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Monday, 18 August 2014

How to get more customers to complete checkout on your ecommerce website – Part 1

Sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on what makes a website great... it just feels ‘nice’ doesn’t it? This doesn’t happen by accident or by having better designers but by deciding to put user experience (UX) first.

In this article we’ll be sharing six techniques that really successful websites use to make their checkout experiences feel ‘nice’. If you can incorporate just some of these intentional user focused decisions in your website then you’ll be well on the way to seeing more checkout completions and fewer shopping cart abandonments.

Allow customers to checkout as a guest


Did you know that 25% of shoppers abandon their cart because of forced registration? That’s 25% of sales that have been lost. Even mentioning the word ‘register’ in your checkout is a bad idea because it makes some customers feel like they’re not in control of the checkout process.

Instead of making customers register as default, try offering the option for first time buyers to checkout as a guest and once they have completed their purchase then offer the option to register.

A website which does this well is ASOS.


Include secure payment information


We all want to know that the website we’re purchasing from is secure, especially if we’re using our mobile phone to access the website and buy.

Websites should display SSL certificates and logos ensuring security throughout the checkout process, not just on the payments page. And on the payments page there should be a short piece of text reassuring visitors that the website is secure.

Something else that we’ll mention is, make sure you also provide information on what exactly a security code or expiry date is. This is something that Quicksilver have done nicely.


Show customers their progress


Much of what we've talked about so far comes down to one thing: making the customer feel in control. Informing the customer where they are in the checkout process, what step is coming next and allowing them to navigate forwards and backwards through these steps hands them the reigns and relieves any worries they might have.

This can be effectively done in a process bar showing the checkout steps. Each step should be a clickable link in case the customer wants to go back and change anything.

We like the way Lakeland has done this and even included a brief sentence to let customers know what to expect from each stage.


Make your checkout mobile friendly


Sales completed on mobile devices grew by 94% from 2012 to 2013 and now account for more than 32% of all online sales.

In light of this and the fact that a mobile screen is so much smaller than a desktop screen, your checkout process has to be mobile friendly. This means keeping the design simple, using radio buttons and drop down menus where possible and only asking for the most essential information.

TopShop have a great mobile checkout which is easy and quick to follow, and it ticks all of the other best practises in this article.


Remove all distractions


It’s really important that there are no unnecessary navigation or exit points in your checkout process. Since you've worked so hard to get your customer to the point of buying, everything should be focused on moving your customer along the checkout process and not away from it. There should be a limited or no menu navigation. Only information relevant to encourage completion should be included, such as: guarantees, returns policy and delivery information.

Notonthehighstreet are a shining example of how to do this:


Offer customers complimentary products


Not only is this helpful to shoppers, it’ll increase your average transaction value. But you must up-sell in the right way by offering only the most relevant products. Apple is a great example of this they've kept it simple and still kept the continue button the most prominent on the screen.


Provide multiple payment options


PayPal is fantastic. Instead of having to rummage around for your card and type out the really long card number you can just enter your email address and hey presto the payment is made.
Wiggle not only provides the option of paying by card or PayPal, it also clearly explains what to expect and when to enter your PayPal details.


That's it for Part 1 of How to get more customers to complete checkout on your ecommerce website. Part 2 to follow next Monday.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

Thank you.

Monday, 11 August 2014

6 e-commerce website best practice examples

A little while ago we wrote an article on 15 e-commerce best practices that you can’t ignore - no longer is Google only concerned with factors such as meta data and alt tags.

Google wants to see websites that are user friendly. So build your website for the user and you’ll be on the right path to seeing your Google rankings improve as visitors stay longer on your website, make more purchases and keep coming back.

The examples below are all websites that put customer experience first, and as a result have come out on top of Google too.

Great use of product images


Made.com have really put a lot of consideration into providing images of their products. Each product page contains photos of the piece of furniture from every angle, close ups of the fabrics and materials, images with the dimensions clearly labeled, and showing the relative size of the piece compared to a person. What more could you ask for without actually touching it?


