Author: Jessica McDonald

Amazon Store Design from Frooition

Amazon store design

“If there’s one reason we have done better than any of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business.”
– Jeff Bezos

Amazon is a company grown from a relentless focus on innovation to aid the customer and improve their experience. Amazon store design is all about sellers taking ownership of that great experience, and creating their own customer loyalty from it.

Selling on the Amazon marketplace, you need to be tuned in with Amazon’s customer obsession. Take advantage of any merchandising tools that come your way to enhance the customer experience for your brand. When it comes to competition, you as a brand need to be leading in your product category and not waiting to follow your competitor’s lead.

An Amazon store design gives a merchant the opportunity to showcase their brand and full range of products. Within the store, a brand can promote new lines and key features through videos and inspiring imagery. They have the freedom to decide what they focus on. By displaying videos, lifestyle images, and text, the store can drive customer engagement, build brand trust and help the customer make an informed buying decision, which should ultimately improve conversion and boost sales. It also helps the brand get visibility for the wider product range, including for items that rank lower on the search results page, especially new products.

An Amazon store is a branded shop within Amazon. Think of it as a branded section within a department store in a mall. Amazon stores provide a branded shopping experience on the Amazon website, showcasing the brand and its products. These stores are customized by the brand. Sellers and vendors can curate the design of the store according to the needs of their brand, products and audience.

Brand stores can be made up of multiple pages, just as you would typically find on a brand’s own website. They can have a home page and then break the pages down further into category pages. Some brands choose to have a single homepage, and others go for a complete store with multiple pages.

Amazon is not charging sellers any extra fees for hosting a store design. Stores are responsive to desktop and mobile. They also support videos which is a huge plus.

How will customers find my store?

When creating a store, the brand will be given a unique brand URL that they can then share externally across social media or via marketing activities such as email to drive external traffic to their Amazon store. This URL can also be used to drive internal traffic, linking headline search ads to the Amazon store. The customer can also access the store by clicking on the brand name next to the title of the product on the detail page.

What do Amazon stores look like?

Pompeii3 is an independent, family-owned and operated a business that has been manufacturing high-quality jewelry since 1919. Pompeii3 have been selling on Amazon for ten years and currently make 10% of their sales via Amazon. Wanting to sell even more on Amazon, Pompeii3 came to Frooition for Amazon store design to enhance their brand and give their store a more professional look and feel.

With full branding, inspiration images, and category merchandising with featured products; Pompeii3 now have an Amazon store that showcases their products, and gives both prestige and trust to their brand.

Amazon store design

Contact Frooition to talk about Amazon store design for your e-commerce business.

How to leverage customer’s marketplace loyalty – and transfer it to your brand

transferring marketplace loyalty

Trust is the biggest obstacle to sales online. Customers only ever buy from businesses and sites they trust. Established marketplaces like eBay and Amazon have grown through their relentless focus on trust. If the item is available on the marketplace they are loyal to, customers will choose to buy there.

Any retailer who is not selling on these large marketplaces is almost certainly losing sales to a competitor who is.

Having a loyal customer base ready and waiting to buy is a huge advantage to selling on marketplaces. Trust built by a marketplace means loyalty to a marketplace though, and you need customers to be loyal to you as a seller.

Trust and loyalty to a marketplace can be leveraged by sellers and even transferred to their own brand. The following points can all help to transfer customer’s marketplace loyalty to your brand.

Create your brand store feel on Amazon

You can’t be loyal to a brand you don’t know, so branding is the first step to creating loyalty.

Amazon knows how important loyalty is, and have protected customer’s loyalty to the Amazon brand by keeping their own brand as the focus and giving sellers as little branding in the marketplace as possible. This has always been a major drawback to selling on the Amazon marketplace.

Until now.

Professional Amazon sellers now have a massive advantage able to them, as the marketplace has recently started to allow sellers to have full storefront design for Amazon stores. This design allows you to introduce your brand, merchandise the full range of your stock, and even have multiple pages for different categories and product ranges.

Letting customers know that your brand is responsible for the products and services they receive encourages loyalty to your brand and increases the chance of them buying from you again. Even if your orders are fulfilled by Amazon, you can own that great service in the mind of the customer.

Create your brand store feel – within eBay

The same as with Amazon, for eBay shoppers to be loyal to you, they first need to know who you are. When customers land on one of your listings, they should immediately get a sense of your brand. Ebay allows for full customization of listings, and so sellers can create a full store feel within listings. A custom branded eBay listing has the same benefits of a stand-alone brand website, but with the added benefit of the trust customers feel shopping on the eBay platform.

Cross promotion is one of the most important features in creating brand loyalty within eBay. By cross-promoting your own items within listings, you encourage customers to continue browsing your inventory, rather than searching and viewing other sellers listings.

Keeping customers browsing your listings keeps them focused on your store, and secures your branding in their mind. The more of your listings a customer views, the more likely they are to buy from you.

Use parcel inserts

Getting a customer to make their first purchase with you is the hardest part. Once a customer has purchased and they know you offer products and service they like, it is less of a challenge to encourage them to purchase again. Parcel inserts with special offers are great for encouraging repeat customers.

Your inserts could offer something for their next purchase from you on eBay, or they could encourage the customer to visit your website and purchase there. A customer who has purchased from you on eBay will be more likely to trust your website.

