Your Ecommerce Platform Needs Strong SEO and Cart Conversion Capabilities
During this busy shopping season, it’s critical that your website can be easily found by shoppers and that they successfully complete orders. This peak season is the perfect time to size up your online sales performance and identify areas for improvement in your ecommerce platform technology and processes.
For shoppers to find your website, your ecommerce platform needs to provide strong search engine optimization (SEO) features and ties to shopping comparison engines. You need site maps to provide your website information directly to search engines. Your URLs should be short and descriptive, and exclude the superfluous code and session IDs that frustrate search engine spiders.
Your page titles and URLs should by default include the names of your products and categories. The best ecommerce engines will automatically generate 301 redirects to make sure you don’t lose your search engine ranking. Beyond that, an ecommerce engine will export your product lists to the top shopping comparison engines, such as Google Base, Yahoo! Shopping, Shopping.com, NexTag and Shopzilla.
Minimizing Shopping Cart Abandonment
When a shopper is ready to buy, your ecommerce platform and processes need to be designed to minimize shopping abandonment. Give customers as much payment flexibility as possible, offering Google Checkout and PayPal along with credit cards. Be sure that you present the total cost of an item—including shipping and taxes, and minus coupons or gift certificates—before the customer is asked to supply any personal information.
Don’t force a shopper to provide unnecessary information, or to create a special account with a password (although that should be available as an option). Never require a returning customer to re-enter information that he or she previously provided. And be sure to build customer confidence by protecting credit card information with PCI Level I compliance and other security mechanisms.
The shopping cart process is an ideal place for your ecommerce engine to automatically present cross-sell and up-sell recommendations based on what shoppers, or shoppers like them, have browsed or purchased. This technique can prompt would-be abandoners to think twice, and even add additional items to a cart.
Don’t give up on shoppers who do abandon their carts. A leading ecommerce platform will make it easy for you to retarget those abandoners with a personalized email promoting the items they carted, offering a discount or suggesting a related product.