August 1st, 2017
You may simply feel a review of your website would be beneficial? I have undertaken many of these over the years and they have highlighted some of the simplest issues or blockers to your customers buying from your site. Below is a sample E-Commerce review.
If we should work together, an initial analysis of your current online operation is essential before we do anything. I normally ask to spend a few hours with the online trading time (if they exist!) and get a feel for how the site is traded and what issues / problems exist at present. Once I have done this I normally have a good feel for what is not working, what is working well and where possible issues exist.
This review was from a 3 hour session with the team – the name of the company has been withheld for obvious reasons however this gives you an idea of the type of E-Commerce review I could be doing for your small business.
Ecommerce Review Brief
The brief was
- Increase traffic to main website
- Preferred route is avoiding extra costs with new channels
- Prefer to get traffic up to x levels before moving platform to better provider
Before progressing on the review, I should cover off my philosophy on the various ways I see a retail site trading and how each stage impacts on the next. This is my experience of all the areas a company should be looking at in terms of trading their site. My philosophy on retail trading online is very much focused on the following model – which I would build out into a model to use with Lovedrobe.
Traffic Trade Convert Retain – Send to site
– How and what qualified traffic are you sending to your site
– How are you getting it and what channels are best for your model?
– Trade on site
– What are you doing on site to trade your best offers?
– Offers, discounts , ranges, product pages, photos, descriptions, messaging etc
– Checkout process
– How are you making purchase easy?
– Removing all obstacles to checkout and getting the sale
– Get customer back
– Once purchased what are you doing to get the customer back? – – 2nd orders, 3rd orders. Loyalty etc
1 – Traffic
Traffic is essential – without understanding the source of your sales and visits to the site you may miss key opportunities in the market or insights which you could use to drive more sales
- Site launched beginning of 2010
- Flat / constant traffic until jan 2013
- Traffic started growing jan 2013
- Spikes last Oct / Nov – promotion?
- Traffic dropping last few months
2014 vs 2013
- Sessions – up 14%
- Users – up 21%
- Page views – down 7%
- Pages / session – down 18%
- Bounce rate – up 31%
Traffic grew last year – probably as result of increased marketplaces activity but tailed off in last few months. Some promos done last year I assume to drive spikes in traffic however YOY it looks like traffic has been going down.
Sessions are up overall as are users but they are engaged with the site more. Site stickiness is essential for good SEO – the lower the metrics are above the more they will negatively impact your natural rankings.
So the more people bounce and the less pages they look at the the poorer your natural rankings could be – indicating job to do re improving site.
- Analytics snapshot (October)
- 6000 sessions
- 7 pages per session OK
- 2.5 mins duration OK could be better
- 30% bounce rate Average
- 71% new traffic Normal
- 54% 18 – 54 (zero conversions / high conversions with 18 – 44)
- Only 50% of traffic from UK Unusual
- 25% of traffic from US, France, Australia unusual
- Zero conversions from USA
- New customers only convert at .17% – Poor
- Also low for returning customers
- 51% traffic from desktop but low conversion – Normal
- 30% traffic from mobile – .95% conversion ! – Good (as no mobile site)
- 60% traffic organic
- 26% traffic direct
- 10% traffic referral
- Social – 42% facebook / 22% tumblr / 16% twitter
- Social referral 187 with 32 conversions – 17% conversion
- Social – facebook visitors more engaged – 4.57 pages duration
New traffic is coming to site from non paid channels therefore traffic light. Traffic engaged with brand as natural search however conversion very low! Part of reason for low conversion is that 50% of traffic is coming from overseas and landing on site with no currency calculators or little info on overseas delivery charges (£4.50 actually not that bad). This could be turned into an opportunity to make more of overseas traffic.
As little traffic is paid for, the current business model solely relies on organic traffic coming to the site. This traffic is coming into the site on either brand terms or plus size terms. Therefore traffic volumes are directly related to your current activity – eg with retailers and brand name going out to the market via marketplaces.