Parcel inserts are also great for encouraging social follows of mailing list sign-ups. 10% off their next purchase is a good incentive to sign up for your mailing list, which would allow you to stay in touch and keep your store in their mind.

Keep in touch

Don’t just forget about people who buy from you. Ebay is familiar. It’s an option customers immediately think of when looking for an item online. As much as you can, you need to try and make your store familiar too. This means reaching out to old customers.

Reaching out to customers does not have to be spammy or annoying. You could put some time aside one day and trial writing a note to a handful of your most frequent customers. A brief, genuine note of thanks for a customer’s business can go a long way to securing their loyalty. A handwritten note will take a little more time, but it is worth the effort for how it will impress customers.

Aside from that, you should be sending customers newsletters, incorporating inspiring and exciting images of your products, as well as interesting product information.

Inspire Loyalty Through Service

Nothing beats great customer service for creating loyalty. Above the way a store looks or how beautifully it packages orders, great service will always be the number one thing to keep customers coming back to you. This means offering fast delivery (for free if possible) and being quick and helpful with replies to customer questions; whether they be via phone, email, or social media.

Summary

E-commerce offers limitless opportunity. The price of this is fierce competition. No matter where you sell, creating customer loyalty requires attractive products, competitive pricing, and excellent service. Ticking all of these boxes is hard work. Any seller who manages it will be delighting customers. Branding is the key to turning this good experience into loyalty. Branding every moment of the sale, from the product page to product unboxing, lets the customer know which company to return to for this great shopping experience.

4 Common Mistakes that kill new e-commerce businesses.

Mistakes that kill new e-commerce businesses.

Starting your first e-commerce business is a lot like becoming a parent for the first time; you can read all the books, but nothing ever quite prepares you for the reality of it.

There’s so much to learn, and you need to learn fast! Because in the early days, without the security of an established customer base, there is not much room for error.

But just because your e-commerce business is new doesn’t mean you need to make new to e-commerce mistakes.

In this post, we will look at seven of the most common mistakes new e-commerce business owners make, so that you can avoid them.

Wasting time with menial tasks

If you’re just starting out in e-commerce, chances are you do everything yourself. Uploading products, writing descriptions, marketing; A million plates all spinning in a spectacular one-man (or woman) show.

The problem is that while doing everything yourself is great, it’s also incredibly time-consuming.

And time is the one thing you can’t buy more of.

We’ve all been there; a task needs tackling, and it just seems most sensible to try and do it yourself. Two hours later, feeling frustrated and having made little progress, that can seem like less of a great choice.

New e-commerce merchants need to try and automate as many necessary menial tasks as possible. This process will cost a bit of money, but the headache and heartache you save typically outweighs the money you’ll spend.

Unnecessary menial tasks must go to the chopping block. By unnecessary, I mean things like spending too much time tinkering with tasks that could be automated for a relatively low cost.

Especially since after two hours of tinkering, you’ll feel like you did a lot of work, but you will have also endured two hours of frustration and will feel exhausted by it. Realistically, your time could have been better spent.

More e-commerce tasks are now able to be automated, and popular solutions such as Shopify or BigCommerce have a lot of stock management and customer service automation built in. For eBay sellers, AutoApply allows you to list however you want, from any device, and have custom listing designs automatically apply with no extra work for you.

Not knowing your customer

Doing quality e-commerce research comes in two parts; finding a product and knowing your customers.

Both are important, but it is a lot easier to have customers in mind and build a product range that you know they will want than it is to have a product and then hunt for customers who will want it.

The crucial step that most often gets missed by new e-commerce businesses is building a customer profile.

Creating a customer profile allows you to really explore your customer and get to know them. You should know how your customer speaks, so you know how best to communicate with them; you should know why your customer wants your product, so you know which features to point out and questions to answer, and you should know where else they go on the internet, so you know where to advertise your store.

Sales is all about rapport. About getting to know your customer, knowing their questions and how they want them answered. This step is vital to any e-commerce success, and it is something you should continuously revisit and keep building on.

Choosing a Setup you can’t maintain

A robust e-commerce set up is essential to the smooth running and future success of your business. There are many website platform options for a new e-commerce business, and it’s important that you choose one that not only works for you but is easy for you to maintain and scale too.

Self-hosted e-commerce is the e-commerce option which gives you the most freedom, but it is also the one which places the most work and responsibility in your lap. If you are not able to comfortably take on the responsibility of keeping your software and hardware safe and healthy as you scale your business, a hosted Solution would be better for your business.

Realistically, this means that if you do not have confident coding and graphic design skills, you will struggle to run your business from a self-hosted website.

Hosted solutions like Shopify or BigCommerce take a lot of technical and security issues away for sellers. They are developed to offer shopping environments which are fast, secure and flexible; with thousands of options for sales features, and the ability to apply your own custom store design.

The scope of what is possible with hosted design is broad and expanding. For a sample of what is possible, check out these examples of Frooition Shopify and BigCommerce design.

Not branding your customer experience

You put a lot of effort into making sure that the service you provide to customers is good enough to make customers keep wanting to come back for more. So let them know that great shopping experience is yours!

Having the same header with your company logo, colour scheme and layout for all of the pages on your website gives customers confidence and keeps your brand at front and center at every turn.

