Today we are going to cover one of my favorite topics and that’s e-commerce! We are going to chat about six of my favorite tips to help scale your e-commerce business, starting like right now. This post is from a podcast episode I did so if you’re more of a listening kind of guy or gal, check out the episode below!
The Elevated Visibility Podcast
I’ve been in the e-commerce digital marketing space since 2009 and I have worked with companies and organizations of ALL sizes. Everything from National Geographic to Yankee Candle to Benefit Cosmetics. And in that time I’ve picked up a few hacks that can help your business thrive, so let’s dive right in!
#1 Know Your Numbers
I know, this one seems obvious, but there is a surprising amount of product-based business owners who don’t have a clear understanding of how customers are even getting to their website, let alone how those people are converting.
Before you do anything else when it comes to scaling your e-commerce business, you need to understand exactly how each of your web channels converts, and how people are finding your products.
This means having Google Analytics or a similar web analytics platform set-up, with e-commerce tracking enabled so you can clearly see which channels are converting the best and also how many people are abandoning you cart, etc.
Set Up Google Search Console
The second thing you need to do when it comes to knowing your numbers is to set-up a Google Search Console account. This is a free tool from Google that gives you an enormous amount of information about your organic website traffic. You won’t be able to tie any kind of revenue or ROI to this data, but it’s still really helpful to view this data and understand how Google sees your website.
Because here’s the thing, before you can scale your business, you need to know WHAT to scale. And you can’t do that until you know your numbers, so this is step number one.
#2 Listen to the Experts
I think this tip is something that’s often overlooked, because the truth of the matter is at some point, you’re going to need to outsource SOME THINGS to help your business grow. And if you’re truly ready to scale, and you spend time looking for, vetting, and paying service providers to help you do that, you need to listen to them.
This doesn’t mean don’t follow your gut or pay attention when someone is making recommendations that truly don’t align with your business values or vision. But if you’re going to potentially invest thousands of dollars in experts, please listen to what they have to say. Sometimes there are growing pains when you’re scaling an e-commerce business. And in the beginning, when you’re smaller, it can feel good to just continue doing the things that you’re doing because they’re working. But the side effect of this is that you play it small. So, if you want to scale, stepping outside of your comfort zone and listening to the experts that you hire is crucial.
#3 Do Not Make Assumptions
I have sat in meetings for enterprise level e-commerce sites, where millions of dollars are on the line, but there have been massive amounts of assumptions being made. Things like “oh, we’re pretty sure we know how people are interacting with the site, or we think we know that people aren’t clicking on that button, so we’re going to change it.”
But one important question that was never being answered is: does the data actually support these assumptions and changes? Or are we just winging it?
A lot of the time when we’re really close to a project, we cannot see it clearly. And by that I mean, sometimes when it comes to our businesses, we think that we know how people are interacting with our website, or our call-to-action buttons or our product pages. Do not assume that just because you know your business and your audience really well that you know how they’re interacting with your website.
#4 Pretty Isn’t Always Profitable
Okay, number four is probably one of my all-time favorite tips when it comes to business, period.
Pretty isn’t always profitable.
I have seen so many business owners spend thousands of dollars on a website, only for it to not move the needle in their growth at all. The reason? There are a lot of beautiful websites out there that simply do not convert. And the reason that they don’t convert is because aesthetics was favored over functionality and a stellar user-experience (UX). A good UX and a clearly defined, easy-to-use navigation will take your business so much farther than just a beautiful website.
Yes, you need the right imagery and brand colors to help evoke a certain feeling or response in people. But if people can’t find what they’re looking for on your website, or purchase easily, it doesn’t matter how aesthetically pleasing your website is.
Good UX Is Good For SEO
And a strong UX foundation and clear navigation isn’t only important in terms of people finding things on your website, but it’s also really, really important for SEO.
SEO and user experience go hand in hand. If people land on your website and go right back to the search engine results, Google knows this, and they make a little note of it that basically says “oh, that website didn’t meet the user’s need. It didn’t have what they were looking for because they bounced right away.”
This metric is called dwell time. And Google knows if people are hanging out on your site or not after coming from the search engine results. 44% of product-based searches still originate with Google. And even with the rise of platforms like TikTok, which is most likely going to explode as a shopping platform, something like 65% of TikTok users are still going off platform to investigate the products that they find. So Google still plays a really fundamental role in how people are finding products that you sell, and converting into customers. So making sure that you have basic fundamentals in place like good UX and a clear navigation is not only great for users, but it’s going to benefit you for SEO as well.
#5 Page Speed Matters – A Lot
This next tip has a lot to do with good UX and good SEO and that’s Page Speed. Google has something called the Core Web Vitals rating, and it’s an important component of their overall algorithm. Page Speed is one of the most important aspects of this rating because it matters to users, A LOT. If your page load time is slow, even like three seconds, that’s going to hurt you. Not only is it going to hurt your SEO, but users aren’t going to like it. They will bounce and find a faster website to purchase from.
So in addition to knowing your numbers, this is probably the second most important thing you need to be focusing on when it comes to your e-commerce website. And often times, that can be as simple as asking your web developer or the person that works on your website to compress images. Or if you have a really beautiful video, maybe maybe that video should be a still image and not a video. So those are the types of things to look at when it comes to your website page speed.
#6 Think Mobile Forward, Not Just Friendly
So a strong UX, streamlined navigation and fast page speed kind of flows into mobile, right? Here’s the main takeaway: just because something looks really good on a laptop does not mean it looks the same on a mobile device.
Chances are, the majority of your traffic is coming from a mobile device. And this goes back to the number one tip at the start of this podcast, which is knowing your numbers. You need to know what percentage of people are coming to your website from a mobile device and what percentage are coming from a desktop. And the reason why you need to know that is because it’s going to matter in terms of the kind of content that you’re creating.
Create Content For The User
For example, a beautiful product page, otherwise known as product-description-page, aka PDP. These super important pages are not going to look and feel the same on a mobile device as they do on a laptop. But if 75% of your users are coming from a mobile device, then you need to sort of think about that, right? So it’s really, really important to make sure that the content you’re creating for your PDP’s – like products images, hero images, your CTA – that all of those things are functional and easy to use on a mobile device, including your checkout process. I strongly recommend going through your checkout process as a test user on both laptop and mobile at least once a month, because sometimes you realize, oh my gosh, why did my conversion rate drop? Well, it turns out, there’s an issue all of a sudden with your checkout. Or maybe you currently have a five-step checkout process. Chances are you’re probably going to want to streamline that down to like two, right? Especially if the majority of your traffic is coming from mobile. So those are the kind of examples of why being mobile forward is so important when it comes to scaling your business.
That’s A Wrap!
Alright, that’s a wrap! This was a very nitty-gritty, down and dirty post all about scaling your e-commerce business and the things that you should be paying attention to. And if there’s one action item that you should take away from this post, it’s number one – know your numbers. And then number two, PageSpeed, especially if you’re reading this and preparing for a busy time of year like Q4, etc. Small changes to things like page speed can have a HUGE impact on your overall business success, so it’s worth paying attention to.
If you need more resources, check out my Podcast or my other blog posts. I also share tons of free tips and resources on Instagram and if you’re a business owner looking for a kick-ass community and a place to learn all things digital marketing for your business, check out the Visibility Co. Club!