Without an increase in this activity it is difficult to see how the brand can grow more organically – the suggestions below will improve site stickiness / conversion etc however you need to start generating your own traffic and become less reliant on current activity. Whilst they would like to grow organically, this may take a while.
Recruiting new customers can be done cost effectively and I would suggest looking at the following as an initial trial:
Affiliates is a great way of getting your brand out there cost effectively and work with different types of affiliates on a CPA basis – you only pay for a customer that buys. Typically I would be looking at conservative estimates to start off with – typical CPAs at around £5. I would also build in some budget for launch offers / promos etc
month 1 month 2 month 3 orders 20 40 60 AOV £42 £42 £42 Sales £840 £1,680 £2,520 comm £67 £134 £202 oride (30%) £20 £40 £60 total cost £87 £175 £262 CTD ratio 10% 10% 10% CPA £4.37 £4.37 £4.37
Product Listing Ads
Previous attempts at these sound manual which is not unusual. I would set aside some budget to test pushing through best converting products via Google merchant centre / Shopping and testing CPCs against competition.
I would also review the set up and try to get the PLAs pushing through automatically. Their business model means competition will also be competing – on brand name plus products therefore this may prove prohibitive however I would still look at testing the channel
2 – Trade
Your traffic has arrived on site so how do they then shop the site? This is a key part of the sales funnel and probably the most challenging one to change as it will involve other areas of the business eg buying / merchandising
On site problems – team noted
- Eseller pro issues (logged by team)
- Double header on credit card checkout
- Single use voucher codes can still be used more than once
- Can’t change country on credit card checkout – So only people within the UK can purchase from us
- Password reminder is not sent
- When registering – If you don’t tick the terms and conditions it loses everything you’ve entered, which is quite annoying
- When registration is complete you get a little thank you message, but underneath it still shows the registration form – If you’ve just
- registered, you don’t need to see thisLogin doesn’t work – ‘My account’ take you back to the login screen
Refine by: there are 4 ‘Types’ in the column on the left – can these be combined or renamed to show the difference? Ie. Dress type, Top Type etc.
- Out of stock items still showing up
- Add Paypal checkout to the ‘Payment Methods’ in the footer
On site issues – my comments
- Why do you need to agree to terms / conditions? No other retailer does this at checkout
- Why no “Buy now / Complete Checkout button”? – Confusing for customers
- Offer payment options as options to pay rather than just imagery
- Revise checkout stages header and highlight each stage – helps customer
- Add number of products to the left hand nav
- Can we show stock levels (creates urgency – Only 5 remaining?)
- Add customer reviews
- Look at Feefo / Trustpilot for reviews
- Add Google Translate (50% of traffic overseas)
- Product page – add discount level (eg 75% off)
- Add new customer discount to creative – make it easy
- New customer sign up form (WIN £100 spending spree overlay etc)
- More promotions needed – 2 for 1s, 3 for 2s – 2 fers worked well with Yours
- Categories needed rather than types – on blouses page why show options for all products?
- Headers required across all categories / imagery needs updating
- Brands – dont mean anything – should lead with category / price / colour / size ?
- mega deals – worked well at yours – 3for 2s, 2 for 1s etc
- More blogger engagement – very little at present
- Testimonials page – what customers say about us – worked well at yours
- Content – fit guides etc and more good content to help customers
- Who we are – build a story …what we are about
- SEO copy per category page / drafted as standard / with sitelinks
Lots of issues with eseller pro and without a meeting with them and an audit it is difficult to understand what is an is not easy to do from above list. Above is a quick 10 minute look at site and gut feel from experience re what works – needs more analysis / top to bottom review. There is a lot missing from the site which customers nowadays would expect as standard
Data / Email
- Amazon 25,343
- Ebay 53,708
- “company x” 1,798
- 90% from Marketplaces
- 2000 from “company x”
- 500 email addresses usable
- Clarify exactly how many can contact
- Design is good / stats ok / good click volumes
- No emails going out at re servers (!!) poor response from Eseller pro
- Email address capture essential for brand
- New / existing customer model required
Complete overhaul of all data touchpoints needed in order all are tagged, identified and different contact strategies devised for each. Essential for building up email address list and ensuring you know exactly how many new customers coming in each week. At present none of this is being done. Addressing this will ensure you have a new customer program which is more engaging – this will be more important should you start spending on traffic channels (eg affiliates).
