Managing an ecommerce site is no small undertaking. One large machine with many moving parts only begins to describe what’s beneath the hood of most ecommerce sites. As a result, you can imagine the work it takes to maintain and keep sites on track; day-to-day management typically includes (but is not limited to!) updating products and promotions, catalog management, third-party integration tracking, and, of course, analytics. Needless to say, ecommerce managers may get easily frustrated and overwhelmed with so many moving parts and potential pain points.
Our team at Digital Operative has worked with a wide variety of ecommerce clients, and we’re here to tell you that managing your ecommerce site doesn’t HAVE to be painful. In fact, we’re about to review a few common pain points that many ecommerce site managers face, and how you can fix or avoid them altogether.
The Issues & The Fixes
1) Inventory and product management
As mentioned above, catalog management and third-party integration tracking are large parts of day-to-day ecommerce store management. In times of chaos (for example, during promotions or holiday seasons) these can become real pain points. Have you integrated a proper inventory control system that can auto sync with your ecommerce platform, warehouse, and if applicable, your brick and mortar stores? Are you being notified when products are low or out-of-stock, or when a customer adds a new item to their wishlist?
There are great solutions out there depending on your business needs. If you’re on the smaller side, you can start with an ecommerce platform that allows integrated inventory control. For businesses on the larger side, maybe it’s time to partner with an agency that specializes in ecommerce website development and has a full-service team that can monitor, track, de-bug, fix, and help you maintain your shop.
2) The Checkout Process
Streamlining your site’s checkout process will not only make things easier for you, but for the customer as well. One of the largest pain points customers face is not having the ability to complete their purchase as a guest. This causes friction within the buyer’s journey, and can distract customers from completing their purchase. One thing to keep in mind here is that a new customer account will never be more important than when they are completing their first purchase. This is your best shot at capturing valuable contact information so that you can nurture the relationship and hopefully encourage future sales.
You can still collect basic contact information through a guest checkout portal. In addition, you can always suggest that they create an account on the “Thank You” page, after their purchase has been completed. At the end of the day, we recommend adding a guest checkout option. You’ll see a lift in conversions simply because customers won’t feel pressured to do something they’re not ready to do.
3) Tracking, Tracking, Tracking
High order volume or not, tracking is imperative, and we aren’t talking about that Amazon package you’re expecting. Tracking paints a picture of your current reality and allows you to compile data that will help you make decisions moving forward. When tracking codes go down, pieces of data that are pretty critical to consistent reporting are going to be lost… talk about a huge pain point. Big skews in your data can affect the way you’re measuring campaigns as well as the effectiveness of your advertising strategy.
Make sure your development team and marketing team have a clear line of communication, especially if there are large changes to your website on the horizon. This can help to alleviate impending issues.
Tag Manager can be a huge help if you’re looking for preventative measures, since it’s not hard coded onto your site. When tracking is hard coded into the source code of your site, it makes tracking vulnerable to breakage because as your site changes and code is adjusted, the original tracking can break. As a backup, keep inventory of all of the tracking snippets on your site so that if something does happen, you have a reference as to what codes go where.
4) Page Speed, or Lack Thereof
As consumer attention spans get shorter and shorter, page speed becomes be an increasingly big pain point in ecommerce. Trust us, you haven’t worked this hard to make it to the first page of Google just to have people bounce off your site due to lack of page speed. The unfortunate truth is, if your content takes too long to load, customer will go elsewhere. Google informs us that “53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.” Two seconds is the threshold of ecommerce website acceptability. To keep it real, Google recommends that you aim for under half a second.
In this instance, the fix is pretty obvious: make your site faster. Fast load times make people, and Google, happy. A fast site contributes to a good user experience, and a good user experience usually equals higher conversions.
One of the most difficult aspects of managing an ecommerce shop is ensuring that you have as detailed of a picture as possible for your conversion attribution. Knowing which touchpoints bring in the most valuable new customers will allow you to maximize and prioritize budgets for campaigns that are truly driving the best return on investment (ROI) for your store. However, can you always tell which digital channels are performing most efficiently for your site? Is one touchpoint more valuable than another? Are touchpoints that naturally occur at different stages of the buyer’s journey more or less valuable than others?
The first potential issue with attribution is establishing the correct time frame to coincide with your customers’ “time-to-purchase.” Is your product something that can be purchased on the fly after the initial introduction to the brand, or is your product more of a luxury good that may take long periods of research and consideration before purchase?
The hardest part here is trying to keep track of how much influence each touchpoint had leading up to the point of sale. Tools and reports that allow visibility into the conversion paths are perfect for this because you can see which channels were interacted with prior to a purchase.
Comparing your attribution modeling can also be helpful in determining the influence of a channel; for example, comparing things like First Click, Last Click, Linear, Data-Driven, and so on. There are also ways to help keep track of the influence of channels that don’t act as the final step before a conversion.
Having channel-specific promo codes can help keep track of the influence of each digital channel. If someone first interacts with your brand through social media, it shouldn’t matter if they then come back to the site later on via “direct” or “organic” traffic before converting; the conversion should still be attributed to social media. By having a social media specific promo code, you can accurately attribute their purchase to the correct channel, thus giving indirect credit to social media as a touchpoint.
Time is precious, and your resources aren’t infinite. While we’d all like to believe that we don’t need help and can do everything on our own, there may be a time when we’re ready to raise the white flag. Here are a few things to remember when you’re getting read to signal for help:
- Agency support is an invaluable resource that can help ecommerce managers get a better grasp on their ecommerce shop.
- Guest checkout will always be appreciated by your customers.
- Tracking will never NOT be a big deal.
- Page speed, or lack thereof, will always be a buzzkill.
- Proper attribution is incredibly important when you’re justifying each channel.
And, when you are ready to tackle some of these challenges, we’ll be here ready to help. We are a full-service digital agency focused on helping ecommerce companies grow online and sell more stuff. Contact us to learn more about our ecommerce technology services! Cheers!
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