In the end; the more attractive, juicy, stylish and high quality a product looks the more confident your customers will be when buying online.

Easily accessible delivery and returns information


Trust is a huge factor in online retail. Delivery and returns information must be easy to find and adhered to unfailingly by e-commerce websites. These two topics are ‘pain points’- in fact 44% of carts are abandoned because of high shipping costs. Being upfront about delivery and returns ensures that the customer doesn't feel like something's been sprung upon them.

Notonthehightstreet.com does a great job of this, giving delivery dates and prices for several UK and international delivery options as well as a simple returns policy. Both these pieces of information are available on the product page allowing customers to continue with their shopping uninterrupted.


Fast repeat purchase


Mark Cuban, an American billionaire said this: "Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you".

Speedy repeat purchases not only helps your customers, it helps you! Amazon the kings of e-commerce lead the way with this offering purchase with just one click. For websites who have many returning customers this is a must.


Attention grabbing deals and bestsellers on homepage


Deals on your homepage will grab your customers’ attention when they arrive; this is crucial if you want to stop them from hitting the back button. Bestsellers work really well on the homepage because they get customers to their favourite products even faster.

You've heard the saying, you are what you eat; well, e-commerce websites are what they sell. By having your bestsellers and deals on your homepage customers can easily see what you’re about, the price bracket you sell in and if you make use of reviews how much your customers have loved your products. B&Q do a great job of this.


Onsite product reviews put to good use


According to Reevoo, onsite reviews produce an 18% increase in sales on average. That’s huge. Just think what you could do if you had 18% more income from your website.

So who’s doing this well? The North Face have a well thought through review system tailored to each category of product. What we like about this review system is the use of tick boxes and sliders, great if you don’t want to write loads!


As well as showing star ratings on the product category pages this website actually highlights products with the most reviews and the best ratings.


Well optimised Thank You page


Thank you pages are often overlooked as they come at ‘the end’ of the customer journey, but if you can retain your customers then you've won half the battle. Thank you pages give you the perfect opportunity to leave your customers feeling appreciated and looked after.

Jezz Bezos, the CEO of amazon.com said this: “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful”.

Here’s one thank you page that we like, masterofmalt.com, as it makes it really easy for customers to quickly leave a review and to stay in touch.



Hope these examples have given you a little inspiration to put to work on your website. Let us know if you've got any favourite examples of the these e-commerce best practices.


Monday, 4 August 2014

Personalised Google Search Results and how they affect your website

It might surprise you to hear that no one sees exactly the same search results even if they type identical words into a search engine. The search results we see are personalised to suit us 'better'.

To Google, the accurate tailoring of search results to each user is a huge part of being the 'best' search engine and it's has been the driving force behind Google Now.

Many users will see very similar results, but there will be differences due to factors such as search history, location, device and even someone’s social contacts.

How much does personalisation change search results?

A 2013 study showed that:
  • 73% of personalised #1 ranked results originated from position #2.
  • 93% of personalised #1 ranked results come from the first page - in other words the top 10 ranked websites.
  • 82% of original rank 1 results remain somewhere on the first page of personalised results.

Google doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to personalising results. Websites that are ranked high up in Google will still be ranked high up in personalised results but their position is not absolute. This is reassuring considering the hard work that goes into achieving a #1 ranking.

What factors are used to personalise our search results?


Personal search history

The primary way that Google personalises your search results is by using your search history. Put simply, Google will rank websites you've visited and found useful higher up in search results as they think that you will find them useful again.

It’s important to note that your search history is used by Google whether you’re signed into a Google account or not. If you’re signed out Google can still see up to 180 days of search history collected using anonymous cookies stored on your web browser.

Location

This is the most obvious and understandable customisation, we’re all shown results depending on country and locality. Google uses your IP address to tailor your results when you search for keywords associated with places such as ‘restaurant’ or ‘zoo’.

