If you’re a savvy digital marketer, you’ve no doubt gone through a number of ecommerce checklists to get you through the 2018 holiday season. One best practice is to update your ecommerce platform, CMS, and other software to the latest stable versions to eliminate bugs and security vulnerabilities that can become major catastrophes during the busiest time of year. Other common practices include checking the expiration dates on your SSL and domain registration, and upgrading your website hosting account if necessary, to handle a potential surge in traffic. Now that you’ve presumably buttoned up the final touches on your website to get you through the holidays, you’ll want to start planning your ecommerce improvements for 2019, to increase traffic, conversion, retention and engagement. We’ve outlined a few areas that you might concentrate on in the new year, to drive new business.
Adjust Your Ecommerce Website’s Taxonomy & Navigation
When your final numbers come in for 2018, you’ll want to do a deep dive into your sales figures, to determine best, and worst-performing products. Based on these numbers, you’ll want to consider whether to lower prices on poorly-performing items to drive volume, or you may want to raise prices on some of the top products, to maximize your profitability. In addition, you may want to retool your website taxonomy and navigation. Make it easier for customers to navigate to your top sellers, and look for any confusing aspects to your website navigation. Are the categories labeled accurately, with understandable terminology? How many clicks does it take to get to any one item, particularly those that convert well and have high margins? Is there anything you can do to improve the filters on your website, such as adding color swatches, or tweaking the numbers in your price filters? Which products belong on your homepage? These are some basic areas that you can adjust to reap tremendous rewards in 2019.
Improve Your Top Selling Product Pages & Build Content Around Them
It’s a good idea to perform a full audit on your product pages, to look for broken or sparse content, poor images and other problems. As this process can be very time-consuming, follow the 80/20 rule and start with your top performers. You may want to take some fresh, professional product shots for these items to give the user a better idea of what they’re purchasing. Include close-ups and shots from various angles. Check that the product description is engaging and calls the user to action to add the item to their shopping cart. In addition, see if there are a few keywords that may be added for improved SEO, without making the page appear spammy. Check that your top products are listed in as many relevant categories as possible. In addition, start building fresh content on your blog that highlights your top sellers, for improved SEO and to engage your customers with the hottest items. Push all of this content out to your social media channels and you’ll have a recipe for success.
Improve Automation & Efficiency on Your Website
Many ecommerce businesses find that they are short on time and resources when it comes to improvements, and they end up using the same old design and software for many years. You can free up more time for enhancing the user experience and traffic on your website by making your processes more efficient. With an initial investment of time and money at the start of the new year, you can save yourself many hours on mundane tasks, which can be applied to more rewarding endeavors. Look for anything that is a manual process, and possible automations. For example, cutting and pasting shipping details when processing orders can easily add up to several hours per week. If you haven’t already done so, you can speed up this process by integrating solutions like ShipStation. Consider building a DevOps team to create efficiencies in both development and operations.
Another time-suck is content creation. If you’re creating your own content, it might be time to hire a professional content creation firm like Consorte Marketing to assist you with publishing new articles to your blog and website. They’ll take on the arduous task of writing articles around your products and services while you focus on finding the right products to sell and promote. In addition, look for the little things that can make a big difference. For example, posting content to your blog is almost as time-consuming as writing it. If you’re doing it right, then you’re tagging your articles with the appropriate keywords. You can speed up the tagging process a lot on a platform like WordPress by installing an auto-tagging plugin. This sort of WordPress plugin will scan your article for keywords that are already listed as tags, and it’ll automatically add them to your post. Rather than reading through all of your content several times, you can press a button and be done with most of your tagging (assuming you’ve got a large library of tags already). Just add one or two new tags to your post manually, and they’ll be there for the next one that gets published.
Add New Ecommerce Functionality to Your Website
Most ecommerce websites have the basics already included. Color and other filters, product image zoom and multiple shipping and payment options are relatively standard. Spend some time researching your competitors and the ecommerce industry as a whole, to look for things you may have missed, and test them out in 2019. For example, you may have decided to opt-out of putting product reviews on your website in 2018. With plenty of data, you can test adding reviews, to see if there is a noticeable difference in conversion. You may also look into the latest technology, such as processing transactions in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Think about how you can reduce friction in the checkout process, and test, test, test.
Make a Schedule for Your Upgrades
Some of your ecommerce website upgrades will require the help of a professional web design firm. Other changes, like improving the content on your product pages, are relatively simple and you can do them in-house. Make a schedule for pushing out these improvements, and stick to it. Time can disappear quickly, and without committing to a schedule, you may find that you’re looking at the same list in 2020. By contrast, if you create a feasible schedule, and stick to it, then you’ll likely see vast improvements in sales, traffic and conversion in the upcoming year.