI has been around for considerably longer.
Making predictions around technology has become increasingly tricky and, as Moore’s law demonstrates, the speed of technological advancement makes making predictions nigh on impossible – especially when thinking about timings. However, as the law also suggests, the ceiling preventing us from progressing further is also fast approaching and current human knowledge will not be able to enhance the machines we have created.
Over five years ago, when AI and eCommerce was a lesser-known beast, leading qualitative and quantitive analyses firm McKinsey Quarterly wrote an article that looked ahead at where this space was moving. The following is a version of one of their predictions
The rise in NFC (Near Field Communications)
Intrigued by his friends headphones, Brett taps his NFC enabled phone against them, they too have these NFC powers.
Brett’s phone then asks her to take a selfie.
In the app Brett can now see what he looks like with a pair of headphones and can select the colour.
Brett can now share the image with his friends who can vote directly on which colour they prefer/suits him best.
Brett now receives a message from Shopify offering him a free months membership subscription or a free premium plan if she buys the headphones
Brett loves the beige headset and decides to make the purchase. Yay Brett
When Brett opens the recently delivered box the next day he is asked if he wants to take a picture to share online online with his friends. The more shares the more perks he gets such as a Spotify subscription from, for example, his mobile phone provider who has a partnership agreement with the headphones.
Whilst all of the above isn’t completely familiar, generally speaking they got it pretty spot on and most of what is described is seen during our every day lives. Now where is all this going?
Where is AI and eCommerce heading?
In some cases we’re already there, in others we’re almost there and others are speculative, however the following is a list of a few areas where Artificial Intelligence heading:
Albert – A trustworthy sounding AI led marketing platform.
Albert is a software that automates the campaign management of your paid and non-paid media campaigns. Making use of predictive analytics, machine learning, language processing and feedback, Albert keeps a check on campaign execution, optimisation, analysis, testing and insights.
Now for those businesses who have neither the time or the inclination to run there own marketing campaigns themselves Albert might be a good alternative to the expensive agency fees that they would otherwise be facing.
Boost Conversion – stop those slippery customers from getting away
As more and more data is being collected on customers we’ve seen a rise in the number of AI driven strategies aimed at engaging these customers and helping them to convert
This is one of the big players in conversion marketing today and the statistics out there are fairly irrefutable. For example Kia introduced their digital friend Kian (a Facebook messenger chatbot) to their website in late 2017. Kian is programmed to answer any question a user might ask and if Kian didn’t know the answer guess what, through machine learning, the next time he will. Since the Chatbots introduction Kia reported that it had tripled its conversion rates in the space of 4 months – and something tells me this wasn’t down to a ground breaking new car design. From improving customer service to shortening the sales steps, to up-selling and cross-selling, chatbots have revolutionised digital marketing in recent years.
Retargeting is a key part of digital marketing as it keeps your brand in front of previous visitors to your site thus increasing the likelihood of them converting. Shoelace is an example of an AI tool designed for retargeting. With some leading agencies estimating that only 2% of shoppers convert the first time they are on a store, the benefits of keeping your brand at the forefront of your customers as they move around the internet is invaluable and can save a considerable amount by avoiding targeting the wrong type of customer.
Time is of the essence in this increasingly fast moving world we find ourselves in, and if you’re able to address customer reviews as soon as they make them then the chance of conversion can be dramatically increased. Through machine learning and AI, Keatext is able to sort through positive and negative reviews and pass them onto you in real so that you are able to address any issues head on and even create a ‘feedback loop’ so that you are able to display a more relevant product to the customer straight away.
As we know creating engaging content is a key factor to driving traffic to a site and boosting your page/site authority in the eyes of search engines. Many companies are now experimenting with bots that not only suggest potential trends but also analyse and provide feedback on the likelihood of that content generating shares or engagements. For example Rocco AI is a social media bot that recommends more attractive content. Rocco can even be integrated with Slack where it can analyse a brands tone of voice and make recommendations for original content ideas.
Image Recognition – shining a light into the shadows
For years bots were unable to see or understand what an image was however, times a changin. Google, Facebook, Amazon and every other big digital player have developed bots that recognise what an image is and can provide a detailed description of what the subject matter is. So for instance, if you take a photo with you smart phone you can then carry out a search on that image and you will be delivered products that are similar to the image in the results.
