eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenue


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eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenue

  1. 1. eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenue
  2. 2. 2eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueAbout this eBook.................................................................................35 Executive Strategies.........................................................................4Strategy: Merchandising..............................................................................5Strategy: Integration.....................................................................................8Strategy: Promotions....................................................................................11Strategy: Microsites......................................................................................14Strategy: Tablet/Mobile................................................................................1715 Best Practices..................................................................................20Analytics ........................................................................................................21Singular, Interpretive, and Relative Analytics.....................................21Data Data Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink...............................23Checkout ........................................................................................................24Web Counter Top Displays...................................................................24Converting Maybe to Yes......................................................................25Design ........................................................................................................28Most Desired Response........................................................................28CTA and Eye Paths.................................................................................39Don’t Use Auto Pop-Ups.......................................................................30User Interface................................................................................................31Get Negative Product Reviews.............................................................31Relevant Results....................................................................................323 Clicks or Less.......................................................................................34Customized Banners on Navigation Pages & Landing Pagesfrom Organic Search.............................................................................35Development.................................................................................................37Well Formatted, Organized, Maintainable Code...............................37Own Your Data......................................................................................38Test, Test, Test.......................................................................................38“Trap” and Review All the Error Messages Your Siteis Giving to Your Shoppers...................................................................40Do What You Want, When You Want.................................................41Table of Contents
  3. 3. 3eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueWhat you have in your hands is the exclusive beta edition of this “text book”. This eBook will growas eCommerce evolves and the content will be updated and refined to bring you the latest, mostrelevant strategies and best practices.This eBook has two main parts, one on executive strategy and another on best practices. Thestrategies and best practices in this eBook stand out as stories and can be read individually.Read this eBook however you like; start from the bottom or skip to the section you’re mostinterested in and cover the rest later. We hope you enjoy reading the eBook and if you have anyquestions, comments, suggestions, or strategies of your own that you would like to include inthis eBook please this eBook
  4. 4. 4eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenue5Executive Strategies
  5. 5. 5eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueMerchandising is the single most difficult thing to master when selling online.There are many aspects of selling products in the “bricks” world that people outside professionalretailing don’t recognize as intentional skills. From the exact way in which merchandise isdisplayed, to training salespeople to guide customers correctly, to point of purchase displays –successful retail is both science and art.The big reason why successful traditional retailers have so much difficulty selling online isbecause they have problems converting their “bricks” skills to “clicks” skills.With great regularity these frustrated merchandisers conclude that the real problem is that theyneed to “learn” the online customer and world. This may have been true in the early days ofonline selling when a limited number of folks shopped online and those that did had a specificdemographic profile, but it isn’t anymore.Today the vast majority of people shop online and it has become a regular part of our lives. As aresult, notions of the “online shopper” being so very different from the “bricks” shopper are nolonger valid. In 2013 you can randomly select 100 people in a grocery store and you’ll end upwith a pretty good representation of online shoppers.So if the online shopper and the bricks shopper are demographically equivalent we need to lookto the other core reason why merchandisers become frustrated online – store operations.It is absolutely true that online shoppers have specific – and difficult – expectations for theirshopping experience. They want to be able to find things very quickly, they want to be able tocheckout easily, they expect you to answer every question about a product and do it very well.This leads merchandisers to focus on photography and compelling product descriptions – whichis also definitely critically important to online success.But what happens when we examine the overall process of merchandising and the onlineworld today?We know that merchandisers need to learn about their customers constantly and be connectedto what they desire. Demographic mastery.We know that merchandisers need to acquire the correct products that have a solid valueproposition and compelling psychographic buying factors. Selection mastery.Strategy: Merchandising5 Executive Strategies: Merchandising
  6. 6. 6eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueWe know that products need to be priced correctly and that while there is substantial value inservice and support, respect for extensive comparison shopping is required. Margin mastery.We know that online shoppers demand excellent photography and they need productdescriptions that answer all of their questions while at the same time providing compellingreasons to buy. We might even put together a great video to support these goals. Contentmastery.So what about the merchandiser that has mastered the core disciplines? They have excellentdemographic knowledge, selection, margin, and content? What is happening when all of that is interrific shape, but they aren’t achieving online success? The trouble is in store operations.Many merchandisers struggle for years convinced that they have failed to achieve mastery of thecore disciplines – or that the issue is that they “can’t” learn the online world.If you go take a look at their online stores you’ll find that they are “waiting on IT” to code orotherwise fix their eCommerce platform. You’ll find that promotions are badly managed andmay not follow any type of overarching strategy. You’ll find that they have a meeting at leasttwice a month where a great idea is discarded or delayed because they have a store operationsproblem. You’ll find that they are unhappy.In many cases it isn’t so much what the eCommerce platform can or cannot technically do -but that it takes so much time to make it do something new that the merchandiser is unableto learn. Just imagine what it would be like if it took 2 weeks to change your point of purchasedisplays in the bricks world, how effective would your salesbe if that was the case? Talented merchandisers need to beable to change things like that in hours – not days, weeks,or months. We believe there is a better way.The first thing merchandisers need to do online is helptheir customers find what they need – through search andnavigation. This is what leads stores to be constantly “re-categorizing” and adjusting whatever aspect of the productdescription their search engine uses to generate results.Merchandisers need to be able to fully control how their site search works – they know thedemographics of their customers and they need to be able to help them.5 Executive Strategies: Merchandising
