Our expectations from retailers have evolved. Speed and convenience are the biggest factors that determine the outcome of our day to day experiences. Everything has to be right there at our fingertips – only a few clicks away.
Speed (generally) incorporates everything – from being able to find what you are looking for to getting your products delivered to your doorstep. Amazon and Google both worked out the cost of friction in this journey a few years ago:
“[One] second of load time delay would cost $1.6 billion in sales per year” – Amazon
“A lag of 400ms amounts to 440 million abandoned sessions/month” – Google
Optimising this end-to-end experience is no easy task, but it’s now or never for retail. While a few major brands have disappeared from the high street, others still have the opportunity to work on the key segments of the shopping journey – especially when people start their journey online.
With a peak season upon us, there are three things any retailer can do to drive more sales.
Google Comparison Shopping Services
Google was slapped with a huge fine of $4 billion after a ruling from the EU commission last year. This meant Google had to create a level playing field and open the Shopping platform to other agencies.
Currently, there are a few selected CSS providers that have partnered with Google. “But what’s the benefit?” I hear you ask.
It’s simple. You can get your existing budget to work harder towards your sales, or you can bid down and reduce budget to maintain visibility.
- Any merchant with spend in a 30-day period between €500 – €2,500 gets 20 per cent of the spend credited to that merchant’s account.
- Any merchant with spend in a 30-day period between €2,500 – €10,000 gets 25 per cent.
- Any merchant with spend in a 30-day period above €10,000 gets 30 per cent, capped at €32,000 credit per 30 days.
This opportunity is not going to be there in the long-term, so make the most of it while it’s there – especially when you’re getting ready for the peak season.
Reach New Customers By Enhancing Your Faceted Navigation
Every now and then we come across sites with a faceted navigation which is not fully tailored for a search audience.
Search behaviour has evolved – people are much more specific in their searches nowadays. Size, colour, and type used to be the filters no one used while searching for products, but things have changed.
Our research into the fashion retail sector indicates that almost 20–30 per cent of searches contain size and colour modifiers. These searches have a commercial intent and typically don’t get a static landing page on the site.
If you have done your research, you have a stock and a development team, you should invest in making the faceted navigation search-friendly. These landing pages will bring you valuable traffic from organic search and improve your targeting through Paid ads. New landing pages do take some time to build authority in the eyes of search engines so sooner the better.
How To Win In A Mobile-First World
Just having a responsive site doesn’t mean you are all set to win the battle. How do you manage content across multiple devices? How fast can your website load on 2G, 3G and 4G connections?
Google’s page speed insights now allow you to find out the speed of the whole website instead of a single landing page. Just add ‘origin:’ in front of your domain URL, compare the results with your key online competitors and use the insights to improve your site speed.
If you have multiple physical stores, make sure you have optimised them for local search. Assigning the right categories within Google My Business listings can give you a boost in your organic listings outside of the local packs.
Are You Seen As An Entity?
For well-known retail brands, the chances are that Google already recognises you as an entity rather than just a brand keyword.
In order to future-proof your business and optimise your website across multiple devices, including voice assistants, you have to create a strategy for knowledge graphs. You can do this by establishing a relationship between different data points.
Typically, schema is implemented in patches without any consideration of using it to build a relationship between different areas of the site.
Use schema to create a map of relationships between brand, local stores, the history of the brand, popular products and much more. It will help search engines understand your brand, products and business in a better way.
Start Seeing Results
With tight development resources and priorities already set for the season, it’s not going to be easy to get these high on the priority queue, but retailers need to act now, become more agile and think outside the box to survive the growing competition online.