E-commerce insights

Optimize your website for conversions: Webinar

 ShoppingFeeder CEO Kevin Tucker presents a webinar on optimizing your site for conversions. This webinar covers:

  • Improving general site performance
  • Ways to increase your site speed
  • How to increase your conversion rates
  • How to decrease your cart abandonment rate
  • SEO basics
  • High-level UI/UX

Watch the webinar below or read the transcript in this post:

Today, our webinar topic is optimizing your site for conversion. One of the most common questions we get at ShoppingFeeder is how do we get more sales? How do I increase revenue? How do I increase my conversions? How do I make sure that what I’m doing is towards increasing conversions? So that’s a little bit of what we’re going to talk about in this webinar. But before we start, just a little bit about ShoppingFeeder; who we are, what we do. My name is Kevin Tucker. It’s good to see you everybody. Nice to have everybody chatting to us recently about this webinar series. So ShoppingFeeder is a platform that helps online retailers grow their business.

What we do is we help you manage and distribute your product data feed so that you can bring more people to your website in an optimal way to generate more revenue. We offer a multi-channel solution that allows you to distribute your product data to multiple marketing channels, all from a single space. Those channels can be channels like Google Shopping, Facebook ads or PriceCheck and we’re in the process of building integration with several marketplaces around the world. Together with this, we also have an agency. ShoppingFeeder agency helps you manage your Google ad campaigns, Facebook ad campaigns, Bing ads campaign and your PriceCheck ad campaign.

Now, through the development of ShoppingFeeder, as a software-as-a-service platform and our agency, we basically collated all of the types of questions and advice that people asked us for. And like I said in the beginning of the webinar, one of the most common ones is: How do I increase sales on my retail? So, how do I get more visitors? How do I get more sales? How do I improve the performance of my website? So that’s what we’re going to be looking at a little bit in this episode. We’ve got a little presentation, which I’m going to share with you on the screen. But before I do that, just a little bit of housekeeping.

If you look on the right hand side, you’ll see an opportunity to ask questions and the questions will pop up for me, and I’ll evaluate whether there is an opportunity to answer those questions in the session if we have enough time, on topic. Otherwise, we can possibly save those questions for another webinar session. So let me go ahead and share the screen.

So my presentation- Google has awarded us the premier partner badge. And we’re very proud of that. We have very knowledgeable agents who work with Google ads substantially every day of the week. And they’re extremely knowledgeable in growing online retail business, and we’d be having a chat with you should you need any help. In doing that, it’s a fully managed solution. We will take your ad campaigns from a strategy session, understanding your business, what your business goals are, to planning campaigns, budgeting, and then strategizing the way forward to grow your business.

So, this topic today is about optimizing for performance. There’s a few high level topics when you want to talk about performance. And, you know, when we talk about performance, it’s really about financial performance, technological performance, and meeting your business goals. So a lot of those aspects in your online retail revolve around SEO (Search Engine Optimization), speed and performance, ease of use. And together with the UI/UX, the user interface and user experience, trust payments, offer self service, and up-sell, cross-sell opportunities. So these are some of the things we’re going to be talking about. Let’s move on.


So let’s talk a little bit about SEO. Now, SEO itself is a massively complex topic. And it is not something that I’m going to go into a lot of detail with in the session, however, I’m going to do a little bit of high level discussion about SEO.

So first of all, the most important thing about SEO is how to build a platform and content around the concept of what buyers want. So basically, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, sit down, take a little time and think about it. And say, if I was shopping for something, what would I want? What could I search for to find content that I would want to read? And through this process, you’ll be able to develop a platform and content, which will help you answer the questions people ask. And that will inherently become a solid SEO strategy. SEO is all about putting together the framework and the content to be able to answer people’s questions when they’re asked them in a search engine. So understanding what people want, it could be something like, you know, if I’m selling fashion, if I sell dresses, do I offer the dress styles that people are looking for? If I do have the dress styles, am I communicating that effectively on my store? Do I have the right product? Do I have the right description? Do I have images? Do I have images from various angles? Do I have professional looking images? If I’m selling consumer electronics, do I have model numbers on my retail store? Is it easy for consumers to compare the products that I sell against other products or some of my competitors? So, so these are very important fundamental aspects to SEO because if you get these right, you’ll inherently be answering the questions that people have.