  7. 7. 7eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueIf my customer types in ________________, I want them to get ________________.Please don’t explain to me that they will also get 87 unrelated products unless I go changethe description of those products in a way that will make people who want to buy those thingsunhappy. Please don’t tell me that the site search has a complex “brain” and that we can’tchange it.Merchandisers must be able to have full control of their site search and navigation. They needto be able to quickly and easily create “filtered” navigation, which many people refer to as facets.They must have operational control.Merchandisers need a platform that allows them to control and organize products by groupsthat provide universal attributes, and intelligent correlations.If you are a merchandiser that knows your demographics, your selection, your content, and hasmargin mastery you deserve to succeed online. To do that you must have a platform built tosupport your needs.When you can do what you want when you want you’ll make your sales goal.Executive Highlights–– Why you need a platform that makes it look like you have 27 IT people at yourdisposal–– When merchandisers can do what they want when they want = more $ for you.–– When online mirrors real life - groups, attributes, correlations – you can really learn–– Site search control = more sales as a result of your personal knowledge of yourcustomersActionable Insights• Operational needs must match your eCommerce platform• The chronological duration of modifications has a major impact on overall success• Product category presentation control must include groups, attributes, andintelligent correlations• Granular control of search results without product modification is a requirement5 Executive Strategies: Merchandising
  8. 8. 8eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueMany people are familiar with the plaintive cries: “We received 17 orders today for products we don’t have – but our website told the purchasers that the items were in stock and ready to ship.” “The inventory we’ve “allocated” for the site means our cost of goods sold has increased dramatically.” “Accounting says that we need to resubmit all of our information to them in the format they initially specified, and I don’t think we have the resources needed to do that. They asked why we do it this ass backwards way anyway.” “The warehouse in California is complaining that we keep asking them to fulfill orders for merchandise that is in the NJ warehouse and they want to know why we can’t just put it into their system in the regular way like everyone else does.”Most people have heard this sort of stuff before, but what they might not be aware of is that allof the above problems – and many many more – share the same root cause.Integration, data bridging, and API communication protocol – they all basically mean the samething. When systems talk to each other in an intelligent way they become connected and whenexecuted correctly that is a wonderful thing. People are all created equal, but integrations most certainly are not.The problem for web site operators is that integrations are highly technical animals, and so theproblem is approached as a pass/fail course by people that are not technical experts.Will our eCommerce platform “talk” to our accounting system? The response being sought isusually yes/no or pass/fail – but the reality is a lot more complicated than that.We usually see the quality issue reveal itself a month or two after new systems are implemented.That’s when folks discover that the data bridge has significant problems. A common exampleis the flow of shipment tracking information and if that is available for the warehouse, theoperations folks via the ERP, and the end user via the website itself. Customers expect that to bethere at all levels but getting all those machines to talk to each correctly is quite a trick.For website owners, the second major issue is to understand how these systems interact andStrategy: Integration5 Executive Strategies: Integration
  9. 9. 9eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenuewhat might have gone wrong and when.To put it another way – when you send an email to your IT folks that says “please help me, I don’tknow what’s wrong” that is a great demonstration of the fact your integration sucks.The final piece that is important to have a successful website is to know what is going on –integration system notifications. Some folks are familiar with this when they encounter well rundata centers – those people call you and tell you the system is down before you even realized itwas. So the three core problems with integrations are: data interchange quality, understanding what is happening when things go wrong, and being alerted when systems fail to perform as expected.This means that to succeed online you need an eCommerce platform that can handle thosetasks – and that is a tall order.The key element to quality integrations is accurate system mapping and understanding. In theland of KalioCommerce that element has been directly connected to knowing what is going onand where, the same system that provides the needed alerts.Here’s a secret that most non-technical people are unaware: when systems are broken thehardest part and the most time consuming part is finding out what went wrong and why. Whenwe know what’s wrong it is relatively easy to fix the imageSee all the geeky junk under error description? The quality and clarity of that information isenough to bring a typically non emotional IT person to tears. It tells them exactly what wentwrong, where, and when. This power makes fixes easy.This type of functionality has the power to radically alter implementation times and system5 Executive Strategies: Integration
  10. 10. 10eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenuetroubleshooting realities. Every Internet Entrepreneur who has a system like this lives in a worldwhere things “just work”.Executive Highlights–– The end of “Please Help me, I don’t know what’s Wrong” emails to IT–– This tin man has a brain–– What life is like when it “just works”–– When you know before they know: notification joyActionable Insights:• Integration is not a pass/fail test, the quality of data interchange is critical.• Problem determination is the most difficult aspect of ongoing operations,effective problem identification tools dramatically increase the speed and ease ofoperational problem processing• Proper alert systems are now a requirement of web success5 Executive Strategies: Integration
  11. 11. 11eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueIn 1887 Asa Candler had an idea to sell Coke. He created a paper ticket that entitled the bearerto a free glass of Coca-Cola. It is estimated that between 1894 and 1913 one in nine Americanshad received a free Coca-Cola, for a total of 8,500,000 free drinks. By 1895 Candler announcedto shareholders that Coca-Cola was served in every state in the United States.1Image Note: Public domain as per WikipediaWe’ve been selling merchandise with coupons and promotions ever since. Every talentedmerchant knows how to promote their merchandise in a way that will create the buyingbehaviors they desire.Th online world has added a layer of complexity to this issue - today we issue promotionsto individual customers based on their past buying behavior. The number and types of dealsavailable continues to increase as online merchants gain more sophistication and knowledgeabout the best ways to incentive their shoppers.The online world is fiercely competitive – as you expand the customer base you also expand thenumber of other retailers that wish to serve them. This means that handling promotions caneasily become more complex than ever.The possibilities presented to web merchants have empowered them to create incrediblycomplex promotions.They want to offer the usual’s: percentage off, flat dollar fee discount, and perhaps a free product1Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Coupon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 30 April 2013. 30 April 2013.Strategy: Promotions5 Executive Strategies: Promotions
