Ecommerce Marketing – The BigCommerce Blog Ecommerce Blog delivering news, strategy and success stories to power 2x growth for scaling brands. Wed, 14 Mar 2018 18:01:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ecommerce Marketing – The BigCommerce Blog 32 32 How Landing Pages Catapult Brands to Beyond $20,000,000 in Online Revenue Fri, 09 Mar 2018 15:00:58 +0000 “Don’t judge a book by its cover” A short piece of wisdom we have all heard and, most likely, are…]]>

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”

A short piece of wisdom we have all heard and, most likely, are all guilty of doing anyway.

But don’t feel too bad, because, apparently, we can’t actually help it.s

As humans, we are predominantly visual creatures, meaning that:

“Wrappers in which things come not only powerfully affect what interests us but also how we react to the contents we find inside.”

We can’t help but judge:

  • Books by their covers.
  • Food by its appearance.
  • And, most importantly, brands by their landing pages.

Landing pages are a neglected but increasingly crucial brand wrapper – a key initial impression and touchpoint for many new shoppers.

Unfortunately, ecommerce landing pages represent a very neglected but increasingly crucial brand wrapper — a key initial impression and touchpoint for many new shoppers.

And even for those returning ones, ecommerce landing pages can play an important role in motivating traffic to continue engaging with your brand and ultimately convincing them to make a purchase.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that while brands today spend large portions of their marketing budget driving traffic to their digital storefronts, that paid traffic rarely reaches its full potential — as evidenced by subpar conversion rates.

That untapped value is a consequence of disjointed onsite experiences coupled with the simple truth that:

Consumers judge brands based on their preliminary experiences, abandoning them in response.

So, considering these two factors:

  1. The key role that initial landing page impression can play in the consumer journey.
  2. The painful fact that, as long as that traffic isn’t purchasing, you are likely going to have to pay for them again and again until they do.

Why not do everything you in your power to ensure that your landing page experiences are as seamless (and as revenue-driving) as possible?

This blog post will walk you through why landing pages are becoming increasingly important to positive and profitable ecommerce customer experiences.

We’ll also explain what you can do to optimize the value of your own landing pages – right now.

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone webpage targeted to a specific cohort of your traffic, with the aim of providing a more relevant experience in order to achieve the ultimate objective of driving that cohort toward conversion.

A landing page can be defined as a:

Single page on a website that traffic is driven to from a specific campaign, whether that be an advertisement or an email campaign, for instance.

The definition and application varies from organization to organization.

The real and long-term goal of landing pages, as I see it however, is one that Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos envisioned back in 1999:

“We have 6.2 million customers, we should have 6.2 million storefronts.”

In other words, because every customer is unique and requires different types of attention and engagement to be convinced to purchase, businesses should adapt accordingly by tailoring their stores to each of those individual customers.

Enter ecommerce landing pages.

While retailers can’t be expected to actually create unique websites for every user, they can create unique digital storefronts.

Landing pages represent the tool through which brands can adapt to the user in question, creating relevant and positive-impression making experiences for each of the individuals engaging with your brand.

This is hyper-personalization.

By taking a customer-first, hyper-personalized approach to your landing page optimization strategy, you will do more than create impactful landing pages that guide your traffic in the precise direction you want them to go.

You will simultaneously unlock incremental value from each of those individuals, driving higher returns for your business as a result.

Maximize Top of Funnel Leads

Relevance is going to be your key competitive advantage in 2018.

You’re not going to be able to pull that off without becoming as 1:1 as possible in your communications with your top-of-funnel prospects.

It all starts on-site by identifying your audience through opt-in campaigns. Join BounceX and BigCommerce as we guide you through how identification begins on your site and how to guide the customer journey to increase opt-ins.

Reserve your seat now.

The Difference Between Landing Pages and Product Pages

The great thing about ecommerce brands is that you already have versions of landing pages: your product pages.

There are key differences between these two, however.

These differences may seem subtle in the chart above, but their impact is critical.

The main difference here is one of purpose:

  • Landing Pages are used to drive paid for, targeted traffic back to a specific conversion. Landing pages are considered low- funnel (closer to the final sale).
  • Product pages are used to attract browsers (both organic, direct and less targeted paid audiences) back to a page and allow for additional browsing. Product pages are considered mid-funnel, when consumers are still comparing options.

Page UXLanding PagesProduct PagesPurpose
Site NavigationNoYesBecause landing pages are most often used in advertisements to drive targeted consumers back to a specific conversion, landing pages strip the individual page of any other click through opportunities outside of the main CTA. This includes removing site navigation.
Clear Call to Action (CTA)YesYesBoth landing pages and product pages have a clear CTA (add to cart). On landing pages, however, this is the only CTA – and often uses language more targeted to the targeted audience being driven to the page.
Additional CTAsNoYesAgain, landing pages only have 1 CTA. Product pages often include a site navigation for additional browsing as well as similar or related products. Many product pages include multiple lower-level CTAs for those who are not yet ready for purchase.
Product Description + Additional ContentYesYesBoth landing pages and product pages include additional product copy. On landing pages, however, the copy is often re-written for a specific audience, rather than a more general organic or direct audience.
Optimized for SEOPotentially, but not necessarily YesLanding pages can be optimized for SEO, but many brands have landing pages unindexed so that the offer on the page remains specific to the targeted audience, and to better measure conversion rate and campaign success in terms of ROAS (return on ad spend). Product pages are heavily optimized for SEO, as one of their main goals is to attract organic traffic.

Let’s look at a few examples of each.

Inclusion of site navigation on page.

  • Landing page: No
  • Product page: Yes

Because landing pages are most often used in advertisements to drive targeted consumers back to a specific conversion, landing pages strip the individual page of any other click through opportunities outside of the main CTA.

This includes removing site navigation.

Clear CTA (call to action).

  • Landing page: Yes
  • Product page: Yes

Both landing pages and product pages have a clear CTA (add to cart).

On landing pages, however, this is the only CTA – and often uses language more targeted to the targeted audience being driven to the page.

Additional CTAs.

  • Landing pages: No
  • Product pages: Yes

Again, landing pages only have one CTA.

Product pages often include a site navigation for additional browsing as well as similar or related products.

Many product pages include multiple lower-level CTAs for those who are not yet ready for purchase.

Product description and additional content.

  • Landing pages: Yes
  • Product pages: Yes

Both landing pages and product pages include additional product copy.

On landing pages, however, the copy is often re-written for a specific audience, rather than a more general organic or direct audience.

Landing pages often have less copy than typical product pages.

Optimized for SEO.

  • Landing pages: No, not necessarily
  • Product pages: Yes

Landing pages can be optimized for SEO, but many brands have landing pages unindexed so that the offer on the page remains specific to the targeted audience, and to better measure conversion rate and campaign success in terms of ROAS (return on ad spend).

Product pages are heavily optimized for SEO, as one of their main goals.

You can choose to optimize your landing page for SEO if you desire.

4 Steps to Implementing a Landing Page Strategy

Here is how most online brands run advertising campaigns:

  • Launch a Facebook of Google PPC ad.
  • Drop shoppers who click on those ads on specific category or product pages
  • See low conversion rates on those product pages as customers begin to browse other sections of the site
  • Lose the ability to properly measure ROAS (return on ad spend).

This is occurring even outside ads, but in campaigns in general.

Here’s how most people are running email marketing campaigns for instance:

  • Launch an email marketing campaign targeted to a specific customer segment
  • Drop that customer off on a specific product page
  • See low conversion rates on those product pages as customers begin to browse other sections of the site
  • Lose the ability to properly measure ROI (return on investment) for the email campaign, and LTV (customer lifetime value) generated from individual campaigns.

In both situations, you’ve now created an attribution issue.

Why does attribution matter?

Brands quickly scaling past $5,000,000 in annual online revenue must get really, really good at attribution.

Attribution is the clear understanding of sales produced by each individual channel.

As your brand scales, it is likely that some channels will work much better for you, whereas others either need improvement, or can be dropped to swift focus and double down on where resource spend in producing high sales.

Without proper attribution understanding (ROI and ROAS from all channels), you cannot make educated strategy implementations.

Bad data returns bad investment.

Landing pages help to alleviate this issue.

If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this:

Do not simply drop targeted traffic off on any page on your website, left to either convert or not convert.

Instead, use landing pages for your targeted audiences.

Here’s how to know when you should create a landing page:

When to Create an Ecommerce Landing Page

Funnel StageCampaign TypePage ContentsPotential CTA
Top of FunnelLookalike AudiencesCreate a landing page that tells your brand story including who you are, why you exist and what you believe in. Also show off social proof (from customers and media outlets, if possible) and begins to build community with the lookalike audience.Join the Community and Take 10% Off Your First Purchase The goal here is to capture an email address so you don’t have to pay to market to these folks again. You’ll then retarget traffic that lands on the page, but doesn’t convert (i.e. give you an email address) to test a new message and offer.
Mid-FunnelRe-targeting CampaignWith Facebook Dynamic Ads, make it easy on yourself and send those folks back to product pages for similar products. Use landing pages in this segment to drive home positive sentiment after purchase. Do you have tons of social proof? Or a particular story about a customer who used your product for something really cool? Or do they just love your brand? Share those stories on landing pages to turn traffic that browsed to traffic that bought.Experience [the product] for yourself. OR Add to bag/ checkout. The goal here is to drive to purchase through social or other customer proof points which are shown to increase customer trust in your brand and solidify conversions. You’ll be doing this simultaneously with Dynamic Retargeting Ads. Note: You do not have to do this with all products. Test it out with products you know drive high customer lifetime value and customer loyalty first.
Bottom of FunnelUpsell CampaignYou are likely already running an abandoned cart campaigns back to that customer’s checkout. Great. Use landing pages to upsell additional, related products or bundles to either close the sales at a higher price, or have the customer buying again. You can also use discount codes in these – though it is best to test your audience with a bundle strategy first.Get the better bundle, now. Your goal here is to first, close the sale. And second, to ideally close the sale with a higher average order value. Look through your top performing products and see what you could bundle those with across your site. Then, create a landing page promoting those bundles specifically to audiences who have abandoned cart. This is a great way to avoid discount promotions after cart abandonment and grow top-live revenue sale-by-sale.
Already PurchasedRe-engagement CampaignRe-engagement campaigns are targeted at increasing customer lifetime loyalty (LTV) and repeat purchases (retention). Make customers feel special by offering them first access to new products, campaigns and collections before the rest of the world. You do this by creating an un-indexed landing page. Be an early adopter. OR Get the goods before anyone else. Your customers are your VIPs. Make sure they are treated like it.

Now, let’s look at examples.

1. Top-of-funnel landing pages.

  • Typical campaign type: Lookalike audiences

The Strategy

Create a landing pages that tells your brand story including who you are, why you exist and what you believe in.

Also show off social proof (from customers and media outlets, if possible) and begins to build community with the lookalike audience.


  • Join the Community and Take 10% Off Your First Purchase

The goal here is to capture an email address so you don’t have to pay to market to these folks again.

You’ll then retarget traffic that lands on the page, but doesn’t convert (i.e. give you an email address) to test a new message and offer.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

How to find this audience

Begin with a list of your current customers – or your VIP customers – which you can find here.

Note: This works best if you are B2C brand.

Upload that list into Facebook to create a Lookalike audience.

Build a landing page using a BigCommerce webpage or an app like ShoGun.

Launch your Facebook campaign and measure results.

2. Mid-funnel landing pages.

  • Typical campaign type: Re-Targeting Campaigns

The Strategy

With Facebook Dynamic Ads, make it easy on yourself and send those folks back to product pages for similar products.

Use landing pages in this segment to drive home positive sentiment after purchase.

  • Do you have tons of social proof?
  • Or a particular story about a customer who used your product for something really cool?
  • Or do they just love your brand?

Share those stories on landing pages to turn traffic that browsed to traffic that bought.


  • Experience [the product] for yourself.
  • Add to bag/ checkout.

The goal here is to drive to purchase through social or other customer proof points which are shown to increase customer trust in your brand and solidify conversions.

You’ll be doing this simultaneously with Dynamic Retargeting Ads.

Note: You do not have to do this with all products. Test it out with products you know drive high customer lifetime value and customer loyalty first.

How to find this audience

Within Facebook, re-target those who clicked-through specific ads with relevant landing page content.

Set up that landing page using either a BigCommerce webpage or an app like ShoGun.

3. Bottom-of-funnel landing pages.

  • Typical campaign type: Upsell Campaigns

The Strategy

You are likely already running an abandoned cart campaigns back to that customer’s checkout.


Use landing pages to upsell additional, related products or bundles to either close the sales at a higher price, or have the customer buying again.

You can also use discount codes in these – though it is best to test your audience with a bundle strategy first.


  • Get the better bundle, now.

Your goal here is to first, close the sale. And second, to ideally close the sale with a higher average order value.

Look through your top performing products and see what you could bundle those with across your site.

Then, create a landing page promoting those bundles specifically to audiences who have abandoned cart.

This is a great way to avoid discount promotions after cart abandonment and grow top-live revenue sale-by-sale.

How to find this audience

Go to your View But Did Not Purchase report in BigCommerce and download the emails.

Find which of the products within the list are most abandoned – or you can see that in this specific report in BigCommerce Insights.

Create a bundle to increase final checkout appeal for the product. Use the following report in BigCommerce Insights to see which products folks buy most often with other ones.

Chances are, those two would make a really great bundle.

4. Already purchased landing pages.

  • Typical campaign type: Re-engagement, LTV, retention campaigns

The Strategy

Re-engagement campaigns are targeted at increasing customer lifetime loyalty (LTV) and repeat purchases (retention).

Make customers feel special by offering them first access to new products, campaigns and collections before the rest of the world.

You do this by creating an un-indexed landing page.


  • Be an early adopter.
  • Get the goods before anyone else.

Your customers are your VIPs. Make sure they are treated like it.

Maximize Top of Funnel Leads

Relevance is going to be your key competitive advantage in 2018.

You’re not going to be able to pull that off without becoming as 1:1 as possible in your communications with your top-of-funnel prospects.

It all starts on-site by identifying your audience through opt-in campaigns. Join BounceX and BigCommerce as we guide you through how identification begins on your site and how to guide the customer journey to increase opt-ins.

Reserve your seat now.

How to find this audience

Either use your entire customer list, or section out your VIP customers from your BigCommerce Insights report.

This is the same audience you used for your Facebook Lookalike Campaign above. 

Download their emails and give them a specific customer group in which only they can see specific products.

Now, launch a landing page using either built-in webpages and the BigCommerce Buy Button or an app like ShoGun to showcase the products.

4 Key Elements Every Page on Your Site Must Have

Every landing page you build will be hyper-personalized for the audience who sees it.

But, every audience is influenced by many of the same things, including:

  • Context.
  • Clarity.
  • Perceived value.
  • Relevancy.

This is true for product pages as well (even category pages!).

Every page you build on your site needs to do these 4 things incredibly well.  

1. Create undeniable value on every page.

In a world where every consumer has an infinite number of options for nearly any given product at their fingertips — where Forbes whispers of the death of loyalty — ensuring that your visitors understand why they should buy from your brand is crucial.

Unfortunately, that undeniable value that sets your brand apart from the rest is very rarely clear outside of the homepage or the About Us page.

Just look at this standard product landing page.

Note: This is not a BigCommerce site. You can view all of BigCommerce’s optimized themes, templates and landing pages here. Industry leaders like Theme Forest have also designed optimized themes for BigCommerce customers

The problem here isn’t actually with the template, but with what most ecommerce retailers do (or don’t do) with that template.

Think about the new visitor engaging with a Facebook Lookalike product ad for sandals.

  1. She clicks through the ad and lands directly on a product page that probably looks similar to the templated one above.
  2. She sees the sandals, they’re cute, but she could probably get similar ones on Amazon for a cheaper price.
  3. And finally, she clicks back and continues browsing Facebook.

What wasn’t clear to this new user when she landed on the product page was all the details that would have likely motivated her to engage further:

  • An expiring promotion on sandals or free shipping, returns, and exchanges
  • Or the fact that for every pair purchased, another pair is donated to a woman in need

In other words, since the home page is no longer the sole landing page, it is up to you to ensure every page on your website resonates with value.

And why shouldn’t it?

Most retailers have specific value propositions — whether pricereturn policy, brand story, or social responsibility.

Those elements are a part of your business for a reason, why not share them with your consumers, especially if they will drive value for your business in return.

Here are a few examples of product pages (which can easily be turned into landing pages!) that include valuable information typically on Homepage or About Us pages – from the headline right through the details — and how these retailers weave in those storylines.

Examples of the best ecommerce landing pages

Handpicked Wines‘ Product Page

My Magic Mud Product Page

Atlanta Light Bulbs’ Product Page

This one is a bit more traditional, but still follows similar rules of visibility to show consumers the value in buying with them.

2. Make it easy.

What this really boils down to is the 3-Second Rule, or the theory that:

You have roughly 3 seconds the capture a visitor’s attention.

Otherwise, they’re gonezo.

So, with this in mind, it is crucial to ensure that on every landing page, a consumer can answer the following questions within 3 seconds:

  1. Who you are and what do you do
  2. Why you are of value or of interest to them
  3. What they should do next

Let’s look back at that templated product page we saw earlier.

Note: This is not a BigCommerce site. You can view all of BigCommerce’s optimized themes, templates and landing pages here. Industry leaders like Theme Forest have also designed optimized themes for BigCommerce customers

Now, step back, close your eyes, and open them for 3-seconds.

Can you answer the above three questions?  

I can’t — and not just because this is a templated page.

Per #1, we are already working on ensuring who you are and your value is reflected across every page.

But what about what they should do next?

In the above image, that next step is lost in plethora of page distractions. Even the add to cart button is barely visible at the bottom of the page.

This type of convoluted landing page design is not conducive to seamlessly making a purchase.

My eyes even have to move down the page to see the discounted price, and the discount itself is tiny!  

Additionally, while the product image is large and clear, I don’t really understand the associated labels.

If it’s “HOT” because of the price, shouldn’t that great discount be reflected prominently?

When it comes to making the purchase decision, consumers are flooded with hesitations:

  • Do I really need it?
  • Is it too expensive?
  • Could I find it cheaper?
  • Is it worth the investment?
  • Why should I trust them? (queue social proof)

It is up to the landing page to alleviate those hesitations.

On product pages, this means ensuring clear product images along with prominent CTAs and easily understood value propositions.

We haven’t hit on category pages too much in this post, but let me reiterate, these tips are for every page on your site.

So, on category pages, this means making sure your product images are clear as shoppers scroll through in addition to ensuring customers understand the product offerings.

In this example, while scrolling through the category page, a few things are immediately clear:

  • Value: Free Sample & Free Shipping and Returns
  • Product: Large, clear product images
  • Product Options: the “more shades” tags give interested users another reason to click
  • Next Step: persistent “Add to Bag CTA”

The brand took the idea of motivating the user to take action to the next step.

By creating the “Add to Bag” CTA button, they have simplified the checkout process, giving users the ability to easily add items to their cart.

Every ecommerce landing page (and really every page of your website) should be created with the goal of getting your user to take the next-most productive step.

Once a user has made it to a category or product page, they have essentially told you what they are interested in.

It’s up to you and your pages to ensure they are.

3: Identify the right traffic.

Now that you’ve optimized the general landing page experience across your website, it’s time to take it one step further.

Of course, it is neither feasible nor wise to try to create hyper-personalized landing page experiences for every individual arriving at your website.

Instead, you should focus on the highest-value cohorts of your traffic.

These are not only the ones you have invested your budget toward, but they are also the individuals you know you can motivate to take productive action with your business.

But, how do you identify the right traffic?

As mentioned earlier, start by diving into your website analytics.  

Specifically look into your top traffic sources, not only from a traffic volume perspective but also from a revenue perspective.

These sources typically include Email, Paid Search, Organic Search, and Direct, to name a few.

Once you have pinpointed those top traffic sources, dig even deeper and look at the specific campaigns responsible.

  • Do those jumps in traffic arise from specific marketing emails or promotions?
  • Are they a result of cart abandonment ads on Facebook?
  • Are there specific search terms you have ads for that are just killing it for you?

By sifting through all of these details, you’ll be able to get a clear understanding of which specific cohorts of traffic are the most valuable to your business.

If you are using an analytics solution like BigCommerce’s Insights, you can easily see reports that take this a step further.

Here is a taste.

Grow with Metrics That Matter

Drive up to 25% more revenue with premium insights and get details on your store’s performance with built-in analytics.

Activate Insights Now.

Marketing Insights Reports

In this section, you can dive into customer lifetime value by channel on day 1, 90 and 180.

This will help you understand which channels (AdWords, Email, Facebook, etc.) drive the highest lifelong loyalty and repeat purchase rates.

What is this helpful for?

Understanding where to put your ad dollars to drive consumers back to your product landing pages for purchase.

Here are the three reports you get.

Here is what the 90 day report looks like, and how you can download the data to further investigate.

Product Insights Reports

Here, you can dive into which products (and subsequently product landing pages) are performing the best, and which need a little work.

This data is pulled based on individual product conversion rate data. So, if its a rock star product, it is likely a rock star landing page.

Further, you can use this data with the Marketing Insights data to understand which products to market for the highest return on ad spend.

Moreover, you can use these insights to see which products are bought together most often.

This is a good indicator of what additional products to include on landing pages for upsell opportunities.

Customer Insights Reports

With these reports, you can dive into various customer cohorts including:

  • Best customers
  • Customers at risk
  • Low AOV customers
  • Customer lifetime value (30, 90, and 180 days)
  • Customer lifetime value by product (day 1, 90 and 180)
  • Best products for repeat purchase (By month)

This data is helpful for understanding customer behavior on your site, which products drive loyalty and creating landing pages that best attract high AOV and full-price customers.

Most useful, however, is to use this data for retargeting on Facebook to earn more “Best customers” using already known characteristics of that cohort.

Here are the full reports you have access to:

4. Behavioral marketing.

Once you have optimized landing pages and product pages, and you know who to target, you can begin to use behavioral marketing to really personalize every aspect of your site.

When any visitor lands on your website, you should be able to detect a couple of things with the proper tagging and a behavioral marketing partner like BounceX:

  1. If it’s her first time onsite
  2. If she came through an ad and what type
  3. Which ad specifically and the content of that ad

Since you’ve already identified your most valuable traffic-driving campaigns, you can target the individuals who come through those experiences with behavioral marketing tactics.

So now, when that new user clicks through your Facebook Lookalike ad and lands on your sandals product page for the first time, two things will occur simultaneously:

  1. She’ll likely remain onsite longer because your unique value propositions are clear
  2. She’ll understand that the sandals are on sale for a limited time only

Both of these are a result of your on page optimizations.

With behavioral marketing, you can add a third element to the optimization process.

Here’s the scenario:

Knowing this shopper is a new prospect who has never purchased from you before, you know she’s going to need slightly more convincing before she agrees to purchase from you and likely won’t make the purchase in her first visit.  

So, as she’s clicking through the product images and demonstrating clear interest, you respond to her behavior by offering her ‘Free Shipping’ when she enters her email address.

Now, you’ve not only captured her information in case she abandons but you’ve also given her another reason to buy from you today. It’s people-based marketing, people.

Executive Summary

Every page on your website is should be optimized for perceived value and brand storytelling to drive conversion.

However, there are critical differences between landing pages and product pages.

These differences have to do with attribution, and effectively measuring your ROAS and ROI for specific audience segments.

Whether you are looking to drive net new customers or increase retention, landing pages are a silo-ed view into specific customer behavior and CRO that can help your grand grow far beyond $20,000,000 in annual revenue.

This is the ground floor to forecasting. It is how to make sure attribution at your brand is never convoluted. It is how you begin to build a testing culture.

Landing pages are how you ultimately build a brand from $5,000,000 to $20,000,000 and beyond.

Maximize Top of Funnel Leads

Relevance is going to be your key competitive advantage in 2018.

You’re not going to be able to pull that off without becoming as 1:1 as possible in your communications with your top-of-funnel prospects.

It all starts on-site by identifying your audience through opt-in campaigns. Join BounceX and BigCommerce as we guide you through how identification begins on your site and how to guide the customer journey to increase opt-ins.

Reserve your seat now.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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Promotional Effectiveness Metrics & Email Capture Benchmarks Across 10 Ecommerce Industries [2018 Report] Thu, 01 Mar 2018 19:19:31 +0000 There’s a problem in ecommerce that needs to be addressed, and fast. Catch-all, batch-and-blast ‘expert’ advice that is not applicable…]]>

There’s a problem in ecommerce that needs to be addressed, and fast.

Catch-all, batch-and-blast ‘expert’ advice that is not applicable to your business.

Every store is different.

It’s about time we understand that and leverage the data we have to make meaningful changes that increase sales and benefit the different types of businesses out there.

To do that, data to help your individual brand benchmark success and make strategic decisions is crucial.

That’s why combed through hundreds of thousands of data points from our customers over Cyber 5 2017.

Why Cyber 5 data?

  • It is when the most amount of consumers are shopping online – giving us a wealth of data to sort through for almost all industries
  • It is also when brands spend an increased amount of time planning and running promotions (likely in the same way they should all year).

These 2 aspects give us a perfect storm of perfect promotional execution and potential engagement volume to understand how promotions affect conversion for 10 different industries:

  1. Arts and Entertainment
  2. Beauty
  3. Children
  4. Clothing
  5. Food and Grocery Retailers
  6. Health
  7. Home and Garden
  8. Jewelry
  9. Shopping & Marketplaces
  10. Sports

Let’s address first things first…

What is Promotional Marketing?

Promotional marketing is the use of incentivization to drive a consumer to take a certain action to increase a brand’s awareness, generate sales or create brand loyalty.

Promotional marketing messaging can include:

  • Discounts on a purchase.
  • Free products for an email signup.

Online retailers leverage promotional marketing in many ways to drive their on-site visitors to take an action that benefits their business.

How to Measure Promotional Lift:

Promotional lift is the percentage increase in sales or site traffic attributed to a promotional campaign.

Promotional lift is measured by calculating the percent change in sales or traffic between a regular (non-promotional) time frame for the business versus a the promotional time period.

For instance, if you ran a week long campaign that produced 2,168 sales, versus a regular week when you get 1,006 sales on average, your promotional lift is 115.51%.

Here is the 2-step formula:

  • Increase = New Number – Original Number
  • % increase = Increase ÷ Original Number × 100.

Now, before we dive into the actual numbers, let’s first make sure we are all on the same page about how we define the promotion lift metrics.

In this study, we looked at 3 metrics for our promotional lift calculations:

  1. Conversion rate without promotions.
  2. Engaged conversion rate with the promotion.
  3. The percent change between those two numbers.

Let’s take a look.

1. Conversion rate (CVR).

Conversion Rate (CVR) refers to the percentage of visitors to a website who resulted in a sale.

This population is segmented down to visitors who did NOT interact with a Justuno promotion and still completed a purchase.

For the Furniture industry, 0.63% of on-site visitors did NOT interact with a promotion but ultimately still resulted in a sale.

However, 2.17% of on-site visitors who did interact with a Justuno promotion resulted in a sale. That’s a 244.44% increase in conversions.

2. Engaged conversion rate (CVR).

Engaged Conversion Rate (Engaged CVR) is referring to exactly that, the percentage of on-site visitors who interacted with a Justuno promotion and completed a purchase.

3. Calculate percent change of CVR vs engaged CVR.

The % Change effectively is the difference between a normal visitor’s rate of conversion as opposed to the rate of conversion of a visitor who interacts (engages) with a Justuno promotion.

Here’s how these two stats breakdown by industry in our study.