These types of search queries will bring up Google maps and Google+ local business pages according to where Google thinks you are located. This creates a great opportunity for local business owners who can set up a Google+ business page and more easily appear in local search results.

You can easily see and change your location by clicking on Search tools, entering a location and clicking ‘Set’.



Additionally, some keywords mean different things depending on your location. For example, ‘football’ would bring up American Football in the USA but in the UK we would expect to see results like the premier league.

(What’s an IP address? – Your IP address identifies the location of your computer. Check out What's my IP to find out your IP address.)

Type of search query

Different categories or types of search terms have a higher degree of personalisation. We’ve already mentioned personalisation due to location. Brands are another category for which search results can differ dramatically depending on the above factors, whereas factual queries starting with ‘what is….’ are far less personalised.

Justin Briggs tells us that 82% of results for ‘what is…’ queries are identical, while only 43% of results for ‘gadgets’ are identical. Politics, places, gadgets and brands are all types of search queries which show a high degree of personalisation.

Device

Google also recognises when you’re searching with a mobile and will favour responsive websites and local search results for the mobile user, different to the results that a desktop user may see.

Social signals

Finally, since 2012 Google has been personalising your searches to be influenced by what your friends on Google+ are saying. Who you know, what they’ve shared and what you’ve shared - these ‘social signals’ are used by Google.

When commenting on Google collecting of data to personalised search results Fast Company said this:
“Some might call that a creepy amount of shared data. Others might call it the future.”

How do you stop your search results being personalised?


By now you’ll probably be thinking how am I supposed to know where my website is positioned if my results are personalised.

Well, Google has provided these instructions themselves:

Pause your Google account history

You can pause or delete your web history. Start by going into your Account Settings > Account History and then click ‘Pause’.


Delete and turn off your Google search history
  • Visit your Search History page at google.com/history.
  • In the top right corner of your Search History page, click the gear icon then Settings.
  • Click Delete all, then click the Delete all button to confirm.
  • Finally click Turn off to stop future searches being stored.

Delete your browser history

Your searches may also be stored in your browser or the Google Toolbar. Learn how to delete your history on Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Firefox.

Turn off results customisation 

  • Sign out of your Google account. 
  • Go to google.com/history/optout.
  • Click Disable customizations based on search activity. This will turn the setting off for anyone who uses the same browser and computer as you until someone signs in.



Use ranking software

If you’re an angelfysh client, the easiest way of seeing non-personalised search results is to sign into our SEO ranking software at clients.angelfysh.com. If you've lost your logins, just email us and we’ll send you new logins.




Hope we've helped you to find out where your website is really positioned in Google search results. If you’d like to speak to someone about getting your website ranked higher up in Google, that’s what we do - it’s called SEO and we have a 100% record of success. Give us a call on 0191 276 6904 or drop us an email to hello@angelfysh.com.

Monday, 28 July 2014

16 stats that show the value of SEO, Content Marketing and Social Media

Anyone else love a good juicy statistic? We certainly do!

In this blog post we've rounded up 16 stats for you that demonstrate the value of SEO, content marketing and social media - three things which go hand-in-hand with internet marketing and e-commerce success.

SEO statistics


Outbound leads cost 61% more than inbound leads. An example of an outbound lead could be direct mail or print ads, sources of inbound leads include SEO and content marketing. HubSpot.

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate. Search Engine Journal.

44% of online shoppers start their buying journey with a search engine. IPSOS.

75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. Hubspot.

70-80% of users searching on Google and Bing ignore paid ads. Search Engine Journal.

Search is the largest traffic driver providing 41% of visitors compared to 11% coming from Social Media. Search Engine Land.

Content Marketing statistics


Companies that blog have on average 4 times more indexed pages, pages that Google has deemed valuable enough to store in its index. Social Media Today.

