Google will roll out free listings on their Google Shopping platform in mid-October. This service allows online eCommerce stores to sell their products directly on Google.
Since re-branding to Google Shopping in 2012, the service has been paid-only. With increasing pressures bearing down upon retail markets, the search engine giant has decided to allow businesses to list their products for free to help them better connect with consumers during this period of uncertainty.
While they previously remained tight-lipped about the launch date outside of the US, Google have now confirmed that free listings will become available for all in mid-October.
This is a massive opportunity for any product-based business. Even before the pandemic hit, hundreds of millions of Shopping searches took place every week. It has been estimated that Google Shopping makes up 85% of paid traffic for online retailers.
Over the COVID-19 crisis, eCommerce has become vital for the success of a large number of businesses. Google Shopping and other digital commerce services have also become key places for businesses looking to sell their wares.
If you already use Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of this change; your listings will automatically show up at no cost.
However, if you haven’t used the platform before, now is the perfect time to make sure your website and products are ready for listing on Google Shopping.
How to make your website ready for Google Shopping:
First of all, your website requires full eCommerce functionality to be eligible for Google Shopping. This essentially means that customers can purchase products on your website.
Your site will need at the very least individual product pages, basket & checkout functionality and an integrated payment gateway. If your site doesn’t have these capabilities, you won’t be able to make use of the free Shopping listings.
If you sell products and you haven’t upgraded your site so customers can purchase directly on-site, now is the perfect time. Alongside the huge benefits of free Shopping listings, digital commerce will prove to be a vital revenue stream for many as more and more shoppers move online.
If you are interested in how you can upgrade your site, get in touch with the team at eSterling who can help make the transition to eCommerce. We have been building eCommerce sites for over 20 years and know how to create sites that makes it easy for customers to purchase the products they need.
Set Up A Merchant Account
As free listings will go live in a few weeks, now is a better time than ever to sign up for a Google Merchant account and get acquainted with how the platform works.
This account is where all your product data will live, alongside where you can where you can set shipping and tax rules. Sign up is easy and can be done here – https://www.google.com/retail/solutions/merchant-center/
When you want to start selling products, you will need to verify ownership of your website. This can be done in a few ways including Google Analytics, Tag Manager or a HTML file upload.
If you need assistance with verification process, eSterling can help guide you through the easiest solution possible
Set Up Product Feed
If you have an eCommerce site all ready to go, you’ll need to generate a product feed that can be sent to Google. A shopping feed is essentially what allows you to tell Google what you are selling and how much to sell it for. This is the heart of any good Shopping campaign, so getting this setup and optimised in advance could be key to success.
Setting up and optimising your google shopping feed will ensure you show up for the right searches, earn clicks and maximise sales. eSterling have helped companies across the UK set up their product feeds and succeed in Google shopping. We handle everything from generation to optimisation, so if you want to outperform your competition when the free listings roll out, contact eSterling now.
Optimise Product Pages
Google Shopping requires landing pages from product ads to show the same product, image and price that appeared on the Shopping listing, as well as the ability to intuitively add to cart and purchase.
A landing page that doesn’t meet Google’s requirement could prevent your products from showing up at all. Now is the perfect time to review all of your product pages to ensure they are eligible to appear before free listings are launched this month.
Google also requires product images to meet certain quality standards, for instance, if your image is too low resolution the product may be prevented from appearing in your campaign at all. Now is a great time to review your product images.
eSterling’s web design team have created hundreds of product pages that meet the standards of Google shopping. If you feel your product pages need reviewing, contact us now and we can go through what you need to do to get them ready to sell for free on Google Shopping this year.
Set Up User Tracking
Ensuring you can accurately track how Google Shopping users are interacting with your site will be vital in ensuring your campaign is performing as best as possible when you start making use of the new free listings.
eSterling’s SEO team can set up Google Analytics and other user tracking options on your site in no time, making the process as simple as possible and ensuring your tracking is ready once the new changes start to roll out.