  12. 12. 12eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenuegift with a qualifying purchase. Today that standard mix has had numerous possibilities added toit: a discount on additional products when buying a specific qualifying product, a percentage offan additional product, a category discount that may or may not include discounted shipping, orperhaps a shipping upgrade.It is easy to spot the online merchant that has their hands tied by their platform. The promotionsdon’t make much sense and include strange hoops customers need to jump through – andin those situations we find frustrated site owners noticing that since their platform could notexecute the discount as they had imagined it – the efficacy is very low.The core expectation is that you are able to execute any promotion your team can think of.A tall order. But then go ahead and add to that the realities of personalization and customerrelationship enhancement – we want promotions to be controlled by our existing relationshipwith a customer. We want to use promotions to deeply connect us to new customers without inany way eroding the relationships with the customers we have.The online world has allowed talented merchandisers to “shepherd their sheep” in waysthat were never possible before. That’s exciting. But the reality is that the vast majority ofmerchandisers have serious problems with their platforms in this area. The merchandiser wantsto use promotions in an effective way, but if they are in any way restricted from executing theiridea the customer – and the sales – suffer as a result.Online merchants need courage to compete; they are excited about a massive customer base,but worry about how to beat all the other merchants who are trying as hard as they can to getthese customers too.When the oppressive chains of insufficient promotion systems are removed the online merchantthrives and grows. When it takes minutes to setup a new promotion instead of days they canexperiment, learn, and improve.When you can execute promotions as the online shopper expects, you’ll make your sales goal.Executive Highlights–– Shepherding your sheep your way–– Yes, we could do that and we don’t need 3 weeks to code it–– Exclusivity and the club: how promotions can enhance customer relationships–– The courage of the lion5 Executive Strategies: Promotions
  13. 13. 13eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueActionable Insights• Alignment of core promotions principles with online selling is key• Online promotions are often highly sophisticated and technical, the minimumoption set required to allow your site to offer promotions in the way customersexpect is substantial.• Online incentives requires ongoing testing and monitoring5 Executive Strategies: Promotions
  14. 14. 14eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueMicrosites are one of the most well proven concepts in web site merchandising and sales – andyet they remain very difficult to implement on the vast majority of systems.Microsites work so well because their origins are found within long standing marketing andsales tactics. They provide brand management possibilities, they allow people to organizemerchandise, and they allow advertising to be highly focused. The dozens of brands of theCoca-Cola company has are a great example of what can be thought of as “microsites” in thebricks world.A microsite is an individual web page or a small cluster of pages which are meant to function asa discrete entity within an existing website or to complement an offline activity. The microsite’smain landing page can have its own domain name or subdomain.Microsites are used for many different purposes – the most common being editorial, commercial,and web marketing.Editorial microsites function to create thought leadership – and they often have an .org vibe.Common examples include educational information that relate to products – sites that providethe “why should I buy this” reasons.Industries often use this type of mechanism when they encounter perception problems abouttheir product – blood diamonds is a great example. “Blood Diamonds” are rough diamonds usedby rebel movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimategovernments. The entire jewelry industry is impacted by this issue and the “Kimberly Process”was their response.Commercial microsites focus on collections and types of products – so to extend our jewelryexample a microsite might be used to feature only wedding bands so it can fully focus on peoplethat are engaged. Anytime you see a “store within a store” concept you are experiencing amicrosite in bricks world.The last common microsite purpose is marketing – this is best thought of as spin off brands.There are numerous questions about the best way to manage these sorts of efforts over time,but there is no question that mastery of brand includes lots of activity in this area. So if Microsite’s are so spectacular, how come they aren’t a “go to” web tactic?They cost too much and they are too hard to create and manage.Strategy: Microsites5 Executive Strategies: Microsites
  15. 15. 15eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueEffective microsites are based on the common business principle: fail fast, fail cheap. Formicrosites to be an effective tactic they need to be easy to create and simple to manage.This is why so many entrepreneurs end up believing that microsites are ineffective – if they costtoo much to create they just aren’t worth it.So what do you need from a platform to be able to utilize microsites?The first and most important thing is that it be easy to create imageWell that looks simple enough – and a system like that could truly empower a methodologywhere your ideas can be outputted as microsites quite easily.When you have the power of microsites at your fingertips you can truly connect with yourcustomers – people love specialization and expertise. They want to buy cakes from “the cakestore”, not the bakery.The other important thing to be aware of with microsites is the “be careful what you wish for”principle. When microsites have not been setup as part of your broader system (often becausethat cost too much), they become a nightmare from all the success: getting orders in, shipmentsprocessed, and all of the other operational activities web sites need to perform on an ongoingbasis becomes more and more difficult.You must have your microsites within the same management interface as your “main” sites – thatis the only way to be able to succeed with this tactic over time.Executive Highlights–– The joy of let’s try that–– Sites as an organization tool–– Controlling customers emotions through mini stores–– Why people love “specialty” expertise5 Executive Strategies: Microsites
  16. 16. 16eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueActionable Insights• Microsites are a viable tactic only if they have a low initial cost and are easy tomanage• Connectivity of bricks merchandising principles based upon brand with onlinetactics is very effective• Microsites are one of the most effective ways to establish thought leadership andtake proper advantage of inbound marketing opportunities.5 Executive Strategies: Microsites
  17. 17. 17eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueThere is little doubt that the mobile revolution is in progress and web merchants know it. Thereare giant piles of statistics that support the fact that folks are “going mobile”, but let’s take a tripdown memory lane to one stat the TV experts put out long long ago, also known as 2009. 57% of TV viewers use the web simultaneously 2.If that was the fact in 2009, what do you think the % is today?Mobile has become embedded in our society in a way we don’t often consider.Imagine if a time traveler arrived from 1950 and we needed to explain mobile. We might say thateveryone has a device in their pocket that contains the total amassed knowledge of humanityand works wirelessly everywhere – and mostly they use them to look at amusing pictures of catson Facebook.So we know that mobile is key, we know that consumer behavior is shifting rapidly as weembrace an on the go all the time lifestyle – but how do we execute with our eCommerceplatform to properly take advantage of this trend?We need to be there for our customers when and how they want – which requires you beingable to do what you want when you want with your platform.Mobile and tablet sites must properly integrate with your overall eCommerce platform – butthat’s just the start.2Nielson. Americans Using TV and Internet Together 25% More Than A Year Ago. 22 March 2010. 30 April 2013.Strategy: Tablet/Mobile5 Executive Strategies: Tablet/Mobile
