5 ways to optimise your eCommerce performance from Exa Networks

5 points for improving eCommerce performance

Getting the best possible results from your eCommerce site is an involved and often difficult process. With this blog post, we at Exa Networks have put together 5 important points that will help you give your customers a better online experience - and help you maximise your sales performance!

Simple User Journeys:

A user journey is the path a potential customer takes through your website, from initial visit to the end of their interaction. Customers want a simple, convenient user journey - every unnecessary page costs you potential sales as visitors drop out. Imagine your website as an actual store - you want to be able to find what you’re looking for easily, and wouldn’t want to go through extra aisles just to make a purchase.

Reviewing and simplifying your user journey is a vital first step for optimising your eCommerce performance. There’s a few different ways to determine whether your journey is properly optimised - start off by actually taking a look through the site yourself, and see if there’s anything that seems unnecessary.

After that, tools like Google Analytics will let you determine how visitors to your site act: if there’s a large drop-off of visitors at a particular point in the user journey, there’s likely an inefficiency to correct there.

Improve search engine performance:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about ensuring that people interested in the services and products you offer can actually see your site. Using a range of techniques, you can improve your website’s search performance to improve its position in relevant internet searches, bringing in more potential customers.

There’s a huge amount of factors to consider in SEO, with hundreds of books having been written about the subject, so we at Exa Networks have put together a couple of basic tips to get you started. Creating a well-interlinked site that actually says what your business is about is also vital for SEO performance - search engines need to be able to discover your site’s pages and get an idea of what they’re actually about.

There’s a fair few features that you can use through a website to improve SEO performance. With titles, meta descriptions, H tags and URL snippets, you can tell search engines what your pages are about. Optimising these lets you improve your performance in relevant searches.

Faster website loading:

Website load time is a major factor for both search engine rankings and customer satisfaction. You’ll lose a significant amount of potential customers every second they have to wait, while search engines will penalise sites that take too long to load. The same is also true when it comes to website downtime - if your site’s offline for a significant amount of time, you’ll lose potential customers and search rankings.

There’s a lot of work you can do to improve your site’s load time. Several sites use particularly large images, which heavily slow down loading. Optimising your images is completely vital - you can significantly reduce speeds that way. We’d also generally advise not using Flash for website design, as it slows down loading, doesn’t have any real SEO benefits and often irritates customers.

Along with design concerns, web hosting has an important part to play in load time. Most smaller businesses host their websites on low-cost shared servers. The cheapest companies tend to pack their servers with hundreds of websites, leading to slower load times. If you’re looking for a better hosting solution, just get in touch with Exa at 0345 145 1234!

We’re committed to giving your business the best hosting around, so that you get fast page load times along with an incredibly high level of uptime (100% in 2015). 

Using social media and digital advertising to improve eCommerce

Social Media Engagement

Engaging with your potential customers on social media is a great method for improving sales. It’s estimated that 78% of customers are influenced in some way by social media posts - being able to use this properly can bring in a lot of extra business.

Again, there’s a whole lot to consider when it comes to social media, so we’ve put together a couple of initial points to focus on. Different businesses will benefit from different platforms - we’ve found that our Twitter account drives significantly more engagement than Facebook, while other companies will see entirely different effects. Trying out different platforms is the only real way to find out what’s going to work best for your business.

Understanding how people interact with your social media is important when you’re trying to improve online performance. While exact stats vary by platform, most followers want to find out about your business, from activities to overall services, while relatively few are looking to make direct purchases. This means that designing your social media strategy solely around direct sales won’t be as successful as a more varied plan.

Optimise digital advertising:

Online advertising can be incredibly useful for bringing in customers. Using platforms like Google AdWords, you can target audiences who are genuinely interested in the products and services that you offer, reaching them in a wide range of ways. It’s important to make sure that you know what’s working in your advertising so that you can maximise profitability.

Depending on your goals, different advertising strategies will have a different effect. You can maximise visibility using a CPM setup on most platforms - this charges you for every thousand views of your adverts. If you’re looking to maximise sales, a conversion based pricing is more appropriate, while remarketing campaigns let you reach those who have previously viewed your website.