This rule is also true for your marketplace listings. Customers shop on marketplaces they trust and feel loyal to. We want to transfer that trust and loyalty to you as a seller. Frooition creates full custom design for eBay listings, meaning that when a customer searches for a product and lands on one of your listings, they know that they are buying from you rather than just buying on eBay.

Amazon encourages loyalty to their marketplace with a strong focus on customer experience and prime scheme. Sellers can now custom design and brand their Amazon store. This is a huge development for sellers, allowing them to merchandise stock as fully on their Amazon store as they do on their own website, and transfer that great Amazon experience customer loyalty to their brand.

Recommendations for new e-commerce businesses

With all of those mistakes laid out, you might be wondering: How do you know you’re on the right track? No one can predict the future for you, but to help in some small way, here’s a shortlist of the hard but worthwhile work you should do to successfully launch and run an online store:

  • Know your customers and their questions.
  • Brand everywhere you sell.
  • Avoid wasting time with distractions.
  • Invest in a robust e-commerce set up.

How to convert customers from an out of stock product page

out of stock product page

You put a lot of work into getting people to your store. AdWords, social media, SEO – it’s all time and effort that will be wasted if the customer doesn’t have a great experience when they get to the product page. As e-commerce designers, it is our job to make sure that visitors to your store feel excited and inspired by what they see. We want them to want to buy! But what about when the page they land on is an out of stock product page?

There are plenty of reasons items might be out of stock; whether it’s seasonality, an unexpected surge in popularity, or even just learning how much inventory you need to hold.

Luckily, with a few tweaks, an out of stock product page doesn’t have to be a black hole for customers.

Good e-commerce sites answer customer’s questions with quality content, and smoothly guide them to the products they want.

When customers hit a product page, but they can’t buy, it’s not what they’re expecting. One unexpected turn doesn’t have to mean a bad customer journey though. When people get an outcome they don’t expect, they will generally be very forgiving, and can still enjoy their shopping experience, as long as you make the path forward clear and easy.

But how can we do that?

Back in stock email

Setting up an email list to let customers know when the item is back in stock gives customers an option of something to do, and helps you to build an email list for interest in that product.

out of stock item
For sellers using Shopify or BigCommerce, there are apps which easily plug into your store to offer this function.

Pre Orders

If it makes sense for your business, consider setting up your store to allow customers to pre-order items that are out of stock.

It may be a good idea to have some kind of message about why the item isn’t in stock; whether it just be that it is an incredibly popular item, or that it is small batch made. It is good to give the customer a bit of positive brand messaging to keep in mind while they wait.

You can set up a pre-order button with a date, so it sets a clear expectation for the customer. The customer can choose to pay now and be guaranteed to receive the product when it comes back in stock.

This works really well for unique items that customers may struggle to find elsewhere or seasonal items with high demand such as beauty advent calendars which often sell out fast.

It is important that it’s crystal-clear that your customers are pre-ordering, and won’t receive their items right away. If possible, it’s helpful to provide a solid timeline for delivery, which helps set expectations before they hit pre-order.

You also need to make sure that this function is set up by a confident developer. It’s linked to inventory and pre-order dates, so it’s important to make sure you’re communicating the right thing. You wouldn’t want to do it incorrectly and have something break.

Cross-sell/up sell

So your customer has had the option to be told when the item is back in stock so that they can purchase it then, but what if the customer was just in the mood to buy something right now?

Everything up to this point has been building your customer’s desire to purchase. We don’t want to waste that!

Displaying other similar and related items on the out of stock product page improves the customer experience, and can often save the sale.

If you have sold out of a basic product, but still have a more expensive deluxe version in stock, this is the perfect time to upsell the customer and increase the basket value.

Summary

When a product is out of stock, the product page is your opportunity to turn what could be a disappointing experience into a great one. You can do that by providing options for customers, and by being really clear with them about what the next steps are; whether it’s signing up for email notifications, recommending other products, or allowing your customers to pre-order the item.

It’s all about replacing a moment of disappointment with a more personalized customer experience.

Whatever the situation in e-commerce, the key to a good customer experience is always the same; provide a clear journey with great customer service.

If you want help creating a smooth e-commerce journey for your customers, book a free consultation with a Frooition e-commerce design advisor today.

Ebay Guaranteed Delivery

Ebay says that 63% of purchases are currently delivered in three days or less, but 63% is not enough for today’s customer, empowered by unparalleled choice in an increasingly competitive e-commerce space.

That percentage will undoubtedly increase now that eBay are expanding their guaranteed delivery scheme and backing guaranteed delivery times for more sellers.

The guaranteed delivery scheme is great news for sellers running e-commerce businesses from eBay, as it’s a serious move to dispel any remaining ideas customer’s may have about eBay being an auction only site where members of the public sell used items; and let them know that eBay is a reliable, fast, secure marketplace where 80% of items are new.

With eBay guaranteed delivery, in the rare instance that a shipment is delayed, eBay will handle responses and refunds on behalf of sellers to ensure customer satisfaction.

How guaranteed delivery programme benefits sellers:

  • Increased Visibility
    Sellers can find more buyers when their items are searchable by delivery date.
  • No Extra Work
    You offer same- or 1-day handling and eBay determines and guarantees the delivery date.
  • Happier Customers
    Fast, on-time delivery can lead to better feedback and fewer buyer messages about delivery times.
  • eBay Backing
    When delivery is late due to reasons outside of the seller’s control, eBay will refund the postage to your customer.