Promotional Effectiveness & Lift Benchmarks

The goal of the study was to understand what affect offering promotions on your site has on conversion rate.

Moreover, we wanted to break that down by ecommerce industry.

After all, the conversion rate improvement (or not) for an online furniture store’s promotion versus a health and beauty store will be vastly different.

And for store owners and marketers, those differences help you weigh the benefits to running such a promotion –– or sticking with your no-discount guns.

As it turns out, every single industry we looked at saw measurable and impactful conversion rate lift from running promotions.

Here’s how that broke down.

Promotional Effectiveness Overview by Industry

Industry Conversion Rate Engaged Conversion Rate Percent Change / Lift
Arts & Entertainment 2.53% 5.95% 135.18%
Beauty 2.65% 6.60% 149.06%
Children 3.58% 15.98% 246.37%
Clothing 2.19% 7.25% 231.05%
Food & Grocery 2.05% 5.60% 173.17%
Furniture 0.63% 2.17% 244.44%
Health 0.40% 12.16% 3150%
Home & Garden 1.40% 10.02% 615.71%
Jewelry 1.04% 5.50%  428.85%
Marketing & Advertising 1.88%  7.62%  205.32%
Marketplaces  3.55%  8.62%  142.82%
Sports  1.15%  7.34%  538.26%

Click here to see a PDF version of this chart.

Email Capture Rate Benchmarks

In addition to looking at conversion rate improvements due to promotional activities across industries, we also did a deep dive on email capture rates.

This is because the size and engagement of your email list is a crucial piece of the growth puzzle in ecommerce.

  • Sure, Amazon can get you tons of sales. But you don’t get a single email address.
  • But on your own website, you can not make a sale and still get an email address.

Why is that important?

Because then you no longer have to pay to talk to that person – assuming they are engaged with your email.

And even if they aren’t, you can now begin to retarget and remarket both to that email address as well as to their friends and family through lookalike audiences on Facebook.

All in all, how many emails you can capture is important.

So, we wanted to know:

Does offering a promotion to nab an email address increase conversion rate on email capture forms?

That answer was also decidedly YES.

Here’s how that broke down.

Email Capture Overview by Industry

Industry Average Email Capture Conversion Rate
Arts & Entertainment 1.19%
Beauty 4.15%
Children 3.41%
Clothing 5.66%
Food & Grocery 2.56%
Furniture 2.74%
Health 2.99%
Home & Garden 2.16%
Jewelry 6.77%
Marketing & Advertising 4.08%
Marketplaces 2.17%
Sports 2.62%

Click here to see a PDF version of this chart.

Promotional Effectiveness & Email Capture Rates by Industry

OK. Let’s get into the meat of it.

Below, we’ll break down exact metrics and show examples across various ecommerce industries, including:

And for each vertical, we’ll look at:

  • Average conversion rate without a promotion
  • Promotional conversion rate Benchmarks
  • Email capture benchmarks

Here we go.

Related Reads

Arts and Entertainment Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 2.53%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 5.95%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 6.3%

The arts and entertainment ecommerce industry comprises:

  • Musics
  • Audio
  • Photography
  • Visual arts
  • Design stores.

This industry has a relatively high conversion rate already at 2.53%, without the use of promotional marketing.

However, that conversion rate increased 2X, to 5.95%, after leveraging promotional marketing on-site.

The most successful promotional strategy for retailers in this industry was a discount offering for an email address.

Site visitors converted with this promotion at 6.3%.

Email capture bars like this are also useful for avoiding pop-ups, which can be penalized by Google and hurt your SEO rankings.

These are particularly effective on mobile devices.

Beauty Industry Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 2.65%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 6.60%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 10.47% for Skin Care, 5.2% for Beauty & Fitness.

Conversion rates for the beauty industry increased almost 4X for retailers using promotion.

Without promotions, conversions were 2.65% on average for the industry.

With conversions, that spiked to 6.60% on average.

The Beauty Industry itself had email capture rates noted at:

  • 10.47% for Skin Care
  • 5.2% for Beauty and Fitness

Above average engagement rates at 10.47% and 5.2% indicate that on-site visitors of this niche enjoy email marketing from these retailers.

This indicates that promotional marketing with the intent of email capture performs very well. Take the promotion below, for example.

Beauty Bridge offered 20% off for an email capture.

Promotions like this see up to a 16.2% conversion rate after opt-in for the beauty industry!

Jewelry Industry Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 1.04%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 5.50%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 8.08%

The jewelry industry in ecommerce holds includes websites such as and Fossil.

The average conversion rate for jewelry brands starts out fairly below average at 1.04%.

After the use of promotional marketing, conversion rates jump to 5.50% on average – a 4.45X increase.

The jewelry industry has email capture rates at 8.08%. Offer a discount promotion for lead capture increases this almost 6X.

This promotion in particular performed at a 13.9% impression to engagement rate, capturing thousands of emails during the BF/CM rush.

A common trend noticed during the BF/CM weekend is that the benefits of promotional marketing are only amplified by increased traffic and on-site visitors.

Home and Garden Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 1.04%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 10.02%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 10.8%

The Home and Garden industry has a low base average conversion rate for non-engaged visitors at 1.40%.

However, the increase is significant post engagement with promotional marketing, jumping up to 10.02%!  

That’s an 8.6X increase.

Here’s a quick example to really drive this vision home.

Half Price Drapes ran a promotion during the BF/CM time frame and saw a 10.8% engagement to conversion rate with a two-step mobile promotion.

The above promotion collected emails at a 17.54% engagement rate during the weekend, meaning almost 1 out of 5 visitors opted into the promotion for the possibility of an immediate conversion or later email lifecycle marketing.

Leveraging increased mobile traffic (BigCommerce saw mobile orders surpass 50%) nets huge benefits for the Home and Garden industry, not only for email marketing, but for same session sales as well.

Health Industry Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: .4%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 12.16%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 6.91%

The Health Industry boasts the biggest increase in conversion rate after using promotional marketing.

This is in part due to the fact that the average conversion rate for non-engaged visitors begins low (at 0.40%).

This increases drastically to 12.16% after promotions, making promotional marketing an enormous benefit to online retailers in the Health industry.

Green Virgin Products utilizes an animated exit intent promotion to incentivize on-site visitors back from leaving the site.

This type of promotional marketing can win back visitors who could have otherwise left and never resulted in a sale to begin with.

A key tactic used often with promotional marketing and exit intent is the idea of scarcity and urgency.

Driving sales with promotional marketing benefits exponentially when a sense of immediacy is invoked.

Email engagement rate for the health industry was 6.91%, an above average email capture rate.

Food and Grocery Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 2.05%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 5.60%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 28.85%

The Food and Grocery industry is a large and rapidly growing industry. In 2017, sales amounted to $14.2 billion, and are expected to rise to $30 billion by the end of 2018.

With such rapid growth expected, retailers in this niche should maximize proven digital marketing strategies for cultivation.

Food and Grocery retailers using promotional marketing experienced a lift from 2.05% to 5.60%, leveraging strategies such as exit intent to increase retention for on-site visitors.

The Liquor Barn leverages the exit intent strategy to gently incentivize visitors who are leaving without purchasing using a 5% discount on their order.

Percentage discounts used for promotional marketing can vary and should be tested thoroughly to provide maximum benefit for a business and it’s on-site visitors.

The Food and Grocery industry averaged a 28.85% email engagement rate, meaning for email popups, 3/10 visitors opted in.

Clothing & Apparel Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 2.19%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 7.25%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 18.83%

The Clothing industry is an enormous market, accounting for 43% of all online marketplace purchases.

Almost half of all purchases in this vertical are made in popular marketplaces such as Amazon.and eBay.

Promotional marketing helped leverage an increase in CVR from 2.19% to 7.25%, a whole 5 percentage points for the better.

Retailers in this space should leverage exit intent as well as contests to increase email sign-ups and immediate conversions.

Mentalfloss, for example, ran contest sign ups, a great promotional marketing tactic, to collect thousands of emails from on-site visitors.

Contests have the benefit of opening up the possibility of email lifecycle marketing (traditionally the highest form of ROI) as well as engaging a visitor that would otherwise bounce.

For the Clothing & Apparel industry, Email Capture Rate is an astounding 18.83%, making email popups a must have for retailers in this space!

Shopping & Large Marketplace Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 3.55%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 8.62%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 16.14%

Shopping is a broad industry that encompasses websites such as Amazon, Etsy and large, general marketplaces.

If your store has a wide array of products, working off of the data presented in the Shopping industry would be a great step for you and your business.

The CVR change noticed with the use of promotional marketing was more than a 5% increase in conversions.

The Shopping industry itself already has a high CVR (3.55%) without the use of promotional marketing, but leveraging this tactic increases sales more than double!

With promotional efforts, conversion rate increased to 8.62%.

Popular retailer Serengetee leverages the use of contests alongside promotional marketing to engage potential customers and merge them into digital marketing workflows.

Email engagement rate for the Shopping industry was observed at 16.14% when interacting with an email popup.

Serengetee appeals to a younger audience, who are very receptive to email marketing, and benefits intensely from promotional marketing that focuses on supporting other digital marketing efforts such as email.  

How Modern Consumers Shop Across Channels


Consumers shop on their own time, in their preferred channels and compare across stores and prices. Here’s everything you need to know from demographic shopping habits to how folks in the cities versus rural areas differ. 

Build your omnichannel strategy for your target customer right now. 

Get the study now.

Sports & Outdoors Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 1.15%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 7.34%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 2.62%

The increase in sales conversions after the use of promotional marketing is very significant in the sports industry.

Post engagement with promotions, accounts in the sport industry experienced an increase from 1.15% to 7.34%, a significant raise in what would be an otherwise average conversion rate.

Online retailers such as Gameday Sports Memorabilia leverage promotional marketing by way of ‘cart abandoner promotions’ to increase conversions.

Cart abandoner promotions are behaviorally triggered, based on when an on-site visitor attempts to leave the site with product in their cart, and factors such as cart value, specific products, etc.

Promotions then incentivize visitors to remain on-site and complete their purchase with an offering of some sort, in this case $20 is offered.

Utilizing a dollar amount instead of a percentage discount can often increase conversions due to consumer psychology, but as always, A/B testing your findings is recommended.

Pro Tip

A/B testing a flat dollar amount offering vs. a percentage discount can provide insight into what performs best for your audience.

Children’s Goods Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 3.58%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 15.98%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 3.58%

Increase in CVR for the Children’s Shopping industry is very significant, with average CVR increasing from 3.58% all the way up to 15.98%.

A sharp difference in between normal CVR and an Engaged CVR can point to a promotion-receptive audience.

On-site visitors that are promotion receptive are actively looking for deals or incentivization, and when offered it, are much more inclined to complete a purchase.

Email engagement rates are at 3.58% for the Shopping/Children industry, so leveraging promotional marketing for email capture is a very viable strategy to build lists.

Popular website such as Robeez leverage email signup bars to incentivize visitors to exchange their emails for a percentage discount on an online order.

As examined previously, the Children’s Shopping industry is examined to have promotion-receptive visitors so the use of an email signup bar can open up opportunities for immediate and more ‘lifecycle’ conversions post purchase.

Executive Summary

Examine your industry’s benchmarks for average conversion rate, conversion with promotion and email capture conversion.

Your goal should be to beat the benchmarks.

Benchmarks such as this give you a window to work towards or applaud yourself for.

Your promotions, list building and email marketing are all important strategies to building your customer base, your repeat customer list and your online community.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Harry from the Justuno dev team for helping to pulli so much insightful data! He ran a ton of SQL queries to really hone the data in. This wouldn’t be possible without you!

Don’t see your industry listed here? Tweet us at @justunosocial and ask for some insights!

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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Word of Mouth Marketing: How to Create a Strategy for Social Media Buzz & Skyrocket Referral Sales Tue, 27 Feb 2018 16:04:55 +0000 Finding new ways to generate ecommerce sales is getting tougher. Competition is fierce. And simply having a presence and a…]]>

Finding new ways to generate ecommerce sales is getting tougher.

Competition is fierce. And simply having a presence and a nice looking web store is no longer enough to make you stand out.

Winning nowadays requires strategy and squeezing the most out of every opportunity.

But there’s one powerful area that tends to get neglected by ecommerce businesses:

Word of mouth marketing (or WOMM).

What is Word of Mouth Marketing?

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM), also called word of mouth advertising, is the social media era’s version of simple word of mouth.

  • Traditionally, word of mouth marketing was spread from one person to another based on recommendation.
  • Modern word of mouth marketing describes both targeted efforts and naturally occurring instances where users share their satisfaction with a brand.

In today’s hyper-connected world, a single recommendation can have far greater impact – leading to word of mouth marketing (WOMM) or word of mouth advertising strategies to capitalize on the opportunity.

Many best practices and marketing tactics encourage natural word of mouth, but campaigns — particularly on social media — can have the explicit aim of promoting an online business’ social exposure.

According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. Even academic research into WOMM has proven its effectiveness in conversion.

In the International Journal of Market Research, M. Nick Hajili wrote:

“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects intention to buy. Therefore, trust has a significant role in ecommerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.”

Proof is in the Success

I’ve seen ecommerce brands blow up by developing a Facebook Group, having YouTube influencers talk about them, and by getting on podcasts. And while this all happens online, this is still WOM advertising.

– Eric Carlson, Co-Founder, 10x Factory 

Organic Word of Mouth vs. Amplified Word of Mouth:

Word of mouth marketing happens in 2 ways: organically and through the use of marketing and advertising campaigns.

The two have inherent overalps –– and over a good WOM marketing strategy will cause icnreased organic WOM. Vice versa, if you already have a decent amount of organic WOM, your WOMM campaugns will be much more successful.

These two types of WOMM are called and defined as:

  • Organic word of mouth: Organic WOM occurs naturally when people become advocates because they are happy with a product and have a natural desire to share their support and enthusiasm.
  • Amplified word of mouth: Amplified WOM occurs when marketers launch campaigns designed to encourage or accelerate WOM in existing or new communities.

Word of Mouth Marketing Statistics

  • Nielsen report that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
  • Beyond friends and family, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
  • And 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
  • But only 33% of businesses are actively seeking out and collecting reviews.
  • Despite that fact that a little, can do a lot. When specific case studies were analyzed, researchers found a 10% increase in word-of-mouth (off and online) translated into a sales lifts between 0.2 – 1.5%.

But there’s much more to word of mouth advertising and marketing than just ‘do a good job and hope for a referral.’

So in this post we go into full detail on the subject:

  1. What it takes to make word of mouth marketing work.
  2. Specific strategies (with real-life examples) for setting up a steady flow of referral customers.

WOM is Here to Stay

Word of mouth will never go out of style. It is, and will remain, the #1 way people make choices about brands.

– Jamie Turner, Author, Speaker, and CEO of the 60 Second Marketer 

Why Care About Word of Mouth Marketing?

Tactics such as setting up a cool social media ad or experimenting with AI in ecommerce may sound more exciting (and like quicker wins).

A strong word of mouth strategy at the heart of your business can lay the foundation on which to build everything else from.

The Advantages of Word of Mouth Marketing:
  • Grow sales without the ad spend: Many brands from The Hustle to Bangs Shoes and more use word of mouth marketing instead advertising spend to increase sales and fanbase.
  • Build a community not a commodity: Word of mouth marketing works to build an engaged fan base rather than a buy and bolt customer. Higher engaged customers buy more often and recommend their friends more often, extended your return on time spent on the strategy and generating a high customer lifetime loyalty.
  • More funding, more freedom: Brands with high customer lifetime loyalty and therefore repeat purchases receive more angel and venture funding. Why? Because CAC to LTV, or Customer Acquisition Cost to Lifetime Value, is considered one of the most important aspects of a healthy business model in the early days of a company’s lifecycle.

In fact, there are three crucial factors a quality WOM marketing strategy can affect:

1. Brand loyalty.

According to the National Law Review, it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer than keep a current one.

And Bain & Co estimate that a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability by 75%.

And think about this:

A positive word of mouth advertising and marketing strategy keeps customers coming back. And referring other customers. Who also keep coming back. And referring more customers….

All of a sudden you’ve got a machine that’s pumping out new customers who are all loyal to your brand.

2. Brand trust.

HubSpot show that 75% of people don’t believe adverts, yet 90% trust suggestions from family and friends and 70% trust consumer reviews.

In other words:

People trust friends, family (and even strangers) more than they do ads.

Word of mouth marketing means your brand is being recommended in the most trustworthy context possible. And first time browsers are much more likely to take that crucial extra step of handing over their payment details.

3. Creating a buzz.

It’s great to have ad budgets and perfect sales funnels. But the only way to create a genuine buzz about your brand is to have impartial people shouting about you in the media and on social networks.

And a good word of mouth marketing strategy severely increases the likelihood of this happening.

Impress the right person and you might even end up getting featured in something like the New York Times.

In fact, this is the exact strategy Flash Tattoos used when they nabbed a promotion and collaboration with Beyonce. The brand was able to earn the star’s interest at festivals and through natural WOM promotion on Instagram of their products. 

Next thing you know, Beyonce is knocking down their door to get a custom collaboration. 

The collaboration made national headlines, including:

For Flash Tattoos, sales increased 1,100% following the collaboration. 

Creative WOM Beats Ad Unit Economics

Word of mouth is becoming increasingly and a must-have component of any ambitious brand’s marketing strategy.

Paid acquisition through channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Google have become significantly more competitive, which is putting increasing pressure on brands’ gross margins (when considering customer acquisition costs).

Brands thus have to focus on alternative marketing tactics, which have more cost-efficient unit economics and simply requires less of a monetary investment.

One of the best recent examples is Patagonia’s “The President Stole Your Land” campaign. Their tweet about this got more than 60,000 retweets. The overall campaign, which Patagonia targeted at their own customers, generated worldwide publicity and contributed greatly to their marketing efforts.

– Adii Pienaar, High King of Ecommerce, Conversio 

Create An Epic Experience First

There’s one thing to make sure of before doing anything else before creating effective word of mouth marketing strategies:

That you’re already creating an epic customer experience.

Trying to get people to refer their friends and family to your business is almost impossible if they had a poor experience. Even with an average one it’s difficult.

You could even do the opposite and spark up a whirlwind of negative publicity.

People refer others because they want to share something they love. Not just because they might get a discount voucher for doing it.

And with 65% of consumers having cut ties with a brand over just a single poor encounter, it’s more important than ever to create that amazing experience.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure that happens:

WOM is Built-In Trust

Word of mouth customers convert better because they already have a level of trust and confidence in your business that has transferred to them from the person who recommended your store.

People who arrive by other channels, by contrast, might know nothing about your store and have to be convinced first. Their levels of ‘trust’ are lower and conversions are correspondingly lower too.

In addition, if someone has had a good experience with your company and passes this message along they are also likely to point out helpful tips (i.e. be sure to pick up your discount coupon, or log in to get a free gift, etc) that make your offering more attractive to that person BEFORE they have even visited the site.

Word of mouth customers come with built in levels of trust and confidence that other channels don’t.

– David Mercer, Founder, SME Pals 

1. Sell quality products.

It’s impossible to create a positive experience if what you sell just isn’t up to scratch.

Your business will fast become more about managing returns than anything else.

So being able to source and sell quality products is crucial.

Take a look at the negativity caused in this TripAdvisor review:

The restaurant obviously spent a lot of time working on their logo design and how they looked to new customers.

Yet their product (the food) and overall experience for the customer was totally lacking.

A poor review and a customer likely to spread plenty of negative word of mouth.

Create Good Products to Get Good Profit

Word of mouth is possibly more important than ever.

Creating a great and personal experience around a high quality product can lead to all sorts of virality – online and offline.

The reverse is true as well.

If you treat customers poorly or sell lousy products, people will know and tell other to stay away. And because of social media, they can influence not only their friends but also friends of friends and beyond. 

– Josh Mendelsohn, VP, Privy

2. Seamless order process and site UX.

According to justuno, 93% of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision.

And a Forrester report claims better UX design could increase conversion rates by up to 400%.

Bottom line:

You need to make your ecommerce site and ordering process – across all devices – slick and simple to use or people will just give up (and certainly won’t come back).

A great example of this is the Carolina Panthers online shop.

They used BigCommerce to redesign their site to look amazing and be easy-to-use across all devices:

Take a look at some of the reviews after the change:

And the numbers don’t lie either – with the Panthers’ store seeing a:

  • 83% increase in mobile conversions
  • 37% increase in overall conversions
  • 16% decline in bounce rate.

3. Run a tight operation.

A recent PCA Predict report claims that 49% of consumers would shop online more if they felt more confident about delivery and 57% are reluctant to use a retailer again if delivery is late.

So running a tight operation after a sale’s been made is crucial.

It’s hard to provide that positive, referrable experience while carrying around a reputation for backorders and order mishaps.

This means having bulletproof processes in place to perfectly control your inventory without overselling and a seamless fulfillment system to ensure on-time deliveries.

While also being super speedy in responding to and resolving any mishaps that do occur.

4. Go above and beyond for the customer.

Of course, there’s no one way of doing this.

Every customer interaction is different – but should be treated as an opportunity to impress.

It’s about being in the mindset of striving for excellence in every situation and always putting the customer first.

Zappos are the absolute masters of this. In fact, their CEO Tony Hsieh has regularly described them as a “service company who happen to sell shoes”.

The internet is filled with a multitude of what can be seen as small, yet powerful stories about how Zappos creates wow experiences for customers every single day.

They’ve even started turning them into cool promotional videos:

Ideas For Building Your Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy

Creating an epic experience for customers is sometimes enough to get some of them shouting about you and referring others.

But really making the best word of mouth marketing campaign strategy requires greater thought.

You need to move away from hoping people tell their friends about you. And towards specific strategies that actively encourage people to refer.

Let’s take a look at some ideas to help you build you WOMM strategy:

WOM works for all verticals

One of the big shifts around the concept of word of mouth is that people are spreading products in a different way.

It’s no longer through their voice and is instead happening through their fingertips. Whether it’s a viral product like the Star Wars shower heads getting thousands of shares on Facebook or a new SaaS service getting thousands of upvotes on Product Hunt; the concept of word of mouth is the same but the channel is different. 

– Ross Simmonds, Digital Strategist, Foundation Marketing

1. Set up word of mouth triggers.

A word of mouth trigger is your ‘x factor’.

The thing that makes your business stand out from any other in your industry or space.

This means giving your customers something memorable. An experience, thought or feeling they can’t get anywhere else.

And they’re left being almost forced (in a good way) to talk about you to others.

The Hustle, for instance, sends an ambassador promotion email anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple months after someone joins (they continue to test timing for effectiveness). Here’s the email they send:

Of their nearly 600,000 subscribers (as of writing), this email has earned them more than 4,000 ambassadors, each of whom recommends upward of 25 people to The Hustle. 

2. Use visual triggers.

Disney does an amazing job of this with their theme parks.

They create a stunning visual experience that people just want to take photos of and share with other people.

But this can be a little trickier to create when it comes to ecommerce.

You could create a website so stunning and unique that people just have to share it. But navigation, ease-of-use and conversions should always be your first point of call.

IKEA is a great example of a brand using a visual trigger to create word of mouth.

They were among some of the first retailers to embrace Augmented Reality in a big way and created a huge online buzz when launching their AR app:

This video has 1.4 million views on YouTube and was shared across copious other channels because people were visually amazed.

3. Do or create something unique.

Creating something totally different and out of the box is another way to trigger people into spreading the word about your business.

But that doesn’t mean you need to totally reinvent the wheel.

It could be that you market your business in a way that’s totally different to anyone else in your space. Or that you take an old product and sell it in a completely new way.

Dollar Shave Club is a fantastic example of both of these ideas.

Not only did they take an old product (a shaving razor) and sell it in a new way (via subscription to monthly grooming packages). But they also marketed themselves using self-deprecating humour in an industry that’s mostly known for producing serious commercials of men with chiseled good looks.

In fact, they gained 12,000 customers within 48 hours of this initial YouTube video going live in 2012 (and it now has over 25 million views):

4. Emotional provocation.

Tapping into people’s emotions can be very powerful for generating shares and getting people to talk about your business.

This can be done via taking something you believe in and tying your company brand closely to it on social media, your website and anywhere you can.

For example:

Android believe in their slogan “Be Together. Not the Same”. And their ‘Friends Furever’ video went on to become the most shared ad of all time by simply encapsulating this concept.

BigCommerce retailer Ben & Jerry’s also does this really well by attaching themselves to a cause they hugely believe in – environmentalism:

5. Encourage user generated content.

Content generated by your users, customers and followers can be much more powerful, engaging and shareable than run of the mill company updates and photos.

In fact:

According to an Adweek infographic, 85% of users find visual UGC more influential than brand photos or videos.

Meaning engaging your follower base in a two-way conversation can encourage them to start shouting about your business on social media – effectively endorsing and referring you to their friends and followers.

Offering discounts for posts that meet certain criteria is one way to encourage this. Or running an ongoing social media competition on your own hashtag is another.

BigCommerce retailer Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams does this fantastically well.

They have stores all across America and get customers to Instagram themselves enjoying their ice cream while using a special hashtag for the store they’re at:

And even go a step further by creating community sections for each store on their website – filled with social proof of people loving their ice cream:

6. Push ratings and reviews hard.

Not every person is going to refer dozens of friends and family.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t love their experience. And certainly doesn’t mean you can’t use their feedback to convince others to buy.

According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Customer Review Survey:

  • Consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business – up from six the previous year.
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business.

So feedback and word of mouth from your current customers is crucial.

That means collecting and prominently displaying honest reviews of your service and products in as many places as possible – marketplaces, websites, in-store, social media posts and anywhere else you can think of.

If someone is willing to shout about your business, make sure everyone knows about it.

Alcoholic drinks retailer BeerCartel do this brilliantly on their BigCommerce store by prominently displaying product ratings in the top left and a reviews tab on the right:

With the tab on the right causing a pop up box filled with reviews to appear as an overlay:

And they also do a great job collecting reviews on social media too:

Use Reviews to Their Full Social Power

Reviews are the modern word of mouth. Consumers are reading reviews and they’re asking for advice on social networks. Word of mouth is more important and bigger than ever before.

– Stephen Slater, Sr. SEO and Digital Advertising Manager, TopRank Marketing

7. Create an official referral program.

A referral program isn’t going to trump a bad experience for your customers.

But offering systematic referral rewards is a great way to nudge happy customers into actually taking that step and introducing others to your business.

In fact:

Texas Tech research has indicated that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer a product or service but only 29% actually do.

So gently pushing customers towards taking action on referrals could be a game changer.

Rewards could be anything from:

  • Discount off next/first order.
  • $X gift card for referring a certain number of people.
  • Straight up paying people for referrals.
  • Bonus gifts with next order for referring people.

Outdoor apparel retailer The Clymb does an awesome job with their referral programme, clearly highlighting it in their website header:

The reward itself is then clearly explained at the top of a dedicated page:

And they then make it super easy to share via email and social media. Even providing a pre-populated message and potential earnings according to number of email addresses entered:

8. Know Your Customer LTV.

A key caveat to mention here though is that you need to know your customer numbers and metrics – especially average lifetime value.

There’s no point giving a reward of, say, $50 if your average customer only has a lifetime value of $25. You’re just throwing away money.

This is why reward programs lend themselves particularly well to subscription services or businesses that see high customer retention.

But knowing your numbers means you know how much you can afford to spend as a reward.

For example:

In their early days, PayPal literally paid people just for getting someone else to open an account ($10 to each the referrer and new customer).

Not something most brands can do. But PayPal knew their numbers and created 7-10% daily growth in user base with it selling for $1.5 billion a few years later.

Today, PayPal continues to lead the payments industry charge. They even sell their point-of-sale system to ecommerce brands in the exact same way ecommerce brands sell to their own customers.