So for example, if someone is looking for a particular Samsung LED TV, make sure that you’ve got the brand name, the model number, and any kind of particulars by mentions of screen flow that is relevant in your product process. So for example ‘Samsung SPX 3055 inch LED TV’, that’s a great way to name a product because that’ll answer a bunch of questions that someone is looking for. So someone just typed in ‘Samsung 55 inch TV,’ that product title answers that question. If they type in ‘SPX 3055’ then that [product title] answers that question. If they type in ‘Samsung LED TV’ that answers that question. So really, you’ve covered the combination of three or four questions that you’d use when they’re searching in a search engine like Google.

So page titles, product title, heading, description, images model number. It’s very hard for me to tell you how many times we’ve come across retailers who have product descriptions on the page that are literally one word, one, line, just a bar code or just a model number, and they lack substantial detail. Now that has all sorts of negative connotations for a user, it means that you don’t understand your product. It means that they’re not sure if they can trust that that product is exactly what they’re looking for. And it’s very hard for them to make a buying decision. So it’s important that when you have product information on the website, it is complete. It is holistic. And that it covers all the salient points. That would be important for a user when they’re doing a search and when they’re making buying decisions. So alongside that, there are very well defined guidelines around SEO, and what you can do to improve your SEO performance. So Google has incredible documentation around SEO and it’s very important to follow those guidelines. And what’s even more important is don’t go beyond the guidelines. Don’t cheat. If you cheat, Google will penalize you, and your site will be removed from Google listings. So do not try and do any black-hat. SEO, as they call it, stick to the guidelines. Do what is best practice and you will be fine.

Another aspect to SEO is responding quickly. So Google regularly changes algorithms. it regularly gives you notifications of changes to your site and changes to the way it evaluates your sites. And it’s important that you make time to be able to respond to those changes, and make sure that you are addressing all the requirements that Google has given you. So there’s a link at the bottom of the slide to Google Search Console. If you have an online store, or any kind of website, you should have that registered with Google Search Console. And you should have Google give you recommendations in Search Console about potential issues, potential changes, improvements optimizations that should be done. So respond quickly to those if Google tells you there were 500 errors on your site that couldn’t be reached. If it tells you that therefore a whole page will be contradicted solely about duplicate content. So there’s a lot of things that Google will give you a questions about that you should take notes on.

There’s another link to that for Pipeliner, which is a great tool for evaluating whether your site contains duplicate content. Google hates duplicate content. Make sure you have unique content everywhere. Moz is a great tool for SEO. It’s been around forever. And there’s a little case study which I quite enjoyed about Canva and Canva is a creative platform and it’s a really good example of how you can use SEO to substantially grow your business. Fascinating read. Take some time and go read that.

So that’s a little bit about SEO and just to reiterate, just make sure you’ve got your fundamentals right and then you should be fine. There are more advanced SEO topics that can be covered in another session. So let’s talk about speed and performance now.

Site speed and performance

So when it comes to speed and performance, three seconds is the magic number. If you start to load slower than three seconds, Google will penalize you. So by penalizing, I don’t mean they’ll remove you from so that you won’t be promoted and you won’t have the benefits of a top five in Google rankings.

Now, through the Search Console, you’ll be able to understand how Google evaluates the speed of your site. So be sure to look at Search Console, so that you can see how Google records the speed of your site and make sure that you are adhering to any recommendations. That is very important. Okay. With that, you will find that mobile is now a very important aspect of optimizing an online store. So a lot of shoppers these days browse on mobile, add to cart on mobile, and often their checkout is on mobile, It’s still not the most used method of checkout, the majority of people still prefer to checkout on a full size desktop computer. But mobile is an extremely important tool for building audiences for attracting users. And making sure that you have the optimal site performance on mobile is very important.

Now to achieve a lot of this, you can use something called a CDN, a content delivery network. I’ve put a link to CloudFlare. At the bottom of the slide is an unbelievable tool that has a free service that lets you build a CDN and instantly improve the performance of your site. We launched the CDN on PriceCheck. PriceCheck is South Africa’s largest price comparison service, we have around 2 million users a month who use PriceCheck. And so that’s a lot of traffic and it requires optimal performance. We use CloudFlare CDN and we reduced the load time of our site by half. So every page loaded twice as fast after we started using a CDN. It’s very simple to set up CloudFlare but there’s some technical aspects to it. So you have a developer or someone who manages your platform. Just get them to set up the software for you and you’ll see instant performance in no time.