Why customers want eBay guaranteed delivery:

  • Better Shopping Experience
    Buyers can filter items by a guaranteed delivery date, including the next 1-2 days.
  • Guaranteed On-Time Delivery
    Buyers’ items arrive by the delivery date, guaranteed.
  • Increased Confidence
    If a buyer’s item doesn’t arrive by the delivery date, eBay will make it right.

How to Get Started with eBay Guaranteed Delivery

Participation in eBay Guaranteed Delivery is optional and totally free. There are big benefits to sellers who choose to take part. eBay sellers will have two options for joining the program:

Door-to-Door: Larger sellers and retailers with multiple fulfillment centers can use their own regional rate tables to guarantee delivery dates. With this option, the seller will be responsible for refunds and return labels if an item arrives after the guaranteed date

Handling Time Option: Smaller sellers can opt to have eBay calculate guaranteed delivery dates and handle refunds and returns as long as they handle within one day and use eBay labels to ensure automatic tracking. If an item arrives after the guaranteed date, eBay covers the buyer with a shipping refund or free return label.
No matter which option you choose, acceptance into the program will depend on a proven track record of fast handling times and strong fulfillment operations.

Sellers with a minimum of 100 transactions per year and a late shipment rate of less than 5% will be eligible to apply for guaranteed delivery.

To increase your chances of qualifying for eBay guaranteed delivery, focus on shipping best practices, such as using eBay labels, same day handling, multiple shipping options and reliable returns.

 

Essential Guide to SEO for E-Commerce Sites

SEO for e-commerce

SEO for e-commerce is a vital part of customer acquisition and something that every merchant should have a working understanding of.

SEO for e-commerce does not need to be complex or scary. We have broken the following guide down into easy chunks so that by the end of reading you will understand the following:

  1. What is SEO?
  2. How do search engines work?
  3. How you can improve your SEO

What is SEO For E-Commerce?

SEO simply stands for search engine optimization. Improving your website’s search ranking is called SEO.

How do search engines work?

Let’s say you have a website and you sell leather jackets. When someone searches on Google or any other search engine, your website will be in the search results. To make sure that people see your result, you need your website to be on the first page of results. Ideally in the top three.

When you start to show up on the first page, this will bring a lot of free organic traffic to your site.

SEO for e-commerce is needed to get your store near the top of search results.

If 100,000 people are searching for leather jackets every month and you are in the first page of results, you will have a lot of free traffic coming to your site. This organic traffic is:

    • Relevant
    • Free
    • long-term

Paid ads are effective, but the traffic they bring will stop as soon as the campaign stops. Organic traffic is long term. Optimising your site and helping search engines like Google to see that your site is relevant to your key search terms will make your Google AdWords for these search terms less expensive.

How do search engines decide what appears on the first page?

Search engines use hundreds of factors to determine the order of pages shown as a search result. They do not disclose all of these factors, and you cannot control all of them. But if you understand the points which are known, and how to tweak your site to meet these points, you will improve the search engine ranking of your site and gain more organic traffic.

The Index of the Web

When you put a new site live on the internet, search engines send out a programme known as spiders to crawl every page, collecting information.

The main information spiders collect is :

      • Site tagline
      • Headings
      • Keywords
      • Text
      • Content
      • Links
      • Images

The spiders ignore the styling (the CSS) of your site. The search engines store every bit of information the spiders retrieve. This data is referred to as the index of the web.

When you make a search, the search engine goes to its database and searches for entries related to the search term. Usually, there will be hundreds of thousands of results on the list. Now it is time for the search engine to ask questions to decide which results are most relevant and useful to you. According to Google, they ask over 200 questions to determine relevance. These questions include;

      • How many times is the search term mentioned on this page?
      • Is the search term in any headings?
      • Is the search term in the URL?
      • Is this page from a low or high-quality website?
      • How many other websites link to this page?

From these questions, Google will give every page a quality score. This page is now shown to the user, with the highest quality results at the top.

By making our web pages easy for spiders to crawl and information easy for them to find, we can increase our quality score and appear higher in search result rankings.

Google will automatically crawl your website, but if you want it to be done immediately you can manually submit your website to Google. It’s very simple. All you need is your website URL. You can submit your website to Google here.

How to make sure your site is easy to crawl

Connect Pages

Your home page is where a spider will start its crawl. It will then look for a link on that page to the next page in your website, which it will follow and look for a link to the next page, and so on.

A common error made by many e-commerce sites is burying their product pages deep within their link structure. This will not only make it more difficult for users to find products, it will also impact the product pages PageRank score, making those pages less likely to appear high in search.

Having product content only a link away from your home page will make them easier for both the search engines as well as your customers.

It is good practice to link every page on your site so that the spiders can access all of the information for your site and store it all together.

Text in images

Bots cannot properly read text in images. Bots are very advanced now and do recognize text in images, but all search engines, including Google, advise people not to put important text in images. If you use important text in images, you run the risk of it not being crawled and so not appearing in search results.

savonne-1  savonne-2

The example on the left would not do anything to help a website gain ranking for the search term “Emily sotto wedding dresses” because the text is inside the picture. In the picture on the right, the text is a header outside of the picture and so would be collected as crawl information and help the page to show for this search term.

