Modeling competitors with common sense
All too often we see a lot of ecommerce businesses keeping an eye on their competitors and literally mirroring their every single move from the addition of new widgets to completely changing how their website works simply because the competition are doing it. Now that’s fine if your competitors turn out to be doing the right thing but what if they’re not? The last thing you need is to end up shooting yourself in the foot and implementing wrong solutions that can certainly cost you dearly.
Now instead of simply copying what your competitors are doing, it would be best to look at your closest competitors as a source of inspiration. Take cues from successful businesses in other markets and what they are doing on their ecommerce website. You can then implement them on your own website and track whatever difference it makes. Needless to say if you can associate an increase in sales due to those changes then you can keep it and promptly discard or modify changes that yield the opposite result.
It’s not prudent for ecommerce business to reinvent the wheel and it’s better to see what other people are doing right and implement those things ourselves for our respective businesses. The important thing is that you always track and split-test any additions or changes you make. Take the time to test different elements from at least two of your best competitors and determine which ones actually yield the best results.
Don’t just blindly copy what your competitors are doing no matter how good it looks. Just because something looks good doesn’t mean it works!
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Among the most significant metric that all ecommerce businesses need to focus on these days is “per visit value”. Such a value represents the ratio between the total number of website visitors and amount of sales. Let’s say you had a 100 people go to your website and you’ve made a sale worth $300, your per visit value would then be $3.
So what makes this value so important? Well ecommerce businesses made aware of such values can use it as a base line for the amount that they can afford to spend buying valuable traffic for their website. If your per visit value is $3, this would mean that you can afford to spend a dollar acquiring traffic and net a sale of $2. Of course you also have to consider cost of goods and other expenses but that’s how it essentially works.
The simplest way to determine per visit value is through Google Analytics. Different traffic sources come with various per visit values so you need to find the source that yields the most per visit value and build your marketing strategy around them simply because that is where a bulk of your sales is going to be.
Aside from traffic sources, per visit value can also differ greatly in terms of the relevant keywords used for your ecommerce website. It’s important to keep such a fact in mind because you may have keywords driving tons of traffic to your website but unless the keyword’s per visit value is higher; your business is going to be at a total loss. Thus you need to look deep into the keyword level of your ecommerce strategy to see if they are actually making you money.
Increasing per visit value
Looking for ways to improve your per visit value? Strategies such as up sells, split testing price points and increasing sales conversion present some of the best ways of doing just that. Just make sure that you are looking at your per visit value based on a sufficient amount of data in order to draw out an accurate conclusion. If you are only looking at a limited amount of data taken from a small number of inconsistent sales that likely won’t happen in the next couple of months, you won’t get an accurate reflection on your per visit value and draw your business to a false sense of urgency or security.
Leveraging social proof for ecommerce success
Now let’s say you are walking down the street looking for a good place to eat. You will likely walk past restaurants that hardly have any people in them and go somewhere jam packed with happy people having great time thinking that it’s got to be the place to be. As consumers, people are instantly led to believe there must be something great about such a place that it draws in so many people when there are hardly any of them in others.
The same thing can practically be said about running any kind of business online. You can’t expect visitors on your ecommerce website to feel confident about doing any kind of business with you if they don’t see a lot of people talking about, sharing or liking the products or services that you offer. Not surprisingly, such prospects are likely to move on and take their business elsewhere assuming that your business isn’t any good.
So what are some of the best ways to leverage social proof and attract the interest and confidence of prospects in your ecommerce business? Well for one thing you would want to make sure that you actually have social media sharing buttons on your website. Such buttons would make it more likely for website visitors to pin, like, tweet and share your website dramatically increasing social proof and buyer confidence.
Now it’s all about making visitors as comfortable as possible with your ecommerce website. The more comfortable they are, the longer that they are likely to stay on your website and actually purchase something.
Indeed it’s important to have social media sharing buttons on your website as soon as possible. It won’t cost you much and are relatively simple for web designers to install and integrate. The main social media sharing buttons that come highly recommended for an ecommerce store includes:
The social media sharing buttons mentioned above need to be present on every product or service pages on your ecommerce website. These sharing icons will help people spread the word about your business and the products or services that you offer. You might also want to consider implementing social media sharing buttons on your entire website for an even more effective strategy for leveraging social proof in your ecommerce business.
You can’t track what you are not measuring and the best tool that we can use to track sales through an eCommerce site is a Google Analytics eCommerce tracker. Now while the tool is free, you may need to pay your web designer to install it for your which is fine because this tool provides you with a wealth of information and help you grow your business to the next level accurately.
Ecommerce tracking enables you to pinpoint exactly what is making you money and what is losing you money so that you can then quite easily stop the things that are losing you money and do more of the things that are actually making you more money. The opportunity to grow an ecommerce business successfully and quickly is certainly possible right now and it can be done predictably but you must have your tracking in place.
It’s a fantastic feeling when you can put $1000 in the front end and know that you can reliably get $3000, $4000 or $5000 at the back end but you can’t do that without having the proper tracking in place. Get Google Analytics ecommerce tracking installed in your website today.
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Last week was a pretty big week of news, especially in the social media space. If you're wondering what the major stories for the week were Mashable's put together the 62 Stories You Missed Last Week.
The pick of the posts for me last week (while not being a news article) was the post on E-Commerce Marketing, something which I see a lot of online retail stores getting wrong. You can read it here http://mashable.com/2012/08/26/ecommerce-lessons-tips/