Ecommerce Storefront Lessons Learned: A Success Plan for 2014

Ecommerce2013LessonsLearned-body.pngAs an ecommerce development company, Bridgeline Digital has many clients with websites that have an ecommerce storefront. Beyond our clientele, I have many peer connections who support ecommerce websites. Here are some lessons from their aggregated 2013 ecommerce experiences and tips for applying them to a 2014 action plan for your storefront.

The Lessons Learned

  1. "We based our goals exclusively on metrics handed down from corporate, despite some being unrealistic or impossible. Past performance was ignored."
  2. "Although our ecommerce platform provides analytics, we failed to identify our 2013 ecommerce key performance indicators (KPI) up front, allowing opinion to determine whether our results were successful."
  3. "We didn't provide enough cues about specials in our ecommerce storefront; subsequently our campaigns fell short."
  4. "While we did plenty of engaging in our social media marketing, we didn't promote specials enough."
  5. We didn't streamline the user experience of our shopping cart software. Users didn't see discounts, shipping, or tax amounts until later in the conversion funnel, causing abandoned carts and prospect attrition."
  6. "We didn't take advantage of our ecommerce platform to maximize the ecommerce SEO (search engine optimization) for products."
  7. "Clear, above-the-fold cues such as "Continue Shopping," "View Cart," and "Check Out" were not always present."
  8. "In some cases, data had already been entered in one screen but was not pre-populated later, forcing the user to enter it again."



Resolutions: 2014 Action Plan

  1. Look at your ecommerce analytics history: measure past performance to determine realistic storefront goals. Get these goals to your sales team while their forecast is under development.
  2. Establish your ecommerce KPI at the beginning of the year. Don't wait until the year is half over to establish ecommerce success criteria.
  3. If there are great deals on your site, use your ecommerce platform functionality to highlight them.
  4. If your brand participates in social media, promote specials. Do so using an 80/20 balance...80% engagement content to 20% promotional content. This keeps your audience participating, and when they interact with your content it increases your social reach.
  5. Make sure important information is available as early as possible in the shopping experience. If a shopping cart's value qualifies for free shipping, cue the user ASAP.
  6. The biggest source of new business for ecommerce websites is search engines. In order to rank in search, perform Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your products. Use your ecommerce platform to improve ecommerce SEO; writing descriptive titles, headlines, and product descriptions.
  7. Always provide clearly visible user cues from the products to checkout: "Add to Cart," "Continue Shopping," "View Cart," and "Check Out."
  8. Make sure data entered once doesn't have to be entered again: if your ecommerce platform supports it, be sure to carry data from one screen to the next on behalf of the client.

There is some great material out on the web if your interested in doing some more reading on the topic; to start, check out these articles from SmarterCommerce.com and PracticalEcommerce.com.

Bridgeline Digital's iAPPS Success Group Digital Services Team would love to help you achieve ecommerce success, let us know how we can help.

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