ALT Tags

An image’s alt text is a short description that describes the visual. This short description shows in place of an image if the image fails to load, and matters when it comes to SEO. Search engines can’t read pictures the same way they can read text, so you need to use this attribute to tell search engines about their subject matter.

Because shopping online is highly visual, image alt text is even more important. Your site will probably have a lot of graphics—and when people search relevant keywords online, you want those graphics to show up.

Like your title tags and meta descriptions, ALT text should be as descriptive and accurate as possible.

Bad: No ALT text

Okay: “swimsuit”

Better: “Speedo Swimsuit”

Best: “Speedo Ladies one piece high leg swimsuit”

To edit an image’s alt text in BigCommerce or Shopify, hover over the image and click the “Alt” option.

Along similar lines, make sure you’re titling your images appropriately. When you upload them, their file name might be something incomprehensible like “38670209347.jpg.” Google uses the filename to learn more about the image, so something like “boy-playing-frisbee-beach.jpg” is far more useful. (Make sure you use dashes to separate words, or Google will interpret the entire file name as a single string.)

Keywords

Keywords or search terms are just the words people type into a search engine when they are looking for something.

The search engine looks for these keywords in the index of the web. Keywords are an important element of SEO because you need for your website to be there when the search engine checks the index of the web for searches relevant to what you sell.

There are a few different categories of keyword you need to be aware of:

  • Generic:”Laptops” – Lots of traffic, high cost, low conversion.
  • Branded:”HP Laptop” – Relevant for enterprise level retailers and brands
  • Long Tail: “Gaming Laptops under £800” – 70% of search is longtail and it is the best converting of all the search types.

You must consider both traffic and competition for your relevant keywords. Traffic is how many people are searching using that particular keyword or phrase, and keyword competition is the measure of how difficult it will be to rank for a particular keyword.

Perfect keywords for starters would have around 1,000 searches per month and low competition.

You can research keywords using a research tool. There are lots online, but I like kwfinder.com as a really easy beginner tool. You should also use the keywords everywhere chrome extension. These tools let you see how many people are searching for your keywords, how competitive terms are, and even see what your competitors are ranking for.

Unique Content

Building your product database can be a time-consuming process, and in an attempt to save time, many online store owners simply copy and paste the manufacturer’s product descriptions onto their website.

Duplicating content this way is why e-commerce sites tend to get penalized by search engines.

Online store owners need to assess their website and look for ways to reduce the amount of redundant and duplicate content that is present on their website.

Careful usage of the rel=”canonical” tag can help avoid these problems as well.

Always re-write every single product description to ensure that it is unique and search engine friendly. Remember to use several words that people are most likely to search for.

Improving Search For Customers and Search Engines

SEO for e-commerce is not just about showing search engine spiders what they want. It is about ensuring that your customers get the content they want when they search.

Improving Your Meta Descriptions

Search engines don’t factor this section—also known as the meta description—into their rankings. In other words, you could write the words to your favorite nursery rhyme and Google wouldn’t penalize you.

But search results are read by humans, and humans want a clear, concise description of what they will find on a page to help them decide if they should click on it or not. A compelling meta description means they’re likelier to visit your store.

Also, because search engines do use site popularity in their rankings, meta descriptions do indirectly affect your SEO.

    • Specify title tags and meta descriptions on every page
    • Include keywords in meta descriptions
    • Use action-oriented meta descriptions to call readers to “Find quality [product name here]”

Meta descriptions should include keywords, but don’t simply restate your title tag. Finally, keep it accurate and under 160 characters.

Video

Video Appears in 14% of Internet Search Results. Google also says video campaigns will soon be grouped just like any other ad through AdWords. That means videos will soon be even more likely to show up in Google searches.

Google wants to promote results with video because its what people like. 73% More Visitors will buy after watching a product video. Video also increases time on page, and as mentioned previously, this can help to improve your quality score and ranking.

Adding video to product pages with BigCommerce and Shopify is easy and is great for customer conversion and SEO for e-commerce. With Frooition design you can also add videos to your eBay listings.

Blogging

Blogging is a great way to offer useful content to your customers. Because it is useful and unique, search engines like this content. It may even be shared by readers, which spreads links back to your site.

BigCommerce and Shopify stores come with blogs as standard. It is easy to add social share buttons to these blogs with an app.

Ebay catalogue product focused shopping experience

eBay product based search results

Ebay has introduced product based search results for one simple reason; what works for buyers, works for sellers.

The buyer experience improvements which encourage customers to buy more items, and to buy more frequently, result in higher turnover for sellers.

But what improves the experience for customers in one category will not always be an improvement for customers in another category.

The great thing about eBay is their commitment to creating a truly diverse marketplace that works for all sellers and all customers. With over 26 million sellers and 170 million active buyers, that’s no small feat! Ebay has to constantly monitor buyer behavior and respond with changes to create the best eBay for all buyers.

The latest change that eBay has introduced to improve the buyer experience is the introduction of product based search.

This change will not affect sellers in all categories, but for the handful of selected categories where eBay has chosen to implement this selling style, it is because it is shown to be the preference for buyers.

Categories with eBay catalogue product focused shopping experience

eBay catalogue product focused shopping experience

How eBay catalogue product based shopping experience works

When a customer searches on eBay they are usually presented with a long list of results. It is then the customer’s job to refine this list using the filters provided.