Call us on 0121 766 8087 and we can discuss in more depth how we can help you get your website ready for free Google Shopping Ads.
Facebook is launching Facebook Shops in a bid to gain a stronger foothold in the eCommerce world and compete with the likes of Amazon and eBay.
Shops will allow businesses to set up free storefronts on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has had shopping features previously, but this update will allow companies to completely transform their Facebook pages into more accessible and attractive storefronts.
What is Facebook Shops?
In a recent post, Facebook has stated that:
“Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple.”
“Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and then customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase their brand. This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.”
Essentially, Facebook shops will function similar to existing eCommerce platforms but will only be available across Facebook and Instagram applications.
There are also plans to roll out features that allow businesses to handle customer support issues through Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp
Is Facebook Shops Free?
Shops are completely free to create – the only potential charge to businesses if a customer uses Facebook’s checkout option but this option can be turned off and users can instead be directed to the businesses’ own website checkout process.
If a business has a fully functioning eCommerce website then all products can be listed on Facebook Shops for free as then there is no need to use Facebook’s internal checkout process.
Is Facebook Shops Worth It?
Absolutely! As COVID-19 has forced shoppers away from the high streets, online sales have soared. These new Facebook and Instagram shopping features present another opportunity to get your products in front of consumers who are looking to purchase online.
With 1.73 billion daily active users worldwide, Facebook has a massive reach. Shops allow businesses to tap into this audience directly. With billions of users now able to easily browse products without leaving Facebook, this is a great opportunity to boost sales in a time that may be difficult for a lot of companies. With no cost to Facebook and such a big audience for your products, there is no reason not to try it out.
Even if you don’t currently have a huge following on your Facebook, the platform allows you to run paid ads that will put your products and storefront in front of targeted demographics.
When does Facebook Shops Launch in the UK?
Although Facebook Shops has launched in the US, it will be rolled out to the UK and rest of the world in the next few months.
How do I set up a Facebook Shop?
To upload all of your products to a Facebook Shop, you will need to create a product data feed or sync your OpenCart, WooCommerce or Magento website.
The digital marketing team at eSterling are able to guide you through this process and get everything in place ready for you to start selling on Facebook shops.
If you need more information on how we can help you sell on Facebook Shops or any advice on social media marketing, please get in touch now.
During these unprecedented and difficult times, there are many business owners who are trying to minimise financial risk for their business by pausing advertising efforts or cutting advertising spend.
This could be seen as a short term and temporary fix but eventually, this will lead to needless lost time and effort later on when it comes to rebuilding your marketing strategy from scratch.
So could this be the time to re-evaluate your existing budget and invest more in Digital Marketing? This blog explains why continuing with your marketing efforts is now more crucial than ever.
Grow your online presence & connect with your clients.
Following the government announcement regarding halting the spread of the virus, people are spending more time online and are using social media to connect with others. So this is the best time to grow your online presence and get more people to engage with your brand.
This could include working on your website to improve rankings and increase your site’s visibility when someone is searching for a particular product or service and being more active on social media. Even if your business is currently closed, you can still use social media to stay in contact with your current clients by showing your empathy and support during the outbreak or posting about small steps you have taken as a business to help people in need.
Make sure that information on your website or social media is up to date and keep your clients posted about any changes in regards to your services.
If you are not familiar or confident using social media, eSterling offer a complete Social Media Management service. We can manage your social activity and provide you with reports to track your online performance and engagement.
Understanding the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a process which includes a number of steps and actions that aim to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website via organic Search Engine results. SEO is a long term process and the results are not immediately obvious. So now is the right time to invest in SEO so that your website is fully optimised for when the sanctions are lifted and business returns to normal levels.
eSterling are experts in all things ‘SEO’ and our SEO services provide regular reviews, up to date reporting and on-going support. We make sure the site is fully optimised and that you are targeting the right keywords as well as resolving all technical issues.
That gives you a big advantage over your competitors as many of them may have not looked at their SEO campaigns.
Time to invest in content.