The Most Important Metric

Word of mouth is arguably the most important marketing tactic of any business.

If you set up an ad that acquires a customer for $10 – that’s good. Assuming that’s profitable for you based on your CoGs, etc. – keep scaling your ads.

But if you can get 1 person to talk about your brand with 10 of their friends and 5 of them buy. And you repeat that for every customer that comes into your store – you’ll get so many sales you won’t be able to keep up with inventory and shipping.

– William Harris, Ecommerce Marketing Expert, Elumynt 

Spark WOM among influencers

Some people have a strong social media and online following. And hold a lot of sway with their recommendations.

In fact:

Research from Twitter and Annalect claims 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions.

So getting your brand or products reviewed and talked about by relevant influencers in your industry can be a fantastic word of mouth strategy.

Some influencers you can outright pay to promote a product. But there are other ways too.

Activate Social Influencers

Word of mouth marketing is often rooted in great campaigns through social influencers. It’s important for brands to think about how to incorporate and experiment with this.

– David Feng, Co-Founder, Re:amaze 

1. Send products for free.

Once you’ve identified relevant influencers, simply sending them one or some of your products for free can get them talking about it online.

Be careful not to expect or demand anything just because you’ve sent free product. Some of these influencers will get a lot of free stuff and they might not want to review it all.

Minimalistic watch retailer Daniel Wellington used this strategy almost solely to build their online business.

They simple sent one of their watches to selected Instagram influencers along with a unique discount code to include in any posts:

This strategy helped Daniel Wellington climb to almost 4 million followers on Instagram with over 1.6 million posts in the #danielwellington hashtag.

2. Connect with a worthy cause.

Following on from one of the above WOM triggers suggestions – influencers and celebrities are always wanting to show their support for causes they believe in.

Meaning you can gain serious word of mouth exposure while supporting something cool too.

Sun Bum sells sunscreen – without any of the typical bad stuff in it. They also make and sell sunscreen specifically for children’s skin. But that isn’t all.

Sun Bum partners with schools across the U.S. to bring in professional (and famous!) surfers from around the world to teach kids about the importance of sun protection.

Support for the project in the surfing community is huge. But it’s also something that many celebrities and key influencers are more than happy to promote and post about – plugging Sun Bum in the process.

3. Solve a real challenge (yes, even influencers have them!).

Online app brand Vivino is beloved by wine novices and sommeliers alike around the world, but in the NBA –– their share of influencers is far and wide.

“Shoutout to my Vivino app,” says Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. As Kevin Love, the 5 time basketball All-Star and NBA Championship winner, says, “It’s like Netflix for wine.”

For Blazers guard CJ McCollum? “It’s life-changing.”

WOMM Executive Summary

Word of mouth advertising and marketing can be a monumentally strong player in growing your ecommerce business.

But it’s imperative to start with the fundamentals.

It doesn’t matter how many marketing consultants you hire, amazing ecommerce conferences you attend or new age growth hacks you try. If you can’t provide a quality experience for customers and run a tight operation then you’ll fall short somewhere along the way.

Get this right first and then use the strategies in this post to keep multiplying your happy customer base over and over.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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How to Set Up an Ecommerce Loyalty Program to Improve Retention, Build Community and Drive 5X in Sales Fri, 23 Feb 2018 15:00:07 +0000 A few years ago, Forbes contributor Ken Krogue noticed a lady returning rotten, moldy fruit at a Costco store. The…]]>

A few years ago, Forbes contributor Ken Krogue noticed a lady returning rotten, moldy fruit at a Costco store.

The clerk attending to the woman kindly offered her money back, even though she bought the fruit days ago, when they were still fresh.

Costco is willing to go to great lengths to keep their customers satisfied.

After a year hiatus from having the top Net Promoter Score (NPS), Costco is back in the top spot.

What is the Net Promoter Score?

The Net Promoter Score is a tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships and can be related to a firm’s revenue growth.

The math is simple behind Costco’s business:

Loyal customers who buy repeatedly are more profitable than ones that buy once.


Because repeat customers have a higher lifetime value, meaning that over the course of a customer’s projected buying time with your brand, you can predict a high return on investment.

For instance, if you spent $5 to earn a customer and you know that over the course of that customer’s lifetime with your brand, they will likely spend about $100, that’s a great lifetime value to churn (or cost to acquire a customer) ratio (LTV to CAC).

Costco works hard to keep their customers because it costs 5x less to retain customers than acquire new ones and loyal customers spend up to 67% more than new customers.

Customers become loyal to a brand when the products are high quality and are delivered as promised, or when the brand can offer them amazing customer service.

Yet, due to intense competition, great customer service, like that at Costco’s brick-and-mortar stores, isn’t always enough to keep customers coming back.

So, how can you increase retention and customer lifetime loyalty?

That’s what we’ll cover today, teaching you how to Implement a customer loyalty program that works for your brand.

We’ll cover:

  • What an ecommerce customer loyalty program is.
  • Why you need one.
  • The various components involved in building out a customer loyalty program.
  • The types of customer loyalty programs available (and their hybrids).
  • Examples of ecommerce customer loyalty programs (with case studies).

Let’s dive in.

Provide Repeat Value

If you want lifetime customers, you not only have to continuously prove that your product is worth what they’re paying for it, you also have to give them that something extra.

Show them that you’re the expert in your field and reward them for their loyalty. Many businesses use loyalty programs to reward repeat purchases which has shown to be very effective, especially for ecommerce.

– Emil Kristensen, CMO and co-founder, Sleeknote.

What is a Customer Loyalty Program?

Customer loyalty refers to a customer’s willingness to work with or buy from a brand repeatedly as a result of positive customer experience, satisfaction, and the value the customer gets from the transaction.

A customer loyalty program helps push customer loyalty by providing rewards to customers that frequently patronize the business’ products and services.

Through the loyalty program, the customers may be given:

  • Discounts and rebates.
  • Rewards.
  • Free merchandise.
  • Coupons.
  • Access to unreleased products.

Loyalty programs first originated in the 1950s, when grocers gave customers stamps for making purchases, eventually spawning airline miles rewards in the 1980s.

Who Needs a Customer Loyalty Program?

Anyone who has customers can benefit from a loyalty program.

However, certain types of internet retailers will see greater value from a loyalty program.

These retailers have the following characteristics:

1. Online retailers who receive a steady stream of at least ten or more orders a month will see greater benefit from a reward program.

Repeat orders are more likely when online retailers are generating a steady stream of new customers.

If you are not generating a steady stream of customers or orders already, launch an ad program to raise brand awareness and drive traffic to your site.

Google Shopping is a tried and true favorite for most mid-market brands, but Facebook and Instagram are equally attractive and allow you to narrow down your audiences with Power Editor.

2. Online retailers operating in a niche where customers are price sensitive are ideal candidates for a loyalty program.

Price sensitive customers respond better to rewards than customers in big ticket or luxury markets where price is not an important factor.

A loyalty program in a fashion or beauty niche can also be successful. Sephora, for instance, has a hugely successful loyalty program.

If your various selling channels have different selling propositions – for instance, on your independent website your unique products are more of a draw than your prices, but on your Amazon channel, your price competitiveness wins out – then consider running different loyalty programs for those two audiences.

Or, test out a loyalty program to help grow a specific channel.

3. Online retailers operating in markets with several competitors are also ideal candidates for a loyalty program.

These retailers see the greatest benefit from loyalty programs since they are at the greatest risk of losing customers to competitors.

A loyalty program may also help you to stand out amongst your competition, giving you the upper hand and making you appear more customer-centric than other brands.

Why You Need an Ecommerce Loyalty Program (Hint: Retention)

The biggest advantage of a loyalty program is that it has the potential to align your entire business toward the most profitable segment of your customer base.

This means that your business will begin catering more to customers who have high repeat purchases or average order value – depending on what type of loyalty program you implement.

Over time, you’ll also be able to use the data collected from a loyalty program to figure out ways to make the least profitable customers more profitable, increasing your customer lifetime value, and thus company revenue and projected profitability overall.

Loyal customers often convert and spend more money with brands they like, with 78% of loyal customers willing to spread the word to their friends and family.

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best and most powerful kinds of marketing, with 92% of people preferring suggestions from their friends and family over traditional advertisements.

Here are some other benefits of a customer loyalty program:

  • Retain existing customers. As mentioned, it costs 5x less to retain customers than acquire new ones
  • Acquire new customers. Although the main purpose of a loyalty program is to retain existing customers and increase repeat orders, it can also be used as a benefit to attract new customers.
  • Move customers up the buying ladder. A loyalty program will systematically move your customers up the buying ladder – converting first time buyers into repeat buyers and keeping your repeat buyers spending more often with you.
  • Win back lost customers. While it may seem inevitable that a certain percentage of customers will be lost over time, a loyalty program will allow you to identify, target and bring back these lost customers.
  • Increase the lifetime value. When you increase the frequency of customers shopping with you, you will automatically increase the lifetime value of your customer.
  • Identify your best customers. A loyalty program identifies your best customers. Once identified, you can then start observing patterns in their behavior. These patterns can be used for better merchandising, advertising and customer service.
  • Create your best brand influencers. Your best customers are buying repeatedly from you because they love what you are doing. These customers are prime candidates to be your brand influencers. A loyalty program helps you to take the first step, which is to identify your potential brand influencers.
  • Set you apart from the competition. The best part of a loyalty program is that it can inoculate you from the competition. With a loyalty program in place, your competitors will have a harder time peeling away your customers.
  • Reduce advertising costs. When you learn who your best customers are, you can target your advertising to bring in more new customers who fit the profile of a best customer. These new customers are more likely to convert into repeat customers. This data can help you to cut down advertising costs by eliminating advertising in mediums that attract one-time buyers or deal-seekers.

Components of a Loyalty Program

All loyalty programs boil down to a simple concept – customers are rewarded for taking certain actions. Businesses customize on the above principle to create their individual loyalty programs.

These customizations consist of making changes to the following components:

1.  What actions will customers be rewarded for?

Successful loyalty programs focus on a single customer action: getting customers to buy again.

However, you can also reward your customer for other types of actions such as store registrations, referrals, social shares, etc.

The most successful loyalty programs focus on repeat orders and ignore ancillary actions such as social sharing, reviews, etc.

2.  How will customers redeem and use their rewards?

Once your customer has earned a reward, you will need to decide how the customer will access and use their rewards.

This is where most online stores make the mistake of complicating the program. Some common mistakes include:

  • Making the customers manually redeem points.
  • Offering rewards that are difficult to use such as coupons or gift certificates.
  • Avoid these mistakes by making it easy for your customers to earn, redeem and use their rewards.

3. What kinds of rewards will you offer?

You can offer your customers several kinds of rewards from free shipping to percentage off to store credit. It is tempting to assume that strong rewards will lead to a successful loyalty program.

On the contrary, an easy to use loyalty program will always outperform ones that offer greater rewards. It is best to start a loyalty program with one reward.

4. What are the rules of your customer loyalty program?

The rules of your loyalty program allow you to protect yourself from abuse.

However, it’s best to have a few, sensible rules and not make it overly complicated.

Below are some simple rules to get started with:

  1. Rewards are available to registered customers only.
  2. Points earned or redeemed do not apply to tax or shipping.
  3. Points are earned and redeemable by the email address on account only.
  4. Points are non-transferable.
  5. Points may only be redeemed for purchases and have no cash value.
  6. Points are accumulated by current purchases only.
  7. We hold the right to cancel an account at any time.

Ideas for Designing a Great Ecommerce Loyalty Program

According to The Loyalty Report 2017, the average customer is involved in 14 loyalty programs but can only effectively engage in 7.

When customers cannot engage in a loyalty program effectively, both the business and customer lose money on time and effort.

Similarly, research finds that 54% of loyalty memberships are inactive with 28% of customers abandoning the loyalty programs without redeeming points.

It is imperative to design a great loyalty program that customers actually make use of.

The best tip to designing a great loyalty program is to keep it simple.

“Keep it simple,” Andy Etemadi, CEO of EYEMAGINE. “Make it easy for customers to join and even easier for customers to participate. Make it fun for the customer and encourage competition with a leaderboard.”

The most common loyalty programs involve a process where the customer earns points for every purchase. These points can be translated to freebies, discounts or special perks—each depending on the number of points accumulated.

However, some loyalty programs make earning and redeeming points more complicated than it needs to be.

The best ecommerce loyalty program is:

  • Easy to understand: The best loyalty programs are easy to understand. Keep things as simple as possible. Instead of giving out 3 points for each dollar spent, hand out 1 point for each dollar spent. It is easier for customers to grasp.
  • Easy to use: Make it easy for your customers to earn and use their rewards. Try not to make your customers jump through hoops. Eliminate steps like requiring separate enrollment into the loyalty program, offering difficult to use rewards such as coupon codes. Customers become more loyal only when they use their rewards. So make it easy for them to earn and use their rewards.

Case in point: Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program.

For every purchase, customers swipe their Beauty Insider card. The card tracks the amount of money customers have spent at Sephora, with each dollar purchase earning a point.

These points can be redeemed for new beauty supply items.

Here are some other things you can do to create an awesome ecommerce customer loyalty program:

1. Give it a Personal Touch.

Customers want to feel like they are valued.

  • Train your employees to treat customers well.
  • Give a personal touch so that when you ask of something from your customers (say, a survey or poll), they will willingly oblige.

It’s important to be available to customers via different channels: chat, social networking sites, and email.

A personal touch could also mean implementing personalized recommendations based on recent product views or purchases.

86% of consumers say personalization plays an important role in their buying decisions, and 87% of shoppers said that when online stores personalize, they are driven to buy more.

Remember, too, that the most common loyalty program features often aren’t the most successful.

According to Bond and Visa Brand Loyalty Report

The more unique a loyalty experience and offering you can provide, the more successful it will be. Tailor it to your community and audience.

Focus on Authenticity

My biggest piece of advice to build customer loyalty is to focus on building authentic relationships.

Being true to your brand—and not being afraid to be playful, fun, or quirky if that’s what your brand is — is more likely to get your customers to come back again and again.

– Kayla Lewkowicz, Marketing Manager, Privy.

2. Build a Sense of Community.

“Build a community for your brand,” says Alex Birkett, Growth Marketing Manager at Hubspot. “Community building is a long term play and an underrated asset. But for good reason – it’s hard to build an authentic community”.

As far as how to execute this well?

“Building a robust and lively Facebook community at ConversionXL helped us tap into customer insights and get natural customer feedback, but it also opened a direct line of communication with customers and fans of the brand in general.

The discussions that happen there now, organically, are amazing and the community is a valuable thing on its own, outside of any branding/acquisition concerns”.

This is even more important in 2018, as Facebook algorithms change to surface more community content than brand or advertising content.

Just look at AdWeek’s advice to brands in light of the Facebook algorithm change in January 2018:

  1. Publish less content via your Facebook page, but focus on more meaningful content that reinforces key brand messages.
  2. Use Facebook advertising for awareness and promotions.
  3. Stop any engagement baiting in your posts now — the kind of posts that say, ‘Like this for yes, angry for no,’ and so on. They won’t work.
  4. Stop posting any content with a link to your blog or website. You cannot rely on Facebook for traffic.
  5. Go back to your community and produce content that encourages meaningful one-to-many discussions.
  6. Produce more live videos (not pre-recorded ones).
  7. Look at setting up groups to build your community.
  8. Look at the areas that are growing. Chatbots and messaging should now be a definite focus, alongside your Facebook brand page.

All of those recommendations are a call to community-building. It is more crucial than ever for businesses to integrate Messenger and initiate one-on-one conversations.

Begin building your community now. The best way to do that is by offering add-on services and forums to your existing product offerings.

Below, you’ll see that BombTech Golf (a brand that has grown to $12M in revenue in 3 years) offers a Facebook Community Group, SnapChat engagement, a professionals group, a fittings service and more.

Your brand doesn’t have to offer all of these, but it is smart to begin figuring out how to incorporate at least one of them as soon as possible.

WGSN calls this the upcoming generation the “crowdsourced capitalism” one.

Here is how they describe it:

Let’s face the facts – the sharing economy is here to stay and continues to disrupt. Estimated to grow to $335bn globally by 2025, this peer-to-peer marketplace is set to further impact the traditional corporate-centred economic model.

Community now – or fail later. Those are your current options.

3. Market the program

You could have the best customer loyalty program in the world but if no one is joining, then it’s not really doing anything for your ecommerce business.

  • Advertise and spread the word about your program.
  • Invite people to join through email, social networking sites, and online ads.
  • Encourage and incorporate user-generated content, so that your customers will be empowered to act as your biggest brand ambassadors.

Users who interact with ratings and reviews are 105% more likely to buy. UGC creators have an average 300-700% higher conversion rates, as well.

Here are a couple apps and tools that help brands generated user-generated content at scale:

  • Rivet Works: Combing the power of product reviews with product photos via email automation. Check out MountainCrest Succulents to see it in action.
  • Curalate’s FanReel: Combing the power of micro-influencer marketing with on-site traffic and conversion. Check it out in action at Spellbinders.

How to Build an Influencer Program for Your Brand in 6 Months

It turns out that with the right product, the right tools and the right attitude, any brand can hop on the influencer marketing train today – and see results in just 6 short months.

Here's how they did it.

4. Be Ready to Adapt.

Not all customer loyalty programs are going to be perfect from the very beginning, so be ready to make some changes depending on customer response.

A few aspects to remember:

  • Start where you’re already at: Identify and optimize new loyalty assets in your organization, that are currently hiding in plain sight.
  • Do not operate in a silo: Integrate your Program and your brand’s discrete initiatives into a cohesive loyalty ecosystem.
  • Use your people to enable a better member experience: devote your program to enabling a better brand experience across the board.

How to Create and Implement a Customer Loyalty Program

As described earlier, a loyalty and retention program has two goals:

  1. Convert new customers to repeat customers
  2. Keep your repeat customers shopping with you

It takes significant time and effort to accomplish both of the above goals using a DIY loyalty program.

A more manageable approach is to start a DIY loyalty program that focuses on your best customers and keeps them shopping with you (goal # 2).

The first step to creating and implementing an effective customer loyalty program is to start by identifying:

  • Why you need to have a customer loyalty program
  • Program goals
  • Key customers
  • What your customers like about your products

After answering these questions, you should next focus on the type of loyalty program you’d want to implement.

Above all, ensure that it is consumer-centric in its execution.

Determine how you will track the information that you’re going to get from the loyalty program, and what you will do with it.

By doing so, you will have a benchmark for knowing how well your program is doing. Below are the steps to build brand loyalty and drive LTV with a home-brewed loyalty program.

3 Steps to an Ecommerce Loyalty Program
  • Step 1: Create a quarterly or monthly report of your top customers by amount spent.
  • Step 2: Send a reward to the top 10% of customers in the monthly/quarterly list of your best customers.
  • Step 3: Rinse and repeat each month. As you get into the rhythm of doing this month-in and month-out, you’ll notice patterns and can take the following additional actions:
    • You may notice that some best customers have stopped shopping. Follow up with these customers by offering them a discount or store credit.
    • You may also notice that some customers consistently return each month. You can reward them with a simple thank you note.

After deciding on the basics, you can focus on fine-tuning your ecommerce customer loyalty program in terms of things such as:

  • Terms and conditions of your program
  • Rewards that you will offer your customers
  • How you’ll communicate with the members. Many communicate via email marketing, but there are also programs that have a dedicated website and/or app

After getting all the details down pat, you can pre-launch your loyalty program by testing out a beta or pilot program, available only to a select few.

These people should be your most loyal and profitable customers. If you are using BigCommerce, you can find those customers and their emails here:

A pre-launch beta is ideal, as it allows you to fix whatever issues pop up in the beta program before you go live.

After going live to all customers, remember to use and analyze the data you collect and make adjustments and improvements when necessary.

Here are your next steps once you launch the program fully.

Remember, redeemers are 2c more likely to be highly satisfied with the Program than non-redeemers, yet still 1/5 of Members have not redeemed, putting them at a higher risk of attrition.

  1. Focus on the redemption experience, not the reward.
  2. Encourage reward goal setting.
  3. Foster better awareness of accumulation status, and communicate progress.
  4. Take action to mitigate post-redemption attrition risk

Types of Customer Loyalty Programs

1. Points system.

A points system represents the easiest and simplest kind of loyalty program.

It’s based on the principle of spending more to get more points. Points should be redeemable in the form of rewards, such as:

  • Discounts.
  • Freebies.
  • Special items.

This works especially well for shops that encourage frequent, low-cost purchases.

This also seems to be the most popular program type for online stores.

Pro tip: make it straightforward and not too complicated.

Let’s look at several examples.

See the example below from Grow and Behold. This brand uses to manage a straightforward rewards program.

InnerEgo has a point system set up based on order value. This one is also setup using

And here’s another example from Sitara Collections using S-Loyalty.

And finally, Sophie & Toffee use SLoyalty as well to run a point-based, tiered system.

2. Tier system.

A tier system is based on levels of loyalty: the more a customer buys, the higher up the rewards tier they can travel.

This is typically used for businesses with customers who make big-ticket purchases that don’t happen often, such as in the travel industry. Many airlines have adopted this type of program.

The goal is to keep members around for the long term.

Besides travel, this type of customer loyalty program can be applicable to the ecommerce industry as well. COLLOQUY found that 50% of consumers said they increase their spending or change their purchasing behavior to get a higher tier status in a rewards program of this type.

Pro tip: Start by presenting a small base reward for simply being part of the program and make the next levels easily achievable to reduce program abandonment. has something similar setup, using RewardCamp.

3. Partnership program.

According to COLLOQUY, 68% of millennials will remain loyal to a business that offers them the most rewards. Additionally, Collinson Latitude found that 82% of consumers said loyalty programs would be better if they offered more choices.

A partnership program is a great way to target millennials and form partnerships with other businesses.

In Austin, BigCommerce’s HQ hometown, there is a very popular meetup group called Boss Babes. This group partners with brands and local hotels, spas, etc. to offer retreats and other discounted options to their members.

Find something similar in your area to help boost awareness and align yourself with brands and ideas that are on the rise.

4. VIP (paid) program.

Some companies offer a VIP program where customers pay a membership to join. Once you’re a member of that VIP program, you have access to exclusive perks such as discounts, freebies, and priority access to events.

One such example is Amazon Prime, which charges an upfront fee for VIP services like free and expedited shipping.

By doing this, Amazon is able to offset cart abandonment (caused by expensive shipping fees) by making customers feel as though they are getting a much better deal.

5. Other reward programs.

Other rewards that companies can opt to have include:

  • Donations to other companies. This is best if it’s aligned with your company culture, such as TOMS, which donates a percentage of profits to its many causes.
  • Gamification/Contests, such as AppSumo, which constantly runs online sweepstakes that promise to winners gadgets such as Macbook Pros, Fitbits, and software programs such as Photoshop and Dropbox Pro. By doing this, they were able to accrue hundreds of thousands of subscribers to their email list and social sites.

Pro tip: Make sure that the odds of winning the game are no more than 25% and that purchase requirements are attainable so that the members feel that they aren’t being duped.

Make sure everything is legal before taking the contest public.

6. Hybrid programs.

This is a combination of any of the aforementioned loyalty programs.

The trick is to find elements from different programs that mix well together, as is the case with Kiehl’s Rewards, which gives you a guaranteed free birthday gift as well as $10 reward for every $100 purchase.

Oxygen4Life has set up a complete hybrid program using Zinrelo. You can see the experience below, where they offer:

  • Point-based
  • Tiers through account creation
  • Birthday bonuses
  • And more.

7. No loyalty program.

Some brands, such as Apple, do not have a loyalty program but still have a lot of loyal customers — as evidenced by the many people who fall in line every time a new iPhone or Apple product is released.

Apple is able to get away without a loyalty program because their products are so hard to resist from the get-go.

If you’re a pioneer in your field or are redefining your category, it’s quite possible that you don’t need an ecommerce customer loyalty program.

How to Select a Loyalty App

To have success you need to have the right ecommerce customer loyalty software. To deploy your loyalty programs, many brands offer management via a loyalty app.

Having a mobile app is helpful, especially when customers are out and about without their wallets but still want to patronize your business.

Making it possible to pay with credits in your loyalty app also makes adding transactions to your database easier because everything is done electronically.

Many brands such as Starbucks, Dominos, 7-eleven and top airlines (such as AirAsia) have loyalty apps. Investing in this type of ecommerce customer loyalty program can be quite lucrative, as 75% of all smartphone users are interested in interacting with loyalty schemes via their mobile phones.

The good news? You don’t need to spend too much to create your own customer loyalty app. You can implement your loyalty program using one of the many loyalty apps on the BigCommerce app store.

The most successful loyalty programs make it easy for your customers to earn, redeem and use their rewards. A good app will walk you through all the decisions involved in setting up the loyalty program.

But most importantly, the best ecommerce loyalty software will do the following:

  • Keep things simple.
  • Make it easy to redeem rewards.
  • Make it easy to use the rewards.
  • Provide monthly performance metrics.

Here are top ecommerce loyalty program software apps to consider using:

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Customer Loyalty Program

These metrics can help to indicate the effectiveness of your customer loyalty program:

1. Customer retention rate.

Measured over a given time period (a year, a quarter, etc), the customer retention rate measures the number of customers you have retained over a certain time period.

By implementing a successful loyalty program, these numbers should increase. According to a study by Reichheld and Schefter, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS).

As mentioned previously, the Net Promoter Score is a tool that can be used to estimate customer experience, which is related to a firm’s revenue growth.

It is a score on a scale of 1-10 that demonstrates how much a person would recommend your business to others. It is measured by subtracting the number of customers that wouldn’t recommend your business from the number of customers that would.

3. Negative churn.

Customer churn refers to the number of customers that cease their relationship with the company, determined by a certain time period when a customer fails to interact with the business.

Negative churn is the opposite: measuring those that have purchased more or upgraded.

Final Thoughts

With many available options in the market, it can be hard to retain hard-won customers.

With the right strategy and structure, an ecommerce customer loyalty program can level the playing field — even helping to push things in your company’s favor!

Ecommerce businesses:

  • Have you set up an ecommerce customer loyalty program?
  • How have you found success?

Tweet @BigCommerce and we’ll share the best insights with our community!

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

]]> 9
How 29 Sites Built the Perfect Ecommerce Product Pages (Best Practices & Examples You Can Steal) Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:00:12 +0000 It’s official. Mobile commerce is on the rise (and not just browsing, but actual conversions) Google is getting more serious…]]>

It’s official.

  • Mobile commerce is on the rise (and not just browsing, but actual conversions)
  • Google is getting more serious about their mobile algorithm, separating it from it’s desktop version to account for mobile consumer habits and preferences
  • Webstores are officially storytelling complements to Amazon, where price and convenience reign.

These 3 factors all mean one thing:

Your product page is the most important page on your site.

Build your product page effectively and both your traffic and conversions will skyrocket.

Fail to do so, and almost all your marketing and advertising efforts will fall short of goal.

This is risky business – and it’s the same business that digital marketers building landing pages have long been grappling with.

Your product page is now a landing page – at least in function.

This means it needs to (in order of importance):

  • Use psychological triggers to convince browsers to add to cart
  • Grab consumer attention immediately to the add to cart button
  • Fully explain both the product and the company (after all, consumers are bypassing your homepage)
  • Build trust in the product and company, often through social proof
  • Upsell or resell to increase AOV

There are a variety of ways to do each one of these, and we’ll focus on each section below and show you examples of how folks are turning their ecommerce product pages into landing pages.

The key is to focus on these 3 best practices:

  1. Keeping your product page focused on the product and consistent with your brand
  2. Boosting your customers’ loyalty and confidence
  3. Inspiring customers to become promoters of your brand.