Some customers love this. It is their preferred shopping style for everything. They want to see every option, browse, and discover before they buy. But for most eBay customers, this is only their preferred shopping style for some things. I may enjoy browsing designer shoes, but just want to buy the newest I phone at the best price from a trustworthy seller as quickly as possible.

As a general rule, it is true to say that the more clicks a customer has to make to find the item they want, the more likely they are to lose interest and leave the site without buying.

This is where eBay catalogue product based shopping experience comes in.

With the new eBay catalogue product focused shopping experience, a search for iPhone X or Google home will shows buyers a more clearly structured results page.

For items like an iPhone X or a Google home, there is no browsing for a unique version. These standard items can be presented to customers as a product page which makes it quicker and easier for them to get the information they need to purchase.

Product pages group identical items together. It is important to note that products are not ranked based on price alone. Search results on eBay are presented based on many factors including:

  • feedback scores
  • delivery options
  • returns options
  • seller history

The search below for iPhone X shows that the 1st and 3rd item are identical in everything except colour. The top result has 26 five star reviews though, and result three only has 7. Result number one is the most popular product in the category, and so it’s the one most customers searching “iPhone X” would be looking for.

Other buying options being presented in the result box alongside the top option offers customers transparency and allows them to immediately assess how competitive the price is.

Ebay catalogue product based shopping experience is not about price

Amazon uses product-based search, but results are ranked on price alone. This is good for some buyers, but not all buyers, and it is never good for sellers.

Ebay will not be encouraging sellers to discount products to try and improve the ranking of their listings.

The top result from this search is not the cheapest. The right-hand side of the result shows that the phone is available for less money brand new from another seller. Looking at this cheaper listing, we can see that this phone is being sold by a seller with only two positive feedback.

ebay catalogue product based shopping experience

A low price will give sellers with less positive feedback a way to get increased exposure for their items, but eBay will present the best option for customers as the top result. That means the most trustworthy seller who offers the best service at a competitive price will be the featured item.

The best way to improve the ranking of your eBay listings is to create attractive, informative listings; build positive feedback, give free delivery, and offer free returns.

music-magpie-iphone

The top result was from Music Magpie. The phone is refurbished, but Music Magpie have a massive amount of positive feedback and a solid history as a trusted seller. They are also offering fast free delivery.

Points to take away

  1. eBay catalogue product focused shopping experience only applies to a few select categories
  2. eBay catalogue product focused shopping experience rewards good sellers by promoting their listings
  3. eBay catalogue product focused shopping experience is what customers want
  4. You can improve the ranking of your listings by:
    • Offering free delivery
    • Creating a great buying experience with eBay policy compliant design
    • Offering free returns
    • Focusing on great service and getting excellent feedback

Sellers who focus on providing great service are likely to get more listing views with eBay catalogue product focused shopping.

This change is massively positive for all the hardworking, genuine sellers who consistently offer great service in these highly competitive categories.

Shortening the eBay customer journey

customer journey

A sale starts long before the checkout. The customer journey includes the emails people receive and the social media posts they see encouraging them to visit your listings, their product searches, viewing listings and researching options before committing to clicking that buy now button.

Anyone searching on eBay for a product you sell is a potential customer. They may find you when they are in the early research phase of the customer journey, or when they are ready to commit to purchasing.

Most customers will find your listings through eBay search and you can’t control what stage they are at when they find you. All you can do is create listings that fulfill customer’s needs at every stage, shortening the customer journey and converting more of your listing’s views into sales.

Be Informative

When looking for a product, customers don’t just shop around for price, but also for product information.

The more questions that your listing can answer for a customer, the better.

If you sell a blender that can blend fruits, vegetables, and nuts, then you should list all of those things. It is not enough to say that it’s a powerful 800w blender. A customer will be looking for exact information that answers their questions in easily relatable terms that they can understand.

If a customer wants to make beetroot juice and lands on your blender listing that doesn’t specify it can blend hard vegetables, they will leave your listing to keep looking for the information they need to help them decide to purchase. They may buy the same blender from another seller, simply because that was the listing they were on at the time their question was answered

The best listings consider all of the questions a customer may have in their mind and answer them in a variety of ways. Some of the best ways are:

  • Detailed description
  • Bullet pointed key features
  • Measurements
  • Well filled eBay product specification
  • Product photos from all angles
  • Product in hand picture to show scale
  • Video of product being used
  • Video of customer testimonials

A video is especially powerful as it is effortless for the customer. It also shows us information that may be difficult to convey in text or flat images. The blender for example; how loud is it? If this were a consideration for a customer, a video would be a far more effective answer than a specification of decibels.

Blendtec is the perfect example of a brand who took full advantage of the power of videos in their product marketing. Blendtec manufacture blenders. They managed to make this normally mundane item go viral with a series of videos entitled “Will it blend?”. The videos combined humor and popular culture with product demonstrations and sent Blendtech’s sales skyrocketing.

Video can be embedded directly into eBay listings with Frooition listing design. Read more about video for eBay.

Cut out landing pages

Cross promoting other items of your own within your listings is an effective way to control the customer journey.

But cross-promotion which takes a customer to a landing page before they see the listing they have selected just ads an extra step into the sales process. It increases the risk of a customer just going back to their main search results. Create a fast and enjoyable shopping experience on eBay by letting customers take the most direct route to the item they want to view.