To keep the key driver of the performance improvement for us with a CDN is that it basically hosts your content. So your images, your stylesheet, some JavaScript files, all of those things closest to the users that use your site. So let’s say your site is in South Africa, and it’s hosted in Germany. What they’ll do is post your content, your multimedia content, your style sheets, images, in South Africa, and that means they will render much quicker to users.

Google also has a great tool protecting the speed and performance of your site and it actually forms the backbone of how they rank your site according to speed. So it’s called PageSpeed Insights. I’m going to show you a little example of how to use PageSpeed Insights so that you can get an idea on what it does. I’ve shared that in a different tab. So this tab over here is actually a test I’ve run on PriceCheck. Now as you can see PriceCheck has a lot of work to, do very busy trying to improve the performance of our site. It’s a complex code, but we don’t rank very well on mobile. And we rank a little bit better on desktop for our homepage. Now, there are some other pages like our daily deals page, this project, then they’ll say, they’re just going to copy and paste the URL in there. And you’ll see our score will improve. So this tool allows you to compare any page or to check any page on your site and get an idea. So this is our daily deals. And you put in the URL, you click Analyze and what it does in the background in the sense that it crawls your thoughts as a user, and then comes back with an evaluation.

Now, you’ll see when this evaluation loads that mobile is the first ranking that it gives. Now this a score of 46 out of 100, which is not great, but it’s an improvement of what we had before and desktop score of 79 out of 100, which is actually pretty good. It has metrics down here about how your page loads, time to interactive etc. And so it gives you a little description about all of the systems that are in here, you get a good description out of all of these metrics. And this is a very important tool to be used. So there’s a lot of technical details in here and you will need someone with technical skills to evaluate your site to be able to really take heed of some of these solutions that Google has given.

One of my favorite results- I’m just going to show you this one- is an online store in South Africa called Zando. Zando is part of Jumia which was originally part of rocket internet. What you’ll see here is Zando on mobile- rank 83; on desktop rank 100. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a score of 100 and it’s incredibly increased in performance. So it says that it’s 0.5seconds interactive. Maximum potential first input delay is 14 milliseconds. So you’re gonna see content of Zando.co.za as soon as you click go in the in the address bar. So that is quite fascinating, really impressive.

I’ll show you a little example of how fast the site loads if I just go to the home page and refresh to show you how quickly it’s done. Done. That really is incredible. And they put a lot of work into optimizing their site. And they’ve really listened to the recommendations that Google gives us. So well done.

So getting back to our slides, quite a few more resources here, there’s a thing called Google links to test the thoughts on mobile. And there’s a link to CloudFlare, as I mentioned. So Google has some fascinating depth as an article there about how an improvement in speed improves your performance so that literally will make more money. Every second you increase in performance will generate you more revenue. It’s a proven fact Google has studied goodness know how many sites and it has proven that improvement in performance will result in improvements in conversions and revenue.

UI and UX

Now we’re going to talk about ease of use and UI/UX. Now, this is a fascinating one. Again, we get a lot of questions related to that. And one of the interesting things is this is quite subjective sometimes, but there are also studies and this personal kind of trend around what people think is important. So I’m just going to go through a few things here. One of our attendees on the webinars has asked us a couple of questions so I’m just going to put some of the information up. I just had a question come in, so we’re gonna answer them in a few seconds. Actually, let me do that now quickly.

So the question is: there are CloudFlare options that are free, is it worth using the paid extra? So I would say yes, CloudFlare’s free option is, is actually perfect for most online retailers that free option is perfect. However, if you are scaling to an extent where you’ve actually exhausted the capabilities of the free option, then moving to the paid option is really important. So you can do all sorts of stuff with the paid options; you can automatically optimize your images on the fly to a new optimized format which renders much quicker than JPG or PNG. That alone is worth paying for. There are rules that you can set for delivering content depending on the time of day, the geographic location that you have. You can use it for firewalls, VPN, all kinds of stuff. So there’s a lot to explore in CloudFlare. I’m not a CloudFlare expert but I’ve been really impressed with the performance gains using CloudFlare Hopefully that answers your question.

Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about ease of use and UI/UX. So we’ve taken a site of one of our interested attendees and I’ve done a very short, very high level analysis. Like I said, this first webinar is really just very high level. And after this, we’ll continue on a series of more details.

So some high level things to remember about how to create an easy to use website and how to improve the UI. So first of all, keep things simple. Again, you’ll see a lot of the topics that we talked about today are all tied together. So we spoke about SEO, keeping content clear, concise, and having all the correct information. The same goes with how to build an easy to use website. Keep it simple, make sure that the important aspects of it are very clear and very front and center. Eliminate doubt.

Now, when it comes to online retail, doubt is a very powerful negative motivation for people. So there are many, many factors that contribute towards doubt. So one of the biggest ones is when I get the product is that Oh, can I trust this online retailer, if I pay my credit card will it be safe? Am I getting a good deal? Those are all thought processes that you’ve got. It’s very important to understand those so that you can really address them in your platform.

So how do you answer those? We’ll give some examples of how you answer them. But again, it’s really it’s common sense. You know you can answer them through the interface, you can give little banners that explain things, you can give little pop ups and widgets. And then, always be available in some form. So that could be a phone number, it could be a live chat, that could be a contact form. Whatever it is, as you’re scanning your website, in the beginning it is very important to make yourself available, because that’s when you start building trust.

Now, what you’ll see on larger websites, they start hiding the contact details because they actually can’t scale contact cases, as they use the base scale. But in the in the beginning, it’s really, really, really important to be available to your customers. You don’t need to be there 24/7, but it’s just as important to be there at least during business hours to make sure that if they have any questions you can answer them and eliminate any gaps with them. And then, very importantly, obviously, you guys are retailers. So it’s very important to know your products. Now, one of the interesting industries, which is kind of ballooned recently is drop shipping. Now, drop shipping is a fascinating industry that deserves a webinar in its own. But one of the issues with drop shipping from a consumer perspective is that the company, or person or individual selling the product often knows nothing about them. And that introduces doubt. So we spoke earlier about having good product descriptions, specifications, titles, images, all that kind of stuff. Often with drop ship products, a lot of that information is missing and that introduces doubt.

Also, long lead time introduces doubt. Will my product arritce? What country is it coming from? So it’s very important to know a lot about your products and and sometimes it’s worth it stocking fewer products, but becoming very knowledgeable about them and becoming an expert and be able to answer any questions that shoppers might have.

This is Paycheap’s product landing page, they’ve got a great range of products that’s really impressive. What they’ve done is taken all the products that they think are useful to people. And they’ve got quite a unique range of products, which are really the key value on the webinar. I’m just going to chat a bit about some improvements that I think we can make.

Again, like UI and UX is a passion of mine. I’m not a qualified expert, but in my experience of many years I’ve seen a few things where I think potentially some improvements can help. So this is the product page. The 3D joystick for a PS3 controller, sorry, the joystick cap, and what do you see? It has great information, what I love is all four of these points that we get to eliminate a lot of stuff. So I don’t need to ask how long the warranty is, I don’t need to ask when it will be dispatched. I don’t need to ask what payments are available and how much delivery costs. If I hover over these question marks I get all of this mentioned. What I found is a little bit challenging as a consumer is that my eye is focused on the product picture, again, this information, but initially, I don’t see any way for me to add to cart. Now, the add to cart functionality is over here but it’s a little bit far away. So on the big screen I have that was quite difficult to find. Also, there’s a little bit of text floating over here indicating this is an opportunity to see what is available in the stores or see whether this product is available now. Just with a little bit of tweaking here and there. We can make a few changes, and significantly alter the user’s view of the page. So all we’ve done is brought the boxes a little closer. So now I’m seeing it within my frame of reference. I’m seeing the product picture, that information and the add to cart button, right? Yep, which includes very importantly the product. So it’s very important to have the product very closely associated with the information in the middle. In addition, what I did is I took that ‘view availability in the stores’ and I brought it right underneath here, right underneath the in stock, the widget. So what that does is associate different types of availability. So the one is in stock ready to ship. I might say here ‘in stock ready to ship’ and the other one is ‘view availability’ in ‘availability in store or in Tampa’. So should I want to go in store. I now know what that availability is like. So a few little changes. And we’ve automatically enhanced experience and compacted the display and we’ve made it just a little bit easier for users to understand what’s going on.