  18. 18. 18eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueIt may seem obvious, but stare at a tablet for a minute and recognize what is missing – themouse. When computers went from the F Keys (remember when we hit the F1 key for help?) tomice it was major. The move from mice to touch is even bigger.Touch, stretch, pinch, and swipe – that’s how users expect things to work on their mobiledevices. Their mobile devices have incredibly high resolution screens and they support changingthe form factor on the fly – when you turn a mobile device sideways the web site orientationchanges to match.In addition we have the issues thatsurround user interface and our new“tap” world – many things that areabsolutely big enough to read clearly aretoo small to tap. This is known as read/tap asymmetry and it’s a critical factorfor effective mobile sites.The last major issue for InternetEntrepreneurs is the expectation of aconnected experience. If I shop your siteon my desktop and leave items in mycart I expect that they’ll be there when Ilog in on my tablet or phone.It can be argued that mobile is where folks buy stuff they often researched and considered whenon their desktop – leave it in my cart, go to a local bricks store, and while I’m there decide thatthe smart thing to do is just checkout what is already in my online shopping cart. That’s show-rooming in action. If you have a fully “separate” mobile site you won’t be able to get your fairshare.The other big issue is the way that people have an emotional relationship with their mobiledevice. They often think of the desktop as part of their work world, but the tablet is a toy. Theyare having fun and enjoying themselves, shopping as a recreation. We see this reflected in thebuying behavior of folks on tablets – they are squealing with shopping glee in a way the web hasnever allowed them to before.So to create a wonderful tablet and mobile site the web merchant has to have a singlemanagement interface and must have the built in interface capabilities that support touch,stretch, pinch, and swipe.5 Executive Strategies: Tablet/Mobile
  19. 19. 19eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueMake sure your eCommerce platform supports what you need – one backend interface andreal support for the revolutionary way in which mobile works today.Executive Highlights–– On the go all the time–– Our mobile way of life and shopping–– The multiple device shopping experience–– Being there when and how they need youActionable Insights• Mobile correlates to a change in consumer lifestyle and buying behaviors• Tablet and mobile sites must support the mouse free user interface• A connected shopping experience with cart persistence across devices is the key tomobile success.5 Executive Strategies: Tablet/Mobile
  20. 20. 20eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenue15Best Practices
  21. 21. 21eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueBest Practice: Analytics / Singular, Interpretive, and Relative AnalyticsThere is an old joke among web professionals: Do you know why web developers send their clients links to stats reports? Because they can’t read them either.One of the most difficult things about web analytics is knowing what data is important and whatdata should be discarded. The core reason for this is that these systems have been designedto help many different types of businesses, which is wonderful for your own growth andproblematic in terms of system usability.As your site changes and grows it is great that different types of metrics are available – you’llstart measuring stuff you didn’t before and drop the importance of metrics you’ve been using –that’s nature’s rule and not ours.So the end result is that what is “useful analytics” is different for everybody – except thatit’s not. There is a specific methodology for determining what analytics are important to yourbusiness – and that is actually an activity you need to perform regularly to improve your websuccess. Here we go.So let’s start with the principle and the three kinds of web metrics that there are: Singular,Interpretive, and Relative.The first type of metrics is the stand alone single viewpoint numbers. Many stats geeks refer tothese as the hard (most accurate) set of metrics.There is but a single way to think of unique visitor increases. They are good. Period. More isbetter, no question. There is no interpretation of that data. The most popular page on your siteis the most popular page. Stand-alone single viewpoint numbers are the core numbers.Any metric that you can reasonably set specific goals for, that stands alone, that is not openAnalytics15 Best Practices: Analytics / Singular, Interpretive and Relative Analytics
  22. 22. 22eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenueto interpretation – and when you find your activities impact those metrics over time – thoseare the first set of numbers that are useful to you. Those are the numbers that are the mostimportant to you.Typically they include: sales, unique visitors, traffic sources, and most popular content.The second type of metric is interpretive – metrics where there is more than one way to look atthem. Bounce Rate is good example – a bounce is also known as a one and out visit, folks whocome to your site and just leave again.Most people think this is bad and they ask their designers to reduce their bounce rate. But whatabout when we get a good search index on a phrase like “company name locations”, and what ifyou were smart enough to have a site that had awesome content and the question the personhad was immediately answered. They close the window, boom, done, thank you very much XYZcompany for doing such a great job of kicking ass.Well that’s a bounce too – and how do you tell the difference between the person who thoughtyour design sucked and went right back to Google versus the person who got the answer theywanted right away and exited?You can’t.Interpretive metrics are those that can be looked at in more than one way – stats geeks saythese are soft. This second type of metric goes on your useful stats report and is often wherethe deep dive analysis work is done. This is the spot where you need a trained professional tohelp you process the data, but it is also the spot where the greatest gain can be found.The third type of metric is relative – numbers that are directly impacted by other factors that arecombinatory and they usually work in reverse effectively as well.The number of pages on a website directly impacts the page views. If we split the about ussection into 10 pages we’ll increase page views. When you grow sick of click “next page” ona news website article you are experiencing direct manipulation of web metrics – they areincreasing their page views with the primary objective of increasing ad inventory.Stats geeks call this last type of metric squishy – they should be viewed with caution and nottruly trusted. They can be situationally manipulated; these are the metrics you need to discard. Executives should focus primarily on singular metrics. Advanced users should dive deep into interpretive metrics as this is where they can find the gold. Relative metrics should be viewed with caution and a circumspect viewpoint.15 Best Practices: Analytics / Singular, Interpretive and Relative Analytics
  23. 23. 23eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueBest Practice: Analytics / Data Data Everywhere andNot a Drop to Drink The purpose of analytics is to help you make a to-do list – any analytics report that fails to do that is a waste of resources.When you understand this principle your profits will increase, it is the core motivation to look atyour numbers on a regular and constant basis. If you properly respect what the numbers canteach you – you’ll find yourself turning to them in the hard times, knowing that they can tell youwhat to do. You’ll find yourself turning to them in the good times, knowing that they can tell youthe best way to make hay while the sunshines. The analytics contain both solaceand the answer for the businesses thatwant greater success.How often your company looks atfinancials is how often your companyshould be look at analytics: once aquarter, monthly, weekly, daily for manyenterprises - especially if they have a busyseason.Start every trip to analytics land byshooting the fish in the barrel.Look for 404’s, review for errors; look for products with zero conversions and kill the poorconvertors, paid ads that generate zero visitors need to be cancelled immediately. Take out thetrash. Do the obvious. Don’t screw around.Then work on your regular chore work – the stuff that needs to be done every week. Find yourbest performing search terms and adjust. Look at traffic quality by source and do more of whatworks and less of what is in the bottom third of the results. Check the split test and adjust. Setupnext week’s split test. Chug along and keep the trains moving.The last activity is the visioning, the experiments, the deep thinking analysis where we considerwhat we want to do this quarter, this year, this decade. These are the types of projects thatrequire time and sustained effort. Blue Sky. Big Picture. Let’s get a million new customers.Shoot the fish – items fly on to the to-do list fast and furious.Do the chores – update the to-do lists and keep everyone and everything chugging along in anefficient manner.15 Best Practices: Analytics / Data Data Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink
  24. 24. 24eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueVision – plan your projects for the long haul and think strategically about how the web can fulfillyour vision. Big chunky projects go on to the to-do lists.Any time you spend in analytics land can be judged by the quality and efficacy of the outputtedto do lists.Enjoy.15 Best Practices: Analytics / Data Data Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink
  25. 25. 25eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueBest Practice: Checkout / Web Counter Top DisplaysMerchants that have physical bricks stores have been working on the issue of how to increasethe average sale for hundreds of years.In the last half century or so that entire art form is often referred to as “point of purchasedisplays” - the impulse items, the extra’s, the stuff that folks just “throw in” without thinking aboutit. Merchants know these are usually the high profit margin items, which is why they pay so muchattention to this area.For web merchants our “point of purchase” is the checkout sequence.Let’s get the basics out of the way quickly – good checkout systems allow purchase with the leastnumber of clicks. You should measure the steps in your checkout funnel for abandonment ordo something better: use a one page checkout. Eliminate all unneeded input fields (do you reallyneed their fax number?) and focus on simplifying checkout as much as possible.All of these basic activities stop what folks refer to as “leakage” - and if a web merchant isunaware of the basics fixing that stuff can add to the bottom line substantially.What if you are doing all of those things already?How do you develop sales tactics that mirrors the brilliance of bricks Point-of-Purchase display’s(POPD’s) and perhaps even surpass them? That’s where up sells, cross sells, sharing, and review requests come into play. Those are the activities that are the equivalent of POPD’s.Checkout15 Best Practices: Checkout / Web Counter Top Displays
  26. 26. 26eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueUp Selling is the simplest of these advanced tactics and the core of it is based upon the question:would you like a bigger one or a more deluxe model? This can be difficult because sometimes upselling requires advanced product knowledge – a “large” model A is actually a model B and thingslike that there.Mastery of up selling means you’ll ask every customer if they might like to spend more which is aproven tactic: “would you like fries with that?”Cross Selling requires more advanced product knowledge than up selling because it is basedupon adding items buyers need to complete their overall task. This goes beyond adding “neededsupplies” like cartridges for a printer. What is the relationship between garden hoses and grassseed? In what way are air filters related to cleaning products? It takes time and effort to developexcellent answers to questions like that for your online store.Mastery of cross selling means you have deep awareness of your customers persona basedbuying profile and the activities they use your product to engage in. You’ll know you’ve got thisright when your site seems “almost spooky” when it correctly suggests additional products thatorient around a single product buyer objective.Sharing is best thought of like the bags that leave bricks stores – the money spent on a gorgeousbag is intended so that when that person leaves your store and walks down the street everyonewho sees them knows they just made a purchase with you. Make sharing easy and simple, that isthe same thing as spending money on an excellent physical shopping bag.Product Reviews replace the word of mouth portion of business generation – and talentedmerchants know timing is everything to generate this sales enhancing buzz. Your shopping cartcheckout sequence is the first “timed event” - they make a purchase. Using that as a base fromwhich to properly ask for reviews is the same as a skilled bricks merchant replying to a delightedsqueal from a happy customer with “tell your friends”. Mastery of up sell, cross sell, sharing, and product reviews commonly results in overall sales increases in excess of 10% or more.Best Practice: Checkout / Converting Maybe to YesHuman buying behavior is a fascinating field of study – and it reveals our habits, tendencies,and preferences.For many years online stores have tried to understand this behavior and have offered assortedoptions that relate to the considerations inherently contained within the online buying process.15 Best Practices: Checkout / Converting Maybe to Yes
  27. 27. 27eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueWish lists, save this item for later, and many other experiments have attempted to get folks tonot leave things in the cart that they don’t want now – but the realities of human buying behaviorhave triumphed over all of those efforts. We’re left with a complex situation in which a 50%+shopping cart abandonment rate is not unusual.We then get into all of the issues that surround the word “abandoned” and exactly how we wantto define that. If someone leaves items in the cart for an hour, have they abandoned it or arethey just eating lunch?A programmer would ask: exactly how many minutes are items in the cart before theyare abandoned?For people that want to make more moneyonline many of these unanswerable questionsare just distractions – put them out of yourmind, they don’t really matter.You need to focus on making sure you have aproper program in place to capture as much ofthe sales volume as you possibly can, that is yourobjective.The first thing you need to do is aggressively collect the email address – this might seem simple,but it is something so many merchants forget about. If your intention is a robust program of ACE(Abandoned Cart Emails) you can’t send them until you have the recipients email address.You can offer to email them their cart, you can point out they should sign up for your othermarketing programs, you can feature the benefits of being signed into your shopping cart –until you have the visitors email address they are just an abandoned cart, not anopportunity to recover the sale.Once you have a properly aggressive address collection systems in place you then moveon to establishing your workflow and the messages you intend to send to visitors who haveabandoned their cart. Abandoned cart programs that send a single message are horribly ineffective and in many ways they are doomed before they begin.You need a minimum of three messages and they should be planned programmatically. Whenthe cart reaches that initial chronological threshold of abandonment you want to have a very softmessage that is almost timid in tone.15 Best Practices: Checkout / Converting Maybe to Yes
  28. 28. 28eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenue“Did you Perhaps Maybe Forget?”“Is there something we can help you with, Sir?”The next message can be more direct – you’ve left these items in your cart.The third level of messages can contain (friendly) aggression – items in your cart may increase inprice, items in your cart may not be available later. It has been a month since you left these itemsin your cart – you get the idea.The key to successful ACE programs is testing and optimization – you want each email messageto be very carefully crafted and timed. You need each message to be correctly connected to astop sequence – you don’t want to be “reminding” customers of something they in fact boughtlast week. Finally you must measure the results on an ongoing basis.The key metrics are:• Overall cart abandonment rate• ACE opportunities (the % of people where you successfully got the email address)• ACE Message Group 1 Sent / Opened/ Clicked / Success• ACE Message Group 2 Sent / Opened/ Clicked / Success• ACE Message Group 3 Sent / Opened/ Clicked / SuccessProperly executed ACE programs have the potential to increase bottom line revenue bymore than 15%.15 Best Practices: Checkout / Converting Maybe to Yes
