Picture credit: www.blog.3dcart.comThe Get Elastic Blog published today a post entitled 5 Reasons Why Your Ecommerce Site Matters More Than Ever and highlighted 9 areas that can help ecommerce site owners maximise their online activity (see below).

  1. Online sales are growing faster than offline sale
    Delloitte’s forecast there will be a 14% increase in non-store sales. Non-store sales, in this context, includes catalogue and interactive TV channels.
  2. The web influences almost half of offline purchases
    Other evidence from Forrester Research also indicates that although shoppers may still buy in the high-street they will have researched their purchase and the retailers online shop and estimate that 48% of in-store purchases will be influenced by the shoppers online activity.
  3. Holiday shoppers research more online in a shaky economy
    Consumers, particularly in the current economic climate of uncertainty, research more of their purchases, whether in-store or online, on the web checking prices, availability before committing spending their hard-earned cash.
  4. Online is a major source of inspiration for gift shoppers
    The web is an increasing source of inspiration for shoppers leading up to the holiday season with research by Get Elastic indicating the 21% of shoppers, particularly the younger demographic, browsing retailer website looking for that elusive gift.
  5. Consumers planning to spend more on holiday shopping have an affinity for digital channels
    Interestingly, their research also indicates that digital gift sales are likely to see an increase over 2010 with 30% of digital gift shoppers predicted to spend more this year compared to only 15% of all consumers.

Allthough the research is primarily derived from US data there is a high probability that it can be extrapolated to the UK in some measure.

What is important is that your ecommerce site is not only optimised for online sales but offers real value to those shoppers who are in research mode prior to a visit to the high-street.

Act fast to optimize your ecommerce site

With your site being more important than ever, what’s a multichannel marketer to do as the holiday countdown commences? It’s not too late to act on these tips:

  1. Don’t emulate Target and have your website repeatedly crashed by unexpected traffic. Plan for major traffic spikes to ensure your site can handle the load. Simulate peak loads, monitor site responsiveness, and measure application behavior well in advance of Cyber Monday.
  2. Speed up your site. Investigate using a content delivery network (CDN) like Akamai to speed up the delivery of rich content, including images and videos, to shoppers.
  3. As many holiday shoppers will be researching online and on their smartphones both before and during their trips to the store, integrate the in-store experience with relevant, timely and personalized website and mobile app info.
  4. Maximize the findability of your products online. By submitting a feed to Google Product Search, the Internet giant’s online shopping comparison engine, lesser known websites can improve exposure. Consider trying the Amazon Marketplace too. Or use Amazon Product Ads to place pay-per-click ads on category and product pages. Shoppers will see your ads when looking for similar products.
  5. Social media has hit the mainstream and, while not a primary channel for discovery, is gaining in importance, particularly to Gen Y shoppers. Add social sharing to product pages to turn customers into sales channels. Resolve customer service issues on Facebook or Twitter to publicly display your customer service chops.
  6. With cash-strapped shoppers carefully researching every purchase online before buying, follow the lead of sites like Amazon-owned toy site yoyo.com in making the shopping experience simple, efficient, and fun through gift finders, well-designed navigation, product filters and comparison tools, curated recommendations, and rich product details. At minimum, spruce up the product copy and images of your most popular holiday products, reinforce your value proposition, and make your shipping and return policies clear.
  7. Act fast to plug your leaky conversion funnel with simple and low cost website feedback and usability tools like Crazy Egg.
  8. Ask for an email address wherever you can, both online and in-store. Then squeeze as much value as you can from each of those email addresses.
  9. Implement remarketing campaigns to target shoppers who browse weeks before they buy.

How many of the above boxes can your ecommerce website tick?

Picture credit: www.blog.3dcart.com

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