So now, if I go back to the slides, this was the home page. Great homepage. Great. I love this little carousel. Yeah, there’s a phone number. There’s an email address. Again, all of this is designed to eliminate doubt. Is this real? Can I buy from these people? Yes, there’s a phone number. It’s a landline that I love. We can see that number, the landline not a cell phone number, which also adds to credibility. And it has an email address that you can contact at any time.

Now what I found when I was on the product page is once I was on this page, there was no way to contact. There is a little WhatsApp widget, a Whatsapp widget in the corner and I like that; it’s a good opportunity to contact but I don’t see aby phone numbers or email addresses. So all I did in my little example, I just popped them in the top here. So in the top right I’ve repeated the phone number and the email address, a great opportunity to build trust. So very, very, very subtle tweaks. But again, very, very simple opportunity to build trust. So just some very high level examples to show how to improve the user experience, how to add some key elements of trust, there’s a lot more that can go into this. And again, we’ll do a much deeper dive in another session on how to improve the UI/UX. But you can see how easy it is to make just a few tweaks to improve that user experience and build trust.

Building trust with your online customers

So now we’re going to talk a little bit about trust as well. So trust, UI, UX, all of these things go hand in hand. Now everything we’ve discussed today is kind of small little bits of the bigger parts that make for a very optimal website. So in this little section, we’ll just touch very high level about trust payments and after-sales support. So important. Now one of the reasons for after-sales support is, very basically, Google won’t let you list on Google ads, unless you have some documentation about for example, your return policy, contact details, all of these things. If you want to list some Google ads, make sure you have available or else your products will get rejected.

So as you’ve noticed, in the previous slide, I forgot contact details in live chat. Now live chat is a great one. I love live chat. We use a lot at ShoppingFeeder, we’re actually evaluating different live chat providers at the moment. And it’s a great way again, in the beginning of your online retail journey, to build your business, build trust, build rapport with your customers. Is it scalable as you get bigger and bigger? Possibly not. You’d need a lot of support agents to answer through using Boston but it can go a long way to building trust with your customers.

Then allow your customers to pay with the services they prefer. Now, this is a very important one for e-commerce. Often e-commerce resellers choose the payment solution which makes them the most money, which has the lowest fee. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that that is the payment solution that users want. So it’s very important to make sure that you offer payment solutions that are basically ones used by the majority of your shoppers and also understand your market. What type of market are you selling, in what geographic location are you selling in? What are the best payment options in that region? Make it apparent that the product is secure. So make sure that you use SSL and make sure that that is indicated. Now this is something that we’ve been talking about for the last 15 years nd luckily, with a platform like Shopify, SSL is mandatory. So that’s not something that is an issue. But on other self hosted platforms like WooCommerce, PrestaShop, OpenCart, Magento, it’s really important that you run on HTTPS, which is secure, unless you have an SSL certificate. And then also several supports I mentioned, it’s very important that you have your cancellation policy, and your refund and return policy listed prominently on your website. Now, this is a tough one to stomach because often they think if they promote the cancellation and the refund policies, people will cancel and send the product back for a refund. Now, that may be the case, but it’s not necessarily going to happen. All it means is that you’re eliminating doubt, you’re building trust and you are building a growing consumer business. Without that you can’t be in retail. So if you look at traditional retailers, their refund and return policy and the cancellation policy- but not necessarily cancellation because they sell directly- but the refund and return policies are clearly printed on every slip or cash receipt. So this is a very important aspect of retail. And just because you sell online doesn’t mean that you should shy away from it. So make sure that you have a very clear refund and return policy and that it is communicated at checkout, on your footer, even on your header situation. And in certain categories, this is more and more important. So for example, fashion has generally quite a high return rate because people buy products, try them on and then exchange them. And it’s very important that these policies are clearly communicated.