  29. 29. 29eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueBest Practice: Design / Most Desired ResponseGreat website design is like a mirror; your goal is to “mirror” the customer experience. To causeprospects to “get it” quickly and with few words - to cause customers to say “Yes, that’s thecompany I know and love”.Essentially these are subtle visual cues that support the overarching messages.The interesting thing about website design from a management perspective is that the principlemany graphic designers live by – more gorgeous always – can be an error.Think about the chairs in the waiting room for a legal professional; let’s focus on attorney’s whocreate wills.Some of them target customers who are interested in the lowest possible price - those folksactually want squeaky folding metal chairs in their waiting room and a bit of rust is an advantage.On the other end of the spectrum we have attorneys who refer to themselves as estate planners,and they focus on helping people who are debating about their legacy and what charities theymay choose to support upon the time of their passing. For those legal professionals they requirenot only a fancy comfortable chair, but coffee service on a nice silver tray.These “chairs” or props support notions of the service level and value proposition – a good lookat a lawyer’s waiting room should give you an idea of their hourly rate.The core website design question becomes one of a good match, are the “chairs” in your waitingroom correct – and you must be driven by the principles of profitability, not pride.Great website design is always based upon the principle of MDR and SDR – most desiredresponse and secondary desired response. The successful Internet Entrepreneur clearly definesthe most desired response for their team – typically a completed shopping cart sale – and drivesall design activities based upon that metric.If a site visitor isn’t ready to buy right now the design must drive them to SDR – typically a signupbox for email marketing.The site must be “beautiful”, there is no question about that – but the very best way to do that isto focus on what is profitable.Design15 Best Practices: Design / Most Desired Response
  30. 30. 30eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueMake sure your waiting room chairs match your principles, and constantly question designefficacy through an ongoing testing program.Best Practice: Design / CTA and Eye PathsThe study of human buying psychology is a fascinating endeavor – and there is a directcorrelation to this body of knowledge when we examine CTA’s (calls to action) on the web.The first thing to be sure and understand is eye path – the direction in which our visual attentionnaturally drifts. Some design layouts push people right, some push people down the page – andso on. If models are used in your photography and they are looking off in a specific direction, sitevisitors will follow that eye path to “see” what they are looking at.This phenomenon of eye path focus happens so rapidlythat very few web site visitors are even aware they aredoing it – but it is a core principle that can put money inyour pocket.Once you understand the eye paths on your site andwhere the visitors’ attention is naturally drawn you wantto place your CTA’s with that in mind.A strong call to action is based upon two elements – leading words (copy) andcontrasting visuals.Leading words are action words like “Learn,” “Click,” and “Buy” to motivate readers to pick upthe phone, go online, or perform some other activity. This is one of the most testable aspects ofCTA’s and you should regularly split test specific CTA copy to see what is most effective for yoursite visitors.The next key is that your CTA have a high degree of visual contrast without violating yourbrand standard.Select contrasting colors and unique shapes. CTAs need to stand out from the rest of thecontent on the page or screen, so use colors that contrast with the overall design. You canalso get creative with shapes that will get the reader’s attention rather than the traditionalboxes or rectangles.Strong CTA’s increase conversion rates and enhances sales. Make sure you understand thenatural eye paths of your design so you can place CTA’s in effective locations. Regularly test15 Best Practices: Design / CTA and Eye Paths
  31. 31. 31eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenueand make use of compelling action words. While respecting your brand standard use contrastingcolors and unusual shapes. CTA success depends on knowledge of eye path, action words, and contrasting shapes & colors.Best Practice: Design / Don’t Use Auto Pop-UpsWe have no doubt that there must be excellent products offered by salespeople that godoor to door, but how do you feel when your doorbell rings and someone is trying to sell yousomething?Over time door to door sales has become associated with poor quality products, rip-offs, andattempts to convert people to a particular philosophy. The end result is a proliferation of “nosoliciting” signs and some of those can be quite amusing.It is important for you to understand thatauto pop-up windows are just like door todoor salespeople – the underlying methodmay make lots of sense, but they have becomecorrupted and are now useless as a result.Pop-up windows are regularly utilized by blackhat web marketers, sites that sell unsavoryproducts, and the sorts of business practicesno one wants to be associated with.The reason we point all this out is that there are many circumstances where auto pop-ups seemlike a good idea, just like it might seem like a good idea to go knock on a prospects front door ifyou had no idea how many folks had done that before and pissed them off.Auto pop-ups reduce conversion in the long run and damage sales over time – don’t fall into thetrap of forgetting who else uses them and what the inevitable long term results are.15 Best Practices: Design / Don’t Use Auto Pop-Ups
  32. 32. 32eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueBest Practice: User Interface / Get Negative Product ReviewsRecently we’ve been chatting with lots of folks about online product reviews - this topic oftencomes up when discussing social media because it elucidates the fear entrepreneurs have inthat area as well.Web site owners are afraid to let people comment - on their blogs, as part of product reviews -and the first question they always ask is how they can control the conversation to prevent any“negative” opinions.There are plenty of folks who will skillfully rant and rave about how the web has changedeverything and the days of brand control are long gone - the customers are now in charge.Those folks have a valid point, but we’re not going to talk about that here. Today is about profits, profits from negative reviews - and what you need to know about that.Long ago and far away in web history (ok, at least 5 years ago) there was quite an uproar aroundthe ethics of creating fake positive reviews since many folks did just that. In response to that, theFTC got involved and issued “guidelines” for bloggers to fully disclose if they have been in anyway compensated that might prompt or influence reviews.Back in eCommerce land there have been conversations about the ethics of seeding a site withfake reviews, but this time - bad ones.Many Internet Entrepreneurs get confused right here, why would you want a bad review ofyour product?What those folks don’t know is that in last few years, heavily reviewed products have beensignificantly analyzed and all the little number crunching web geeks have learned something youneed to know. Products with a few negative reviews sell better than products that have all positive reviews.User Interface15 Best Practices: User Interface / Get Negative Product Reviews