The bottom line is that the quality of your product page — its visual elements, content, and navigation—has the power to make or break your store.

Let’s dive in.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Product Page

Product pages are ubiquitous. They are an industry standard –– a best practice, if you will.

Browse any online store and the multitude of components typical of product pages are recognizable on nearly every site you visit.

And that’s because, as the Baymard Institute so elegantly puts it:

It’s often on the product page where users make up their mind on whether or not they want to purchase the featured product.

This makes the product page layout, product page design, and features, the centerpiece of the user’s ecommerce experience.

At the same time, the product page layout and features are under a lot of strain as they’re largely a template reused for almost every single product on the site.

So, the question becomes:

How do you create a high quality user experience on a single ecommerce product page that you can easily replicate across your entire catalog?

7 Ecommerce Product Page Best Practices

Well, first you make sure that you have all the necessary elements of a product page to begin with.

From there, you can update and optimize.

Here are the 7 product page requirements:

  • Feature image
  • Gallery or product photos
  • Product overview, including title, price, features, CTA and customization options.
  • Product description.
  • Social proof, including review and ratings.
  • Similar product suggestions (upsell and cross sell).
  • Human interaction for any help or guidance needed.

Let’s walk through what each one of these are before we dive into examples.

1. Feature Image.

The single most important element of ecommerce product page design is your feature image.

This is an eye-level, mid- to long-shot that showcases your product.

Just imagine what an ecommerce product page would look like with a poorly lit and pixelated image, or even without one at all!

Would you trust a store that failed to properly photograph their products?

Your feature image can excite visitors or turn them away as it forms their first impression and helps them decide whether to look further.

Your best bet is a polished, perfectly centered product image with a white or light background and soft or no shadows.

You’ll also be able to use this image on Amazon in the case you sell your product on that marketplace. In other words, two birds, one stone.

Take a look at Stormy Kromer’s product image below. It is clean. It is large (you can zoom in on it). It looks like it is worth the price.

Beyond the feature image, the product page must convince the browser of the item’s value.

2. Gallery of product photos.

If your feature image successfully wins over your visitors, the next thing they are most likely to do is browse your image gallery.

Galleries are another important aspect of ecommerce product page design. Ideally, you will have about a dozen images in such a gallery, most of them clean-cut, like your feature image, and showing your product from all relevant angles.

It’s also good to include at least one or two in-context or lifestyle images to invite an emotional response from your customers.

You can even add a 360-degree shot, too, that engages consumers even more or a video that conveys other information or answers customers’ questions.

Do you need a dozen extra images?

No. You only need enough images to allow consumers to better visualize your products –– especially the details.

Other than paying for shipping, not being able to touch or feel, or try out, a product is the most hated aspect of online shopping.

If you can solve for that with only a few images, more power to you.

Here’s a great example by Solillas, where they have 4 total images:

3. Title and overview.

Beyond the images, your product page needs to give high-level information of the product right off the bat.

That information includes:

  • Product title.
  • Price.
  • Features and components.
  • CTA.
  • Customization options.

Ideally, all of this information lives above the fold. That isn’t always possible (in fact, it is rarely possible).

Many brands make up for this with aesthetics.

Instead of using heavy text for an overview (this is *not* the description), they use colors, fonts and icons.

Let’s look at a couple examples.

Ethel’s Baking

Ethel’s Baking nails the product image (yum!). Beyond that, the product overview information is clean, branded and clear.

Here is what they do well:

  • Use of iconography to highlight important and differentiated product information (in this case, gluten free)
  • Branded font as a way to bolster the brand even on a product page (where users may not have even seen the homepage)
  • Review visibility in the form of stars (more use of iconography). This helps to build trust.
  • Customization options up-front.


There’s so much that goes into ecommerce product page optimizations, including things like product focus, great images, copy quality, product reviews, button placement, access to important information, etc.

The list goes on and on.

My #1 piece of advice is to focus on aspects of your product page that instills trust while diminishing anxiety. These usually come in the form of reviews, shipping, return policies, etc.

— David Feng, Co-Founder and Head of Product, Reamaze

Hook & Albert

Hook & Albert does a great job with their overview section as well.

In fact, later, we’ll look at their entire product page as a great example of a landing page.

Here is what they do well:

  • Beautiful imagery up-front, showcasing packing needs in image #2 that is vital to understand for the buyer
  • Limited time offer call out to increase conversion
  • Review visibility in the form of stars (more use of iconography). This helps to build trust.
  • Need to know specs information before the fold (AKA without having to scroll)
  • Chat option.


Now let’s look at an example that goes a bit more minialstic in an effort to address the brand’s specific audience.

FLOS’s products come at a higher price point, meaning there is a longer buying funnel in general.

To push consumers to purchase, they must include information that helps to visualize the product in their space as well as communicate value.

Here’s how they do it:

  • Multiple product-solo and lifestyle product images
  • Designer call out to speak to the value prop
  • Clear customization options available
  • Dimensional sizing charts to help consumers visualize the item in their space
  • Chat option.

All right – after you get your product overview accomplished, now it’s time to really drive home your product page SEO capture any lingerers.

To do that, you need unique product descriptions.

4. Unique product descriptions.

Product pages are the most important part of your store, not just because they inform customers about your products and entice them to buy from you.

They are important also because great product pages help with your search engine rankings and bring in more customers in the first place.

Improving your product pages is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your sales, and all it takes is a bit of time.

Here is what you need to create highly ranked product pages:

  • Unique product description
  • Product videos
  • Social proof (which we’ll cover in the next section).

Unique product description

Writing a unique product description can be challenging.

After all, it’s hard to measure how well copy is doing at converting someone. It’s more of an assist than the player making the goal.

That said, writing product descriptions that are both optimized for your product page keyword (typically your title) as well as speaks to your branding is the goal.

To do that:

  • Use Google to search for your keyword. Take a look at your competition’s product pages. Your goal is to make yours better.
  • Use bullet points and graphics to get information but boring to read informational across.

Let’s look at a couple examples.

Subzero Superfoods

Subzero Superfoods does a fantastic job on their product pages. Beyond having great product photography, they turn their product description into a true journey.

How do they do it?

  • Use iconography to quickly showcase important product features
  • Include directions or recipes if relevant for your product (how to put it together, etc.)
  • Be fun in your product copy –– if that’s in your brand’s standards.
  • Include images and showcase what else is included in the product. This helps to prove out value.


Maybe you’re thinking right now:

I have way too many SKUs to get that detailed about every single product.

That’s a fair thought.

Let’s look at an example of brand that also have thousands of SKUs and how they manage their product descriptions effectively: Marucci.

Here is how they do it:

  • Keep the product descriptions short and sweet.
  • Use additional photography to draw the eye to the information.
  • Include relevant, must-know info including specs, etc.
  • Link off to additional product information on the blog to increase site interlinking and SEO.

And while unique product descriptions are necessary, there’s one more factor to the product description game that will help increase your search rankings and your conversions.. And that’s product video.

Product Video

Videos are a fantastic way to show off your products and make your shoppers feel like they’re getting an in-person demo.

Remember, the #2 most hated aspect of online shopping is the inability to touch or try the product.

Video can help solve for this.

Even better, videos will drive more people to your pages thanks to better search results, then help convert them once they’re there.

Chew on these:

Why do videos increase search results?

Google uses a number of factors when ranking any given page.

Video is helpful because:

  • Video results in a click on your page (to play the video) meaning a signal of engagement to the algorithms.
  • Videos result in longer time spent on page due to the length of a video (keep them short!), meaning a signal of engagement to the algorithms.
  • Also, Google owns YouTube and rewards the use of it.

So adding videos to your product pages can help you in every aspect of the online sales cycle.

Product videos engage your users more, meaning they’ll spend more time on your site (increased page stickiness).

Great. So videos are a major benefit to your store, but how do you get your hands on them?

If you have product demos from the product manufacturer, that’s better than nothing.

But the best solution is to make them yourself.

Not only do you get to fully control the content of your video, but it’s better for your search results if you’re putting out unique content rather than just adding something everyone else has.

How to Make an Ecommerce Product Video:

If you’re not a professional videographer (few are), it may seem a little intimidating to shoot your own product videos.

Thanks to the glut of cheap cameras and easy-to-use editing software on the market, it’s actually pretty easy.

No matter if you are just starting up or are managing the ecommerce site or aspects of it for a multi-million dollar brands: you can start making and testing product videos right now.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start with a script. Know what you’re going to say so you aren’t tripping over your own words. You don’t have to stick to the script exactly, but just have some talking points to help keep you on track. Make sure they include the key differentiators of the product.
  • Keep it short. In studies, some of the best performing videos are 30 seconds or less in length. And going over three minutes means performance plummets. Just keep in mind that attention spans online are even shorter than normal.
  • Show and tell. Take full advantage of the medium by showing the product in action, not just standing beside it and listing the features. When you mention a feature, show how it works.
  • Act natural. Not everyone is comfortable on camera, but you want to appear as natural as possible to set the right tone. Think of it as having a conversation with your customers, just like you would if you were showing them a product in person.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Giant Teddy

Giant Teddy makes great use of time by turning their product photo shoots into opportunities for product videos as well.

Given that for Giant Teddy, the size of the item in relation to other things is the most important aspect to get across, they can cut a short 45 second video with the photographer to showcase that feature.

Check out the video below and the product page here.


Kodak takes the idea of including a product video to the next level – using 4.

Then again, Kodak is hitting the ecommerce market hard. Their entire site experience is exceptional – with a WordPress front end for SEO and unlimited customization and BigCommerce for the checkout functionality to offset PCI compliance concerns and inventory management.

But, for today, let’s just focus on their product videos. You can see how they are laid out below.

See the entire page here.

Rand McNally

Rand McNally hits in the middle here. They produce videos specifically for their product pages,

This is especially effective if you can manage it. Rand McNally produces a small number of products, so they have the opportunity to make each one impactful.

See the video below to describe their GPS product here.

Pro Tip

While writing product descriptions is nobody’s favorite task, getting them right is essential.

If you are short on hours in the day, try a platform like Automated Insights that uses AI and machine learning to help you create your product description in half the time.

Though automated programs can save you a lot of time, make sure you give their results at least two rounds of edits by an actual person. Make them catchy and memorable, ensure that they tell a story, and pack them with all the info customers are looking for.

5. Reviews and ratings.

Product reviews build trust, and that trust increases conversion.

More than 80% of consumers consult reviews when making a purchase, and adding them to your site can help lift sales by as much as 18%.

In fact, reviews aren’t just helpful in increasing conversions.

They are a new and necessary aspect of our online shopping lives.

Research have found that social media impact on how we perceive a stranger’s recommendation has altered historic beliefs and assumptions.

In the International Journal of Market Research, M. Nick Hajili wrote:

“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects intention to buy. Therefore, trust has a significant role in ecommerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.”

Drum all that up to mean one thing:

You need social proof on your product pages.

Let’s check out a few examples.


You need to build more trust with your audience.

I continually see ecommerce sites that put very little energy into making their product pages look better than just a generic page with no social proof.

Obviously you want to make it easy for the buyer to buy the product, but you don’t necessarily want a empty page.

Displaying reviews below the product and testimonials from major magazines or other outlets can be incredibly effective at building trust.

Overall, it’s important to provide real evidence that your ecommerce store is more than just another generic site.

– Daniel Wallock, Marketing Strategist, Wallock Media

Paul Mitchell

Adding social proof and product reviews to your page can take many forms.

Clearly it must include actual reviews.

But most sites already do that.

So, what can you do to take it to the next level? That’s where this example from Paul Mitchell comes in.

They’ve added respected third-party awards to the product page to help seal the social proof deal.

Two Leaves

Two Leaves, like Paul Mitchell, also allows for customer reviews.

On this particular product, there are more than 50 of them.

But, they also do something few others brands do – they humanize their employees and use their preferences (after all, we all have taste buds!) to highlight staff favorites.


You’ll notice in the example above that Two Leaves also formats their reviews a little differently than usual.

Let’s take that to the extreme.

MountainCrest uses a tool called RivetWorks to source product photos and reviews at the same time.

This gets them plenty of images they can use on their site and social media, along with the reviews and visuals for them to help sell their products.

See the full product page here.

6. Similar product suggestions.

Take a look at Sierra Designs’ impressive Related Products section.

It is clean, large enough to be noticed, and located below everything else so it’s not obtrusive.

These product suggestions are another layer to your on-site strategy that helps you further engage and delight your visitors with items that can complement their selection.

All product pages on your site are customizable in this aspect. Here is how you set up recommended or related products.

You essentially have 3 options. You can use one, none or all of them.

  1. Customers also viewed: These show up on the product page. It follows this logic: Customers who viewed this product also viewed these products. [photo]
  2. Related products: This also shows up on the product page, and can be manually set. It follow this logic: Products with similar names or descriptions; can also be set manually. [photo]
  3. You may also like: This is a pop-up after a customer adds an item to the cart. It follows this logic: Products that are similar based on name and description. [photo]

You can also market similar products via hard coding, apps, pop-ups, or even chatbots that serve as personal shopping assistants.

And don’t forget about using data to serve the right upsells and cross-sells at the right time.

If you are using BigCommerce Insights, you can use the Frequently Bought Together report to see which items make the most sense to upsell customers to.

6. Customization options.

If you’re offering items in different size and colors, make it seamless for customers to customize their selected product.

This is called hyper-personalization, and it’s one of the most popular ecommerce marketing tactics of the year.

Place easy-to-use customization options on your sidebar or another place, where they are clearly visible.

Every interaction counts, and the shorter and smoother each option is, the more likely customers will make a purchase.

What’s more is that you can add in conditional logic.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Andie Swim

Andie Swim allows customers to add on logos, initials and more to their swimsuits.

Check it out below:

They set this up using product options.

In total, they have 7 product options deployed – 2 conditional.  


Marucci clearly does their product pages very well. Second mention in this article!

Beyond their typical product pages, they also have a customized product section.

See the experience below:

How many product options did you see? 14 – 1 of which using conditional logic!

And that one using conditional logic is actually an upsell. 


BonBonBon has mastered the art of hyper-personalization.

You can go to their site today, and order any combination of any number of BonBons that you want.

No kidding.

And – they didn’t use product sets to do this. They used plain and simple SKUs.

That’s right. Every possible box combination is entered on the backend as a SKU (hidden from customers typically). That’s how they can serve up the “price point in mind” feature.

Setup Hyper-Personalization On Your Site Now

On BigCommerce? Product options are out of the box. Follow the video below or the link here to set them up.

7. Human interaction and FAQs.

Finally, be sure to provide links to any additional information your site visitors might be looking for.

For example, include a clear link to your returns and exchanges policy page as well as to a frequently updated FAQs page that can answer any outstanding questions.

Our Pampered Home does this well. See their product page here.

You can even go a step further and install a chatbot that answers common questions.

You don’t want visitors to navigate away from your page by searching for more info on Google. If that happens, you have not done your job.

Coast New Zealand does this well, offering important informational based on data points. In this example, my IP address is coming in from the U.S. So, I get an international message.

Product Page Optimization

All of this work put into your product page is important for conversions. But, you want to make sure that it drives increased organic traffic over time, too.

More free traffic. More conversions. That’s a winning strategy.

Let’s look at how to do it.

1. Stay on top of your SEO.

SEO is the most affordable long-term strategy to sustainably generate leads, and you should always keep it in mind when building and promoting your product pages.

Keep in mind that your product page speaks to both people and search engines, so research your keywords well to get key-phrase ideas and enrich your SEO.

Below is an example of how different key phrases related to “pink shoes” compare according to data from Semrush.

Source: Semrush

Your product copy should be informative and memorable while also keeping SEO in mind and including the relevant keywords you have researched.

Likewise, invest time in optimizing your metadata both for your page in general and your images.

Include descriptive key phrases in the alt text of your images to give your organic ranking a leg up.

In addition, use videos to make your page rank better and drive more traffic.

Search engines favor pages that include videos because it’s a phenomenal way to create unique, quality content.

Another great way to boost your ranking through organic traffic is to join affiliate programs and generate backlinks to your page.

Getting links from authoritative industry sites and blogs tells search engines that your store is to be trusted and promoted.

7 Ecommerce SEO Best Practices to Improve Product Page Rankings:

Optimize your product pages now by following these seven ecommerce SEO best practices to increase your product page rankings and your conversion rate.

  1. Know how users search for your products by doing keyword research.
  2. Write unique product descriptions.
  3. Create titles, meta descriptions, H1s and Image alt tags based on keyword research.
  4. Use long-tail keyword phrases.
  5. Ensure you have product rich snippets.
  6. Add additional content to product pages.
  7. Promote and engage.

2. Curb the size of your images.

Your web page also must load fast enough on all devices, including mobile, so don’t overload it with images that take forever to load.

Rather, keep your images light. Follow your platform’s image guidelines to strike the right balance between quality, zooming capability, and a fast-loading site.

Every extra second your page takes to load can hurt your conversion rate.

Editor’s Note: If you are on BigCommerce, the platform takes care of image optimization for you – automatically. Learn more here.

With that in mind, test your images and your product page using Google PageSpeed Insights to see if you can optimize them for both desktop and mobile.

And use the world of tools out there to further optimize them.

Page Load Speed Is Often Overlooked. It Shouldn’t Be.

One of the most overlooked metrics on product pages is the time to load the site, and with a lot of ecommerce traffic coming from mobile, this becomes even more important.

We’ve seen with several brands massive improvements in conversion just by increasing the site speed.

– Eric Carlson, Co-Founder, 10X Factory

3. Keep a Uniform Look.

Finally, keep your product pages and images uniform and consistent across all your product lines.

Consistency promotes trust and increases your conversion and retention rate.

One way to maintain an orderly look is to use the same aspect ratio and product scale across all your product lines so visitors can easily navigate your pages without being distracted by the image style itself.

Keeping your images square is also good standard advice so that they look good on all devices, including smartphones.

Here’s a great example from Meeaudio. All images are perfectly sized for consistency and quick loading.

Product page optimization should be someone’s full-time job.

This process should be codified in your procedures, measured and executed continually.

The three metrics we currently use are 1: Search Results Page Rank, 2: Sub-Category-Page-Rank (online marketplaces), and 3: Sales Volume.

Sometimes when sales volume dips against historical numbers it is due to changes in the way pages are ranked. If you’re keeping an eye on these metrics and trends, daily, weekly, monthly you can adjust pretty quickly in order to regain your sales volume.

– Jason Boyce, Co-founder & CEO, Dazadi

The Impact of Powerful Visuals

The visual media you use on your product pages is up to your brand. But you have a lot of different options – and some types tend to work best for specific purposes.

Let’s look at each option.

1. Photos.

Quality images are your best brand advocates, casting the very first impression on your customers.

Everything else on the page, including content and navigation, is there to build on that first impression and lead your visitors to a purchase.

So take your time with your photography. Create unique and polished photos that evoke trust and boost your consumer lifetime value.

2. 360-degree shots.

360-degree shots are super interactive and make your page stand out. People love them!

They are proven to increase conversion, reduce returns, and attract more attention to your website.

While they can be pricey and complicated to shoot, if you can fit them in your budget, they can positively affect your bottom line.

3. Video.

Not only do people usually prefer video as a way of learning new information, video is also responsible for the majority of internet traffic.

On product pages, video helps your organic search ranking and is a great tool to grab attention, create relationships with your customers, or answer questions about product features in seconds.

Solo Stove, for example, uses a lot of videos on its product page to the delight of its customers and conversion rate alike.

Source: Solo Stove

While quality video production is expensive, if you’re just starting out, you can shoot a few seconds-long blurb videos that promote a lifestyle or answer questions with just about any camera.

Adding them to your gallery will give substance to your page and help your conversion.

Engaging Apps and Plugins (Tools!)

Another way to fortify your product page that no ecommerce store can ignore is using apps and plugins that interact with your customers.

They can help you tackle:

  • Abandoned carts
  • Answer questions
  • Offer suggestions.

You can also use apps to create a sense of urgency and scarcity, which are proven to boost conversion.

Some of the key tools you can employ include:

Source: Chatra

12 Best Ecommerce Product Page Examples

Your product page is one of your most important sales tools your business has.

Keeping it optimized and up-to-standard is a must. So, as a wrap up, let’s look at 12 innovative product page examples.

1.Hook & Albert.

2. Olive Clothing.

3. Coast New Zealand.

4. Marucci.

5. Enro.

6. Tabitha Simmons.

7. Kardiel.

8. Atkins.

9. Fresh Fronks.

10. Ethel’s Baking Co.

11. Handpicked Wines.

12. Solo Stove.


Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond the status quo. Most product page designs are very generic and follow a similar pattern as the competition.

That said, the most important metrics for ecommerce product page optimization range from social and referral traffic to conversion rates.

You want to see referral traffic coming to your site because it indicates that the story your product page is telling is compelling. You want to track conversion rates because it’s important that your visits are turning into sales.

– Ross Simmonds, Founder, Foundation Marketing

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

]]> 4
How to Optimize Ecommerce Images for More Sales: A Guide to Image SEO & Conversion Tue, 30 Jan 2018 12:00:15 +0000 How much attention do you pay to your store’s image optimization? Often times, brands get caught up on overthinking a…]]>

How much attention do you pay to your store’s image optimization?

Often times, brands get caught up on overthinking a logo – spending days, weeks or even months before they launch a great idea just trying to figure out what symbol is appropriate for a brand they haven’t even started yet.

And then, when it comes time to actually launching, way too many entrepreneurs spend much too little time focusing on great product photography and branded imagery.

And yet, imagery continues to be the catalyst of our era – the communication vehicle through which people understand value or disregard and move on to the next.

Only video matches the picture’s power in this respect.

And you use your pictures everywhere:

  • On your product pages.
  • On your category pages.
  • On your homepage.
  • In your abandoned cart messages.
  • On your blog.
  • On your social accounts.
  • For your Facebook Advertising.
  • For your Google Shopping stream.

In fact, the only thing you don’t use images for is Google AdWords. And Google AdWords is often the most expensive PPC you’ll have.

What is Google’s Speed Update?

Despite image-less AdWords, Google is heavily invested in your brand and product images as well.

In January 2018, the company announced that mobile search algorithms will begin to take page load speed into account beginning July 2018.

This is being dubbed the Speed Update.

And there are 2 things that slow down page load speed:

  1. Way too much javascript often caused by too many apps and not enough built-in to your site.
  2. Way too large of images that are not optimized for screen size.

Less Apps. More Sales. Only on BigCommerce

“We recently re-platformed from Shopify Plus to BigCommerce. I cannot explain how angry I am that for months we have paid Shopify many thousands of dollars for functionality that comes as standard with BigCommerce!

Once we decided we were going to pull the plug with Shopify, we literally spent the three days on BigCommerce installing a template, customizing, and then completing our full product import.

The feedback I’ve had from people that I’ve shared the site with already is ‘It loads so much faster! The mobile experience is so much better!’”

– Richard Eib, Monroe and Kent

Test drive your data in BigCommerce

Platforms like BigCommerce alleviate these issue for you by:

  1. Building in more functionality to the platform. On average, BigCommerce stores use 2-5 apps. On other SaaS platforms, average is +15.
  2. Automatically optimizing all images for page load speed across any device. BigCommerce partners with Akamai, the leader in image optimization on the web, to automatically optimize all images for all customers –– with no extra effort or cost on their part.

Less Tech Debt. More Sales

“The decision to move to the Akamai Image Manager network has been a boost to our merchants, enabling them to deliver faster site load times and strengthen their overall mobile site performance.

What’s more, merchants did not have to invest costly time and effort to further develop optimized images for different devices, leading many to see an increase in site engagement and conversion – especially for mobile shoppers.”

– Frank Morrall, president at VisionCourse Media, an online marketing and design agency, and a BigCommerce partner.

The truth about image optimization, speed & your bottom line

Yes, images are one of if not the most important asset for your ecommerce store.

And yet, too often they are neglected –– store owners completely forgetting to optimize images for web.


  • Because optimizing your images for the web is just one additional step in a never ending to do list.
  • It is often seen as low priority, and thus forgotten.

But if you want to improve your conversion rate, your customer engagement, your loyalty and your lifetime value –– well, you need to start by paying more attention to your imagery.

But where should you start?

We’ve got you covered.

In this guide we’ll go through the most important concepts for you to understand regarding your images, and show you how you can begin implementing tips to increase conversion – right now.

Why images are so important

Before we jump in, it’s important to understand why images can have such a big impact on your store. Here’s a high-level view.

1. First impressions count.

Images are the first thing your customers see when looking at a product page, and those first few seconds can be crucial in determining if the product is what they are looking for.

In fact, in a 2017 study commissioned by BigCommerce and Square, American online shoppers cited additional product photography as the #1 thing they want more of from online brands.

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2. A picture is worth 1000 words.

Images help a customer ascertain the quality and details of a product better than any description.

In lieu of being able to feel the product as in a retail store, great product photography lets the user explore the various details of the product up close.

Indeed, in that same study by BigCommerce and Square, nearly half of respondents (49%) cited not being able to touch, feel or try a product as one of their least favorite aspects of online shopping.

This was the second most hated aspect of online shopping in the study.

3. Mobile is taking over.

As mobile shopping becomes increasingly prevalent, images will only become more important –– as evidenced by Google’s Speed Update move.

User’s are increasingly using images instead of text to judge the suitability of the product and even to navigate.

Do you think a customer will read each description first or look at the photo?

Having clearer, more appealing ecommerce product images means your products will get looked at, clicked on and bought more often.

4. Images can actually hurt your website.

Using unprofessional or poorly optimized images for web can have a major impact on your shopping experience and even where you rank in search engines.

  • Do your images load slowly?
  • Have you not added meta description?
  • Are people bouncing as soon as they land there?

You won’t ever get to Page 1 with that kind of behavior.

With that in mind, let’s walk through how you can make sure you have professional-quality and optimised photography on your ecommerce store.

Optimizing Images & Photos: A Quick Guide

The first step to optimizing your product photography (or any image on your site) is to first start with great photos.

But after that, a lot of the optimization process is behind-the-scenes.

In fact, optimizing your photos can be the strategic advantage you need to crush the competition.

They can’t see what you’re doing after all, but you’ll get higher search rankings which means:

  • More clicks.
  • More sales.

Combine that with the power and customizability of your site’s SEO (i.e. complete URL control across the board), and you’ll win on Google.

Let’s look at how to do this despite what platform you are on.

Automatic Image Optimization & Complete SEO Control

Online stores using BigCommerce get automatic Akamai image optimization for all images uploaded to their storefront.

  • No additional cost.
  • No waste of time.

Plus, BigCommerce is the only SaaS platform that allows you to completely customize all site URLs and metadata. The platform’s non-proprietary coding language also gets bonus points from Google.

Move data over now and see for yourself with a 15 day free trial.

Test drive a platform you control.

1. Start with good photos.

Having great ecommerce photography starts with taking the right picture.

Your photography doesn’t have to involve an expensive camera or setup. In fact, you can create your own DIY photography setup that will do the job.

But there are a few tips you can follow to make sure you are starting off with the best possible photos.

Make sure you have the right setup.

An ecommerce photography setup doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you’re just getting started there are a few things you should invest in to take quality photos:

  1. A consumer DSLR camera or smartphone. Most smartphones today have a camera that will be more than adequate for taking standard product photos. Using a smartphone also gives you access to hundreds of photography apps.
  2. A light source. Having a light source helps to provide even illumination of your image and will make a huge difference to the quality of your photos. If you’re starting out you might find it easier to work with a natural light source. In this case, using a fill light will help you eliminate the shadows on your image.
  3. A white sweep. The sweep will help diffuse the lighting across your image evenly and make editing your photos later much easier. This can be anything from a white sheet to rolls of paper.
  4. A steady surface. If you’re taking a number of photos, having a steady surface makes it easy to keep your images consistently placed.
  5. A camera tripod. Likewise, having a camera tripod ensures you can get consistently position photos every time. It also makes it easy to readjust your products without having to juggle a camera at the same time.