Companies with blogs on their websites have on average 97% more back links. Social Media Today.

90% of consumers find customer content useful and 81%  trust advice from blogs. Social Media Today.

Social Media statistics


There are 3.2 billion interactions on Facebook and over half a billion tweets published every single day. KissMetrics.

77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies have acquired customers on Facebook. HubSpot.

34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter. Digital Buzz Blog.

Marketers reported that demand for social media marketing increased by over 60% in 2013. Moz.

71% of social media users are more likely to purchase from brands they follow online. Balihoo.

Interesting content is one of the top three reasons customers follow brands on social media. Social Media Today.

50% of Companies struggling with SEO aren’t integrating social media. Search Engine Land.

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We hope you've found this collection of statistics both interesting and helpful to your online marketing efforts! Let us know if you've got any SEO stats you'd like to share by commenting below.


Monday, 21 July 2014

6 steps to fit blogging into your busy schedule

Running a business takes a lot of time, for many businesses writing blog posts can come way down their list of priorities. Which is a shame because creating interesting content for your website is so important to its success in search engines – so how can you streamline your blog writing process so it fits into your busy schedule?

1. Decide how often


Consistency is key. Decide how often you want to schedule blog posts, which day of the weeks and what time you want your blog posts to go out. Hubspot research showed that you’re likely to get more views, links and comments if you publish in the morning.

Once you’ve decided on your schedule you need to stick to it! Block out time in your calendar and be consistent with it.

If you can have a couple of back up articles on the ready then you'll have something to fall back on if you miss the odd deadline.

2. Always be on the lookout for ideas


Have somewhere to store your ideas. It’s hard to think up ideas on the spot so collect and jot down ideas through the week when they come to you. These could be questions that customers are always calling to ask, inspired by an interesting article you’ve read or a different spin of on article that’s done well on a competitors blog.

The key to a successful blog post is to create value for the reader. Every single blog post you write should help your reader in some way. Every single one.  Use this rule to judge if your article idea is a good one… or not.

You’ll end up with a bank of ideas to choose from when you come to putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard. Spend just 5-10 minutes choosing one of your ideas.

We’ve also written a whole blog post on blog post ideas here.

3. Start with an outline


First decide on your title, keep it under 65characters and make sure it’s compelling. There are some more tips on blog headlines here.

Next write your introduction, conclusion and list the points to include in the body of the blog post.
Your introduction should be clear and engaging; it should tell your reader why they need to read the post and what it will teach them.

Conclusions should be a simple summary of the main points from your post and include a call to action. Calls to actions are really important, if the reader has enjoyed your post you want to keep them on your website moving along the journey to becoming a customer. The call to action could link to a related product, webpage, or another relevant blog post.

4. Write


Now it's all about adding meat to the structure you have and since you’ve already decided what your points are you’ve already done the hard bit.

When you’re writing be sure to keep things simple. That means no jargon! Jargon only alienates readers, you want to reach out to them.

Keep your writing to the point, if you can say it in half the words then why don’t you? Longer content is only a good thing if it tells the reader more.

Back up what you say with stats or links to studies. This both substantiates what you’re saying and it tells the reader that you are well read on the subject.

5. Get someone else to proof and schedule it


There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it’s really hard to spot your own typos because you know the article you’ve written too well. A fresh pair of eyes is needed.

Secondly, proofing, adding pictures and scheduling a blog post can take an extra 30 minutes – which is time you probably don’t have when you’re busy running a business. Getting a member of staff  to do this for you solves this problem.

6. Don’t forget to promote your content


If you’re a busy person, you want to see the largest return for every minute you spend on something.

Promoting your blog posts will not only get it in front of more people it will also make it more discoverable in search results. You can promote your blog posts by including a link from your newsletter, Tweeting it, putting it on Google+ and Facebook. Again, this is something you can delegate to one of your team. (We could actually write several articles on this... I'll add it to my list of blog post ideas!)