Content is one of the main ranking factors for all Search Engines and Google has made it clear that a great content strategy can increase traffic and in-turn improve rankings. During these days people are spending many hours browsing the internet and reading articles. You should focus on updating your website’s content and optimising pages for desired keywords for your products or services.
Don’t forget to add or update your blog section with interesting and informative content to keep your customers engaged, even if your company is closed or you are not operating usual hours.
Take advantage of our copywriting services and we’ll create well-written, original and engaging content based on your brand and target audience.
Start online advertising by creating profitable Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns.
People are staying at home and searching for products and services online, so you could take advantage of the increased search volume and invest in PPC advertising. With Google Ads you’re in control of the money you spend and are only charged when someone clicks on your ads so most of the clicks will come from customers who are looking for your products or services.
If you have already set up PPC campaigns and your business is still operating then it is worth leaving these campaigns running as your customers may still be looking for your services or products.
Should you have any questions about online advertising and PPC, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here at eSterling we are still fully operational and can help you with online adverting and offer full support throughout this period and beyond.
Focus on your website and improve User Experience.
With daily traffic at an all time high, now could be the right time to think about a new website or a redesign of your old website to improve user experience. You need to make sure that your website is mobile friendly, the page speed is good and navigation is easy with clear structure and defined call to actions on all pages.
If you are not currently selling products, now is a great time to convert your site into an eCommerce site or improve your existing site since most of the transactions are taking place online. With so many people in quarantine and not being able to go to the stores, eCommerce sales are booming!
We have years of experience in designing and building websites and we always endeavour to build sites that exceed your expectations and generate you more business. Give us a call to discuss your project & requirements today!
At some point in the future this pandemic will pass, so you will need to make sure that you’ve got your business ready to go. Investing in your online strategy now, will reap the rewards further down the line.
We are here to help! We can help you promote your business online and develop an effective and measurable Digital Marketing strategy.
Call us on 0121 766 8087 and tell us what you want your website to do for your business.
Product pages often serve as one of the most important landing pages on your website. If a user is searching for a specific product, organic and paid search results are more than likely to be filled with product pages.
This means that your product page needs to provide the perfect amount of information for users and for search engines.
Here’s a checklist to ensure your product pages are performing well in search and reaching the most customers possible.
All good product descriptions should clearly and concisely explain what the product does, use language familiar to your target customers and communicate why someone should choose this product over a competitors.
Product descriptions should be written for customers first of all – with a clear tone of voice, persuasive wording and appropriate length. Descriptions that do this and demonstrate the clear value of your products will be a vital tool for leading your customers through the sales funnel.
However, just as important as selling to potential customers is product copy that targets the most relevant keywords users are going to be searching in Google. Search engine crawlers determine what a product page is trying to sell by scanning and reading the content. If you haven’t included what could potentially be searched by consumers in your copy, you could be missing out on a lot of search traffic. Keywords should be included naturally into the content, and not stuffed in just for the sake of SEO.
Product descriptions should also be unique for every product. Duplicated content can be a significant issue for SEO and should be avoided when possible, especially for large eCommerce websites.
Product Specifications & Information
Online customers are lazy. When viewing a product page, they want all the information they need in front of them and are often put off by having to click through to other pages to find what they need.
This is why all relevant product information should be clearly displayed on product pages. This can include prices, shipping costs, product size, product colours, and technical information.
Including as much relevant information as possible is always useful to the customer as they can understand the product completely by viewing one page. This will encourage them to move them down the conversion funnel in the simplest way possible.
Product imagery is often the first thing a customer will see on a product page. For this reason, you should ensure that your products images look as desirable and as high quality as possible.
9 out of 10 users have said that product images directly affect their purchasing decisions, so it’s vital to get it right.
Every image should be as high quality as possible while still staying under image size guidelines. Images that are stretched or too compressed will instantly send red flags to potential customers.
A range of images that shows your product from different angles is also preferable, especially if your products are dependent on their aesthetics. Having multiple images for each product variation is also a great way to show your customers exactly what they are buying.