2. Showcase your products with multiple angles.

Look at any successful online store and you’ll rarely see one using just a single photo for any of their images.

Product photography can be used to showcase the best aspects of the product, so it’s important to include a variety of shots.

For example, at online clothing store Olive Ave, they use a variety of shots to showcase their product.

You can do this without models as well. Look at this example from KAOS.

Different photos can help showcase different aspects.

  • Long-shots showing the product on a model can help the user visualize how the product will look in a real-life situation.
  • Medium shots help them ascertain the overall look of the product itself.
  • Close-ups illustrate the finer details and quality of the product that can really sell its value.

3. Use a white background for your products.

Replacing the background of photos with a white background ensures that you will have consistently great looking images, no matter their order on your site or how you use them across the web.

White backgrounds are standard on almost every online store, and there are a few very good reasons for that:

  1. Your products will POP on a white background
  2. Your images will look consistent on collection pages
  3. It will save you money and time in editing
  4. You can easily reuse or replace the background on any of your photos
  5. Marketplaces like Google Shopping and Amazon now require white backgrounds

Using white-background images makes products easy to compare. Source: jenis.

You can use software such as Photoshop or Pixlr to manually replace the background of your product photos with a white background, or let services like Pixc do the work for you.

4. Save your images with the right dimensions.

Paying attention to the dimension of your image is crucial if you aren’t on BigCommerce.

  • If too large, you will cause issues with your page load time.
  • If too small, your images will look grainy (i.e. poor quality).

Use pixels to measure the dimensions of your images.

Your iPhone will have something in the range of a 12 Megapixel camera, which just means that the photos it takes consist of twelve million pixels. The photos produced by the 12mp camera will be 3000px x 4000px.

For ecommerce photography, that size is unnecessary. On BigCommerce, for instance, the optimal size for your product photos is 1028px by 1028px, while your other photos should be under 1000px on both sides.

Keeping your images square will ensure they display correctly and look good regardless of whether the contents of the photo are longer or taller.

When your images are sufficiently large enough in dimension, then the same image can be scaled down to be used in your thumbnails or in collection images.

And, if you have product zoom enabled, you can display a much higher resolution image.

Images can be scaled down to different sizes. Source: Martha Stewart Cafe Shop

If you don’t have access to software that can resize your images, like Photoshop, don’t worry.

Services like Pixlr and Canva can help you with basic editing and resizing needs.

Faster Checkouts. Less Development.

Again, if you are on BigCommerce, the platform uses Akamai behind-the-scenes to optimize and resize all images based on the device your customer is coming from. This means faster page load speed and less work for you.

5. Improve page load speeds by using the correct image format.

It’s easy to just choose the default save option when you’re creating your images, but knowing the difference between file formats and settings can have a massive impact on your site.

Your BigCommerce store allows for three different image formats: JPG/JPEG, GIF or PNG. Each of these have different benefits and drawbacks.

  • GIF files are lower in quality, but also in file size. If you need to create an image specifically for small icons or thumbnails, then you probably want to use a GIF. They’re also the only format available that supports animation (though keep an eye out for APNG). However, as the image size gets bigger, GIFS become less efficient at processing colors,.
  • PNG files support a wider range of colors, and also the only format that supports transparent backgrounds. However, this all comes at the cost of larger file size. If you need to edit a photo multiple times, you’ll want to export it as a PNG file.
  • JPEG images are the most common format used by digital cameras and online. They support a wide range of colours, but the JPEG compression settings allow you to strike a balance between image quality and file size.

JPEGS offer a good balance between file size and quality, while GIFS offer poor file size for more complex images. Image Source: Brook Lark

6. Experiment with quality settings.

In most cases, JPEG will be the file type of choice for your images. It offers a high quality image at reasonable file sizes.

One of the great benefits about the jpeg file type is the ability to choose the level of compression that you would like. Adjusting the compression settings enables you to reduce the filesize, at the cost of image quality.

Have a look at this example where the same photo has been saved using different levels of compression:

The result of using high, medium and low JPEG compression. Image source: Alex Jones

When not to use JPEG.

While JPEG is the most popular format for web images, there are a few cases where it’s best to use a higher resolution file type like PNG. For example:

  • When your image is mainly lines, icons or sharp images: JPEG compression may blur the line between the image and the background and make the contrast less apparent.
  • When the image will undergo multiple edits: The compression will slightly alter the image each time and after several edits, it may noticeably distort the image.

Not on BigCommerce? Compress your images with this free tool.

As we’ve already discussed, images will typically range in file size from a few dozen kilobytes in their compressed form, up to a few megabytes, depending on the file type and level of compression you have used.

If you’re on BigCommerce, once again, you do not need to worry about this section. Move on and read the next section.

For everyone else…let’s start here:

If you’re unfamiliar with the Byte data unit, each Byte is equal to 1024 of the previous one.

So to clarify:

1024 Bytes (b) = 1 Kilobytes (kb). 1024 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte (mb). 1024mb = 1 Gigabyte (gb)

You don’t have to remember this, but just consider that you typically want to aim for photos that are under 100kb to reduce the time it takes for everything on your page to display.

An iPhone 7’s typical photo file size is around 3mb which translates to 3072kb, or more than 30x optimal image sizes!

Now imagine that you have a gallery of ten photos all of this size on your page, and you start to understand why compressing your images is important.

Most image editing tools will allow you to adjust the level of compression for your JPEG files.

But if your image editing software doesn’t offer good compression options, if you aren’t on a platform that does this automatically for you, or you aren’t sure on the level of quality loss that will be suitable for each image, you can use another tool to make your photo size smaller.

TinyJPG is one such service that is free – a free image optimizer – and will accept both JPG and PNG images.

Instead of you having to guess the right balance between quality and file size, services like TinyJPG analyze the image for you to determine the smallest possible file sizes, while still maintaining optimal image quality.

TinyJPG shows you your original image versus the optimized image.

Even if you already compress your images when saving, you’ll be surprised how much of an impact running them through a service like TinyJPG can have.

Search Engine Image Optimization 101

Images are a fantastic source of organic content that can help your rank better in Google.

There are a few things you should be doing to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your image content.

1.Use informative file names.

Image names are the first piece of information you can provide to Google to let them know what your image is about.

The default file name that come from your camera and looks like a string of numbers does nothing to describe what the photo is actually about.

When naming your images, describe the contents of the photo and use dashes instead of spaces. BigCommerce does not allow spaces in their image file names.

Renaming the file to optimize for keywords, including line drawing and happy woman.

2. Include appropriate alt text.

Alt text is intended as an accessibility feature, and that’s how it should be approached.

If the user is vision impaired, or if the image can’t be loaded, the alt text is what will be displayed.

But alt text is also used by Google to gain a better understanding of what the image contains.

That makes it a valuable spot to include the relevant search term that people looking for your product would search for.

Matching my optimized image file name with my metadata, page title and URL structure on my product page backend.

3. Provide context around your image.

The content that surrounds your image is also important.

Search engines act the same way as your users do, by using the content throughout the page to build up a bigger picture of what the page is about.

This can be particularly valuable on product pages where you can use unique descriptions to better describe the product in the photo.

Here, I’ve updated my product description to include all my keywords: custom art print, line drawing, happy woman. I’ve also included additional content and details for branding purposes.

4. Use images to improve the experience.

You can also go above and beyond and create a great user experiences by doing the following with your images:

  • Use good-quality, non-blurry photos. With smartphones and free editing software available, there’s really no excuse for not having good-quality photos. It makes for a better experience, and people are more likely to link back to pages with better photos.
  • Place them higher up the page. People don’t always scroll down to the bottom of the page, so make sure your images are higher up the page where readers will have the chance to see them.
  • Specify the width and height of each image. If the browser knows how big the image will be, it can load the rest of the content in place while it waits for the image to finish downloading. This can reduce the amount of time it takes for your page to load and create a better user experience.

Providing extra SEO information and optimizing your images to provide the best browsing experience will help increase the amount of organic traffic to your site, and improve the amount of time shoppers spend once they’re there.

Trick of the trade: Use open graph to show the right image on social media

The final thing you can do to get the most out of your images is make sure that when someone shares a link to your website, the correct image is shown.

Source: Kelty

By using something called the Open Graph protocol, you can make sure that your best product image is shown, rather than a generic logo or unrelated image.

Here’s where you can do this on the BigCommerce backend for each individual product.

The image you want to use is specified in your page’s header section, similar to how you might specify the title tag and description for the page.

You might find that for certain BigCommerce pages, such as your homepage, you may need to create a separate HTMLHead file where you can specify which image will be used.

Product Image Optimization Checklist

Product images have the power to make or break a sale.

Remember that your customers can’t pick up and feel a product. They rely solely on your descriptions and the visuals you give them — by way of ecommerce product images.

So, are you nailing these best practices when it comes to your product images?

Here’s a checklist to make sure you are – 100% of the time.

1. Set up for success.

  • First up, steady your camera with a tripod (or any hard and stable surface) to avoid camera shake.
  • Next, make sure you shoot with sufficient lighting to light up both your product and the entire photoshoot space. You can do this by using multiple light sources (flashes, strobes and even normal desk lamps will do) but the easiest way is to use natural lighting.
  • Use the sun as an indirect light source. Take your photo near a window, and if it’s too bright, diffuse the light with white blankets, sheets or paper. Lighting up your product in the shooting stage will produce a better quality photograph and also save you a lot of editing time.
  • Consider shooting on a white backdrop. It takes a bit of extra time to set up, but it’s easier to remove the background later should you choose to do so, and it will help with your camera’s white balance calibration. On top of that, white reflects light whereas darker colors will absorb it, so your product will naturally turn out nicely brightened and contrasted.

2. Shoot multiple photos.

Everyone loves the convenience of online shopping, but let’s be honest, nothing compares to being able to physically touch the product.

When it comes to online shopping, difficulty visualizing what a product would look like in real life is one of the number one reasons behind purchase resistance. To help your customer visualize a product, take photos from different angles.

  • Start off with a “hero image”. It’s the first of a series of images of your product. The best option for a hero image is either a front-on shot or a 45-degree angle shot, depending on the product. In some cases, like shoes for example, a side-on shot might be more appropriate. The photo should be simple and feature only the product that you’re selling as to avoid confusing the viewer.
  • Following on from your hero image, include photos from above, below, the side, the back etc.

3. Take shots in context.

Next up, sell your product with some in-context product photos.

Show photos of your product in use. For example. complement a pair of pants with some nice shoes, a plate with a delicious-looking salad, or a vase with nice flowers.

The viewer should want everything in the photo (including your product wink wink nudge nudge).

However, you should refrain from using this as your hero image, because ultimately you want to show off (and sell) your product, not your photography skills.

4. Clean up finished photos.

There are also a few best practices you should keep in mind after you put the camera down.

A good idea is to remove the background and let your products do the talking.

Simple, white backgrounds draw attention to the product and will match any website design, so if you decide to change up your template, you won’t have to worry about getting new images.

5. Get the sizing right.

When it comes to uploading your ecommerce product photos onto your store, image size and quality both matter!

When you set up your online store, you choose the product image dimensions for your template.

For the best product image size, I recommend using a template that goes beyond the average 500 and 700 pixels. This is small for an image.

Don’t make the mistake of manually resizing your images to that size before uploading them to BigCommerce.

In fact, lowering the resolution by that many pixels will give you a blurry image. Images of any size, as long as they have the same width to height ratio as the template, will be automatically resized without any cropping or extra space on the sides when you upload them to your online store.

I always recommend 1200px on the longest side of the image to be safe, which also gives you a decent sized image if you choose to use a product zoom feature.

That being said, there is no technology that can make images bigger while keeping them just as clear, so when you set up your template, make sure your product zoom feature is no bigger than the dimensions of the file you upload.

Here are settings for your Bigcommerce store. Akamai will automatically resize for device your customer is using so that your page load as quickly as possible, giving your higher mobile search ranking.

  • Create a canvas of the size you want in Photoshop and drag your photos into the new canvas, resizing them within the new canvas and not the original files.
  • If you don’t have Photoshop or want something that’s a bit easier to use, use Canva. Just create a design using custom dimensions, upload your images and resize them in there. It’s too easy!

6. Be consistent.

Finally, you want your images to look consistent.

Your BigCommerce template will make them all the same size, and a white background will keep everything looking nice and neat.

But if you want to make your product images just look a tad more professional, adjust your product photos so that they take up 80-90% of the canvas.

This means that even on a page of differently shaped products, there will still be that element of consistency.

So, there you have it. A product photography and image optimization checklist to ensure your site load quickly, the images look great and you get more sales for less work.

Image Optimization FAQs

Improving your ecommerce stores images is one of the most effective ways to create a better shopping experience for your customers.

Better images can help customers be sure of the products they are buying, help you rank better in search engines and lower your site’s load time.

With the advice you’ve been given in this guide, you have everything you need to start optimizing your ecommerce product images to bring in more traffic and make more sales.

As a wrap up, let’s answer a few brief image optimization FAQs.

What is image compression?

When you first upload an image, the pixel and file size is often much larger than needed for your site.

Image compression compresses an image size (makes it smaller) without sacrificing quality depending on the device the person is viewing the image from.

For example, file size needed for a high quality print photo is very high. For those, you need a hi-resolution (hi-res) image, i.e. 4608 x 3456 image will yield a 15 x 11 print. Needs for web images are lower.

What is lossless compression?

Lossless compression describes the compression of an image file in which all original data can be recovered when the file is uncompressed.

With lossless compression, every single bit of data that was originally in the file remains after the file is uncompressed.

Does your store need to worry about this? It depends.

Best practice is to save all original files in the cloud with a backup. In other words, use Google Drive, Dropbox or Box to save your original, large files.

What is lossy compression?

Lossy compression or irreversible compression describes the compression of an image file in which inexact approximations and partial data discarding  are used to represent the content.

This means the original file cannot be restored.

For your online store, if you use this method, you will want to use a cloud storage file with backup to save your original files.

This type of compression will not save your original files, but it will increase page load speed. Image quality, likely will not be noticed depending on the device.

What is the difference between lossy and lossless compression?

The difference between lossy and lossless compression is the way in which the image is compressed.

In lossy compression, you cannot restore the original file.

In lossless compression, you can restore the original file.

Either way, you should store original files in a cloud service with hard drive backup.

Will users notice when product photos are optimized?

No. Images are optimized for device size without affecting the visual quality of the image.

Users will see no discernable difference, other than faster page load speeds.

What other image optimizer tools do you recommend?

Should images be responsive?

Yes, the images on your site should be responsive. This means they are compressed and optimized based on device the browser is using.

BigCommerce stores have this done automatically for them for free. If you use other ecommerce platforms, check with them on offered solutions and costs.

How can non-designers create quality images for a website?

We highly recommend hiring a professional photographers for all product images and using experienced graphic designers to ensure you have the highest quality images on your website. However, tools like Canva, Piktochart, Aviary and LogoGarden can help you create high quality images with little design experience.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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How to Build an Ecommerce Sales Funnel to Drive Growth [21 Examples + a Free Workshop] Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:46:47 +0000 Online sales accounted for 11.7% ($394.9 billion USD) of total retail sales last year, according to the U.S. Department of…]]>

Online sales accounted for 11.7% ($394.9 billion USD) of total retail sales last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

That’s up 15.6% year-over-year.

With this move to online, having an ecommerce presence is no longer innovative enough to win you sales.

No matter your industry.

Instead, retailers need sound strategies to drive business growth — that means:

  1. Retaining existing customers
  2. Attracting new ones by meeting them when and where they shop.

To help drive that growth, online brands need to think about their consumer and that individual’s buying journey.

One way to model the consumer journey is through a funnel, starting at the top with awareness and going through to an ultimate, final action — a purchase.

Though a consumer’s journey through the funnel is not linear, it provides businesses with a strategic framework from which to build out a plan.

Below are the four stages to the funnel, what the goals of each stage are and examples for bringing those stages to life.

In all, we’ve brought you 21 examples showing you exactly how other online brands are building their funnel –– and how you can, too.

Build an Ecommerce Sales Funnel to 2X Growth

Real feedback from real workshop attendees:

“I have almost doubled my internet sales using only 3 points from this workshop.

Plus, I do zero paid marketing.

The full hour is worth every second!”

That story can be yours, too. Register now. 

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The Awareness Stage

  • What it is: The “top of funnel” is the first stage in the sales funnel; it’s the awareness stage.
  • When it matters: This is where potential customers become aware of your business and offerings (e.g. a product or a service) and how it may solve a pain point.
  • Keep in mind: The potential customer may not even know they have a problem that you could solve. Therefore, the goal of this stage in the funnel is to make the potential customer aware by focusing on content — or information — that identifies consumer segments, highlights a potential problem and introduces your brand.

Think of the awareness stage as an initial conversation between you and the potential customer.

You both are getting to know each, with the potential customer demonstrating some interest. Introduce yourself.

Do not try to make a hard sell.

In practice, this can take many forms.

The B2C Awareness Stage

If you’re an ecommerce B2C brand selling razor blades, for instance, your initial interaction with the potential customer could take the form of content that tries to draw people into the brand’s website or community.

Take a look at Dorco’s Shave Talks content site, for example.

The brand isn’t hard selling their razors.

Instead, the goal is to education –– bring the customer along to journey to begin to think they may need a different razor.

That’s always the first step.

Look at a few of the examples they are using to really hit on pain points potential customers may be having, and then educating them on how to solve for those.

  • The goal is to become a valuable resource for people looking for solutions – which Dorco happens to have.
  • The goal –– again –– is to give value long before the brand gets anything in return.

Check out some these content pieces Dorco is using to achieve those 2 goals:

In general, this content provides information that the customer may find valuable.

It may even solve a problem — whether they knew it beforehand or not — that they have.

Again, this content in the awareness stage does not attempt to sell anything.

The B2B Awareness Stage

Likewise, a B2B brand needs to offer up similar content that tries to be a valuable resource and not a hard sell.

In the case of the B2B brand, though, your content might be very specific to a particular audience — the C-suite, product managers, marketers, etc. — and it may offer up more thought leadership and technical content.

Freund Container is a great example of this.

This B2B brand provides valuable content resources to prospective buyers, getting down and dirty in the details to educate customers.

Here’s a 3 step walk through of some of their helpful content in the awareness stage (which is also good for SEO!).

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

The Role of SEO in the Awareness Stage

Driving awareness of your brand is not just about content, though.

Whether the potential customer is searching for a product (e.g., razor blades for men) or trying to find a solution to a problem they have (e.g., eliminating ingrown hairs), they will likely do an online search.

Your job, then?

Be one of the first batch of results that populate the search results.

According to Ignite Visibility, a digital marketing firm, position 1 on Google receives a 44.64% click-through rate.

That number drops to 28.92 percent for the result in position 2, and 17.26 percent for the result in position 10.

Let’s take a look at how Dorco is doing with a “mens razors” keyword search:

As you can see, by having a well-honed search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) strategy, you can increase your chances of catching your customer’s eye.

Dorco’s SEM strategy is strong given the competitive market – allowing it to rank #2 in the ad placements.

Similarly, it’s men’s shaving category page ranks #3 on Google for a high traffic, very brand-relevant keyword.

But look at what would happen to their traffic if they could move to #2…

Google uses a handful of barometers to gauge which sites it delivers to searchers, including site speed, relevance and mobile-readiness.

Above, you’ll see Ahrefs pulls in Domain Ranking as well –– showing that one quick fix Dorco could make is increasing its DR.

You do that by getting more links from other sites with high DR.

Here are three things you can do to help boost your brand’s Google search engine ranking.

  1. Improve site speed by using the HTTP/2 network protocol by accepting multiple concurrent requests and therefore reduce dormancy. Faster speed can also be achieved by limiting 404 errors, too many redirects and orphaned pages.
  2. Shift your focus from content quantity to content quality. Previously, Google rewarded sites for their breadth of content. No more. Today, sites with well-researched, organized content, with an emphasis on multi-media, are in favor. Why? Because backlinks matter (as you can see in the Ahrefs chart above). And you only get backlinks from quality sites when you publish quality content.
  3. Make sure your site is mobile-optimized. How long someone stays on your site and what they do there (click, for instance) matters. Google reads this as engagement, and the more engagement you have, the higher you rank. Why? Because engagement indicates that they content is answering the query the user input. If your site isn’t mobile-optimized, folks won’t stay on your site long and Google will lower your ranking.

Here are a few next steps your brand can take to increase your search results ranking and drive increased awareness stage traffic.

1. Write long-form, educational content including video and/or downloadables.

Google measures engagement on a page, and anything that gets someone to click counts.

A good way to do this is via a lookbook or on-site magazine, which requires –– you guessed it –– clicking!

Check out LEMS’ below (or the version on the site here).

Or Natori’s here (or the site version here).

2. Create educational videos about your brand and why you started.

Use those in blog posts and on your homepage –– as well as in Facebook ads.

BombTech Golf does this well –– both using videos to tell the brand’s story and advertising that on Facebook to drive fans and conversions.

Here’s their getting started video (with more than 12,000 views).

3. Create short, educational videos or visual content that showcase your product.

Use those to advertise on Facebook and in blog posts to drive traffic.

And use personality, too!

See how GoRuck makes this work with their visual blog content.

See the entire post here.

Here is another great example from Renogy.

They sell B2C solar panels – and must do a lot of leg work to educate customers on why they need them, how they are made and their long-term value. They use tons of content, calculators and more to do this – as well as this video.

4. Create tools to help educate consumers and build trust with your brand.

Speaking of Renogy and the calculators they have created, these are great examples of tools to help educate your audience.

Tools like these help potential new customers dive deeper into the benefits and bring them closer to the purchasing phase.

Plus, they generate high SEO value due to the engagement that occurs on the page.

Let’s look at another example – well, 2 – from

NaturallyCurly uses tools to educate those with curly hair on their type and what to expect in the coming days. They do this with two tools (and push their product through them as well).

First, the Texture Quiz – which lets people know what type of curly hair they have (and the products that go best with it).

Here’s the full page.

They also have a Frizz Forecast that allows folks to drop in their zip code and will show them their hair forecast for the next few days.

Editor’s note: mine is *always* frizzy. The perils of living in Austin, Texas. Here’s the full page.

The Interest Stage

  • What it is: The second stage of the sales funnel is the “interest” phase.
  • When it matters: When a potential customer moves into this stage of the funnel, it means they are interested in your brand’s story or the pain point you may be solving. They are, well, interested in learning more.
  • Keep in mind: Just because a potential customer is aware of a brand and its products and/or services, it doesn’t mean that the potential customer has an interest.

It may just be bad timing for some.

For others, there can be varying lengths of “awareness” that stretch out over days, weeks, months, and so on. Or, there will be those you might not be able to interest at all.

This is to be expected. Each customer is different, and each moves (or doesn’t) through the funnel at their own pace.

When the potential customer does move into the interest stage, it takes the form of making further initial contact.

Meaning, for example:

  • if you have a newsletter, they subscribe
  • if you have a white paper, they download
  • if you have a social media presence, they connect.

The interest stage is a way for the potential customer to engage further with your brand to see what you have to offer, still without the hard sell.

Let’s go back to our NaturallyCurly example.

A tool like the Frizz Forecast is a chance to connect their content to their product.

The potential customer uses the tool, sees the forecast and then immediately gets product recommendations that can solve for their immediate needs.

Beyond that obvious connection, the interest stage in the funnel is a chance for the potential customer to essentially window shop.

Here are 3 ways to help keep that interested consumer browsing and potentially move them into the next stage of the funnel (where you make money!)

1. Use navigation wisely.

Your visitor needs to know where to go, how to get there and what to do.

A header that travels with him to allow him to toggle between pages will keep him on the site longer.

Help by including filters that allow him or her to scale down the products he sees on each page to a list that speaks to what he is looking for, and buttons that allow him to quickly make a purchase.

This is called faceted search.

Here’s a great example from online boutique YALA, where you can clearly see the cookie trail of the page you are on, have access to faceted search and can filter based on additional preferences.

2. Integrate social media into your site.

Include links to your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, to ensure that potential customers have a way of connecting with you, and you with them, on the platforms they use most.

Olive Mattress does this in a really cool and innovative way.

First, they include their social media accounts in the footer of the site so that they show up on every single page.

This makes their social media accounts easy to find, but not interruptive of the shopping experience.

Then, they also include social media links out to the founders on the About Us pages.

This allows folks to follow and interact with the founders themselves.

Why does this matter?

Because buying a mattress is a high cost purchase – and people often want to be able to talk to the retailer about it.

On site customer service chats can help – but so can social media, where people already are.

3. Provide an offer and have clear calls to action.

In exchange for his or her email, give your visitor an offer for a discount off a first purchase, or bonus item upon a certain spend.

This will reel him in and provide a way for you to reach our after he has left the site.

Crossrope does this well by on inviting members to a 30-day fitness challenge, and using pop-up social proof to show others joining in.

Using a pop-up offer when someone lands on the page, they then push you to a landing page (this allows them to advertise this page across the web, rather than relying on the pop-up alone) to gather an email address.

Here is the two step process:

Step 1. See the site here.

Step 2. See the full page here.

You can also choose to eliminate the landing page potion, and nab email addresses with a discount.

Rock Revival does this well.

Here’s their example.

The Decision Stage

  • What it is: The third stage in the funnel is the “decision” stage.
  • When it matters: Here, the consumer has moved beyond browsing products and solutions to contemplating a purchase. In this stage, your job as the brand is to convince the consumer of the value of the actual product or service.
  • Keep in mind: Proving value can be achieved through a variety of means. For example:
    • Word of mouth
    • User-generated content
    • Social proof
    • Case studies

Here are three tactics to help demonstrate product/service value to the consumer and help move them to a purchase decision.

1. Provide clear, compelling product descriptions.

When your shopper can’t touch the pair of jeans he is eyeing or hold them up to his legs to gauge their fit, he is forced to rely on the information you provide him.

Seize this opportunity by providing:

  • Clear product descriptions, including specifications like sizing charts, measurements, weight, and key materials,
  • Using bullet points and high-resolution visuals to display this information in an easy-to-digest format.

Yumi does this well with a pop-out sizing chart for all of their products.

See the full page here.

Beatific, the seller of a paper journal, also does this well, calling out the product’s specific build and materials.

This helps buyers understand why *this* journal over others.

See the full page here.

2. Online shoppers trust peer reviews.

Be sure to include those online reviews on your site.

Make the experience a valuable one for potential customers by providing written reviews rather than a star system only, and make the time to keep on top of the reviews coming in and reply to valid complaints promptly and professionally.

See below how Enertion Board assures customers that product reviews are real and verified – to add additional social proof for the purchase.

See the full page here.

Here’s another example from

See the full page here.

3. Offer perks.

Perks such as free shipping, relevant discounts, and easy returns can both make buying seamless, get customers into follow through on their purchase and entice them to buy from you again.

Look at how SerengeTee adds immediacy to their discounted shipping messaging just by using, “Today.”

This helps to increase engagement with a promotion by using a psychological trigger.

The Action Stage

  • What it is: The fourth, and final, stage in the sales funnel is the “action” stage.
  • When it matters: Once a consumer has made their decision to purchase, they need a final push to action — making that purchase from your ecommerce site.
  • Keep in mind: One way to ensure the consumer takes action on your site is by focusing on a frictionless purchasing experience.