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So that’s it; decide how often, get your creative juices running with ideas, outline, write, get help proofing and promote your articles.

Hope we’ve made blogging sound a little less scary and a lot more manageable! It really is something that can benefit your businesses’ online presence tremendously so if you can crack the art of producing great content efficiently, you’re on to a winner.

Monday, 30 June 2014

6 ways to improve your bounce rate to boost SEO results

Bounce rate, as explained by Google is “the percentage of visits in which users view only a single page of your site.”

If you have an e-commerce website, your aim is to get visitors to stick around, look at your products, read about your business, put items in their basket and make a purchase – then you need to get your bounce rate as low as possible as a high bounce rate means low conversion.

Bounce rate is also used by Google to measure how relevant a website is to the search terms or keywords used to find it. This means that if a website has a high bounce rate, not only will it convert fewer visitors, its Google rankings will be negatively affected. And on the flip slide, lowering your bounce rate shows Google that your website is relevant and useful, positively impacting your rankings.


How do you find out your bounce rate?


a) Firstly you’ll need to have Google Analytics set up.

b) If you’ve already done this, go to Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages.

c) Select Comparison View from the icons at the top right of your data table.


d) Select Bounce Rate from the (compared to site average) drop down, and you should see a chart like this:

Now on to how to reduce your bounce rate.


1. Drive quality traffic


As mentioned above, bounce rate tells Google how relevant a website is to search terms used to find the website. Driving quality, relevant, hungry-to-buy traffic is more important than getting large volumes of less interested visitors as poor quality traffic will only result in a high bounce rate.

First concentrate on ranking in Google search results for keyword terms that correlate closely to what your website is about, rather than more vague and competitive keywords with a large number of monthly searches.

2. Focus on customer intent


One reason that visitors don’t stick around on a website is not being able to find what they’re looking for. You know the frustrated feeling; you instantly hit the back button and go to the next website in the list of search results.

Overcome this by thinking about what your customers are most likely to want, need, expect, be looking for on your website and then clearly provide a route to that information from your landing pages. (A landing page is any page that a visitor enters your website on.)

Use enquiry emails to provide you with insight into questions customer couldn't easily find the answers to on your website. You can use these questions to create an FAQ page, write blog articles on, add information to your landing pages, improve your product pages, and so on.

3. Get your website looking its best


With the online world becoming increasingly competitive, customers have higher expectations, they’re more impatient and less tolerant of poor design. Good design now signals legitimacy, trustworthiness and providing a quality product and service.

Google actually gives redesigning the landing pages of a website as the first piece of advice to websites with high bounce rates.

4. Improve usability


Usability is just as important as design. A website which looks amazing but offers a very tedious checkout process will lose customers to its competitors. How easy a website is to use is actually a reflection of the quality of customer service provided, it will not only build trust it will keep your visitors on your website, reducing your bounce rate. You can read more about how to improve your usability here.

5. Make your website mobile friendly


This is simply a website that will resize according to the screen it’s being viewed on. It’s a great way to optimise your website for those browsing on mobiles or tablets. Mobile traffic now accounts for one quarter of all web searches and 30% of shoppers say they will abandon a website if checkout is not optimised for mobile.

Additionally 57% of mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Clearly, making your website accessible to mobile users can have a massive effect on reducing your bounce rate.

6. Give visitors a clear reason to buy from you


We've already mentioned how competitive e-commerce can be; this final point is one we couldn't leave out. Is it obvious to visitors why you are different to competitors? If you provide the best value for money, best quality product or fastest delivery service is this clearly stated on your website?

This differentiation actually comes down to brand definition. Visitors need to be given a compelling reason to stick with you rather than going back to the previous, maybe slightly cheaper but not as great, product. Providing this will keep them glued to your website and to you as a customer.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

New Phone Number

Hello there.

Please note that our NEW telephone number is now 0191 27 66 904 or 07960 117077.

Thank you.