  33. 33. 33eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueAs people become more and more dependent on product reviews for information, they knowthat the information can be inaccurate. They trust Wikipedia to a certain degree, but becauseanyone can edit that online encyclopedia, folks know that sometimes information there is notreliable. This is the web’s version of the “Trust, but verify” idea.So image a major purchase - like a Flat Screen TV. Take a trip on over to the Amazon’s electronicsstore and you’ll notice something interesting about the top 5 bestselling products - not a one ofthem has 100% positive reviews.We’re not saying there aren’t products that have an average 5 star rating - go ahead and sort bycustomer review and they pop right up.A previous study was on a bestselling panel at Amazon, a Panasonic Viera - an awesomemachine, and here’s a bit of disclosure: several of us own them. One of the reviews for theproduct is titled “This TV Sucks” and in addition to the overall lousy opinion the reviewer says:“Another problem is that POWER BUTTON on TV is not working for some reason, but the remoteworks perfectly.”He’s right. The power button on that TV is a crappy button - we’ve pushed lots and lots ofbuttons over the years and can speak with authority on crappy ones. Panasonic saved a buck ortwo on the production cost right there, no doubt.But because we almost never ever use that button - we shut the TV off with the remote controlwe don’t really care that it has a lousy power button. This little bit of genuine trouble - along withthe moans about viewing angle, delivery problems, difficulties setting up the unit, picture qualityconcerns - all of these things not only drag the average review down to four and a half stars, butthey assure the site visitors that they are getting a real world, genuine picture of this product.Most people are much more likely to purchase this TV when they know about its minor knownproblems. This makes more sense than the leap of faith required to buy one where every reviewis positive and glowing. Here’s the bottom line - as an Internet Entrepreneur you might be afraid of people providing negative reviews, but some negativity is in fact positive and will boost sales.Best Practice: User Interface / Relevant ResultsWhen eCommerce began most sites focused on the benefit that they were open all the time –find us online 24x7. That was fun for a while and we all felt a little bit like we lived in Manhattan15 Best Practices: User Interface / Relevant Results
  34. 34. 34eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenueand were able to order Chinese food at 3 in the morning and have it delivered.When you see someone still promote this benefit of online shopping you can be sure they areway out of date and quite clueless.The next phase of online shopping was about selection – this was driven by the sheer quantity ofSKUs that were available. A site with 100 TV’s to choose from was “better” than one with 10 – andwe even measured eCommerce sites based upon the number of items they carried.That ended in about 2010 as a significant benefit – and again we find hapless marketers stillfocused on this today and wondering why their sales don’t increase.Today online shoppers don’t want to be presented with thousands of choices at one time – theybecome paralyzed and buy nothing. Today’s online shopper expects for you to provide themwith true online service – guidance about what they should buy and what you’d recommend.If anyone in your organization wants to talk about how the website is “open 24 hours a day” thatalone constitutes good reason to terminate them. If they talk about you “vast selection” that isn’tgoing to work either – but you should perhaps educate that unfortunate soul instead of simplyfiring them.Today good eCommerce platforms allow for both complete search control and facets. Facets areways in which we narrow our product choices – by brand, size, color, and many other options.Search control gives us the power to specify that when a site visitor types ___ in the box they’llget specific products.Think of your service in the same way a museum present art – people expect that you will“curate” the collection and help them find what they need. That is the core of great online servicetoday. Here’s the bottom line – success in the eCommerce world has always required forward thinking. It is unreasonable to believe that a site that does not make it easy to find products by utilizing facets and refinements options has a solid chance of succeeding. It doesn’t.Now what about your hunters?When website visitors are in a hurry that’s a good indication that they are in hunting mode andthey are ready to buy now.Some business verticals experience a tremendous number of these types of buyers naturally – in15 Best Practices: User Interface / Relevant Results
  35. 35. 35eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your Revenue2012, had a conversion rate of 16.90%. You read that right; they make a saleevery time 6 visitors show up.The high conversion rates for specific verticals are driven by buyer type – many folks visitingflorists online have made some sort of social error that creates an urgent need for flowers.For Internet Entrepreneurs that are not working in those sorts of verticals they need to identifysite visitors that are in a similar mindset – hunters. Hunters are in a hurry. Hunters buy quickly and speed is what they seek. Hunters want it now – give it to them.The first thing a hunter seeks is the search box, which is why you need to place it big and boldabove the fold – typically a prominent position in the header.When the hunter enters their search query they expect your eCommerce platform to rapidly givethem what they want so they can buy it and get on with their day.This is why you need your site search to provide relevant product related results rapidly. Thoseresults should be sortable and refine-able – so the hunter can “stab” the items of their choiceand carry it home with them.When you tune your eCommerce site to accommodate the hunter you are working to gainground with a special group, folks that convert at a significant multiple of your average sitevisitors conversion rate.Make sure your site search mechanisms support what hunters want and your CEO will beglad you did.Best Practice: User Interface / 3 Clicks or LessIf you ever hear yourself say the phrase “but we do have a link to that” it is important to realizethat means you really don’t “have” a link at all.15 Best Practices: User Interface / 3 Clicks or Less
  36. 36. 36eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueCheck with the folks who respond to customers and see if they have some items that theyfrequently provide the location of. Anytime someone who takes customer phone calls for a livingeasily rattles off something like “two thirds of the way down the page on the left hand side underthe yellow block you’ll see the link”, we know there is a significant usability problem. If a site visitor doesn’t see something right away – it might as well not exist.Site navigation needs to be clear and consistent – it must be possible to reach major pagesof your site from any other major page without forcing users to navigate additional pagesin between.Many eCommerce veterans refer to this as the “three clicks” principle – the notion thateverything on your site should be accessible in three clicks or less.Right now you might be thinking “I know all this, it is basic stuff” - but do us a favor and go takea look at your site with fresh eyes. Can you in fact reach every significant page from any other?How does your site respond to the three clicks test?If your site is brand new it probably does pretty well, but if it has any age on it the number ofproblems might surprise you. This is the same way that people know they should “eat healthy”,but open up their refrigerator and you’ll see it is full of junk food.This speaks to the importance of being able to make ongoing adjustments – your eCommerceplatform must allow you to make changes to the navigation easily as your products andcustomers buying behaviors change over time.You need to go back to your site with these principles in mind on a regular basis. A good ruleof thumb is to schedule a “three clicks” test at least once per quarter; the results will probablysurprise you.Fixing these sorts of issues will make your customers happy, and happy customers mean ordersin your shopping cart.Best Practice: User Interface / Customized Banners on NavigationPages & Landing Pages from Organic SearchWhen a visitor arrives from a search engine result page, customize the product page toinclude other relevant or popular items in banners above the fold. They have either told youexactly what they want, which means they’ll buy the product on the page, or their query term ismore general, which means they’re browsing for items.15 Best Practices: User Interface / Customized Banners on Navigation Page & Landing Pages from Organic Search