- All calls need to be logged and actioned
- Proactivity needed and issues addressed
- Regular Eseller pro issues addressed
Customer services essential for first point contact of site / customer issues. I would start logging all calls and reports with details of what issues are being experienced and what we are doing about them. Customer service log key – and actioned. I did this at Yours and TOFS – with a continual log of all queries and how resolved. At preset the team are doing best but I get the feeling no urgency.
- Needs overhaul to easily track sales
- Similar reporting (to Yoursclothing)
- Traffic / Impressions / Conversion – dont have at present
- Internet dashboard (TOFS) – no site traffic
- New / existing customer – essential to engage
- Trading performance longer term – need to plan vs laydown
- Range planning longer term – by range (involve buyers)
- Need to have better tracking of costs / CPA per channel
Current reporting does not give historical information so doesn’t allow you to analyze last year, plan campaigns, monitor KPIS, Cost, bounce rate, conversion or look at site behaviour. Without proper reporting it can be difficult to properly trade the site. I would suggest you need to overhaul reporting to include all above
I have attached samples of previous reporting which will allow you to see YOY / WOW performance and set demand targets over defined period. This does not have to be difficult once set up is straightforward to complete. Moving forward as you spend on recruitment channels essential you know each channel CPA. I would structure reports as per previous companies – by channels, with cost and analytics / KPIs.
I have been focused on looking at site, analytics and initial thoughts re site and what could be done to improve – I would like to look at what each person does in the team in more detail and see if I can help re processes etc.
What I would say is that at present the team is what I would term a process driven E-Commerce team – ie reactive to buyers. The team is unlike an E-Commerce team – which should be dynamic and more driven re sales, numbers, offers etc. Trading meetings, chats with buyers etc. What they need to do is move from a process driven team to a trading team and understand what is required to do that:
- Better trading of site
- More offers on site / social
- Team meeting / discuss trading
- Better understanding of workload / priorities
- Team or one member part of merchandisers meeting essential
- Team need to understand what is coming through, when etc in order can plan promos
- Would suggest Monday trading meeting to discuss performance and what we can do to improve
3 – Convert
You have driven traffic to the site from various channels, the team is coming up with regular offers on site and the trading of the site has improved significantly! The customer then decides to buy the product – now starts the next part of the sales funnel.
Conversion rates in retail vary however with a fashion retailer I would expect conversion to be between 3 to 5%. Lovedrobe conversion is poor – at .31% in the week I was in the office. This dropped from 1.03% the year before as did many of the other conversion KPIs (below)
Surprisingly, conversion on mobile is higher than I would have expected an is not too different from desktop. I would have expected this to be lower as the site is not mobile responsive at present yet 50% of your traffic is coming to the site via mobile.
What is also worrying is that most of your KPIs in analytics are down YOY as you can see below across desktop and mobile for the week.
In addition I would want to understand from Eseller pro what is being proposed to improve checkout – at present checkout could be confusing to some customers:
- Where is the “Complete Order” button?
- Why do you need to accept Terms and Conditions?
- Why have a link taking you away to Terms and Conditions?
- What are the Visa / Paypal images? Just add a radio button
- Why nothing to indicate you pay by clicking on them?