Voice Commerce – “Talking to oneself – the first sign of madness”
Now if speaking to robots isn’t your thing then you better change your tune because there is absolutely no denying the direction we are moving in.
Voice commerce is the interaction with an eCommerce site when there is no screen to engage with – Amazon Echo, Google Home etc. This is great for repetitive orders or things that you have already put onto your shopping list and like it or loath it, we are getting more and more comfortable talking to machines and inevitability this trend is going to continue.
It hasn’t quite reached the level of product search or product comparison, so there is still a need for traditional eCommerce experiences and this will not change. However the way voice search will augment how we shop by providing greater convenience is certainly where we are going to see a lot of growth over the coming few years.
Combatting Fake Reviews
Reviews are an essential part to modern day shopping with Shopify estimates that as many as 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site with product ratings and reviews. More often than not you’ll be able to find an alternative product for a similar price on a different website and people’s decision as to which to buy is largely based upon a star rating or product review as well as expense of course. However, who is writing these reviews? Well, it could be real customers but increasingly over the past decade machine learning AI has evolved to be able to write reviews that are nigh on impossible to tell are not written by a human. This being the case how can we combat it? Well, through AI obviously.
Whilst it might be tricky for us to decipher between fake and real, AI is being developed to spot behavioural patterns in reviews that can indicate whether or not the review is genuine or not and remove or flag up those that is suspects to be fabricated.
But Alas – That Which Glitters is Not Always Gold
What are the negative effects of AI? I admit I have been waxing lyrical about artificial intelligence and how it is going to help me minimise the time I spend in shops, which is great. However of course there are consequences; some more concerning than others.
In the last few years there are several embarrassing examples of people being caught out. Take for example Microsoft’s chatbot Tay being provoked into becoming a racist back in 2016 when social media users bombarded it with confusing quesitons. Within a day Tay was tweeting about anti-semitism, racism and dictators, to name but a few.
But this isn’t eCommerce I hear you say. Well, true. However the principles of manipulation still apply and depending on what questions are asked to your eCommerce chatbot, its effectiveness and the results it returns can be varied. This can have a devastating impact on your brand.
Useful AI is based almost entirely on the quality of the data that is collected meaning consequences could be disastrous should their be discrepancies in the data from which AI is learning. JJ Guy, the CTO at Jask – a leading AI security provider, said: “The algorithms themselves are easy. Collecting, classifying and labelling datasets used to train the algorithms is the grunt work that’s difficult – especially datasets comprehensive enough to reflect the real world.”
You might end up living a sheltered existence
Whilst it is great to be presented with your colourful boxers that you had been searching for as soon as you land on a page, think of all the things that you might be missing. Whether it is ‘Recommended For You’ Netflix films or ‘You Might Also Like’ popups that appear across countless eCommerce stores including, and perhaps most dangerous of all, publishing and news sites, gradually someone else – or something else – is tailoring our lives for us.
Our ability to choose is being diminished and this is dangerous on so many levels, not least that our lives will become blinkered and driven by what brands think will make them the most money.
Anything you can do I can do better
Artificial Intelligence doesn’t bode well for the job market as, as we have pointed out in this article, machines are increasingly becoming more efficient than humans, which ultimately means that people are going to start losing their jobs.
The Future is Bright, the Future is Artificial Intelligence
It might sound obvious but Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. From self driving cars to fully customised eCommerce shopping experiences, soon enough every part of our life will involve sound element of artificial intelligence, whether we are aware of it or not.
In 2019 expect to see an upshift in eCommerce stores implementing AI technology to help drive sales. In fact I would predict that by the end of 2019 the vast majority of online merchants will be making use of AI somewhere on their site, whether it is voice powered shopping, virtual fitting rooms or computer-generated assistants offering a hand.
My only advice would be to try and avoid being hit by a self driving car and remember to take shopping online with a pinch of salt and recognise that there are some very clever machines out there getting us to open our wallets.
As a leading digital agency Diffusion Digital would be happy to answer any questions you may have – feel free to get in touch through the form below or alternatively you can call us on +44 (0) 203 141 2000