  37. 37. 37eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueTherefore your product landing pages should contain multiple offers above the fold so thatshoppers are less likely to bounce from just seeing one product, and more likely to look intoother products that fit their needs.Similarly when a visitor is window shopping and clicks on a navigation category page: havelarge colorful banners with different clickable areas leading to multiple unique landing pages.These areas could include use cases, groups, brands, calls to action to sales, and accessories.This “recommendation” further refines what buyers are looking for with large call to actionsabove the fold.15 Best Practices: User Interface / Customized Banners on Navigation Page & Landing Pages from Organic Search
  38. 38. 38eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueBest Practice: Development / Well Formatted, Organized,Maintainable Code(Allows your developers to work faster and pages to load quicker)Have you ever seen a bunch of people gatheredaround a piece of amazing American engineering at acar show? They comment on the quality of the parts,they praise the beautiful assembly, and they admirethe growl of the engine.Perhaps you are like most geeks and you’d be cluelessabout how to appreciate a kick ass big block motor– and if you are, you understand the perspective ofmost people when they see code.Code has a wide variety of quality levels – and some claims of “quality” are based upon factorsthat are beyond merely how well something works. The low cost car manufactures are justifiablyproud of what they have done with limited resources in the same way NASA Engineers are proudof vehicles they have sent off to explore space where there is no tolerance for anything butflawless engineering.Even if you are not someone who appreciates the elegance and gorgeousness of well-designedcode there are a few things you should be aware of.Great code has been very well organized – it is easy to find what you need.Great code has been properly formatted – no shortcuts were taken and proper valid syntax hasbeen used.Great code is eminently maintainable – the need to make updates has been anticipated by virtueof the way it was constructed.So if you aren’t a lover of code how can you spot great code?Developers work with it quickly and easily. Your site loads rapidly and it doesn’t brain fart.Great code is the basis of a great eCommerce platform.Development15 Best Practices: Development / Well Formatted, Organized, Maintainable Code
  39. 39. 39eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueSolid, stable, dependable machines simply work better and cost less to run.A rock solid code base is the key to your online success.Best Practice: Development / Own Your DataMost Doctors are skilled professionals, but there are some bad ones.Some used car salespeople are wonderfully ethical, but most aren’t.In the land of eCommerce platforms one of the hallmarks of a bad platform is that your data isnot really yours, it has been “captured” by the system and it is difficult to extract it.This makes it difficult for you to change providers when things are going badly – and somesystems are in fact engineered intentionally with this in mind. It doesn’t matter how bad oursystem sucks because they can never leave, it might hurt them to stay with us, but it would hurtthem worse if they left.Executives run into this scenario more often than those of that are web professionals wouldlike – it would be wonderful if there were no systems designed to trap people, but the fact of thematter is that there are.It is critical that you truly own your own data – this means it’s easily extractable.We believe in you doing what you want when you want – that is the path to web success. We believe that you own your data and that you have the right to extract it at any time.As you consider eCommerce platforms make sure you understand who truly “owns” the data andwhat it would take to get it out of a system.Best Practice: Development / Test, Test, TestMost people aren’t familiar with the brilliant merchant who said it – but they know the quotethey learned in advertising class: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, if only I knew which half.”15 Best Practices: Development / Your Own Data
  40. 40. 40eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueJohn Wanamaker (July 11, 1838 – December 12, 1922) was a United States merchant, religiousleader, civic and political figure, considered by some to be the father of modern advertising anda “pioneer in marketing.” 3Simpler – this is the guy that “invented” the department store.The internet is John Wanamaker’s fantasy come true – we know which half is wasted. Weknow how to make it better, we know how to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.Start with the rule of thirds – rank your marketing activities based on the return with thesecondary dimension of overall volume generated. Whatever is in the top third – do more. Whatever is in the middle third – leave that alone. Whatever is in the bottom third – drop it like a hot potato.The web is the world’s biggest popularity contest – every click teaches you. Site visitors tell youwhat they want, what products they think are excellent, and which of your value propositionsconvince them.Successful web merchants know this and they live and breathe it every day. If there is one single thing that separates the winners and losers in the race for web sales it is whether or not they understand this – you must test, test, test.From a management point of view you must insist on constant testing – because the fact of thematter is that when your employees say they “can” test something or that they will “if needed”that usually means that no testing is going on.Without testing constantly you can’t make serious sales happen dependably.Every time you make a major site change you should split test it. There is no other way tounderstand the true impact of your actions any other way.You should be running at least one split test every week. Every single week.Respond to those tests in the same way you do when dealing with a/b email sends.You should be testing your checkout sequence at least once a month.3John Wanamaker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2 March 2013. 30 April 2013.15 Best Practices: Development / Test, Test, Test
  41. 41. 41eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueRearrange the facets on your site; test what works and what doesn’t.Develop usability tests and multivariate tests. They are the hardest to execute but they also offersome of the greatest possible sales gains.Your employees are responsible for running the tests and reporting back to you – but youare responsible for the testing strategy. Failure here is unacceptable.Use a calendar and plan your test for the next quarter, and keep up with the calendar as timemarches on.Best Practice: Development / “Trap” and Review All the Error MessagesYour Site is Giving to Your ShoppersSome websites have very charming error messages: Whoops, we’re sorry to inform you that something has gone wrong. Our apologies. Our system administrators have been notified and 1,000 flying monkeys are descending upon the issue to fix it as we speak. It shall be fixed momentarily.Now this is wonderful customer service language and for some brands this sort of cheekyplayfulness can increase sales – but the objective you need to worry about is making sure thatthis is true for your site regardless of whether or not you tell your customers flying monkeys areworking on it. Great eCommerce platforms “trap” (record) errors and keep a log of them.You need to regularly review these errors and make sure they get fixed – this is a key tomaximizing your online profits.15 Best Practices: Development / “Trap” and Review All the Error Messages Your Site is Giving to Your Shoppers
  42. 42. 42eCommerce 201: 5 Strategies & 15 Best Practices You Need to Know to Grow Your RevenueDo What You Want,When You WantDream, develop, and deliver. Your revenue increases much faster when you can do what youwant, when you want. If you’re waiting on a third party for the next action or if your “box” doesn’tlet you customize it to your needs, we still wish you the best, but really, good luck.Unlock your potential and see how you can improve your eCommerce machine -Talk to one ofour experts today and see how to optimize your eCommerce platform for sales.CONTACT US