Aside from just looking great, your images need to be helpful and answer questions your customer may have about a product. An image needs to give an idea of how it can be used and why they need to buy it.
Videos have also become a useful tool for eCommerce sites. Including videos on your product pages allows sites to give a much deeper insight into a product than a simple image. A video can include voice over and in-depth product demonstrations. This can be a powerful way of showing why a customer should purchase a product.
Social proof is a powerful tool within eCommerce. Seeing what someone else thought of a product can be one of the main things that helps a user decide on making a purchase.
The immediate benefit of reviews is that they can make your future customers feel that much more confident. Having this clearly displayed on a product page increases the chance that they a user will make the decision there and then.
If you need help on creating the best product pages possible, get in touch with eSterling! We are experts in eCommerce web design and digital marketing and have the knowledge and tools to help you create product pages that get users to click that buy button!
Online shopping has become a central part of daily life for millions across the UK. With internet speeds improving, fast mobile data coverage extending across the country and websites becoming more feature-rich, eCommerce websites are quickly taking up more and more market share from traditional brick and mortar retail stores
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2018 one in every five pounds spent in UK retailers was online.
With so many people now going online to purchase goods, if your eCommerce website isn’t up to scratch, you could be missing out on a lot of business.
To help improve your eCommerce site, eSterling have put together four steps to get your eCommerce performing better and generating more sales.
Create an Easy User Journey
Customers are quickly put off by complex, confusing sites that lead them on a wild chase to find what they want. Sites that have an easy to follow structure, clearly displayed information and simple payment and checkout process are much more likely to convert site visits into sales.
Your products should be grouped into easily identifiable categories and subcategories with a simple navigation that allows your users to quickly see the next steps they can take. Design and functionality should blend together to promote uncomplicated navigation through the site.
Users also expect clearly displayed pricing, shipping cost, estimated delivery dates and returns, so all eCommerce sites need to make this information easy to find. To further support customers, offer uncomplicated ways for them to contact you if they can’t find the information they need.
Multiple steps in the checkout process will cause users to abandon their purchases. Anything that can be done to simplify this process down as much as possible will reduce cart abandonment and ensure that your site is converting to its full potential.
If you need help creating a seamless user journey, eSterling have over 40 years of combined commercial experience in web design – our team of designers & developers are experts at combining stunning aesthetics with simple usability, allowing users to navigate eCommerce sites effortlessly.
Focus on Product Pages
When eCommerce sites have hundreds of products for sale, optimising each and every product pages can often seem like a gargantuan task. However, neglecting this will damage your chances to succeed in the online marketplace.
Creating successful product pages is centered around communicating as much information as you can about the product in the most concise way possible.
Product descriptions should be clear and engaging, including what your product is, what it does and why it’s better than your competitor’s products. Any important info about product specifications should also be prominent so customers will feel confident they have found the right product for them.
Good photography is equally important – when searching the internet for goods, consumers will often scan the page rather than take in every detail. The first thing customers will see is the product image so high quality and correctly sized imagery is imperative to converting more sales.
Track Site Performance
Understanding exactly how your site is performing is key to success in the eCommerce world.
Tracking site performance and looking at how customers interact with your site will allow you to see exactly what you need to do to improve your eCommerce experience.
For instance, if your data is showing that users are adding items to the cart but abandoning the process during checkout, you know you need to look at how you can improve your checkout process.
Installing eCommerce tracking allows for lots of useful insights such as this, and will become one of the most important tools at your disposal.
eSterling offer eCommerce tracking with our eCommerce SEO, which allows you to accurately track how customers interact with your site.
Trust is one of the most important factors when it comes to deciding if you buy a product online. If a customer doesn’t trust a site with their payment details, there is very little chance they will make a purchase.
A professional site design is one step toward building trust with potential customers, but this shouldn’t be the only thing you do.
Getting onsite customer reviews is a great way to build trust – social proof is one of the most important aspects of how people to decide to interact with websites. If it is prominently displayed that other people have had a good experience with buying from your site, it will be much more likely thta others will make a purchase.