Here are 4 tips to help improve the online checkout experience.

1. Use predictive entry to auto-populate fields.

Help your customer save time at checkout by allowing him to create an account which will fill in transactional fields such as shipping and billing addresses, saving him precious minutes and getting him to the “Buy Now” button faster.

Many customers’ computers will do this for them –– as you can see in the example below.

One-click technology via digital wallets can also alleviate this pain point.

3. Use progress indicators.

These keep users up to speed on what part of the checkout process they are in, and keep your customers’ baskets in full view throughout the checkout process so they are less inclined to move away from the transaction to check cost, size, and other specifications.

This is particularly important is you are not using a one-page checkout.

In the example above, you can see the hover price, product, shipping and tax indicators.

On multi-page checkouts, you want to ensure you are using progress indicators to move customers long.

A good way to do this is my sandwiching next steps and expectations for a customer on a single page. Your ecommerce platform should be able to do this for you out of the box.

Here’s an example for Osmotics Cosmeceuticals.

2. Make customers aware of your site’s security.

Educate consumers on the security measures of your website to let them know that their personal and payments information is well guarded.

With high-profile data breaches announced in the news, this could help alleviate concerns during uncertain times.

A good place to do this is in your footer –– which will remain persistent throughout your site and continue to security message.

Here’s an example from NextAge Mississippi’s product page.

3. Accept all forms of payment.

With the myriad of ways to pay, it’s crucial to meet the preferences of your customers by offering acceptance of all card types.

Your customer might carry multiple cards for different purposes.

Likewise, this includes integrating digital payments into your checkout experience.

For example, explore accepting digital wallets such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay and Samsung Pay.

How to Setup an Ecommerce Sales Funnel

In all, an understanding and proper use of the sales funnel can help fuel and increase your online sales.

Think about your customer, and think about how you can facilitate each stage of their buying journey.

Here are the steps:

  1. Build awareness by offering value.
  2. Optimize your content offerings for SEO and paid social to drive traffic.
  3. Create tools to solve potential customer pinpoints and win hearts and minds.
  4. Use data from tools and on-site engagement to push potential customers to the products most helpful for their needs.
  5. Setup on-site navigation to allow customers to find what they need quickly and easily.
  6. Use clear calls to action.
  7. A/B test content, calls to action and advertising copy to see which messages and offers engage the most.
  8. Provide in-depth product breakdown content to drive home the final purchasing decision
  9. Use security seals to prove site security.
  10. Offer perks like free shipping or promotions to make the offer sweeter.
  11. Use predictive entry to auto-populate fields to make checkout easier.
  12. Accept all forms of payment.

And that’s it! For a walk through of exactly how to set this up on BigCommerce – checkout our workshop below.

Build an Ecommerce Sales Funnel to 2X Growth

Real feedback from real workshop attendees:

“I have almost doubled my internet sales using only 3 points from this workshop.

Plus, I do zero paid marketing.

The full hour is worth every second!”

That story can be yours, too. Register now. 

Get The Data Now

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72% of Sites Fail Ecommerce Site Search Expectations: 3 Steps + a Checklist to Ensure Yours Isn’t One of Them Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:24:02 +0000 It’s official: mobile ecommerce on-site search experiences are abysmal. You probably didn’t need a study to prove that out. In…]]>

It’s official: mobile ecommerce on-site search experiences are abysmal.

You probably didn’t need a study to prove that out.

We’ve all been there, after all – typing on a mobile screen into a tiny box that serves us little to no accurate results.

In fact, according to a recent Baymard Institute Mobile Ecommerce Usability study, most of us use on-site search when on mobile (and over other mobile search experiences).

Here’s exactly what they found:

On-site search was found to be the preferred product finding strategy of the test subjects, as they perceived it to be faster than category navigation.

And yet, despite most of us using on-site searches on mobile, the mobile search experience on ecommerce sites is almost entirely broken.

Even on desktop – where consumers using on-site search spend 3-4x more with a given brand – most online stores fall short.

“[This data] comes as little surprise, as we’ve already documented how severely desktop ecommerce search misaligns with users’ search behavior,” points out the author of the Baymard study.

“For example, 70% of (desktop) ecommerce search implementations are unable to return relevant results for product-type synonyms (requiring users to search using the exact same jargon as the site) and 34% don’t return useful results when users search for a model number or misspell a word with just a single character in the product title.”

That’s a big deal – because if a consumer is taking the time to type in what exactly they are looking for from your brand, then they are further down the funnel than any other potential consumer on your site.

And yet, most ecommerce brands treat on-site search as an afterthought.

But you shouldn’t, because ignoring on-site search results in:

  • Lower desktop average order value
  • Decreased mobile conversion
  • Reduced SEO – and thus, less organic traffic

With so many brands ignoring this issue, it’s important to break this down to the basics. After all, consumers are using site search bars (despite all the odds against them – hard to see, difficult to use, etc.) and brands still aren’t paying any attention to them.

Meet the Consumers Who Use On-Site Search

Broadly speaking, online shoppers can be split up into two predominant types:

  1. Browsers.
  2. Searchers.

The first type – Browsers – goes through a string of behaviors that is the online equivalent to window-shopping.

They are shoppers who really don’t know precisely what they are looking for, or perhaps are not sure exactly how to verbally express what they want.

Browsers can navigate through multiple merchandise collections, often using the site menu and view many products in one session, without ultimately buying a thing.

Searchers, on the other hand, are shoppers who exhibit a clear intent.

When navigating a website, particularly an ecommerce website, they are looking for a category of products, a specific product, color, or even a SKU.  

The above example is from a nationally recognized online store, where their best performing on-site search keywords are SKUs.

This focused behavior leads to a exponentially higher likelihood of conversion. This is why search can be characterized as the most important conversion vehicle on on your website.

3 Ways to Optimize Mobile Search for Increased Sales

Think of on-site search as a handy assistant to your most important shoppers – those who exhibit a clear intent.

This is especially true on mobile, where on-site search experiences across 50 of the top online brands (in the study conducted by Baymard) shows the brands average mobile on-site search experience is way below customer expectation par.

This makes sense. Here are the 2 biggest issues confronting searching mobile consumers.  

  1. When it comes to mobile, the smaller screen and touch functionality affects browsing experience.
  2. Viewing is more limited than on desktop. On mobile, a consumer typically sees only one or two products per screen, while on a laptop or desktop it’s likely that dozens of products are visible at once.

These cause mobile browsing to be a more tedious experience –– causing shoppers to abandon the funnel and lose you the sale.

Is it possible this variance in mobile behavior and lack of UX is partly responsible for the lower mobile conversion rate when compared to desktop?

It’s only a correlation, but it’s enough so to light a fire under any brand not focusing on optimizing for it.

Here are 3 tips to power-up mobile site search for your store.

1. Make your mobile search box visible and open.

Designers and UX professionals know the importance of search, and typically assign it prime real estate in a custom theme.

However, in many default store themes, the search box is missing or hidden on the mobile screen.

As a result, search becomes a small magnifying glass icon that is hardly noticeable to the eye, or worse, buried among many other menu items.

Recognize this?

Keep in mind, that shoppers of the ‘Searchers’ variety are your most important customers, and they already know what they want to buy.

Make your search box visible, open and easily accessible, so that people can engage with it intuitively.

What follows is common sense: if your mobile shoppers can type what they are looking for and find it quickly, conversion is not only more likely, it is accelerated.

When shoppers see a clear, open search box front and center, they are encouraged to start their journey by telling you what they are looking for.

Let’s look at 3 examples:

1. BB Crafts.’s visible search box helps shoppers find what they want on mobile, with the search bar clearly visible and ready for text just below the logo.

2. So Good to Buy.

So Good to Buy has a similar design, putting the search bar open and clearly visible just above the logo and below the sales banners.

3. Sam’s Furniture.

Sam’s Furniture’s mobile search bar blends more into the theme, but remains open and visible. It also allows for a photo search option as well.

Sam’s Furniture One of the Most Innovative Brands of 2017

Selling furniture online is hard. Not because its expensive. Not because there are a ton of competitors.

Those things matter, sure, but it is the difficulty in shipping that is the real issue.

Here’s how Sam’s Furniture figured it out.

2. Use rich autocomplete with error-correction to engage shoppers.

Google has cornered nearly 80% of the web search market. It’s safe to assume your online shoppers are familiar with it.

We are all therefore conditioned by Google to expect an autocomplete function.

This means that the search engine predicts a search query as it is typed.

When the autocomplete mechanism works well, it:

  • Helps users save time
  • Iterates their search queries better
  • Finds the results they’re looking for, faster.

In ecommerce, these benefits extend not only to suggesting the search query, but also suggesting the most relevant products.

If the user selects a popular query, he or she would get to a results page, without the need to type the entire product name or search query.

In addition to saving time, this implicitly also assures the shopper that they’re in the right place, since they are not the only one searching for this particular term, phrase or item.

If, alternatively, a shopper selects a recommended product, they would proceed to land on the product page.

From there, they can conveniently click the “Buy” button and begin the checkout process, without first going through a search results page.

Here’s how that process works.

  1. Go to search
  2. Type in search – it auto-populates
  3. Go to product pages instead of search category page

This quick shift from search to product page, in turn, accelerates the purchase cycle and speeds up conversion.

What’s more is that on mobile, autocomplete holds even greater importance, since screen real-estate is scarce, and smartphone typing is error-prone and somewhat harder to execute, compared to desktop.

This is precisely why rich autocomplete is infinitely crucial to mobile conversion.

Shoppers should be able to find products even if they misspell all or part of their query, and this is more likely to happen if visitors are engaged from the very first character they type.

Let’s look at another example by Group Vertical, which uses rich autocomplete to engage shoppers and minimize the typing requirement.

3. Use merchandising to promote products where it matters.

Search is all about anticipating shoppers’ intent.

And with AI on the horizon and machine learning getting faster and much, much smarter –– on-site search may be the first arena to employ these new technologies.

After all, AI algorithms predict with high accuracy which products a shopper will select at a given moment for a specific search query.

For instance, when a shopper searches for “running shoes” – what are the products he or she are most likely products to click on?

AI and machine learning can get us closer to the results.

Search apps and search engines are self-learning. This means that those engines analyze, learn and improve the relevance of search results over time.

It’s why every so often, Google has a major update to their algorithm. As the algorithm evolves, so does the code and thus engineers must get involved.

Of course, machine learning and AI are only half of the equation.

The other half relates to the online merchant’s strategic choices, which can vary according to a number of business related considerations, including:

  • Item profitability
  • Ongoing or ad-hoc promotions
  • Stock shortage and surplus

These merchandising decisions dictate a variety of decisions:

  • Which products are promoted ahead of others
  • Which products are hidden or buried according to season, promotion or keyword
  • Which products appear in searches initiated from specific geographic locations.
  • Which products appear for specific customer groups and segments

Advanced merchandising capabilities are doubly crucial when it comes to mobile shopping.

Once again, this is due to the small screen size, and the fact that shoppers who browse search results will typically only look at only the first few to see if that’s what they are looking for before moving on.

You can’t count on shoppers giving you a second chance – not when competition may be out-UXing you.

By ensuring that the search algorithm takes into account not only the verbiage used, but also other factors such as user behavior, location and promotions, merchants can better match shoppers’ intent and display the most relevant results possible.

Then, the path to conversion is quicker. is merchandising search results to optimize conversion with over 50,000 products. This is key for parts and whole product vendors. They need to promote whole products ahead of their parts. In the example above, you see that when you search for drone, you first get the whole drone product rather than drone engine replacement part.

Your On-Site Search Optimization Checklist

If you’ve been struggling to improve mobile conversion rate in on your site, dive in to your on-site search report and see what shows up.

  • Are folks searching for items that get no results?

Don’t be like HP. Ensure your search results always show something relevant – or at least moves them to another idea.

  • What are your most popular search terms?

Can you use those to inform your SEO strategy, too? The above keywords get people to click on the product page. That would probably be the case on Google, too. Try it out!

  • Are consumers using site search at all?

BigCommerce’s in-store search analytics report breaks down in-store search queries to help you better investigate needs. Learn more about the report here.

Additional apps you can use like Instant Search+ also provide in-depth search analytics for better decision making and optimization prioritization.

  • Can you install a heat map tool (Lucky Orange, for instance) to see if users hover or click on the bar?

The above questions are how you determine if your on-site search functionality needs a facelift.

And in all likelihood – it does.

Not even the biggest brands out there get this right even 50% of the time. But you can.

And that’s how you win over the competitors.

Recommended Site Search Functionality & Best Practices
  • Make sure your search bar in visible on all devices.
  • Use autocomplete for quicker searches.
  • Ensure misspellings still have results.
  • Merchandise on-site search results for relevance.
  • Turn your frequently searched for items into FAQs for SEO.
  • Use images rather than only text.

Additional Store Search Best Practices

Learn how to set up your BigCommerce site for an exceptional on-site search experience now.

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The 19 Ecommerce Trends + 147 Online Shopping Stats Fueling Sales Growth in 2018 Wed, 20 Dec 2017 14:00:25 +0000 Conducting high-level research into who buys what, when and why, with regards to Americans shopping online, can be costly and…]]>

Conducting high-level research into who buys what, when and why, with regards to Americans shopping online, can be costly and time-consuming — which is why we’ve done it for you.

BigCommerce has teamed up with retail and payment experts Square to dive deep into the shopping habits, behavior and preferences of thousands of American buyers across multiple generations in 2018.

Free Download

Get the Comprehensive Modern Consumer Shopping Habits Study in a PDF version for further reading, research and action. It’s free and a quick download away.

Download Report Now

In addition, we’ll be breaking down the top ecommerce trends of 2018.

We began monitoring the impact of these trends during Cyber Five 2017.


Because a lot happens in a year within retail and ecommerce.

And every new product, tool, technology and strategy that enters the market hits a crux during Cyber Five.

That’s when those new rules to success have to pass a very hard test:

Do these strategies actually work under the height of industry traffic, sales and scrutiny?

Let me give you an example:

2017 has been the year of Facebook Advertising.

But we’ve all been in that year before, with another tool you have heard of: Google Shopping and PLAs.

Those two tactics still work wonders for brands, with the caveat that:

  1. Competition is fierce and as a result…
  2. Costs are high.

Those two factors often make Google Shopping and PLAs harder for brands making less than $10M in annual sales to compete.

It’s a big-box play where demand is high and visibility is low in supply. And you all well understand economics 101.

Facebook is about to go through the same transition.

But I’ll let one of my go-to experts on Facebook Advertising explain this for me.

In 2018, one thing is guaranteed, Facebook Ad inventory will go up in cost.

Facebook has made a lot of ecommerce owners into millionaires, but now big brands are realizing the power of Facebook and the cost is going up. – Eric Carlson, Co-founder, 10X Factory.

He isn’t the only one who sees this coming.

As a result, many experts are recommending alternate approaches to success for 2018.

This is especially true for brands just breaking into the $1,000,000 in annual revenue club – or at least have it in sight.

Brands like that are considered early stage, high-growth ecommerce companies.

And they have a big challenge to address:

Allocating funds appropriately to sustain and accelerate growth without losing it all.

It’s a hard task at hand. So, here’s what I did:

  1. I reached out to 31 experts to ask what 3 areas they’d focus on (or are planning on focusing on) for 2018 to drive real growth and get ahead of the trends.
  2. Then, I went through all of their answers, and gathered them into categories.
  3. Next, I ranked them based on how many experts said this strategy or areas of focus was important.

And this post is the culmination of that information – along with 147 stats to back up how the industry has gotten here.

Top 19 Ecommerce Trends of 2018

Here are the top 19 ecommerce trends and growth strategies recommended by Internet Retailer 1000 brands and the experts that advise them, in order of priority.

  1. Localization, Personalization & CX.
  2. Community Building, Customer Engagement & CRM.
  3. New Content Types & SEO.
  4. Mobile Optimization.
  5. Social Media Advertising, Campaigns & Retargeting.
  6. CRO & Data-Driven Optimizations.
  7. Technology.
  8. Email Marketing, Automation & AOV.
  9. Influencer Marketing.
  10. Omni-Channel Management.
  11. Payment Solutions.
  12. Branding.
  13. International.
  14. Customer Lifetime Value & Referral Programs.
  15. Catalog Extension.
  16. PR.
  17. Shipping + Fulfillment Optimization.
  18. Sales Tax Liability.
  19. Pricing.

To help keep you focused on these priorities, I’ve broken down the top 10 below, and looked at:

  • What it means
  • Why it’s so important
  • Materials you can use now to brush up on the topic
  • Brands already doing it well so you can mimic their approach, and alter it for your specific audience.

This is your ultimate checklist for what you should be focusing on, in order of priority, for 2018.

Bookmark the page, and dive on in.

1. Localization, personalization and customer experience.

I know what you’re thinking:

There are way too many topics combined into a single strategy here.

But that’s just not true.

Localization is a segment of personalization, and all personalization aims at bettering the customer experience.

Let’s look at it in that lens.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience historically has involved WOW’ing the consumer. Providing exceptional customer service, fast shipping, low prices, an easy-to-navigate site.

This discipline includes:

  • UX
  • Pricing strategy
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Customer service.

In 2018, though, personalization and localization are being added to that mix.

This is because easy-to-navigate websites, fast shipping and transparent pricing are already the norm.

Now, brands must look to new tactics to make their customer experience a differentiator.

What is personalization?

Personalization in ecommerce often refers to personalized merchandising. When personalizing a site experience, brands use a variety of known customer data points to serve contextually relevant content and products.

Those data points can include:

  • Search Queries: Recommend products based on a customer’s search terms
  • Purchase History: Recommend products based on a customer’s past purchases
  • Shopping Cart: Recommend products based on the current contents of a customer’s cart or wishlist
  • Social Behavior: Recommend products based on product rating, shares and likes
  • Geographic Location: Suggest relevant products based on customer’s local climate or other regional considerations
  • Customer Segments: Use purchase histories of customers with similar demographics to recommend products

Using data points like the above, site pages will be altered to best serve and convert the individual consumer.

What is localization?

Localization is a form of personalization in which the IP address of a customer alters site content to provide for more contextual merchandising and content.

Here’s an example from Tyler’s TX. My IP address is coming in from Austin, Texas – so the site serves me Austin, Texas content.

Best Online Guides for Personalization

Here are a few guides you can use to learn about personalization, localization and on-site merchandising to increase your customer experience.

  1. The Ecommerce Personalization Manual: 3 chapters full of actionable steps to increase your revenue through measurable personalization testing and implementation.
  2. How to Use Local Marketing to Sell More: From local SEO to localized merchandising and everything in-between, here’s a step-by-step guide to get more locals to your site.
  3. How 12 Wildly Successful Stores Use Visual Merchandising to Drive Sales: It’s not just about implementing the personalization, it is also about how it looks. This guide will show you exactly how to do it –– based on what is already working in the market.
  4. How 3 Brands Conquered Global Markets via Localization: Localization matters most when dealing with international audiences. Here’s how you can localize to earn global sales, no matter your size.
  5. Personalization Apps + Tools to Help You Implement: A list of tools and apps you can begin using now to implement personalization strategies.

3 Real World Personalization Examples

Here are how 3 brands currently optimized their customer experience using a variety of personalization tactics.

1. Marucci.

Marucci on-site bat customization tool hits it out of the park – seriously.

Customers can build their own bat, including material, color and even initial customization.

Then, once you build the bat, that bat will follow you around the web until purchase.

Check it out.

2. Declaration Co.

You can use a combination of out-of-the-box personalization tools and additional applications to turn your product pages into landing pages (i.e. high-traffic driving, high-converting).

Check out below how Declaration Co. makes this work.

P.S. They use the Personalized Recommendation App by Beeketing.

3. Paul Mitchell.

Wondering how you can collect additional data to better personalize?

Create an educational survey to lead consumers further down your funnel, as well as collect additional information.

Check out the one Paul Mitchell emailed out to their list:

2. Community building, customer engagement and CRM.

It’s hard to build a community and appropriately engage with your customers if you don’t have a rock solid CRM.

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. You’ve probably heard of one of the most widely used ones: Salesforce.

What these tools do is aggregate customer information – including order information, additional data points they’ve given you – with touchpoint information.

In other words, you can go to a customer’s profile in a CRM tool and see:

  • When you last emailed them
  • Who last spoke to them on chat and about what
  • When they last bought something
  • What their average LTV is
  • So on and so forth.

For ecommerce brands, this often means pulling in information from:

  • On-site chat
  • Facebook messenger
  • SMS
  • Email
  • Order statuses
  • Customer groups
  • Loyalty programs
  • Referral programs
  • And more

Why does all of this matter?

Because how effectively you speak to your customer, solve their issue and get them to the cart directly affects engagement, conversion and your bottom line.

Omnichannel Applies to CRM, Too

Establish a single customer system of record.

It’s nearly impossible to truly accomplish #1 without one.

Make sure it can resolve identities across devices!

– Eric Keating, VP of Marketing, Zaius

Best Online Guides for Customer Engagement

Get a head start in improving your customer engagement via community and CRM. Here are the best guides to walk you through each aspect.

  1. How to Navigate the Chaotic Chat Channels of Modern Ecommerce Customer Service: Two brands give you a behind-the-scenes look at how they manage exceptional customer service across all channels. Hint: They use Reamaze.
  2. 8 Tools + Must-Know Strategies to Drive Customer Acquisition and Lifetime Loyalty: Everything you need to know from Day 1 to get more customers now and then keep them coming back for the long term (i.e. how to build a community of buyers).
  3. What Sending 100,000,000 Emails Taught Me About What Doesn’t Work: The best way to learn how your customers want to engage? Learn how they don’t. But don’t learn it firsthand. This article will show you the pain, and the solution, so you can go into the game smarter and better.
  4. How to Set Up an Ecommerce Customer Loyalty Program: This guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from why to how and then how to measure.
  5. How to Use Customer Testimonials to Drive 62% More Sales: Already have a ton of engagement? Here’s how you can use that engagement to get even more.
  6. CRM and Customer Relationship Management Tools: All the tools you might need to grow your program and track your conversations more strategically and seamlessly than ever before.

Have You Gone ChatBot Yet?

Now is a great time to starting thinking about chatbots.

There’s a lot of different types of chatbots available now that can help you on-site with customer service, or Messenger bots that can help you build longer and stronger relationships with your customers and fans.

– Richard Lazazzera, Founder of A Better Lemonade Stand

3 Real World Customer Engagement Examples

The very first step to ensuring your customers engage with your brand is to ensure they can SEE that they can engage with your brand.

Here are 3 examples of brands doing just that.

1. Olive Ave.

Olive Ave uses subtle but clear on-site messaging to alert customers to a variety of customer engagement tools, including:

  • Reviews
  • Chat
  • Rewards

This is a common trio of customer engagement tactics – allowing customers to see and leave reviews, talk to someone for help and/or join the rewards program.

See how they did it below.

2. Mountain Crest Gardens.

Mountain Crest Gardens is, in my professional opinion, light years ahead of most ecommerce brands in terms of customer engagement.

They used a tool – Rivet Works – to collect not just customer reviews, but customer photos of their products being used.

And people LOVE it.

They use those photos on their review page (below), on product pages as well as in social media –– always with a call to action for a customer to also submit.

It’s an engagement tactic that kills 3 birds (AKA tactics), with one stone (AKA email).

3. Shongolulu.

Want to know one of the best ways to build customer engagement?

Get them involved directly in your company mission.

Many brands with philanthropic missions, like Shongolulu, encourage customers to become brand ambassadors –– sharing the message with the world.

And it works!

As the micro-influencer and ambassador community grows, so too does your brand’s presence across the web.

After all, it’s always been a small group of dedicated people who changed the world.

Let your brand lead the next charge.

Be Yourself. Sell More. It Can Be That Easy.

Turn yourself and your employees into personalities. You’ll develop quicker and more meaningful relationships with your customers when it’s personal.

In 2018, people connect with other people – not brands, or companies.

– Brett Owens, Marketing Director & Co-Founder, LeadDyno

3. New content types and SEO.

Even during Cyber Week 2017, in BigCommerce’s User Facebook Group, I had brands telling me that while their campaigns performed insanely well, organic still drove the most conversions.

That’s right – organic traffic still ranks as the #1 tactic for driving traffic and conversions for the long term.

This isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. Nor is it one you can just ignore.

  • You want to win at least on long-tail keywords.
  • You want traffic to your site to be at least 50% organic.

This is because:

  1. You don’t have to pay for organic traffic: In theory, you have to pay with your time or a salary to a content creator and SEO manager)
  2. People like to find “the best” on their own, not through ads: If they can type in a keyword on Google, come to your site and be floored at what you offer –– they are converting. And fast.

What is SEO?

SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization.

This is mostly referring to Google’s search engine because it is the most used in the world (next to Amazon’s, but that’s a topic for another time).

The more optimized your website is, the higher you show up in Google’s search results.

Your goal is to rank 0-5 for any related keyword search.

Most ecommerce brands optimize for long-tail, at least at first. Getting high ranking for short-tail keywords is hard. Bigger brands typically win here because of their Domain Authority, which takes into account:

  • How long your site has been live
  • How much traffic it gets
  • How long people stay on it
  • How many people link to it
  • Etc.

Think Far Beyond the Sale

On-site content to draw in customers in times other than a purchase point is becoming super important for LTV increase without large marketing spend.

– Erik Huberman, Founder and CEO, Hawke Media

What are long-tail vs. short-tail keywords?

“Bow ties” is a short-tail keyword. “Bow ties for dachshunds” is a long-tail keyword.

Long-tail keywords are just more specific.  

Best Online Guides for SEO + Content

Optimize your site as it currently is, and get content ideas now from these comprehensive guides.

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce SEO: Learn how to attain page 1 ranking + see all the tools the experts use, how, when and why. This is the scientific side of SEO.
  2. How to Master Amazon SEO: Yes, Amazon also has a search engine – called A9. This post will teach you how to rank well there, too.
  3. How to Build a B2B SEO Strategy to Beat Out Your Competition: Online B2B sales are growing. Getting your B2B SEO strategy in shape now will set you up to win for the long run.
  4. The Content Strategy to 3X Your Ecommerce Traffic: You can build it, that doesn’t mean they will come. This guide will show you how to make sure your content, your site and your products get seen. It doesn’t end at publish –– it ends at sales.
  5. How to Turn Product Pages Into High-Converting Landing Pages: This is a HUGE opportunity. Turn your product pages into optimized landing pages and you’ll get more traffic AND more sales. This guide will show you how (plus the good and the bad of the tactic).

Content marketing is harder than ever. Don’t give up.

Content marketing hasn’t changed much from last year beyond the fact that it’s harder than ever before to rank.

  • You’re competing with more brands.
  • You’re competing with more landing pages.
  • You’re competing with more videos on YouTube.

So, it’s time to invest in creating content that is both optimized for search and maximized for shareability on social media.

– Ross Simmonds, Founder, Foundation Marketing

3 Real World Content + SEO Examples

The best advice out there right now in terms of SEO for ecommerce brands is this:

Turn your product pages into optimized landing pages.

How do you do that?

Check out the brands below.

1. Jackson Galaxy.

Jackson Galaxy uses video, clear CTAs, lots of copy and tons of reviews to turn their product pages into an SEO-optimized landing page.

2. BlanksUSA.

BlanksUSA uses campaign pages as landing pages in order to drive long-tail traffic to products easily grouped for a specific customer segment.

In this case, for the small-business audience.

3. Orion Cooler.

And what if you just want to make sure your homepage is optimized? Well, be sure you include:

  1. Interactive graphics
  2. Videos
  3. Cross-linking.

Orion Coolers does this well.

