Since Google updated their algorithms the topic of affliate marketing has reared its head. Some believe that affiliate sites are on their way to the trash heap, while others believe they are still alive and kicking and will be for the long term future using new technologies and tools to increase their conversion rates.
Recent figures have shown that the latter are probably more on the right track when it comes to this debate with increases being seen. Last year over £9 billion was produced from online performance marketing from a spend of £814 million. Getting our calculator out quickly we can see that every £1 spent gives £11 in return
Comparison gives up to 20% of generated affiliate revenue menaing that this is still a good place to invest and ignoring data feeds and affiliate tools could prove to be a missed opportunity.
Optimising for speed should be your number 1 concern for E-commerce sites… Study after study have been done and they all show that page speed and load times are one of the biggest factors in a customer leaving your site before purchasing.
Baring this in mind, here at FeedProfessor we are going to do a mini series to give some valuable tips for e-Commerce sites.
1. Optimise Your Images
If you have lots of images on your site or high quality large images this of course means that your images are going to have massive file sizes which means you are going to have massive page loads… see our intellect?
Whenever optimising a site this should be the first place you look. Pingdom and similar tools are great for getting an idea of where these big files are.Images above 20kb should be immediately looked at and either re-scaled or re-formatted to save size and space on the server. I have seen images reduced from 2mb to 20k without a real noticeable loss in clarity just by using optimisation tools such as Photoshop, converting from png to jpeg and using lower qualities.
Using the tip above is just the start and we will be looking at more tips in the following posts.
Comparison Shopping Engines can also be called Shopping Search Engines, CSEs or shopping feeds and what they achieve is really all explained in their names.
When you perform a search inside a CSE, they look at the search query and display a list of products with recommendations, prices, quality scores, retailer names etc. for an individual to click through on and make a purchase.
To add products to the CSEs, a user must us a specific product feed for that CSE and the CSE can then sort this information as required.
Some highly popular CSEs include Google Shopping, Shopzilla, Nextag, Amazon Product Ads, Price Grabber and Bing but there are literally thousands more and in 2012 they had revenue of over $1 trillion.
Before you can see your products on a CSE, you first need to create a txt, CSV or Excel file formatted correctly for your required CSE.
The feed you submit must contain product information for all your products with all CSEs having slightly differing requirements on the accepted data.
To gain access to the particular specification for your CSE you normally have to sign up for a merchant account and then download their specification. Once you have this setup you then simply need to upload your data feed to their systems.
When building your product feeds, there are a few things you need to remember:
- Regularly optimise your product feeds with names and descriptions.
- Use high quality images.
- Tag product links with tracking information.
- Create a budget plan.
- Submit your product feed daily.
Tesco have announced their intentions for the future claiming that it is working towards becoming
The best multichannel retailer for customers.
Tesco recently announced its first drop in their annual profits for near on 20 years, however this was coupled with over £3bn of online sales for the first time in their history with a growth of 13%. The global firm also announced that they would be coming out of the USA and leaving the Fresh and Easy operation, costing £1.2b in profits. They have also stopped any new new developments here in the UK.
Philip Clarke, chief executive, said: “The announcements made today are natural consequences of the strategic changes we first began over a year ago and which conclude today. With profound and rapid change in the way consumers live their lives, our objective is to be the best multichannel retailer for customers.
“Our plan to Build a Better Tesco is on track and I am pleased with the real progress in the UK. We have already made substantial improvements to our customers’ shopping experience, which are starting to be reflected in a better performance.”
He added: “Our focus now is on disciplined and targeted investment in those markets with significant growth potential and the opportunity to deliver strong returns.”
“Tesco Direct is a key part of our multichannel strategy going forward,” said the full-year statement, “but its path to profitability has progressed less quickly than anticipated. It is a clear priority for the year ahead – and the one which is receiving most of our focus in this area – to ensure that we have a profitable, scalable model before we look to accelerate growth.”
Now we are into our 3rd installment taken from the SLI systems site search survey we will review the 5th and 6th questions. To read the previous 3 questions please visit SLI Systems Survey: Part 2.
Q5. Which of these site search features do you already have or are you planning on adding or improving in 2013?
- Merchandising – 50%
- Refinements – 45.5%
- Rich Auto Complete – 45.2%
- A/B Testing – 28.6%
- Ajax – 27.8%
- Mouse-Over Pop-Up Images – 22.2%
- Floating Bar Search 8.0%
Plan to add in 2013
- A/B Testing – 46.4%
- Merchandising – 43.8%
- Refinements – 40.9%
- Rich Auto Complete – 38.1%
- Mouse-Over Pop-Up Images – 37.0%
- Ajax – 33.3%
- Floating Bar Search – 28.0%
A/B Testing has come out on top of the shopping list for eCommerce sites in 2013 with almost half of the companies looking to add this feature next year.
Q6. What strategies have you added to your eCommerce site in preparation for the December holiday shopping season?
- More SEO – 50.5%
- Better Merchandising – 34.9%
- Better Visualisation – 33.0%
- Better Refinements or Navigation – 30.3%
- More Relevant Site Search – 28.4%
- Online Videos – 26.6%
- Mobile – 25.7%
- Ratings and Reviews – 23.9%
- Customer-Focused Analytics – 16.5%
- Recommendations – 15.6%
- New eCommerce Platform – 10.1%
SEO was a huge factor for companies trying to jostle for position in the run up to Christmas with over half the companies saying they added this pre-December.