These are some examples of best practice
How ASOS persuaded 50% more new customers to progress through checkout
“The revised first page of checkout delivers one crucial difference from the previous design. Whereas new customers were told that they had to create an account in order to checkout, the new design mentions absolutely nothing about account creation. Instead, new customers are asked to simply click the continue button.We didn’t fundamentally change any functionality or page flows at this point. One thing we did change was the login screen after lengthy split testing; the changes resulted in a 50% decrease in abandonment of the site at this page.”
The checkout process is crucial and retailers need to remove anything which causes confusion or which impacts with conversion. I have noted a few things which could be changed and would have a positive impact on conversion but this is dependent on e-seller pro changes.
4 – Retain
Unfortunately I cannot see any re-engagement at present. A few emails have been sent out over a few months however the base is small and needs to grow before you will see any decent returns. For the base to grown you need to be getting more email addresses therefore running more offers on site, competitions, giveaways, prize draws, recommend a friends etc. I would be looking at more prominent data capture on site immediately (eg homepage sliders).
One you start collecting more email addresses I would look at setting up a series of automated emails based on how customers engage with site –
- Customers leaves email address – auto welcome email sent out in 24 hours
- Customer places first order – auto welcome email sent out in 24 hours
- Customer not ordered in 2 months – reminder email sent out
- Lapsed customers – incentivised email offer sent out regularly
As soon as a customer gives you email address and places an order it is essential you start trading your range with that customer. Some weeks up to 20 products have been loaded to site but not communicated to your small base.
The above insight is from 2 mornings at this retailer. As you can see there is plenty of opportunity to improve the current set up and start improving site trading. I hope the way I have laid out findings illustrate the focus you need on each area. At present, I would rate each of the above areas with the following scores:
- Traffic 2/10 – simply as there is no other traffic other than on the back of current activity
- Trade 3/10 – needs more focus from team and trading mentality / ranging / development
- Convert 5/10 – simple checkout is good but needs overhaul to improve and remove confusion
- Retain 0/10 – no email, no contact, no follow offers, no data capture etc but also small customer base
These show there is an opportunity to develop and improve current trading and site (again these are my gut feel).
How would I manage your E-Commerce review summary?
I would spend time expanding on all of the above and fleshing out into a plan with a clear strategy for each of the retail essentials. These would be agreed by yourself and everything would be costed out and included in site development and trading P/L report.
I would initially be spending time trying to understand from eseller pro what can and cannot be done easily and cost effectively. All changes would be monitored and uplift noted to see actual improvements.
I would be involving team and trying to provide a structure in the team with which to trade the site more effectively – this is essential.
Appendix 1 – additional info re Analytics
SEO – set up queries as not set up just now – vital in showing what customers are typing for – SEO benefit. No SEO is set up in GA so needs addressed
Behaviour – Landing pages – need to address high bounce rate landing pages on a regular basis as clearly some things not right here such as Lovedrobe mocah black boucle jacket – 80% bounce rate so need to take learnings and understand why – photography/ price etc
Page load time – needs to improve as currently at 9.22 secs – not good enough as customers will be lost. Particularly in Chrome with 20 secs page load in October. Some things to look at:
- Images are too big – compress filesizes
- Remove blocking scripts – which delays images beiong loaded
Site search – not set up – again vital to see why people are finding issues with content on site and what you need to start using in copy for improved SEO.
Events – not set up and agin needs to be setup
Conversion goals – not set up – in partular goal funnels and funnel visualisation essential for improving checkout
Ecommerce – set up however conversion really low at .54%
Multi channel funnels – not set up
In page analytics – 7% go to home , 18% to new in, 19% to dresses, only 5.6% to home page slider and very few below the homepage slider – all these sections not driving much traffic. Consider more traffic driving spots instead fo homepage slider?
The above gives you a flavour of how I think this retailer could improve their online offering and the way I would approach this. It is a basic outline of approach and the areas I think you need to look at it to achieve the objectives.
If you would like me to have a look at how you are currently trading your site then I can undertake a review similar to the above with recommendations on how to improve your site trading.