Making sure your site has an SSL certificate is equally important to ensuring users trust your store. Google Chrome has now started marking sites without HTTPS encryption as “Not Secure” in the address bar. With online safety being at the forefront of people’s minds, seeing a warning like this could prevent many users from trusting your eCommerce shop.
eSterling offer Google review widgets for your site, prominently displaying your Google reviews on your site’s homepage, as well as SSL certificates with out hosting packages. Get in touch now for more information
As ludicrous as it sounds, there are only 106 days left until Christmas and whilst the sane amongst us are still hanging desperately onto barbeque season and flip flops, the retailers amongst us know that now is the time to get ready for the festive season. The mince pies are in the supermarkets, the incidence of toy adverts on the television is steadily increasing and consumers, whether they know it or not, are being subtly herded towards the bright lights and ringing tills of Christmas shopping.
Now is the time to make sure your website is ready for the approaching season of madness, take stock, decide on any strategies or special offers and make sure your web development company has details of any changes you want to make sooner rather than later. Christmas 2013 is going to be tough for retailers but with a slight upward trend in the amount of consumer spending, for the well-prepared things are looking up. So, what to do to get your website ready?
1. Freshen up.
Have a good check through your content. It is always a good idea to change or add to your website, keeping your content fresh not only gives you Google points, but it keeps your customers interested too. If your site has a featured products section, start adding in your best-sellers or any new ranges. Make sure any photography is professional and shows off your products to their best advantage.
2. Special Offers.
Consider running some seasonal offers. Online purchasers love little extras like free delivery and that can make the difference between them choosing your site and someone else’s for their gifts. Most modern ecommerce systems will allow you to display linked products (customers who bought this also bought that). Alternatively a good old-fashioned BOGOF always goes down a treat.
3. Keep things simple.
Making your website hassle-free is one major way of improving your customer commitment. Look at how smoothly your search function works, and how easy it is for customers to checkout. Keep things simple and give good customer service and people will come back.
4. Don’t go mad on the tinsel.
Although you want to get ready for the festive market, don’t over-do the Christmas vibe. Gradually introduce changes to the site to get ready for the bells and whistles of December, but don’t go for it too early.
If you need to discuss any promotional changes to your website, or would like further information on website design, get in touch with eSterling today. We offer full design and development services to ensure your website is at the heart of your business.
Browsers are fickle. If you want to convert a visitor into a customer you need to instantly grab their attention. Beyond eye catching images, bullet points and benefits (not features!) you need to focus on your headlines.
In the world of content strategists and copywriters they call this microcontent and we’re going to show you how to improve yours.
You only get a sentence, that’s 40 to 60 letters, to work with. That’s a lot less that a tweet so every word counts. This kind of text is also displayed usually without context. Sure, it may be displayed with an image but often those are a little generic or abstract. Because of this you have to write a headline that stands on its own.
Here are a few hints on writing that perfect line of text.
Be clear in what your message is.
Your headline has to be appealing. What are you offering? Why does this benefit the customer?
It has to be relevant to both the site and to the reader. Match the headline to the content.
Be credible. Don’t over exaggerate or make claims that simply are not true.
Be sure to “front-load” your headline. That is, putting the most valuable phrase at the beginning.
Use numbers. “10 reasons good headlines improve online sales!”
Use powerful words like “free” and “imagine”.
Try phrasing your headline as a question. “Want to get more business by writing the perfect headline?”
Be succinct. Remove
Focus on what the customer will find desirable.
“We promise you this: you are now ready to write great headlines”
While Search engine optimisation and Conversion rate optimisation are certainly the two best, and well known techniques for increasing return on investment from your ecommerce site one often overlooked method of maximising revenue is increasing the average value of the orders customers place through your website. By increasing your average order value you can quickly increase your revenue streams without a reliance on the time investments required by traffic generation and improved conversions.
Here are a few ideas you can use on your website.
