Aside from looking at where you rank, you should also check how your competitors perform. Missing the top ranks translates to lost conversions, which can give you an idea of where you need to improve your optimization efforts.
Two years into COVID-19, people are slowly learning to adapt to the new normal. However, while restrictions have eased in different places, the risk of infection remains a concern to many.
Thus, you can expect users to continue browsing and shopping online to discover new products, find brands, and make purchases.
Given this, it is more important than ever to update your e-commerce website to provide a seamless experience for customers.
In addition, with so much competition in the digital sphere today, you need to identify and resolve gaps in your site immediately to keep users interested.
Of course, technology is always evolving, so there will always be new things to do. However, here are the top five most important updates you need to make this year in terms of urgency. Make sure you do not delay doing these to maximize your gains for 2022.
1. Optimize Your Website with Keywords
Search engine optimization (SEO) is not a new concept, but if you have yet to build a robust strategy for it, now is the time to do so. Having your site show up in the top ranks of search results can bring in many customers to your store.
To optimize your ecommerce site effectively, you need to identify relevant keywords, including branded and non-branded keywords.
Now that voice search is becoming more popular, you should also include long-tail keywords that mimic natural conversation. Think of these as full sentences or questions that someone may ask in real life.
Here are additional tips that can guide you in your keyword research:
While you naturally want to target keywords with high volume, you also need to consider the competition. If several others are already using the same keywords, it will be more difficult to rank high for them.
User intent can be navigational, informational, or transactional, so you have to use the right keywords based on your users’ intent.
Once you have chosen your keywords, you need to think about which pages will be the most relevant.
Of course, keywords are just one part of SEO, but they certainly make a huge difference. So, aside from optimizing your product listings and descriptions, you also need to create high-quality content that offers valuable information to users.
In addition, it allows you to maximize your online visibility.
2. Update Security and Payment Systems
No doubt, you need to take extra steps to secure your website and protect it from potential cyberattacks. It is more important than ever as more people are shopping online and entering sensitive payment details that can easily go into the wrong hands.
Ecommerce data breaches can come in many forms—stolen information, password guessing, phishing, malware viruses. Regardless, you should have proper security measures against any of these to avoid costly consequences.
Back in 2019, cyberattacks cost businesses an average of $200,000. Beyond this, they can also cost your reputation as users lose trust in your brand.
To pad up the security in your ecommerce site, here are some key steps you should take:
- Use industry-standard HTTPS for the whole website.
- Do not save customers’ credit card data or other payment information.
- Impose password requirements to help clients protect themselves.
- Use security plug-ins, if applicable.
- Backup your site data regularly.
- Monitor security at all times.
3. Improve UX Gaps and Issues
Now that users are more engrossed in the online space, they have also become more critical of the sites they visit. If you do not give them a smooth and seamless shopping experience, they may leave without purchasing anything.
Given this, you should conduct an audit to identify user experience (UX) gaps and issues on your website and fix them accordingly. Before running tests, start by looking at your analytics (if any) to find out where your site is performing poorly.
From here, you can determine which parts of the shopper’s journey most users drop off and focus on fixing these areas.
To guide you in your audit, here are some key areas to check in your UX:
- Measure your page load time and keep it at two seconds.
- Check for mobile-friendliness.
- Make product search easy and optimized.
- Products are clear, with high-quality images and descriptions.
- Provide clear navigation.
- Optimize the checkout section.
4. Track Your Metrics with Analytics
If you are still not using analytics to monitor your site metrics, you should not delay this further. When it comes to e-commerce, tracking each stage of the customer journey is critical to driving conversions and delivering a good experience.
With e-commerce analytics, you can gain valuable insights into your shoppers’ behavior and find opportunities for improvement.
To start, you can set up ecommerce tracking with Google Analytics. This free tool allows you to track relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) and learn more about your site visitors.
With access to this information, you can act quickly and respond to issues immediately to prevent them from getting bigger.
While you may have specific KPIs based on what products you sell and your overall goals, here are important metrics that ecommerce sites should track in general:
- Transaction and purchase data
- Customer lifetime value
- Organic traffic and site visitors
- Impressions, reach, and engagement
- Conversion rate
- Onsite activity (views per page, time spent per page)
- A sequence of pages that users visit
- Cart abandonment rate
- Customer retention rate
- Return and refund rate
Looking at the list above, it may seem overwhelming to track all these metrics. However, with the right tools in place, you should monitor them regularly.
In doing this, you can determine where you are performing well and where you need to improve your efforts, and then quickly pivot.
5. Move to First-Party and Zero-Party Data
2022 marks a big shift in the Internet space as search engines start phasing out third-party cookies. While Google has postponed this by a year and moved the phase-out to the end of 2023, you should still prepare early for the upcoming change.
Third-party cookies have been instrumental in creating targeted ad campaigns online, so removing them will mean changing your advertising strategy.
If you have not yet pivoted your efforts, you should do this immediately to stay ahead of your competitors.
Of course, first-party cookies will still be around, so you can continue to use them to monitor people’s behavior on your site.
However, zero-party data is also emerging as a key opportunity in the digital marketing space. It essentially refers to optional information that users willingly share with brands.
There are many creative ways to collect zero-party data without making the experience disruptive to users.
When users sign up for an account, you can ask them a few questions about their interests or pain points, so you can curate initial products to show them.
For example, if you specialize in fitness equipment, you can ask questions like “What are the user’s fitness goals, workout frequency and level, and other similar things?”
Please get to know your users more by giving them interactive quizzes. For example, if you run a fashion e-commerce site, you can ask about their overall style, favorite color, an item they are looking for, and others.
The site can then provide relevant clothing recommendations for users to browse.
You might not realize it, but social media engagement tools like IG polls, sliders, and other stickers allow you to interact with your audience.
It may seem simple. Still, they can prove valuable in uncovering consumer behavior and preferences.
You can also use ecommerce popups to collect zero-party data, but be careful not to place them somewhere disruptive to the customer experience.
Within these popups, insert a question or two to learn more about the user, then incentivize them with something like a discount to convince them to answer.
With zero-party data, you can continue personalizing your marketing efforts for users. With so much competition in ecommerce today, delivering these personalized experiences will be key to keeping users interested and engaged with your brand.
As the e-commerce industry becomes more competitive, so should your digital efforts. It can be easy to get lost in all the new technologies and trends coming out, so start by focusing on the most important things to get done.
For 2022, make sure you implement the five updates discussed above; as these will help you draw in more customers, maximize online visibility, and increase your competitive edge.