We’re going to look at Asos, Asos is a darling of UK retail and there’s some very interesting elements that build trust, eliminate doubt and convey some important messaging. So right at the top her, my little blue scribble, you’ve got the add the product, the price, and then right underneath it delivery and returns info. They’re not shying away from it. They’re saying upfront, you can trust us, this is how we’ll deliver and this is what you need to do if you want to return it. Here in this green block during the Coronavirus, there are obviously some problems and some delays. So very clear indication that they made some changes and what they’ve done is taken it once step further and said, right: you can borrow this product and 90 days later, you can return it for a full refund. Then this is part of the UI/UX strategy as well and it’s a great doubt eliminator. What they do is give you very clear information about how to fit your clothes and a sizing guide. Now for fashion, this is incredibly important. And another very big challenge for drop shippers is having clear styling information. Eliminate substantial amounts of doubt for shoppers in the fashion vertical, make sure that you do have sizing information if you selling clothing, selling shoes, footwear, jewelry, whatever it is, please make sure that you have information to eliminate that.

Now at the checkout, what I wanted to show you on this page is that number one, they offer many different types of registration. But it’s right here, up-front, they’re indicating what types of payment they accept. This is in the UK where almost everyone has a credit or debit card, and so they offer all the credit and debit card options and PayPal. So it’s very important upfront to advertise the payment types that you support and also offer many different types of login.

Now, I wanted to share with you a great usability feature on Zando. Now, this is a Nike polo top. And what I’m going to do is- I love this, I love the price, I’m going to add it to my cart, but it didn’t choose a slot. Now what most online stores would do is just block you from choosing that add to cart. But that’s not what we want. We’re optimizing for conversions, we want people to convert, we don’t want to make it difficult. So what it does is it just gives you a little pop up in there remind you that you have to choose a size, right, or variation. Then if I try and press again, then it tells me I must choose the size that it needs to happen. Just block the add to cart button. I think that’s really important to choose the size, I click add to cart and it’s extremely efficient. Now get to options, continue shopping or view cart and checkout. Now this is kind of standard practice. So what I really love is this little intervention that just says “Choose a site”, but the button is always enabled. Very important.

Up-selling and cross-selling

Okay, so lastly, the last tip I’d like to give is make sure that you offer up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Now sometimes this is a little technically hard. It’s not impossible, but it’s a little technically challenging. Up-sell and cross-sell opportunities have a fundamental aspect to growing your baskets. So how do you do that? Let’s look at some electronics. If someone’s buying an SD card reader, up-sell an SD card. Is it likely that they have an old SD card? Another meter reader to plug it into their computer and download the photos? Maybe they don’t know how to- sell them a card as well.

Great opportunity for up-sell if they’re buying a pair of shoes. Sell them a pair of socks, you automatically knows the the main size elements here and main stock, right? Those are up-sell opportunities and cross-sell opportunities are very similar, but often they could be completely unrelated. So, you know, some info for this and therefore that, are you interested in doing the same? Product recommendations in the modern world of AI and machine learning are really important. They’re not difficult to implement a little bit of technological integration. But they’re really, really, really important because what they do is they eliminate doubt.

So some of the doubts I have is if the product I’m looking at is he perfect fit then the perfect price. Maybe it’s not, hold on, there are some recommendations for me, let me look at some other products. And what happened on PriceCheck is we implemented a recommendation engine. Four years ago, we implemented a recommendation engine and we dropped our bounce right by half. Really amazing results. Simple implementation goes a long way to building confidence, eliminating doubt and helping your customers making informed buying decision. So for this first webinar session, that’s about it.

Thank you very much for joining me. If you’d like to contact us at ShoppingFeeder, just go to ShoppingFeeder.com, go to the Contact Us page, drop us a message or you can contact us anytime by emailing support@shoppingfeeder.com. You can use our live chat. We’re always there when you need us. We operate in multiple time zones so whenever you need further help, be sure to contact us. And again, just to reiterate, if you have any issues with managing Google ad accounts, managing Facebook accounts, managing your PriceCheck or Bing Shopping account, please get in touch with us. We can give you a full strategy on your Google Ads campaign, social media campaigns, email campaigns, whatever it may be, our extremely good agency will be able to definitely help you.


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