Jun 30
Reading Time: 2 minutes

An effective site search function on an online business’ website is an increasingly important component of a successful digital strategy. These search terms can provide huge insight into user’s behavior and invaluable data to learn from. Forrester Research also found that 43% of visitors navigate immediately to the site search box, and searchers are 2-3x more likely to convert compared to non-searchers.

According to a study done by WebLinc, shoppers who successfully searched for products resulted in a 216 percent increase in conversion rate and a 21 percent increase in average order value. eConsultancy also reports that an optimized site search functionality improves conversions and sales for the following reasons:

  • Better usability & user experience
  • Increased site usage & return visits
  • Improved customer retention & loyalty
  • Improved branding & a better customer journey

Site search and website navigation are key interactions points for consumers and can make or break an online shopping experience. The following are some tips and best practices for internal site search:

Position
Site visitors should be able to find navigation, including site search boxes, quickly when they arrive at a page. Your search box should be placed in a prominent position so visitors see it as soon as they land on your website. Standard e-commerce site design metrics say that users expect to find the site search box near the top of the page, above the main navigation bar. This is where most visitors will expect to find the search box, but different positions should be tested to find which generates the most queries for your site.

Usable Design
Typically, up to 30% of visitors will use the site search box with intent to purchase. However, if visitors cannot find the information they are looking, they will abandon their intent and leave the site unsatisfied. Offering a user-friendly site search experience will help visitors find what they are looking for in a more streamlined way. One method of drawing attention to your search box can be offsetting it in a different color from your site’s color scheme.

Zero Results Page
Zero results pages can be a valuable source of information for online businesses. Tracking these pages via analytics can help to fix problems with site search and identify the key terms that are not converting. User-generated SEO is becoming a crucial piece of the overall SEO strategy. Based on the information from your internal site search, you can use previous users’ search queries to improve your SEO ranking.

If you don’t have an internal site search, you should consider implementing it. Improving conversions is possible just by paying more attention to your internal site search, the overall user experience, and applying best practices. You will be surprised at what you uncover just from reviewing the analytics and making some simple tweaks.

Jun 23
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When was the last time you looked at the business goals or resolutions you set at the start of the year? How are you progressing towards them? It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle of running an online business and lose sight of your goals or get off track. But, you shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to assess your performance and identify ways to improve.

Now that we’re halfway through the year, it is an excellent time to conduct a mid-year review to reassess the goals you set for your business. A mid-year goal review will help your business save time and money by evaluating what’s working, what’s not, and how you can operate more efficiently in the long run.

Business Goals
Business goals and objectives clarify the purpose of the business and help identify necessary actions to achieve desired results. Many organizations use the SMART goal model to help ensure their goals are strategic and clearly defined. Goals can involve a variety of different areas such as profitability, growth and customer service.

If you don’t have a business plan with goals outlined, or if your plan hasn’t been updated in awhile, now is the time to start writing one or updating your existing one. It will help you focus on long-term business objectives and the steps needed to accomplish them.

Are Your Goals Still Relevant?
A lot can happen in six months and sometimes the goals you set in the past aren’t aligned with where your business is headed. What’s working well right now, and what isn’t? Six months should be enough time to identify if you have made progress on goals, or need to scratch out some completely and start over.

It’s a good idea to review both your business plan and the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year so they stay updated with your strategy. There is a good chance you may need to tweak things slightly, so take the time to make updates now.

Here are some questions to reflect on:

  • Which goals have you met? What went well? What did you do that contributed to the success?
  • Which goals are on their way to being met? Are these goals still relevant for your business plan?
  • Which goals have you yet to address? Are there any new business priorities to convert in goals?
  • What goals did you hope to achieve but didn’t quite get to? What did you do or did you not do that contributed?

Create an Action Plan
Once you have established your business goals, you need to define some actions points. Set mini objectives at various intervals to keep you on track to achieve your larger goals. Identify what needs to be done and assign it, either to yourself or someone else.

For example, let’s say you want to increase sales by 40%. How would you make that happen? You could hire an exceptional salesperson, offer a special discounted item on social media, or invest in pay-per-click advertising. Ultimately, each of these actions could lead you toward your goal of increasing sales.

Conducting a mid-year goal review takes effort and time. But, it can help you stay ahead of the curve and make the most of the remainder of the year. So, take some time to see where you are, redefine, and create new business goals if needed.

A mid-year goal review also gives you an opportunity to review your current relationships with partners or anyone your business is working with. For an online business, having the right E-commerce partner can be an enormous help when you are looking to create a solid strategy for your online sales.

Here at BMT Micro, Inc., we offer a full-service e-commerce solution that will meet all of your business requirements. Our proprietary systems have everything you need to sell your game or software online. If you would like to learn more about our services or if you have questions, please feel free to contact our vendor services via email at vendors@bmtmicro.com or visit our website at www.bmtmicro.com.

Jun 16
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Holding consumers’ attention in the digital world is a challenging task, especially for online businesses. In fact, the increasing prominence of social media and heightened internet use has made it difficult for us to stay focused. According to Microsoft Corporation, the average attention span has shrunk from about twelve seconds to just eight in more than a decade.

We are consuming information faster but less thoroughly as soon as we go online. Researchers from Microsoft suggest that changes in attention span could be due to the brain adapting to evolving technology. While this statistic about attention span has been talked about (and disputed), the facts show that the user experience and quality of content has a critical impact on how long a customer engages with your product, web page, blog post or advertisement.

Even if research suggest you only have eight seconds to attract, engage and inform your customers and prospects, the following are three simple ways you can optimize your online business to capture a person’s attention:

De-clutter
Too many distractions-worthy elements like hyperlinks, buttons, or alternate pathways provide too many options for visitors to leave the process you want them to go through. Your website needs to be designed to deliver a clear, direct and singular message. Visitors should see why they should do business with you and the benefit of it. Proper formatting and appropriate typography can also go a long way towards ensuring the most important parts of your copy stand out and are actually read by potential customers.

