Having finished sending clients good news about the third quarter, I know it’s time to think about the fourth quarter — the time when retail and e-tail merchants alike can expect to make a large percentage of their sales and income.
Are you ready?
Your e-commerce site should be looking its best right now, and it should be designed with conversion in mind. That means you should have your goods temptingly displayed, it should be easy to find you and easy to find specific items once on your site, and it should be easy to shop and to check out. If you have the functionality to do some cross-selling and offer some last-minute impulse buys at checkout, you should be taking advantage of that opportunity as well.
If your site isn’t quite ready or isn’t doing its job as well as you’d like, this is the perfect time to update it. If you have to wait for your webmaster to get around to changes, you have no time to waste.
It’s not the time for testing — put that on your calendar for February and go with the proven winners:
- popular products
- phrases that suggest urgency — “This week only!” “Free shipping till November 1st” “Limited edition!”
- large “Buy now” or “Add to cart” buttons
- maximum variety of payment options
- free shipping
All this applies to your physical store as well. You have to be fully stocked, to have visual reminders of the upcoming holidays or other shopping motivators, and your check out and cash wrap areas have to be clear, obvious, and appealing.
Fourth quarter SEO
There are differences between the two, though. Online visibility is just as important as visibility for your physical world store, but it doesn’t always come about in the same way. Here are the things that are definitely worth doing for your ecommerce site right now:
- Improve your content. One of our clients optimized his site last month (his products are popular for Halloween, so he needed an earlier start) with unique descriptions for his products and lots more words, and his organic search traffic is up more than 45% over last year already. This one step will give you more bang for your buck than anything else you can do.
- Add content. If your content is well optimized already, don’t think there’s nothing you can do to improve your content right now. This is a great time to add a buying guide, a blog, an article, a free Gift Guide to download. New content gets the search engines’ attention, and more content adds value for your customers.
- Fix your buttons. You don’t want to take on a big web projects right now if you have a physical shop to manage, but you can make your call to action buttons more appealing with minimal effort and no downtime. Make sure they look good, coordinate with the rest of the website, and have the right words on them.
- Get social. Now is the time to get active with social media, even if you haven’t done much with it before. Feature new products on Facebook, get into conversations on Twitter, and answer product questions at forums and blogs.
All e-commerce sites will benefit from these steps, and now is the best possible time to make these changes.
Brick and click synergy
Now, make sure that your website and your physical world shop support each other. You have an advantage over every shop that operates just online or just in the physical world, because each of your channels can market for the other. Take some simple steps to make it work:
- Put your URL on everything — bags, signs, traditional ads, invoices, shelf talkers, staff badges, everything.
- Train your staff to ask, “Have you visited our website?” Work the phrase “our website” or “OurStore.com” into conversations with customers as often as possible without sounding unnatural. If you’ve added valuable content, you can say, “We have some great gift wrapping ideas at OurStore.com” or “We have some terrific recipes using this product at our website.” If the web address isn’t easy to use in speech, hand customers a business card or say, “The web address is on your receipt” and encourage them to bookmark it.
- Feature a photo of your store, a map, and basic information like hours and phone number on your website. You’d be amazed by how many of our clients with brick and mortar stores don’t make the fact obvious at their websites. You might be amazed, if you look at your own website, to find that you haven’t mentioned your store. Look and see.
- Offer in-store pick up at your website, free shipping when an item that’s out of stock at your store is ordered from your web site (have your staff place the order for the customer in the shop), and other synergistic services. At the very least, encourage online shoppers to call the store for assistance when they need it, and make sure staff can help with web purchases.
Make this a great fourth quarter by making the most of the relationship between your physical and virtual shops. If you need help with strategy or implementation, give Rosie a call at 318.572.6002 and we’ll be glad to assist.