Frooition eBay cross-sell features take your customers directly to your listing. Speeding up the customer journey.

Use a dynamic sales assistant

One of the worst kinds of delay in the eBay customer journey is landing on a dead listing. The immediate reaction for the customer will be to click back to search results, and you will have lost them. It is important that cross-promotion is dynamic because clicking back to search results will most often lose you a sale.

The best cross-promotion in eBay listings acts just like the best sales assistants in a physical store; suggesting other items that are interesting to you and taking the work out of the shopping experience.

Dynamic cross-promotion only shows live listings that you say are relevant.

Dynamic cross-promotion gives you control and lets you make sure that your customers are seeing the most relevant items you have to end their search.

Research from Bain & Co showed that companies who excel at customer experience grow revenues 4-8% above the market. Dynamic cross-promotion improves customer experience.

Super seller Linda’s Stuff uses her dynamic cross-promotion in a very clever and intuitive way; suggesting related products not just by brand; but by size, colour, and style too.

items-are-all-live-listings-of-the-same-colour-size-and-category

Demonstrate Trust

When researching, customers are not just comparing products, they are comparing sellers too. This is especially true with high-value items.

Your feedback score is obviously very important on eBay because this is a clear indicator of trust.

Being clear with your delivery and returns policy is also important. If you offer free delivery or returns, make a clear point of this. A promotional box in your listing or even a dynamic tab that can show different delivery and returns options for different product categories would be perfect for this.

Be Flexible with delivery

When customers need something quickly or guaranteed for a certain date they will be going through listings comparing delivery options. Shorten their journey by letting them find an option that suits them.

Delivery is a guaranteed way to differentiate yourself from sellers offering the same products.

Delivery doesn’t always need to be free to attract customers. There are situations where customers will pay a premium to receive an item quickly. The more delivery options you offer, the more sales you will make.

Ways To Thank Customers and Encourage Loyalty

thank customers

Your customers make your business. Without them, your store is just a Website. No doubt you are thankful for the loyal customers who buy from you regularly. It is important to thank customers; to keep them loyal, and hopefully even encourage them to share their great experience with friends.

There are so many unique ways to say thank you that there’s no reason why your appreciation shouldn’t delight customers, even when it’s done on a shoestring. These gestures don’t go unnoticed either. When you thank customers in unique ways, they’re likely to share it publicly. Consider our favorite ways to surprise a customer with a thank you:

Write a note

A handwritten note is probably one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to show a customer your appreciation. It is not often we receive handwritten notes now, so this will really stand out to your customer.

Your note should be specific and personal. Write fewer notes if you need to, but maximize the impact. The extra time is worth it. You’ll make your customer’s day — everyone loves receiving real mail!

  • Use the customer’s name
  • Consider your choice of stationary

Give the gift of knowledge

Share your knowledge in ways that your customers will find useful. The more educated your customers become, the more they will appreciate your products, thus the more valuable they are to your business. Longer pieces of content can be shared via a blog, but shorter things can be shared via Facebook or Instagram. Facebook live is one area where merchants are getting really great engagement, and its the ideal place to share quick tutorials or product videos.

Start a loyalty program

A point-based loyalty program where frequent visitors earn points is a great way to reward visitor loyalty. Your rewards program doesn’t have to be complex; it can be as simple as offering customers free shipping for x number of points.

  • Make it easy for visitors to determine the value of their points. Use round numbers. Don’t set up something like 27 points is worth $1.
  • State clearly how points can be exchanged for rewards. Don’t roll out mystery rewards where customers can’t even determine what their points mean, or why should they care.
  • Use apps like Sweet Tooth with Shopify or BigCommerce to customize your loyalty program and have frequent visitors access it from desktop as well as mobile.

Remember Special Days

Thank visitors who shop on your site frequently by greeting them on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Doing so will help you develop an emotional bond with your faithful visitors on a more personal level and trigger positive responses when they visit your site the next time. While you write greetings for all your visitors, take time to write a separate message for the regulars.

Give to Charity

Nothing says thank you like a thoughtful donation to someone in need. Donating a portion of profits to charity helps customers to understand more about your brand values, and encourages them to buy. You can this a step further by donating a small amount in honor of each customer. You can send a personalized note to every member of your community describing the gift and make everyone’s day.

Upgrades

The element of surprise is a powerful thing. Thank customers with a free, spontaneous upgrade. You can play database roulette and pick five customers at random, or make a list of your most loyal customers and send the upgrade to the highest-ranking. In e-commerce, this works really well with offering selected customers unlimited free shipping for a month.

Airlines mastered this practice decades ago with their frequent flyer programs, and it remains a great way to delight customers. It also acts as a great way to build customer loyalty and creating brand advocates.

Thank for feedback

This one probably comes naturally when the feedback is positive, but it’s even more effective to thank customers for the improvement areas they bring to our attention. All businesses have room for improvement. By thanking customers for their feedback, you show that you are a business which values customer’s opinions and embraces the opportunity for improvement.

Reach out to customers to tell them how you’ve implemented their suggestions. There is no better way to communicate with a customer than to show them you were listening.

Let the conversation also be an opportunity to gather more feedback. You want customers to feel like they have an open line of communication to you at all times — whether that’s for praise, complaints or questions.