Test Headlines and Call-to-Actions
It’s important to have a clear headline with a unique value proposition. Well thought out headlines can increase conversion rates and even time spent on a webpage. An effective call-to-action also makes it incredibly easy for your visitors to make the choice to move forward in their relationship with your brand and convert into customers. In other words, if the first sentence does not stop them, they won’t read the second and get to “Buy Now.”

Avoid Long Load Times
Your site’s load time is crucial if you want to capture any of your website visitors’ attention. A 100-millisecond delay in load time can actually result in a 7% loss in conversion. Long load times also increase bounce rates, lower rankings and are frustrating to your site visitors. But, sites that load within five seconds see an increase of 70% in average sessions times.

Summary:

  • De-clutter: What are the reasons customers should buy from you? Find what those are and make them clear.
  • Test Headlines and Call-to-Actions: Test different approaches to see what resonates most with your visitors and continue to improve.
  • Avoid Long Load Times: Increasing your website speed will increase traffic, social engagement and, most importantly, conversions.

While the abundance of technology seems to be hurting attention spans overall, it also appears to improve consumers ability to both multitask and prioritize. With only eight seconds to capture a person’s attention, content and messages need to be instantly understood, relevant and interesting. This can mean the difference between capturing attention and closing a sale or losing attention and missing an opportunity.

Jun 9
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Deciding between an in-house or outsourced e-commerce solution is becoming a constant dilemma for many online businesses. Selecting the right solution is just as important as the product or service being sold. But, how does a business know whether it is in their best interest to build their own in-house solution versus outsourcing it?

First, there are many things to take into consideration when building your own in-house e-commerce solution:

  • Website development and maintenance
  • Hosting space and secure storage
  • Payment Options
  • Merchant account and payment gateway to process payments
  • Credit card processing fees
  • PCI Compliance
  • Order Management
  • Product Fulfillment
  • Fraud Protection
  • Language & Localization
  • Subscription Management
  • Customer Support
  • Analytics & Reporting
  • Coupon & Discount Options
  • Affiliate Network
  • Tax calculation, collection, and remittance
  • Cross-border tax management
  • Compliance with country-specific payment laws and regulations
  • Refund request and chargebacks

Does your business have the time or the money to spend months in development? What about the skills and resources to build an entire e-commerce solution that is stable and secure?

One of the biggest reasons why many online businesses outsource e-commerce needs is because it is more cost effective than building an in-house solution. Outsourcing e-commerce needs allow businesses to focus on their products or services rather than investing time, money, and resources into developing and maintaining an entire e-commerce system.

Third-party e-commerce platforms (like BMT Micro) simplify everything because they are designed to save businesses time and money. As more shoppers become willing to spend their money online, outsourcing helps businesses deliver a consistent quality of services, enhance customer satisfaction and maximize sales.

Here at BMT Micro, Inc., we offer a full-service e-commerce solution that will meet all of your business requirements. Our proprietary systems (all created in-house) have everything you need to sell software online. We also offer our clients personalized choices and solutions that other e-commerce providers are unwilling or unable to provide.

With BMT Micro, your customers will enjoy online purchasing designed from the ground up to be intuitive and trouble-free. Plus, we can customize our plans to suit your business needs! If you would like to learn more about our services or if you have questions, please feel free to contact our vendor services via email at vendors@bmtmicro.com or visit our website at www.bmtmicro.com.

Jun 2
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Product descriptions are an important part of the conversion process. They are considered a final point in the conversion funnel, and a major reason why some users may (or may not) convert.

Your product descriptions should effectively sell your products and entice users to click buy or try. These are opportunities your business has to communicate value and highlight why shoppers should purchase a product. Good product descriptions also increase sales and drive significantly more traffic to your site.

Unfortunately, the inability for consumers to touch products during the purchase decision-making process still poses a major challenge for online businesses. So, it’s your responsibility to address the needs and expectations for your target audience in your product copy.

Features vs. Benefits
Potential customers are more interested in what a product does for them than what the product does. How does it improve their lives? Which problems does it take away? It’s important to tell them exactly how a particular feature is useful for them. And, spell out the benefits of these features in each product description on your website.

A feature is a fact about your product, while a benefit explains how a feature is useful for your customer (e.g., improves productivity). Before you starting writing, you may also want to include some references to how your product avoids things like glitches, hassles, and problems.

Readability
Studies show that consumers read only 16% of the words on the average web page. So how do you entice shoppers to stop skimming and actually start reading your product copy? Since most consumers are skimming the Internet and do not read word-by-word, use bullet points. The order of your points is also important. Get them to notice the important points by listing the primary benefits first.

Also, make sure to use larger fonts and well-contrasted font colors so your product descriptions are easily readable and stand out on the page. Your web design and content writing should work together and strengthen each other.

Optimize For Search Engines
Product descriptions should be descriptive and not deceive searchers with content that is irrelevant or spammed with keyword stuffing. Search engines want to provide its users with the best, highest-quality content found on the web. The problem is too many Internet marketers have been looking for the short-term win (from keyword stuffing to spammy link building).

To drive more consumers to your site, consider optimizing keyword usage in your product descriptions and using key phrases in your headline, subheadings, and body text. Also, optimize your product images by using key phrases in the file name, image description, and alt tag.

Well thought out product descriptions can increase click-through rates and even time spent on a webpage. Many businesses fail to realize is the significant role they play in attracting consumers to websites and search engine results. Don’t make this mistake and overlook the opportunities great product descriptions can bring to your online business.