4. Mobile optimization.

Mobile optimization these days isn’t just about having a site that is responsive.

That’s just step #1.

Having a mobile-optimized site also means including:

  • Mobile-optimized search
  • Digital wallets
  • Product videos

And that’s just for starters.

Mobile and Desktop UX Should Be Equal

Mobile experience need to be on par with desktop. That’s just expectation these days.

– Josh Mendelsohn, VP Marketing, Privy

Digital Wallets + Mobile Optimization

Mobile commerce is continuing to rise thanks to one new technology: digital wallets.

These wallets allow for one-click purchasing that makes buying on the go less annoying.

Examples of digital wallets and one-touch payments include:

  • Amazon Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • PayPal One-Touch
  • Visa Checkout

Focus on Mobile Checkout

Offer Apple Pay, PayPal Express or Visa Checkout and don’t make the customer have to fill in all of their details on a mobile phone.

Ease of purchase is key.

Also, think about credit. PayPal Credit was previously expensive for the retailer.

Today’s buy-now, pay-later systems are not – including PayPal Credit and Klarna.

– Rupert Cross, Digital Director, 5874

Best Online Guides for Mobile Optimization

Mobile is the New Desktop

In the digital space we’ve been banging the drum on mobile for years now and there are still many sites that don’t get it.

Optimize your forms, create mobile-first designs, load pages quickly. Mobile is here. Understand how your customers use mobile and optimize.

– Stephen Slater, Digital Advertising Manager, TopRankMarketing

3 Real World Content + SEO Examples

1. Couture Candy.

On mobile, what would you do?

Fill out your email and begin an account…or just use Amazon Pay?

2. CocoWeb.

Same scenario here –– sign up, or just hit Apple Pay and be done with it?

“We have seen an AOV increase of over 25%, a mobile conversion increase of over 75%. We accomplished this while decreasing mobile paid traffic by over 50%!” 

3. Solo Stove.

You don’t even need to take them to a cart. Just use a pop-up like Solo Stove does to help the customer decide where to go next.

Make sure payment is one of those options.

Mobile Means Everything

Mobile experience will be key in 2018.

Mobile traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic, and we are seeing mobile sales approach desktop sales.

This trend will continue, with mobile eventually overtaking desktop sales.

Retailers with a mobile-first mentality will outperform those that treat mobile as a second priority. This mobile-first mentality applies to everything: web design, email layouts, reward programs and more.

– Steve Deckert, Co-Founder,

5. Social media advertising, campaigns and retargeting.

Social media advertising, specifically Facebook Advertising, was all the rage in 2017.

Many an ecommerce business owner turned a pretty $1,000,000 in annual revenue off of this tactic.

And while many may still be able to do so in 2018, it is likely that the cost is going to go way up.

In the meantime, be sure you have the basics down:

  1. Upload your catalog to Facebook Shop
  2. Use Dynamic Product Ads to retarget site visitors based on what they viewed.

Social Media is Scientific

Brands need to gain a scientific understanding of social media marketing and become experts in A/B testing in site building, content development and marketing/advertising.

All of these work together.

– Krista Fabregas, Editor, Ecommerce & Retail, FitSmallBusiness

What is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising is a popular channel for ecommerce brands to use to run campaigns, drive traffic and close sales.

It works best when:

  • Retargeting customers who visited a site to come back and close a sale
  • Using customer testimonials and videos to earn visibility
  • Creating an online, loyal community

Facebook Advertising has historically been the most popular social media advertising channel.

The Pillars of Modern Social Media Advertising

Good social media advertising and marketing is about 3 things:

  1. Engaging with consumers where they are – in social media – and not just using social media as an advertisement, but as a way to truly engage with and celebrate your fans
  2. The use of user-generated content in your social media, which will help you both celebrate your fans and provide a more authentic engagement experience for consumers
  3. Leveraging micro-influencers in a broad and authentic way to expose your content to new consumers.

– Neal Schaffer, Author, The Business of Influence

Best Online Guides for Social Media Advertising

Retargeting and Engagement Go Hand in Hand

Building a culture around your brand will be the only way to compete and thrive in a marketplace that turns everything into a commodity driven by price and reviews.

So focus on engagement, retargeting and community.

– Bryan Bowman, Founder, eCom Underground

3 Real World Social Advertising Examples

1. Tommy John.

Tommy John uses a gifting video along with a customer testimonial in this re-targeted Facebook Ad.

2. Rollie.

Rollie is an Australian brand that has (clearly) just launched in the US. They are likely targeting me based on my geographic location and having visited their site before.

This link leads back to a specific campaign page.

The ad is an image.

2. Nike.

Nike is using the multiple photo option ad (aka, not a video) and promoting customized items in the ads.

Video + Ads = Success

Facebook prioritizes videos and videos help build way more trust then just a regular ad. Videos are so powerful and using Facebook Custom Engagement Audiences you can sequence potential customers who watch 10 seconds of one of your videos to another video.

Using Facebook Video Ads combined with Custom Engagement Audiences alone you can sequence potential customers all the way down a video funnel that goes from Awareness to Engagement and then to Conversion.

In 2018 video will continue to be a huge opportunity for ecommerce brands.

– Daniel Wallock, Marketing Strategist, Wallock Media

6. CRO and data-driven optimizations.

CRO stands for conversion rate optimization, which you can only do through data-driven optimization and decision making.

These two aspects are tied hand in hand. You cannot do one without the other.

Average ecommerce conversion rates rest at about 2% – and that’s not very good.

Conversion rate optimization allows you to run tests to determine which various designs, language, etc. increase sales versus others.

Then, you can launch updates sitewide to see a major lift.

CRO Tools Are Cheap and Easy

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to me is priority 1, 2, and 3.

The tools are cheap and easy to use. The data they can provide is invaluable.

Look for little wins here and there and over the course of the year you will find that you have made it far more likely that a visitor to your website becomes a paying customer.

– Zach Heller, Owner, Zach Heller Marketing

CRO Best Practices

Here are a few key best practices and tools to use for CRO and testing.

  • Keep yourself out of the picture: Don’t create navigation categories just to create categories. Only include links your shoppers find valuable. This is not the time or place to rely on aesthetics or your gut feeling. Instead, use Google Analytics or your ecommerce analytics to determine your most frequently visited landing pages (i.e. Women’s, Men’s, New Products, etc) and then link out to those within your site navigation.
  • Use tools to avoid assumptions: Consider using Crazy Egg, HotJar or Lucky Orange, tools that provides heat mapping. Heat mapping is an insanely valuable way to better understand how a shopper uses your site. This type of information is extremely informative, especially when coupled with additional metrics regarding your online store, like in-store search and website exit rates.

  • Create categories based on search: If you’re a BigCommerce merchant, use your in-store search analytics to help determine what shoppers are looking for, then bring those categories front and center. If you’re not a BigCommerce merchant or you’d like another look at what shoppers are searching for on your site, use Google Analytics: Google Analytics > Account > Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms.

Get more in touch with your market

Regularly get your customers on the phone. Ask why they choose you. Ask what problems drove them to you in the first place. Ask how they view you compared to competitors.

Ask, ask, ask.

Their answers are literally what should go on your website to connect more deeply with your market and generate more sales.

Nothing generates more ideas for how to improve your website than these conversations.

– David Tendrich, Co-Founder & CEO, Reliable PSD

Best Online Guides for CRO

Testing is Always Priority #1

Every brand has to first test their way to success. That’s always a top priority.  

The second is to spend 10% of your time/budget testing new techniques and technologies.

And the third is to be sure to share your successes and failures with everybody internally. That way, you can be sure you have a staff with a knowledge base.

– Jamie Turner, Author, Speaker, and CEO, Jamie Turner Live

3 Real World CRO Examples

OK, so this is the one section of the post where I can’t give you any original examples.

A/B testing is a private strategy for businesses, and rarely do they share their insights beyond the internal teams.

That makes sense.

You don’t want to show your strategic and data-backed advantages to your competitors, do you?

I found a few examples, but none show you side-by-side design comparisons.

1. Andreas Carter Sports.

One of the biggest changes we made was to the ‘Add To Cart’ button. Simply changing it from black to a blue color has reduced abandoned carts by up to 50%. – Jeremy Hagon, Marketing Manager, Andreas Carter Sports

2. SerengeeTee.

We have continued to improve conversion through A/B testing and design upgrades. Last year, conversion was 4.2%; this year, we are at 4.6%.

The average conversion rate in our industry is somewhere in the 2-3% ballpark.

This has given us an edge against other clothing brands. – Jeff Steitz, Founder and CEO at Serengetee

3. Natomounts.

I have 30 BigCommerce sites up and the reason I keep coming back is because my development staff and design staff are familiar with the templates and the backend. We can quickly create a website or create a duplicate website for A/B testing in less than a few days. – Brandon Chatham, Founder & CEO of NatoMounts.

The One Tactic Above All Else

Every business, depending on what stage they are in, will have different priorities, but I know what we’ll be focused on.

We’re going to add more great private label products and drive more traffic via email marketing.

But number 1 for us, as always, is continual conversion optimization.

– Jason Boyce, Founder, Dazadi

7. Technology.

There’s been a massive shift in retail. Everyone feels it.

  • It’s why there is so much more competition.
  • It’s why marketing matters so much more than ever before.

It all comes down to two things: cost of entry and scale.

The cost of entry and cost to scale have dramatically reduced over the years. It would be impossible a decade ago to launch a website paying only $30 a month.

Today, that’s the norm.

And because the cost to entry is so low, more people has entered. And a lot of those people are scaling –– again, because the technology to do so costs so little.

Suddenly, marketing to earn your fair share of the market is one of the most important factors to success.

And if that’s the case, well…

Then you better make sure you tech stack works for you.

Let’s listen to Grant Yuan, President of

My advice for other business owners is this: it’s important to save time and work on the things that matter.

Rather than tying up time with manual data entry and packaging, focus on things that help your business grow – like marketing, business development, etc.

Let tools and integrations take care of the other elements of the business, and outsource work when you need it.

Don’t be afraid to invest in resources that help you grow faster and with less stress.

20 Most Popular Ecommerce Tools

Here are some of the most popular tools, apps and technologies for ecommerce brands. 

  1. MailChimp.
  2. Shipstation.
  3. QuickBooks Online.
  4. Facebook Ads Extension.
  5. JustUno.
  6. Buy Buttons.
  7. Yotpo.
  8. ShipperHQ.
  10. AfterShip.
  11. inkFrog Open.
  12. Signifyd.
  13. Xero.
  15. PixelPop.
  16. InStockNotify.
  17. Shippo.
  18. Soundest.
  19. Form Builder by POWr.
  20. BigCommerce.

3 Real World Examples of Brands Using Technology to Grow

1. So Suzy Stamps.

Honestly, InStockAlerts is worth its weight in gold. When I was starting out, I didn’t have a lot of inventory. I didn’t understand how fast I was going to grow. So, I’d do a new product release and within an hour I’d be out of stamps.

Suddenly, all my customers wanted to know when a product would be back in stock. They wanted an email to let them know so they didn’t miss out on it a second time.

I knew I didn’t have time to send everyone an email! Then, I have more sales with no additional time spent. It’s magic. – Suzanne Moore, Founder, So Suzy Stamps

2. Atlanta Light Bulbs.

We also use PriceWaiter on our product pages – which lets the buyer name a price. The buyer goes to our site and says, “Hey, I want to buy 50 of these at $2 a piece.”

On the backend, we have loaded up all of our pricing rules into the PriceWaiter system. That app knows if we are willing to sell X items for Y dollars –– as long as the order value is above Z.

PriceWaiter auto-calculates all of that on the fly for the B2B buyer so they don’t have to wait to hear back from us. They just get a message that says we’ve accepted their offer, or if the price is too low, we offer them a different deal. –– Doug Root, CEO at Atlanta Light Bulbs

3. Incy Interiors.

We use several different integrations with BigCommerce right now, but we like the social tools that make it easy to optimize things like email campaigns we send out through MailChimp.

We’re currently setting up a more robust CRM system, but we use MailChimp to work on lowering cart abandonment rates and staying in touch with our customers.

We also like that the social media tools for Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram make it much easier to share our products. – Krista Withers, Founder of Incy Interiors

Your Secret Weapon

Leverage new technologies and services to make purchases as easy as possible. Never forget that there is tech out there to help you solve a variety of problems.

– David Mercer, Founder, SMEPals

8. Email marketing, automation and AOV.

Email marketing has long held the #1 position as the most profitable growth channel for online stores.

There is a few reasons for this:

  • Building your email list drives top-of-funnel connections – allowing you to build out a funnel that turns email addresses into real, loyal customers.
  • Receipt emails are the most opened emails bar none. Your opportunity to upsell or drive loyalty here is huge.
  • Your email marketing open and click-through rate are easily measurable, and give you a good understanding of how engaged your audience is (or isn’t).
  • Because metrics are easy to track, A/B testing messages to increase engagement is relatively easy, and won’t affect on-site conversions.
  • Doing all of the above is free once you capture that email (also depending on the cost of your email service provider).
  • Best yet, all of the above can be automated. This means you can set and forget, check the number, re-optimize and then go about your business is other areas.

All in all, email marketing drives increased loyalty, repeat purchases, net new purchases and increased AOV, and it can do all of that without you having to actually send individual emails to individual customers.

Automation is the real winner here – and email marketing is a test-bed of measurable aspects you can manipulate in order to drive growth behind the scenes.

Automation That Feels Human

Every ecommerce brand should prioritize their automation, whether that’s automated emails or on-site campaigns.

It’s the name of the game and one that you’ll need to do without sacrificing too much of the human touch to execute it well.

–  Kayla Lewkowicz, Marketing Manager, Privy

Best Online Guides for Email Marketing and Automation

3 Real World Email Marketing Examples

Email marketing doesn’t always have to be about journeys and streams.

Those are big parts of what makes email marketing work. But the #1 thing you must do is this:

  • Be honest.
  • Be open.
  • Be transparent.

You want your audience to connect. Here are some great ways to do it.

1. Dorco.

Dorco sent out a personal email from the CEO of the company to promote an organization called ShowerUp –– a mobile truck that goes around to homeless communities to provide hygiene options –– like shaving –– to the community.

It’s a heartfelt letter with a real signature. It also includes a coupon code so that you can give and get discounted off.

It’s a win-win-win.


Sometimes, philanthropy and sales can go hand in hand.

This is especially true with They run a site that allows folks to buy gifts that help those in the underdeveloped world.

Here is an example of one of their holiday emails to their base.

3. Kelty.

Remember, beyond giving and philanthropy, your emails should build community among your base.

Kelty, a camping site, does this incredibly well. Each of their emails is themed, with an image to support the message.

Yes, they showcase products. But they also showcase content to help readers and customers nail down their next adventure.

9. Influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective strategies to growth for online brands.


Because consumers trust other people’s opinions over almost anything else.

Word of mouth is powerful – and today, word of mouth doesn’t have to happen face to face.

Instead, it can happen Instagram post to Instagram Post or YouTube Video to YouTube Video.

And better yet, for brands at least, you don’t have to pay an insane amount of money to make influencer marketing work for you.

You don’t have to be, know or pay for Kylie Jenner, for instance.

Instead, you can empower a group of micro-influencers to create a groundswell of support that isn’t expensive to maintain and that feels more natural, community-driven and honest than large payouts to big names.

Influencers Are Vital

A strong network of influencers is a vital part of building a strong, sustainable ecommerce business.

– David Mercer, Founder, SMEPals

Most Commonly Used Influencer Marketing Strategies

  1. Content Featuring Your Products or Services
  2. Product or Service Reviews
  3. Promote Giveaway Contests
  4. Offer Discounts to Drive Conversions
  5. Offer Custom URLs for Free Access

Best Online Guides for Influencer Marketing

3 Real-World Influencer Marketing Examples

1. Natori.

Natori promoted their line of sports bras through fitness influencer Sarah Dussault.

Natori is a brand that sells luxury lingerie, women’s clothing and home décor.

If they were to promote any of their other products through this specific influencer, it wouldn’t be as relevant.

But in this case, the product they were promoting was a line of sports bras, so a fitness influencer like Sarah was a good choice.

2. Skullcandy.

Skullcandy works with YouTube influencers to offer honest reviews of the product. This is a great tactic to use if you are certain of your product’s quality.

Check out the video below for an example.

You’ll notice that the influencer doesn’t mince words – these headphones used to be expensive. They don’t cost as much anymore.

Thoughts like that help to convey honest value and feedback to the audience. In YouTube influencer marketing, you often won’t have much say over what an influencer says about your product.

3. Di Bruno.

Product and service reviews similar to the YouTube example above can also be done in print/text.

An excellent example is Hello Subscription’s detailed review of their experience with Di Bruno Bros. Hello Subscription is a blog dedicated to promoting and reviewing subscription boxes.

Their Co-Editor, Tom, reviewed a “House of Cheese Pairing Club,” box from Di Bruno Bros. The review included more than 20 images, and detailed descriptions of the contents of the subscription box, about which Tom also shared his honest opinions.

10. Omni-channel management.

Omni-channel may be an industry buzzword, but the need for it at the level of growing brands cannot be ignored.

Most brands sell in more than 1 place. Here is a non-exhaustive list of options:

  • Webstore
  • Brick-and-mortar
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Houzz
  • Alibaba
  • Wholesale
  • Etsy
  • Pop-up Shops
  • Events + Markets

And that list is only ever going to grow.

For brands, the first trick is deciding which channels make the most sense for you.

The second trick is to scale each of those channels, and subsequently the brand, effectively – maintaining exceptional inventory, branding and customer experience across the board.

So…let’s start from the beginning here…

Omni-Channel Requires Rethinking

The rapid growth we’re seeing in the ecommerce space has far reaching implications for the tools and services we use to convert customers on a daily basis.

This also means that ecommerce brands need to focus more attention on how new tools and new customer behavior will interact.

Omni-channel sales require businesses to rethink how goods and services will reach consumers or at least attract consumer attention.

–  David Feng, Co-Founder, Re:amaze

What is Omni-Channel Management?

Omni-channel management is process and strategy by which brands manage their inventory, branding and customer experience across a variety of channels.

Common tools brands use include:

  • ERP
    • Brightpearl
    • NetSuite
    • Sage
    • SAP
  • System Integrators
    • eBridge Connections
    • Jasper Studios
  • POS
    • Square
    • Springboard Retail
    • ShopKeep
    • Hike POS
    • Amber POS
    • Lightspeed Retail POS
  • CRM
    • Salesforce
    • Reamaze
    • Hubspot
  • APIs

Best Online Guides for Omni-Channel Management

Gain Control, or Lose It All

Gain control of your distribution channels, addressing sales tax liability and expand into international marketplaces. That’s a good 2018 strategy.

– James Thomson, Partner, Buy Box Experts

3 Real World Influencer Marketing Examples

1. Glory Cycles.

Glory Cycles began on eBay and has since build a legacy brand on their own webstore.

But they haven’t left eBay behind. Today, they use the marketplace to sell returned items for a profit.

We don’t put a lot of energy into our eBay efforts, but we do use it to sell our returns.

The reason for that is we’re a bit limited in what our vendors allow us to sell on that platform, so it’s primarily a channel for moving returned product.

It’s extremely simple with the BigCommerce integration.

For a long time, we shied away from doing a lot of eBay business because we didn’t want to run two separate systems, but with BigCommerce we can run everything from a single location.

When we get an eBay order, it still comes through as a normal order in BigCommerce, and that was very attractive to us. –– Clive De Sousa, President, Glory Cycles.

In this model, BigCommerce serves as the inventory management hub.

2. BeachRC.

BeachRC sells on eBay, Amazon, their webstore and brick-and-mortar. They use BigCommerce as their inventory hub, and Square as their POS.

BigCommerce’s Amazon integration is really good – and it’s really helped us out. We’re converting more ecommerce and online sales due to our Amazon presence now.

I would have never gone out to put products on Amazon on my own. The fact that it was going to be easy to integrate directly through BigCommerce is why I did it – and now, we see 1 out of every 10 orders coming to us through Amazon.

It’s a great gateway to gaining customers, especially when you are strategic about which products you put up there, and which you make exclusive for your own site.

I think beyond just selling on Amazon for Amazon’s sake. Being there helps to create more customers for our website, too. It helps us with volume and with growing our website and our clientele.

I’d say 99% of everything we do is through BigCommerce. We’re not using Amazon Seller Central very much. I want to make everything easy and streamlined for my team, so we use the BigCommerce Control Panel and Channel Manager to do almost everything. – Brent Densford, CEO of BeachRC

3. Casey’s Distributing.

Casey’s Distributing built an app on top of BigCommerce’s API to sell wholesale to brands across the globe. The app uses Casey’s Distrubuting’s inventory in BigCommerce as the hub of its system.

We’re building an app for the BigCommerce app store that will connect our inventory feed to BigCommerce store owners who want it. Working with thousands of retail businesses, we know that one of the challenges when starting a store is figuring out what to sell.

Well, Casey’s can help – and we’re using the BigCommerce API to do it.

Soon, BigCommerce store owners new to selling online can add NFL/NBA/NCAA/NHL/MLS merchandise to their sites to sell. These are brands people know and love.

The app will connect all the dots for BigCommerce customers. They can add products through it, pick the teams they want and then the app will update the quantities for them and it will help them remove products after they become obsolete.

It’s a no-brainer if you are just getting started. The API makes it incredibly easy. – Ben Johnson, VP Operations at Casey’s Distributing and President, MaxQV, LLC.

That app is called League License.

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147 Online Shopping Statistics Behind Why These Ecommerce Trends Matter Most

For article length sake, I cannot go into this amount of detail for the other 9 topics considered very important by experts.

However, the 10 tactics above are in order of priority. Start from #1 and work your way down.

Get these channels and strategies optimized, and you’ll be ready to tackle the other 9 – and will have a bulky bottom line which which to do it.

Struggling with getting your CEO, CMO, founder or even yourself on board with some of these ideas and strategies? 

Not to worry. This is where data comes into play. 

BigCommerce and Square, as mentioned earlier, teamed up to dive deep into the shopping habits, behavior and preferences of thousands of American buyers across multiple generations.

You can download that full guide below. 

Free Download

Get the Comprehensive Modern Consumer Shopping Habits Study in a PDF version for further reading, research and action. It’s free and a quick download away.

Download Report Now

That deep dive and research also gave us 147 stats on exactly how U.S. shoppers shop online, including:

  • Who does the shopping
  • Where they shop
  • When they shop
  • Why they shop
  • What they buy when they shop
  • How they shop 

Why is this research so important?

Because it’s easier than ever for businesses to have a digital presence across a variety of channels.

A 2017 point-of-sale solutions survey of 1,164 U.S. business owners conducted by Square and Mercury Analytics found that:

  • 56% have a physical store.
  • 21% have a pop-up store, or pop-up at events.
  • 34% sell through their own website (using a website building platform).
  • 25% sell through Facebook (40% on social media as a whole).
  • 16% sell through Amazon (more should, considering almost half of purchases begin here).
  • 22% sell through other marketplaces (including Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.).

However, despite how easy it is to launch a webstore, scaling an online business remains extremely difficult even for the most seasoned ecommerce expert.

Ecommerce sales are growing, but many retailers are struggling to capitalize on their digital sales channels.

The secret to success in 2018 is no longer just get it out there and see how it performs. The most successful retailers are strategic and targeted in their efforts, both offline and on.

It’s called omni-channel selling, and it’s something BigCommerce and Square have been exploring over the past year, in an attempt to help connect the dots between your business and the those who want to buy from your business.

Are you an omni-channel seller?

It’s not just about broadcasting on all channels, though. Effectively targeting a ready-to-buy audience requires solid data and statistics on your customers.

Below, you’ll find ecommerce trends, data and statistics reporting on exactly how Americans shop online, why customers convert, why they don’t and who your business should be targeting on the various online channels in order to optimize for ROI.

This data gives you a window into what consumers look for in an online shopping experience, showcasing the potential to adapt your ecommerce business to fit the modern shopper.

These findings can percolate through every aspect of your business: product pages, emails, content marketing and much more.

Online Shopping Trends and Statistics
  1. General online shopping statistics.
  2. Ecommerce trends by generations.
  3. Ecommerce trends by parental status.
  4. Ecommerce trends by gender.
  5. Ecommerce trends by city-size.
  6. Spending and conversion rates.
  7. Buying frequency.
  8. Customer location at time of purchase.
  9. Types of online goods purchased.
  10. Influencing factors on conversion rates.
  11. Social media as an influencing factor.
  12. Online shopping in society.
  13. Shopper characteristics by channel.

Let’s dive in. 

General Online shopping data:

  • 51% of Americans prefer to shop online in 2018.
  • 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase in their life, 80% in the past month alone.
  • Ecommerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses do not have a website.
  • Online orders increase 8.9% in Q3 2016, but average order value (AOV) increased only 0.2% — indicating that transactional growth is outpacing total revenue.

Online shopping trends by generation:

  • 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop on online rather than in-store.
  • 41% of Baby Boomers and 28% of Seniors will click to purchase.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers spend nearly 50% as much time shopping online each week (six hours) than their older counterparts (four hours).
  • 48% of millennials have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 46% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 29% at category-specific online stores.
  • 56% of Gen Xers have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 49% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 37% at category-specific online stores.
  • 59% of Baby Boomers have shopped on marketplaces, 74% at large retailer sites, 42% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 39% at category-specific online stores.
  • 51% of Seniors have shopped on marketplaces, 66% at large retailer sites, 30% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 44% at category-specific online stores.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers spend 6 hours per week shopping online
  • Baby Boomers spend 4 hours per week shopping online.
  • Seniors spend 2.5 hours per week shopping online.

Ecommerce trends by parental status:

  • Parents spend more of their budget online in comparison to non-parents (40% vs. 34%) and spend 75% more time online shopping each week (7 hours vs. 4 hours for non-parents).
  • Parents spend 61% more online than non-parents ($1,071 vs. $664).
  • Nearly half (49%) of parents stated that they cannot live without online shopping.
  • 53% of U.S. parents have shopped on marketplaces, 78% at large retailer sites, 53% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 34% at category-specific online stores.
  • 54% of non-parents have shopped on marketplaces, 72% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 37% at category-specific online stores.

Online shopping trends by gender:

  • Men reported spending 28% more online than women during the past year.
  • 52% of men have shopped on marketplaces, 75% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 31% at category-specific online stores.
  • 56% of women have shopped on marketplaces, 74% at large retailer sites, 48% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 40% at category-specific online stores.
  • Men and women both report spending 5 hours per week shopping online.

Online shopping trends by city-size:

  • Although they have greater proximity to physical stores, customers in large or mid-size metropolitan areas spend more online annually ($853) than suburban shoppers ($768) or those in rural areas ($684).
  • Americans in metropolitan areas are spending the most online.
  • 63% of suburban shoppers share that shipping costs are their least favorite part of online shopping.
  • 38% of rural shoppers cite strong concerns about online privacy.
  • 49% of Americans in metropolitan areas have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 45% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 30% at category-specific online stores.
  • 60% of Americans in suburban areas have shopped on marketplaces, 73% at large retailer sites, 44% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 42% at category-specific online stores.
  • 58% of Americans in rural areas have shopped on marketplaces, 71% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 40% at category-specific online stores.
  • Americans in metropolitan areas report spending 4.5 hours per week shopping online.
  • Americans in suburban and rural areas both spend 5 hours per week shopping online.