Conversion rate experts agree that free delivery is a great method of turning browsers of your ecommerce store into buyers but you don’t have to offer that as an option from the get go. One technique you can employ is to add a free delivery threshold and advertise that fact on your basket and checkout. By using this method you can encourage customers to add more items to their basket in order to “save” money on the delivery. Please don’t see this and other techniques as underhanded or tricking customers. This is simply a way of giving them extra value while encouraging additional purchases.
You might also think about offering free delivery on certain products. This is an especially good idea for seasonal or time limited products.
If you have the ability to cross sell items on your website you should use this opportunity to target higher-end products. Related items are often selected when you add your products for the first time and are rarely updated. While you should review and refresh these cross selling items as often as possible there is an opportunity here to use Google Analytics to your advantage. By looking at the various paths take through the website and which categories and products they view most often you can tie products which customers do look at in concert together. Say for example you sell clothing and accessories, through Google Analytics you notice that customers who purchase a certain dress then quite frequently look at shoes. Here is an opportunity to tie those items together as you know they are actually related. This helps customers by giving them genuine items they might want to purchase together without requiring them to browse about the site and not getting the sale.
Instead of selling single items you might try to offer product bundles instead. By creating a product that is actually a set of complimentary items you can offer your customers a bargain when they purchase these multiple items together. By bundling items that total £100 for £90 you can increase your average order value where a customer might previously have bought one of the items in the pack for say £30. You might want to label these items “Gift Packs” especially during a seasonal period.
The same idea can be used for multi-packs whereby you offer several of the same product for a reduced price. This might be an easier method to call upon when your ecommerce software does not actively support volume discounts.
Clearly some of these techniques are dependent upon what your ecommerce software can provide but if you need help with expanding upon those facilities or if you are even thinking of updating to a new package eSterling is here to help.
While we have been running the eSterling website and blog for some time we thought it would be handy for new readers and anyone looking at the services we offer to have a short overview of the company.
eSterling is a Birmingham web design agency made up of a team of 20 people covering all aspects of development, support and SEO. We operate as a full service web agency offering web design, web development and search engine optimisation.
We mainly build websites for companies based in the West Midlands. We pride ourselves on producing a bespoke solution that meets the needs of businesses rather than foist a website template solution on them. We won’t hand you a basic template website or an older design with a new logo placed on top. Our team carefully researches your brief, requirements and market you are in and from that creates a tailored web solution just for you. We have over 14 years of experience in the web development industry and guarantee a fresh, jargon free and professional approach to developing your website.
We have provided many hundreds of companies in the Midlands with various categories of web solutions from brochure websites to ecommerce websites. If you are looking to sell products online eSterling have many years of experiencing producing bespoke ecommerce sites. We can provide you with a secure platform with easy to use CMS software that puts you in control of selling goods through your website. Integration with payment services such as SagePay, Worldpay, PayPoint and Worldpay is no issue and we’ll even advise on ways we can help with building support for CRM or Sage accounts into your website.
For a free, no obligation meeting and quote contact eSterling on 0121 766 8087 today.
As Jubilee-fever sweeps the nation are you doing your bit to make sure you capitalise on it this summer? Retail outlets are FULL of Union Jacks and little crown-shaped trinkets. There is a resurgence in teapot sales and macaroons are EVERYWHERE!
Whether or not you plan to wave a little flag of your own, there is definitely money to be made on the back of the Jubilee and for savvy business owners the opportunity is too good to miss. Here are our top tips:
- Run a Jubilee-inspired competition on your web site and spread the word using your Social Media links such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Turn your usual seasonal special offers into Jubilee special offers, decorating your site with red, white and blue to jolly it up.
- Give out Jubilee voucher codes at checkout to existing customers encouraging a return visit by offering a discount.
- If you’re in the market, stock a specific Jubilee range to entice buyers. Create packages or sell items on an individual basis.
- Get involved in community activities. Offer to sponsor a tea party in your local area and get the press involved.
However you choose to spend the Jubilee, don’t miss out on a chance to increase your sales opportunities. Boost British Business! Hoorah!