Thinking Beyond the Sale – Practical E-commerce Optimisation Tips
Conversion Optimisation

Thinking Beyond the Sale – Practical E-commerce Optimisation Tips

4th April 2017

A large proportion of e-commerce websites are very proficient at creating the fundamentally optimised product and category content that delivers some degree of ranking and results from organic search. A few companies have taken note of targeted SEO tactics for e-commerce sites and applied additional actions supporting wider search gains. A comparatively small proportion of e-commerce websites are delivering value outside of the constraints of the sale or making the most out of more creative technology and content opportunities that exist.

In this post, we explore some of these overlooked opportunities and provide practical insight into implementing them for business.

Tip 1 – Selling the brand as well as the product

I’m a true believer that every business has a story to tell, and often the story of a business can be the untapped differentiator and trust signal that can leverage one e-commerce offering from another, and yet rarely is the story compelling, engaging, exciting, or interactive.

In this example, the company (Trent Furniture), have produced an interactive timeline of key company milestones, added mixed content types, and created a hub of supporting content, all focused on telling their story.

Why should e-commerce businesses do this?

Good question.

Firstly, it helps the brand stand out, places a human element to the company, and encourages brand and business trust – a core component of conversion rate optimisation.

Next, the company is passionate about what they do, the service they provide and the success they have seen, a great differentiation online compared to many competing entities.

Additionally, nobody in their digital space is doing this. By taking the lead in creative approaches to digital marketing and audience value, the business has a chance to build brand gains in niches traditionally out of reach.

Practical example source: Trent Furniture.

interactive timeline - Trent Furniture

Tip 2 – Conversation as well as conversion

Few marketing managers will have gone more than a days without some level of informational exposure to conversational commerce, chatbots and voice search. Whilst this topic may still seem a little difficult to get going with for businesses, there is justification to invest your time finding out more.

With the decline of the traditional high street and the focus on expedient online shopping experiences, digital shoppers are seeking conversational solutions to buying products and services, regardless of industry, intent or size of business they are engaging with.

One of the solutions available that e-commerce sites are starting (although many are yet to provide truly integrated conversational solutions) to deploy more effectively are chatbots.

A chatbot quite simply offers a 24/7 conversation with the user. They can follow extremely challenging decision-making trees, ensure consistency of messaging, and help people to remove any informational barriers they may have to purchase (and repeat purchase) from you online.

Some of the advantages of chatbots for e-commerce sites include:

  • Quicker buying cycles
  • Consistent customer services
  • All-time availability
  • Easier and effective customer product comparison and purchase decision making

Tip 3 – Considering the people behind the purchase

E-commerce sites can struggle to break away from the confines of product, service and industry event content creation. Not only does this lead towards unloved blog resources which are rarely updated, but it also encourages a culture of reticent writers who do not enjoy the content they produce, and this comes across in the outputs as well as the end results derived from their efforts.

Why is it important to prioritise people and their needs at the heart of content creation?

Mainly because of the fact that a huge proportion of e-commerce sales are based on solving a problem or servicing a lifestyle choice.

Consider the dog owner looking to buy a new dog harness…

Traditional approaches include; optimising harness category level and product level pages, adding a few trend related frequently asked questions, and creating some brand comparison blog content.

The wider approach thinks about the people behind the purchase.

You should be asking and answering items like:

  • What dilemmas does a dog owner face?
  • What lifestyle choices do dog owners place importance on?
  • Are there associated hobbies and interest areas that dog owners enjoy?

Here’s a practical example reference source: Muddy Paws.

creative people content for ecommerce websites

Additional e-commerce tips…

These are tried and tested, and from fundamental e-commerce optimisation outside of the sale:

  • Reviews count – product level and company level. The more the merrier, but ensure you implement schema code correctly, only publish genuine reviews, and avoid any spammy structured data Google penalties
  • Speed supports sales – directly in fact. Expedient page loading and quick time to buy correlate with sales (notably mobile and tablet, but desktop too)
  • Usability is essential, not optional – the user experience is regularly the trigger between purchase or exit on an e-commerce website. Test, refine and improve the user experience as part of the essential website development cycle
  • Internal search provides insight – both to the user and to e-commerce businesses. You can help users buy quickly whilst filling gaps in product offering with frequently searched for brands and product ranges

Is this everything?

Not at all. This article is intended as a practical means to look at your e-commerce website in a different way and help to expand the market in which you can succeed online. These tips will hopefully provide practical insight and motivation to add to your digital approach towards e-commerce optimisation, and supply strategic food for thought for your next refinement cycle within your digital marketing plan.


Written By
Lee Wilson is the Head of Services & SEO for Vertical Leap, a UK Search Marketing and Digital Agency that offers the most effective and thorough search marketing service in the UK, helping companies maximise their online visibility.
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