The sight of the bustling high street, full of people decked in hats, scarves and winter coats was once the quintessentially British image of Christmas Shopping. The way we shop has changed, and the opportunities of Christmas are increasingly online.
Online sales over Christmas have grown and grown over the last few years and continue to do so. Sales via a mobile device have also grown as mobile technology continues to improve.
High street sales in December 2016 were 0.1% lower than 2015, compared to online sales, which were up 19%. In just 5 years, the online spend in the UK through December has risen from £7.9bn to £25bn. These figures make good reading for e-commerce retailers, but it doesn’t stop there.
When talking about selling online, I often like to use the analogy of the high street, or a bricks and mortar store, as it’s one that we can all relate to.
So imagine if you will Store A (your shop) and Store B. Both sell the same products and they’re a few doors along from each other on our fictional high street.
Store A’s door is shut, the lights are low and there’s little to no branding on the outside. Inside the shop, the floors haven’t been cleaned for years, the products aren’t clearly labelled and they’re all a bit of a jumble. There’s no shop assistant in sight to help and answer questions and the till isn’t accepting cards.
Shop B is brightly lit, the door is open and there’s strong, recognisable branding. Customers are clutching a leaflet they’ve been sent advertising the latest Christmas products. Inside, the shelves are neatly laid out in categories, and well labelled. Assistants are on hand to answer questions, and the payment is taken in a variety of easy methods.
Which store is going to sell more?
So let’s move this analogy into the online world.
Store A’s site is slow to load, and doesn’t have a very good visibility on Google, whether it be paid for or natural listings. The branding on the site poorly represents the product base and the design hasn’t been updated or changed in many years. The menu structure is confusing and it’s difficult to find the right item. Product pages have 1 low res image and no additional information. The checkout doesn’t accept PayPal and delivery costs aren’t clear.
Store B loads very quickly and ranks highly on Google, with some paid adverts as well. Users are also coming to the site from a marketing mail. The branding is recognisable from social media and perfectly represents the products. The design is clean, modern and functional and renders perfectly on mobile devices. Menu’s are well laid out and there’s a filtered search function to help identify the right product. Product pages have multiple images, good descriptions and an FAQ. The site is secure, and the checkout is quick and simple, accepting a multitude of payment methods.
Which of the above examples does your site feel more similar too?
Store B hit the top of the ranks for a number of reasons, including:
- It’s fast
- It’s a recognisable brand within the market, due to the marketing efforts
- It’s been modernised and works well on mobiles/tablets
- The site is easy to use, and therefore users don’t bounce too often
- There’s lots of great content
- The site is secure
To get a site to this level takes investment and time. Sadly, as is often the case, some sites just can’t afford the investment and don’t have the time. In this case, it’s quite possible that that site won’t survive the test of time.
So what can you do?
Well, all of those things listed above need to be done. There’s a number of simple places you can start with, like making sure your site is secure, or working on your own content, but a larger project may be a requirement.
A great place to start is a Sellerdeck Audit. Throughout the audit process, we identify all of the areas that need improvement and make recommendations. This then gives us a clear timeline and project plan for bringing your site up to date. In the case of one former Sellerdeck Audit customer, from May to July 2016 compared to May to July 2017, they saw a 98.20% rise in organic traffic and an 80.78% rise in e-commerce conversions, leading to a 185.92% increase in revenue.
If your site isn’t growing year on year, then why not?