Family and Friends Discount

If you have a customer who really loves shopping on your site, send them some discount vouchers to share with family and friends. This is a double win, as the customer will feel appreciated, and also act as an advocate to their family and friends, winning you more customers!

Excel at customer service daily

Nothing says thanks for your business better than a friendly, informed service. It’s incredible how customers relax and become more receptive when a human with personality and feelings answers the phone, rather than a robotic voice reading from a script.

Same goes for email — personal and friendly replies make customers feel valued. Let your customer service team’s personalities shine through!

How to build a brand through e-commerce

build e-commerce brand

Contrary to what some marketers may think, investing in your brand online is not just about spending money on the brand. It’s about building an entity that will resonate with your customers and keep them coming back — even when there’s no deal or promotion to entice them.

If you search how to build a brand online, you will see lots of results for articles which state that if you want to grow your business online, you first need to grow your brand. Speaking as if sales and brand are two mutually exclusive entities. The emphasis of most of these articles will be social media and search engine results.

These things are very important, but starting with purely social reputation building leads many retailers to find themselves in a bit of a chicken and egg situation; unable to invest more in reputation marketing without revenue from sales. With recent changes to the Facebook algorithm and rising ad prices, retailers looking to build a brand online are feeling this more than ever.  

The strength of a brand’s online presence is co-dependent with its sales success.

Studies have shown that 92% of online consumers trust recommendations from others. As an entrepreneur, you can spend a huge chunk of your time running paid ads and creating compelling posts to entice people to buy. However, you won’t be able to give customers a solid reason to do business with you if you don’t showcase authentic testimonials from real users.

When you are not visible to customers, you are not only missing out on revenue, you are missing out on testimonials; the most powerful catalyst for building your brand reputation.

Marketplaces bring visibility.

E-commerce revenue is predicted to reach $2.7 trillion this year. But customers do not just go online to search and buy, they go online to research. Some of this research will be via social media, reading interactions and customer’s opinions, but most of it will be done on e-commerce platforms.

55% of online shoppers start their product searches on Amazon.

When searching for a product, most customers will first go to a store they are loyal to, whether that be Amazon or eBay or any other big retailer, and they will search there. They gather what information they can about the product there, and then they go to another large retailer to price compare or skip straight to Google.

If your brand or product is not available on marketplaces, you will be losing customers.

If you do not have your own website, you will be losing credibility as a brand.

Here are our four top points for growing your brand through e-commerce:

Uncover Your Unique Selling Proposition

What makes your brand unique?

Determining a unique selling proposition is a foundational step in any good brand strategy. The goal is to differentiate your brand from your competitors and give your customers a reason to purchase a product from you.

You could be selling soap that is unique because it’s handmade in Wales with organic sheep’s milk, or selling refurbished iPhones with a longer warranty than other sellers. Whatever your unique selling proposition is, customers should know it from your product pages, social media, and promotional emails. That unique point needs to be reaffirmed everywhere customers see you.

Own the space you sell in

Selling online is no different to selling in a physical store, in that when a customer enters your store, they should immediately know your brand name and have a feel for what you offer. Selling on a virtual marketplace is no different to selling in a physical marketplace, in that you are getting a flow of traffic loyal to shopping in that marketplace. Your challenge is to stand out and impress your brand onto them so that they can be loyal to shopping with you.

Ebay is the largest marketplace to allow a high level of personalization and branding in listings. This is something all brands should be taking advantage of. Even if eBay is not somewhere you are targeting as a major revenue channel, it is a place where millions of customers start their product searches. Over 80% of items on eBay are new, and listings are more than an opportunity to sell an individual item, they are a way to sell your brand.

Take advantage of high traffic eBay sales space with custom branding giving customer’s a brand store feel, and use embedded videos to really engage customers.

You can see from this listing that Frooition designed for Metropolis, that a full brand store experience is totally possible within eBay listings.

eBay branding

 

Personalize The Customer Experience

Have you ever ordered something online and received a product that completely blew you away? A purchase where attention and detail went into every aspect of the ordering experience, right down to the customized packaging? If you have, it probably wasn’t hard to recall.

Chances are, the store did their research by aligning themselves to ensure that they’re marketing to people who match their brand’s identity.

For instance, let’s say you’re 30-something, wear brightly dyes silk scarves, appreciate the craftsmanship and the qualities that go into making something by hand. You look online to buy a silk scarf and come across a brand that hand dyes and sews all their scarves locally, or uses fair trade. After purchasing the product, it arrives beautifully packaged, customized with a handwritten note on the inside and a screen-printed hanger tag.

That’s a personalized customer experience. They’re nailing their product branding down to the finest details, just like their physical product.

Branded postal packaging is expensive, but even buying unbranded packaging in your brand colours, adding a ribbon or using a branded sticker can give the same effect.

The Spirit of Giving Back

Brands can position themselves well in a busy online space by getting in the spirit of giving back to their customers.

No matter how many sales you have for your e-commerce store, there’s always an opportunity to share your gratitude with your customers. You’ll want to make sure that you take some time to go beyond to thank your customers for their business.

A personally written note, a small surprise gift for a customer when they make their fourth purchase, or a thank you card for eBay purchases offering 10% on your brand’s website are all simple ways to increase sales with gratitude.

Not only does this position your brand as being thankful and recognizing the support of your customers, but it’s a sure-fire way to get a customer for life.