Online spending and conversion rates:

  • 51% of Americans think shopping online is the best way to shop, with 49% preferring shopping in-store.
  • Americans spend 64% of their shopping budget in-store, and 36% online.
  • In the last year, shoppers have spent the most with ecommerce marketplaces ($488), closely followed by major online/offline brands ($409) such as Nordstrom or Best Buy.
  • 74% of Americans have shopped at large online/offline brand name retailers, 54% on ecommerce marketplaces, 44% at small and specially online brands and 36% at category-specific online retailers.
  • When shopping online, nearly half (48%) of online purchasers first turn to a mass commerce marketplace.
  • 31% first shop at a large online/offline brand name retailer, 12% first shop at a category specific online retailer, 7% first turn to a small/speciality online retail brand (more on conversion rates here).
  • 52% of smartphone owners use online banking (or e-banking), indicative of a further trend towards mobile shopping

Online shopping buying frequency stats in America:

  • 95% of Americans shop online at least yearly.
  • 80% of Americans shop online at least monthly.
  • 30% of Americans shop online at least weekly.
  • 5% of Americans shop online daily.

Customer location when making a purchase online:

  • A quarter of online shoppers (25%) have made an online purchase from a brick-and-mortar store.
  • 43% of online shoppers have made a purchase while in bed.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers are nearly 3x as likely as Baby Boomers and Seniors to have made an online purchase from bed (59% v 21%).
  • 23% of online shoppers have made an online purchase at the office.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) of Millennials and Gen Xers have made a purchase from the office.
  • More than 15% of Baby Boomers and Seniors have made a purchase from the office.
  • 20% of American online shoppers have purchased from the bathroom or while in the car (a +1 for mobile commerce).
  • Millennials and Gen Xers are 5x more likely to have made an online purchase from the bathroom (31% v. 6%) than Baby Boomers and Seniors.
  • One in ten customers admitted to buying something online after drinking alcohol.
  • Men are more than twice as likely as women to have made a purchase after consuming alcohol (14% to 6%).
  • Younger generations are 5x more likely to drink and shop than their older counterparts (15% to 3%).
  • Parents are twice as likely as non-parents to have made an online purchase after drinking (15% v 7%).

Statistics about types of items purchased online:

  • 60% of shoppers have purchased clothing, shoes and accessories items from large retailers, 54% at marketplaces, 44% from category-specific and 45% from webstores.
  • 43% of online shoppers have purchased computers or electronics from marketplaces, 41% from large retailers, 29% at category-specific online stores and 17% at webstores.
  • 34% of shoppers have purchased beauty items at marketplaces, 31% at large retailers, 29% at webstores and 25% at category-specific online stores.
  • 55% of shoppers have purchased books, movies and music shop at a marketplaces, 36% at large retailers, 24% at webstores and 21% at category-specific online stores.
  • 18% of shoppers have purchased flowers and gifts on marketplaces, 18% at large retailers, 24% at webstores and 28% category-specific online stores.

Stats about what influencing factors get people to buy online:

  • The top three factors that are very or extremely influential in determining where Americans shop are price (87%), shipping cost and speed (80%) and discount offers (71%).
  • Seniors are less influenced by discount offers than other generations: 47% to 74%.
  • Almost a quarter of online shoppers (23%) are influenced by social media recommendations.
  • 42% online customers find recommendations from friends and family influential, twice the number who cite advertisements as influential when determining where to shop.
  • Younger generations more receptive to advertising: Millennials and Gen X are twice as likely as older generations (27% vs. 14%) to be influenced by advertising.
  • 23% of shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations/reviews.
  • Online shoppers want products to be brought to life with images (78%) and product reviews (69%).
  • Female respondents cited that they enjoy online shopping (51% vs. 37% of male respondents), invest more time (60% vs. 46% for male counterparts) to find the best deals and often search for coupon codes to get discounts (48% vs. 29% for males).
  • 66% of online shoppers have decided not to buy an item because of shipping costs.
  • 72% of females and 59% of males have decided to abandon their purchase because of shipping costs.
  • 49% of cite not being able to touch, feel or try a product as one of their least favorite aspects of online shopping.
  • 34% said difficult to return items and long delivery estimates were also a pain (indicating a desire for same-day delivery).
  • 21% of Americans state that unattractive or hard-to-navigate websites is frustrating when buying online.
  • 78% of online shoppers want more images from ecommerce sites.
  • 69% of online shoppers want more reviews from ecommerce sites.
  • 46% of online shoppers want more product comparisons from ecommerce sites.
  • 42% of online shoppers want more testimonials from ecommerce sites.
  • 30% of online shoppers want more video from ecommerce sites.
  • 42% of online shoppers have made a purchase they later regret.
  • Millennials are more likely to experience purchaser’s regret than any other generation (51% v 37%).
  • 21% of Americans have accidentally bought something they didn’t want.
  • More than half of Millennial and Gen Xers (55%) have overspent when shopping online, while just under two in five (38%) of baby boomers and seniors have done the same.
  • 48% of online shoppers have bought or spent more than planned when shopping online.

Social media as an influencing factor on conversion rates:

As social commerce continues to grow, these trends are indicative of the massive potential for retailers to connect with shoppers on their favorite platforms.

  • 30% of online shoppers say they would be likely to make a purchase from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat.
  • 20% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Facebook.
  • 17% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Pinterest.
  • 14% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Instagram.
  • 12% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Twitter.
  • 10% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Snapchat.
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Facebook (23% vs. 17%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Instagram (18% vs. 11%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Twitter (17% vs. 7%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Snapchat (15% vs. 6%).
  • 29% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Facebook.
  • 21% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Pinterest.
  • 21% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Instagram.
  • 18% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Twitter.
  • 13% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Snapchat.
  • 20% of online shoppers would purchase an item a friend has included on their Pinterest board.
  • 18% of shoppers would purchase an item a friend liked on Facebook.
  • 21% of online shoppers would purchase an item featured in a brand’s Facebook post.
  • 18% of online shoppers would purchase an item from a brand’s Pinterest board.
  • 51% of Millennials would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 36% of Gen Xers would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 14% of Baby Boomers would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 3% of Seniors would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 29% of Millennials and Gen Xers would likely make a purchase through Facebook if given the option.
  • 26% of Millennials and Gen Xers would likely make a purchase through Pinterest if given the option.

Online shopping in society:

  • 2 in 5 (40%) online shoppers say they couldn’t live without online shopping.
  • Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers are more than twice as likely as seniors to say they couldn’t live without online shopping (43% to 20%).
  • Online shoppers are nearly twice as likely to say they could not live without online shopping as they are to say they could not live without streaming music (40% to 21%).
  • Online shoppers are 8x as likely to say they could not live without online shopping as they are to say they could not live without dating apps (40% to 8%).

Shopper characteristics by channel:

Marketplace shopper characteristics and trends.

  • 55% of all ecommerce sales are done through branded stores, vs. 45% via marketplaces.
  • Of the 45% of all sales through marketplaces, the most common destinations are:
    • Amazon – 36%
    • eBay – 8%
    • Etsy and others – 1%
  • Shoppers on marketplaces search for product online more often and spend more online, too.
  • The marketplace shoppers is more likely than the average shopper to enjoy taking their time to find the right deal (62% v. 54%).
  • More likely to research brands before making a purchase (61% v. 48%).
  • Average amount spent per year on marketplaces: $488.
  • What marketplace shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (44%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (43%), Computers and electronics (34%), Health and beauty products (29%).
  • 70% of shoppers plan to check out Amazon Prime on Prime Day, per DigitalCommerce360

Recommended Posts

Learn more about Amazon’s evolution from bookstore to worldwide sales giant.

Large retailer shopper characteristics and trends.

Shoppers on large retailer sites are high spends and are less likely to shop elsewhere.

  • Those who have ever shopping at a large online/offline retailer are less likely to research brands before making a purchase (53%) than those who shop at small/speciality (58%), marketplaces (61%) or category-specific (61) online retailers.
  • Average amount spent per year: $409.
  • What larger retailer shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (28%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (47%), Computers and electronics (32%), Health and beauty products (24%).

Online store shopper characteristics and trends.

Shoppers on webstores enjoy shopping and visit a variety of retailers.

  • Small/speciality online shoppers spend the majority of their budget elsewhere — a yearly average of $501 on marketplaces, $404 at omni-channel retailers and $233 at category specific online retailers.
  • Those who have ever shopped at a small/speciality online retailer are more likely than the average shopper to say they enjoy shopping (55% to 45%).
  • Average amount spent per year: $182.
  • What webstore shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (15%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (27%), flowers and gifts (15%), Health and beauty products (19%).

Category-specific shopper characteristics and trends.

Shoppers on category-specific sites are loyal to brands, not to the retailer type.

  • Category-specific shoppers are more likely than the average shoppers to tend to stick to certain brands or retailers (52% v. 42%).
  • And they’re more hesitant than the average shopper to make large purchases (49% to 41%).
  • Average amount spent per year: $259.
  • What marketplace shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (21%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (30%), flowers and gifts (19%), Health and beauty products (19%).

For more information, see the full data analysis on omni-channel selling here.

Want more insights like this?

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]]> 36
How to Master Amazon SEO and Move Your Products up the Search Rankings in 2018 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:00:52 +0000 Looking back on the past two years, I’m still amazed at the river of money Amazon has provided for so…]]>

Looking back on the past two years, I’m still amazed at the river of money Amazon has provided for so many people –– from stay-at-home moms to major household brands. 

And while it’s not always good news (nothing ever is in business), the opportunity is still very real and I believe will continue to get even better.

However, as more competition has entered the marketplace, it means sellers must bring their best cards to the table if they’re going to win.

When asked to write this chapter, I was thrilled.

I wanted to write a comprehensive guide that not only explained how Amazon’s search engine works, but the specific methods and tools my team is using today to help our clients optimize their listings and crush it on Amazon.

The type of guide that can turn you into an Amazon SEO expert in 15 minutes just didn’t exist… until now.

The beauty and burden of Amazon’s search engine –– aka A9 –– is its simplicity.

Amazon provides a very simple-to-use interface where sellers can populate all the data relevant to their product. Once you know what to put in these fields, it makes it very easy to implement any changes.

However, because A9 is a maturing algorithm, frequent and unpredictable updates are a common point of frustration for many sellers on Amazon.

In turn, I’ve done my best to include the most up-to-date recommendations and tips based on both Amazon’s documentation and our own observations after managing 1000s of Amazon listings.

However, the observations and recommendations I make in this guide are subject to change as A9 evolves. Even the best SEO software and tools can’t predict the future.

Therefore, I encourage you to revisit this guide frequently and check the comments section often.

Take This Book With You

This full guide (all +17 chapters and +50 experts and their insights) is more than 35,000 words. That’s a lot to read on a screen.

So don’t! Download the guide below to print it out, take it with you, and start selling more on Amazon.

Download Now

Amazon Optimizations That Get a 320% Increase in Sales in Less Than 10 Minutes

One of my favorite clients in the entire world is Debbie.

In one word, she’s awesome.

She has passion and truly believes in her products and how they can improve people’s lives.

Unfortunately, that passion didn’t translate into many sales because she wasn’t into all that “technical stuff” and she had done a poor job of building a solid listing.

In fact, she had done a very poor job –– like “how have you even sold a unit?” poor job.

So, on day one my team decided to focus on three parts of her listing: images, title and backend search terms. You’ll learn why these are so important in a bit.

She made the changes and, within 10 minutes, they were updated and live. Then, we waited.

Before working together, Debbie was selling about five units per day, give or take a unit or two.

The next morning, I woke up to four missed text messages.

  • She made two sales before 7 a.m. –– this had never happened.
  • By the end of that day, she had made 16 sales. This has been the new normal ever since.

While I can’t guarantee a 320% increase in sales, I can assure you this chapter will help you bring your absolute best to Amazon so you’re ready to compete and get your products onto the first page of search results.

I’ll first cover a bit about Amazon, A9 and ranking factors in the algorithm.

Then, I’ll dive deep into how to create killer listings optimized for the right search terms that help us to compete with and crush our competition.

The One Thing to Remember for Amazon SEO

If you only get one thing from this chapter, it should be this:

Amazon cares about buyers and selling stuff to those buyers.

That’s it.

Yes, that is quite possibly the most obvious statement made by anyone ever.

But, if you can remember this anytime you are making Amazon product listing optimizations, and balance that with your own interests, you’ll quickly start making decisions that will help your products sell on Amazon.

What differentiates A9 from Google Search or other top search engines is Amazon is a buying platform.

As consumers, we rarely hop on Amazon just for product research. We are usually very close to the point of purchase. Amazon knows this.

In turn, Amazon will continually make changes to test what makes shoppers buy more frequently. Therefore, we need to make changes that will help shoppers convert more frequently.

This includes making our products more visible than our competitor’s, so shoppers find us more often. Additionally, we need to make changes that turn browsers to buyer while keeping in mind the goal of the Amazon search algorithm. Some things to think about when optimizing your Amazon listing include:

  • Should you have more images?
  • What should you put in the title?
  • What price should you sell at?

Just remember, Amazon cares about buyers and selling stuff to those buyers. Help Amazon and you’ll help yourself.

Free Guide to Amazon SEO

CPC Strategy + BigCommerce boiled down everything you need to know about Amazon SEO into a few short, PDF pages.

Get your free Amazon SEO Guide here. 

Say Hello to A9, Amazon’s Ranking Algorithm

I’m going to talk a bit about Amazon’s search engine, but only if you promise not to start using “A9” in every other sentence when you’re talking to other sellers.

A9 is the name of the algorithm Amazon uses for product search. As mentioned earlier, it’s definitely a maturing algorithm and will continue to become more complex over time., a subsidiary of Amazon, develops the company’s search engine advertising technology.

However, for the time being, it operates on what appears to be a very simple keyword search method without much, if any, regard for how closely a product matches the query.

Examples of the A9 Algorithm in action:

Let me show you an example of an Amazon product search below.

I’ve used the customer search term “Dr tobias multivitamin” and you can see there are 3 results:

amazon keyword ranking

When I simply add my name “Bryan” to the search, there are no results because Dr. Tobias doesn’t have my name anywhere in their product listing – which is nice to know, I guess.

amazon seo expert

In a more relevant example, look at the search results for “multivitamin” and the number of results that appear:

search ranking

Now, look at how the competition gets dramatically reduced when I simply use the variation “multi vitamin”:


So, the competition has been cut by more than half by simply adding a common variation of the search query.

What does that tell you?

Amazon SEO tip #1: Make sure you’re populating as many relevant terms as possible for your listing if you want to increase your visibility, sales and overall rank in the search results. We’ll discuss the how in a bit.

Essentially there are three things you need to optimize for:

  1. Visibility
  2. Relevance
  3. Conversions

More simply, you want to make sure customers will see, click and buy your product. According to Amazon:

“Customers must be able to find your products before they can buy your products. Search is the primary way that customers use to locate products on Amazon.

Customers search by entering keywords, which are matched against the information (title, description etc.) you provide for a product.

Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results.

By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales. Below are some general guidelines to improve your product listings.”

So, let’s have a look at the different pieces of the listing and how we can start optimizing each of them. I’ll cover the different ranking factors in the categories:

  1. Product
  2. Performance
  3. Anecdotal

For anecdotal, there’s no supporting Amazon documentation; however, we’ve seen a strong correlation between Amazon Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) and these factors.

The recommendations I’m going to make below are just that, recommendations. I highly encourage you to understand your contract with Amazon and their terms of service. In particular, the documentation on listing optimization.

Product Listing Optimization

1. Optimize your Amazon listing title.

Your listing’s title is the the most valuable real estate on your Amazon product listing. Your product title is the part of your listing that will have the greatest impact (both positive and negative) on product performance in search.

Per Amazon suggested best practices, your title should contain elements such as:

  • Brand.
  • Product line.
  • Material or key feature.
  • Product type.
  • Color.
  • Size.
  • Packaging/Quantity.

The secret to an effective title is how you order these elements, along with one other major ranking factor: additional target keywords.

In our experience, keyword order and keyword choice can dramatically influence Amazon product sales and rank. First let’s discuss order, then we’ll address our favorite way to determine the best keyword choices for a particular product.

Look at the three images below: do you notice anything different in these 3 pictures?

amazon product listing optimization

These are screenshots of the same product result as they appear in organic results, right rail ads and mobile. Did you notice the HUGE difference between all three of these?

Yes, the number of characters in the title!

Title in organic results typically have between 115-144 characters depending on the product/category. Titles in right rail ads have around 30-33 characters and mobile titles have between 55-63 characters.

So what does that tell us?

We must place the absolute most relevant keywords first. This has both practical and algorithmic implications.

From a practical standpoint, we want to make sure every customer, regardless of search result location, knows exactly what we’re selling.

Anecdotally, the algorithm correlates higher relevance with keywords that appear earlier in the title.

Therefore, we recommend making a list of your most important keywords and strategically placing them before each character breakpoint in the title.

One very common question with clients is if they should use the brand name in the title or not.

This particular company has chosen to use VITA ONE at the beginning of the title. Additionally, Amazon’s style guide recommends leading with the brand name.

Frankly, this is something you should test with your own product to see what converts best. We generally always lead with the brand name to establish our clients’ brands as legitimate companies and not generic “multivitamins.”

One thing to note: don’t keyword stuff your titles.

This was a common strategy a few years back. Both shoppers and Amazon are wise to this and it’s no longer effective and may result in an adverse impact to sales.

The backend search terms, however, are a great place to keyword stuff and we’ll cover that shortly.

The Amazon Seller's Solution Provider Directory

Connect with experts who can optimize your product listings by checking out our Amazon Seller’s Solution Provider Directory.

Whether you have an existing listing or a brand-new one, chances are you can always make some tweaks to help optimize for more visibility and sales.

The challenge with a brand-new listing is you don’t have any product data to lean on, so it’s important to see what’s currently working for your competitors and replicate that.

Fortunately, there are tools that help us determine what’s working. My two favorite tools are Helium 10 – Magnet and Keyword Inspector.

By looking at competitor listings and using these tools, we can determine the best words and placement to start with.

From there, we can use Amazon PPC to gather data on which terms help our listing convert and optimize for those keywords. We call it the “optimization cycle” (sounds fancy right?).

Optimizing Amazon Product Titles: Action Steps
  1. Use Magnet to research the most popular two or three keywords for your product.
  2. Additionally, use Keyword Inspector to do an ‘Extensive Reverse ASIN’ search on your top competitor (Or, use our free ASIN Lookup Tool!).
  3. Try to pick a competitor in the top three spots with the most reviews. This is generally an indication they’ve been selling longer, which will provide more data.
  4. Once you have these 3-4 sets of data, combine them and remove any search terms that are irrelevant to your product. Then, use a word and two-word phrase frequency counter and start writing out your title based on this frequency.

A great Amazon SEO tool that can help with this is The Helium 10 Scribbles Tool.

You’ll want to make sure the title reads naturally, yet contains all of the essential elements of the product along with target keywords.

Again, look at your top competitors for guidance.

Make use of special characters, like the ones below, to add some style and naturally break up phrases:

  • |
  • ,
  • &

Next, let’s discuss the bullets and how we can further entice shoppers to buy.

Bullets: Another Chance to Increase Conversions, Relevance and Rank

While the bullet points don’t directly impact your rank in the search results, they are an opportunity to influence two very important factors in the Amazon SERP:

  1. Conversion rate.
  2. Product relevance.

The listing bullets are an opportunity to present the features and benefits of your product.

Most sellers will tell you they know this, yet I’m surprised how often people get their product features and their product benefits mixed up.

For example, leather seats are a feature and the feeling of luxury and arriving refreshed are benefits.

Also, just like the title, words used in the bullets will be indexed by the Amazon A9 algorithm and used to help identify your product when customers use the search bar.

However, in our experience, terms in the bullets don’t carry the same weight as those in the title.

2. Optimize product bullets.

Essentially, whatever keywords weren’t used in the title, from the master list you compiled earlier, should be worked into the bullets.

Again, Helium 10 – Scribbles is an awesome tool for building out your listing as it simultaneously eliminates words from your master list as you populate your listing details.

This is also a good time to point out products your listing may be compatible with.

For example, if you’re selling a phone case you may point out several brands and models it’s compatible with.

In most cases, these terms will get indexed so your listing can appear for searches like “Samsung phone case” or “Galaxy S7 phone case.”

Also, if you have a product warranty, most sellers will typically include these details in the last bullet.

In general, we highly recommend testing the copy and order of the bullet points. On occasion, we’ve seen different combinations result in higher conversions.

3. Create product descriptions that tell a story.

Much like the bullet points, the product description doesn’t directly impact rank.

However, it is indexed and will impact visibility.

Additionally, well-written copy with a strong call to action can certainly have an effect on conversions.

This is a great time to tell a bit about your brand and product, while throwing in some valuable keywords you want indexed.

Also, make sure to include a strong call to action at the end.

Make it direct and to the point (i.e. Buy Now, Order Today, etc.).

Again, this is a great opportunity to keep using the Helium 10 – Scribbles Tool and include as many keywords as you can while still writing engaging copy.

Another tip is to make use of simple HTML. My favorite tool for converting text to HTML is Word to Clean HTML. It’s free and very easy to use. Simply paste your formatted text and click convert. You can then paste the HTML into your product detail page.

Backend Search Terms: Keyword Stuff like it’s 2014…I’m Kidding, Sort of

Way back in the early days of Amazon FBA, around 12-18 months ago, people would create the ugly keyword-stuffed titles, bullets and descriptions.

Like really ugly:


Thankfully, the market and the algorithm will penalize you for this type of behavior.

However, there is a place you can stuff all of the remaining keywords from your master list: the backend search terms!

These terms are not visible to customers, yet get indexed just like the terms in your bullets and description — similar to the now-outdated meta keywords HTML tag.

This is a great place to type any terms that will compete and long-tail searches as well.

For example, if you sell a sleeping bag and couldn’t stylishly insert the terms “…for camping that fits 2 big-boned people,” the backend search terms are perfect for that.

How to Use Backend Search Terms

Backend search terms are also a great place to drop some Spanish terms, misspellings and words commonly used in your niche. For example, if I sold dog accessories, I may include the top 50 or 100 dog breeds since most owners will search “dog collar for Labrador.” As for misspellings, Amazon says they account for them but our experience shows otherwise, so we include them.

4. Utilize backend search terms.

Just like before, keep using your Helium 10 – Scribbles Tool to knock out the remaining terms you didn’t capture in the title, bullets and description.

There’s no need for commas

Just separate the terms with a space. Another thing to note is you don’t need to duplicate keywords in your listing. Once a term is typed in the title, bullets, description or backend search terms, you don’t need to repeat it anywhere else.

5. Don’t worry about selection.

Selection is named as one of the ranking factors, although we have not noticed a correlation between selection and the SERP.

Performance Optimization Strategies for Amazon Listings

1. Sales are King.

After all the testing we’ve done, nothing moves the search rank needle like sales.

In particular, your sales velocity relative to your competition.

A spike in sales that your competition didn’t see will dramatically impact your ranking position.

As you can imagine, this is very can be tough to accomplish when you first list and appear somewhere on page 20 –– especially when only 30% of customers ever make it to page 2!

Your first option for generating sales is by driving both internal and external traffic to your Amazon listing. This is part of the full management Amazon SEO service we offer our clients.

You drive internal traffic via Amazon PPC and external traffic via outside ads like Facebook, Google AdWords, etc.

Commonly, AMZ Profit Pro clients will use one of the following strategies for their external traffic:

  • Ad to Amazon Listing
  • Ad to Pre-Sell Page to Amazon Listing
  • Ad to Squeeze Page to Opt-In for Single Use Discount Code delivered by email
  • Ad to Product Sales Funnel

Second, you can use a launch service.

Launch services are meant to create a natural spike in sales that moves the product up the ranks.

Ultimately, whether this rank “sticks” will depend on the organic demand for the product once it becomes visible on page 1 or 2. There is some controversy surrounding these services and whether they violate Amazon’s terms of service.

Instead, I recommend Viral Launch. They have a proprietary system that can help move products up the SERP without violating Amazon TOS and they happen to have great customer service.

2. Product Reviews are Queen.

If sales are king then reviews are queen.

Amazon knows customers rely on reviews to make informed decisions about their purchases.

That is why Amazon has been cracking down so hard on fake review services where people are getting paid to write fake positive reviews — and why improving Amazon reviews is top-of-mind for many sellers.

Reviews serve as social proof and let buyers know it’s safe to spend their money on your product.

Plus who wants to “be the first to leave a review for this product?”

Additionally, reviews factor heavily into product rank in the search results.

I can recall a product one of our clients launched that started selling really well from day one with no reviews. However, it could never break past the page 5 mark.

Once the first two reviews came in, the product jumped to page 2.

Sales continued to come in and once the product received its 10th review, it hit page 1 almost the same day.

So the moral of the story is, do what you can to get honest and unbiased reviews as soon as possible.

The first thing to get in place is an email feedback sequence that communicates with buyers through the buyer-seller messaging service in seller central.

Two of our favorite tools are:

  1. Feedback Genius
  2. Sales Backer

With these services, you can write custom email sequences to your buyers that help develop a customer relationship and ask for honest feedback and reviews.

If you’d like to launch a discounted product campaign in order to generate sales and reviews, I highly recommend working with Snagshout (same company as Feedback Genius).

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with the owner of this service and was very impressed by his commitment to making sure their services are always operating within Amazon’s terms of service.

Anecdotal Amazon Search Engine Optimization Strategies to Help Rank

In this section, I’ve lumped a few ranking factor observations we’ve made that aren’t directly documented by Amazon but seem to have an impact on the SERP.

1. Consider using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).

Items that are Fulfilled by Amazon seem to rank higher than items Fulfilled by Merchant, all else being equal.

2. Use brand names in your Amazon product listings.

It appears a brand name which also happens to contain the main keywords may help increase organic rank in search.

3. Include seller name.

Same as brand name, it appears seller name may help increase organic rank if it contains the main keywords for the product.

4. Fill out other fields in the edit product page.

Make sure to fill out all applicable fields in the edit product page as some of these have been shown to influence rank position and filtering in search.

5. Quality photos help rankings and conversions.

Not only do quality photos that zoom influence conversions, which certainly impacts rank in search, it appears that more photos is positively correlated with rank in the search results.

FAQs About Ranking On Amazon

Is considered a search engine?

Yes. Although is an ecommerce marketplace it can also be utilized as a search engine. In many cases buyers use Amazon to compare prices and find products they are interested in purchasing. Sellers often use Amazon for market research, when deciding new products to sell online. Additionally, with the introduction of Alexa, data is often used to answer voice search queries.

How often does the Amazon search algorithm get updated?

Amazon doesn’t usually announce when there is an update to their search algorithm. Because of this, it is impossible to tell how often the Amazon ranking algorithm changes change. Luckily the core algorithm tends to be fairly stable.

What is the Amazon SERP?

The Amazon SERP are the results shown to users after completing a product search on SERP stands for search engine results page.

What are some of the best Amazon SEO tools you suggest using?

  1. Helium 10 – Magnet.
  2. Keyword Inspector.
  3. Keywords Everywhere.
  4. Feedback Genius.
  5. Sales Backer.

A Final Word

If you’ve made it this far, you’re well ahead of most sellers I’ve ever met.

You now know that Amazon’s search engine algorithm has a name and you have a solid understanding of how it works. You also know enough to be dangerous when it comes to the different components of a product detail page and the effect it can have on your rank in the search results, with no Amazon product ranking service required.

Best of all, you have practical action steps you can put into place today.

Finally, I invite you to check out for more information and video tutorials that will walk you step-by-step through the process outlined in this guide, including how to use all of the Helium 10 tools.

Until next time, keep crushing it in your businesses and reach out if you have any questions: Good luck with your Amazon SEO strategy!

For a different lesson in SEO, check out our guide for planning and executing a B2B SEO strategy.

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