Customer Service Key for Ecommerce: 6 Pointers

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Success of ecommerce lies on great customer experiences. Leading companies are known for their effective customer service strategies which is a key factor in the success of ecommerce. The customer is the most important aspect of every customer-centered organization whether it is a small business or an enterprise. When customers have positive experiences they are more likely to become loyal, repeat business, spread word around, give recommendations and refer more customers to your business. Customer service therefore, has a great impact on how customers view your products and services and plays a major role in conversion rates.
The following are 6 pointers that you should implement.

Make Life Easier for Customers

This is where so many businesses go wrong. Instead of making life easier for their customers they make it harder. Check what leading retailers are doing and emulate them. You may have to do a lot more work if you are a small business especially since today, online shopping has become complex due to the array of products/services you have to choose from, price comparisons and the onset of mobile commerce, but it is possible. Make it easy for customers to view your products/services and categories, let them checkout and make payments without requiring a lot of effort on their part. Make it easy for them to reach support, return products and to contact you when need arises.  

Have Effective Dialogue with Customers

Business is all about meeting customers' needs and wants. When you plan to sell products and services, conduct market research and find out what your targeted audience needs and wants. Once you start the business, strive to find out what your customers want to buy and you can only do this by interacting with them through call centers, emails, blogs and social media networks like Facebook, Twitter etc. Facebook has widened its search within the community of friends who can use the Graph Search.

Make sure you do the following:
- Provide details about your company in the About Us web page
- Give contacts that will make customers be able to get in touch with you
- Reply to emails with your name, answers to queries and a thank you
- Provide space where your customers can leave feedback and act on what they are communicating about you and to you, whether it is positive or negative
- Conduct customer surveys and act on the data provided, add features required, solve ordering hurdles and obstacles, offer payment methods that your customers prefer i.e. PayPal, offer similar shipping service like Amazon Prime etc.

Make Return Policies User-friendly

Forget the stringent return policies which require customers to prove they bought from the company and have to prove this by providing a receipt. Effective customer relationship management CRM system, provide you with customer history and helps you understand your customers' buying habits and patterns. If you know they bought the products from you, make it easy for them to return the products without hassles. Offer similar/alternative products, discounts or refund but make the experience pleasant for the customer. What you should concentrate on is why they returned the products and what can be varied to retain the customers. Ask for their feedback and send a "Thank You" notes to make them feel valued. 

Simplify Free Shipping

Free shipping is one factor that customers consider when making product comparisons. If you offer free shipping make it easy for customers to access it. Some retailers make you search for online coupon codes in order to claim free shipping which is not necessary. You should have free shipping tallied automatically by the shopping cart before payment is processed at checkout. You can customize this on the app you are using or pay for a hosted shopping cart that has this functionality. 

Honor All Your Warranties

There is no need of providing warranties that you know you will not honor. When customers claim a warranty they expect it to be honored otherwise making them go through inspections in order to buy time so the warranty can expire, does not have a place in today's competitive world. Instead of losing the customer, it is better to make that small loss and gain from that customer in the long-term. Retaining an existing customer is less expensive than getting a new customer.

Customers Values

An asset earns you money. A liability drains money from you. There are people who treat their customers like a liability citing the customer service department as an expense. The customers you have are your most valuable asset that earns money for you, so you want to invest in them since you do not want to lose them. Without them, things would be quite different so you want to retain them as much as possible. Investing in a customer service department is vital for ecommerce success.

Company values should be in line with customer values so you are able to meet their needs and wants as per their expectations. You should create a long-term relationship with your customers and make life easier for them so they can have a pleasant experience which they will remember. This will make them want to do business with you over and over again and the repeat business brings profits to you as they become loyal customers making it a win-win scenario.  


Although most marketers work on strategies that will help them gain new customers, retaining the existing customers is much easier and even less costly. To achieve strong and positive customer experience involves having a look at current business processes and making changes. The importance of customer retention, repeat business and great customer service culture cannot be over-emphasized.

9 Ways to Optimize Your Ecommerce Site for Google Search

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Many e-commerce sites have common qualities which make them perform poorly on Google rankings. These include large product catalogs which may run in thousands, shallow product descriptions, duplicate content and focus on search-engine rankings rather than users. 

There are many ways you can optimize your site to ensure that it escapes the algorithm updates that may still be a mystery to many. The following are ways you can implement to optimize your site and gain tremendously from Google search.  

1.Panda Algorithm Updates

Content has to be unique and top quality your site has to be placed on top of ranking results according to the latest Google Panda algorithm update. This means that, copied content as well as low quality content is disregarded by Panda. The PageRank of your e-commerce site depends on certain factors which are regarded highly by Google. These include the page layout, customer experiences, time visitors spend on the site, conversion rates, bounce rates, diversification of traffic and unique product descriptions. Google strives to offer its customers correct ranking results based on these factors so anyone who creates pages targeted at spiders and not users, is penalized and this hurts business.

One of the best ways to benefit from Google Search is to post unique content that is relevant to users. Another way to make the search engine rank your site on top is to encourage your customers to write reviews, comments, ratings and post photos, videos, Shares and Likes on your site. This type of content will generate more traffic as potential customer search queries based on such findings.

2. Eliminate Duplicate Content

Duplicate content which is a major challenge of many ecommerce sites, should be avoided completely. This is because it weakens your chance of being ranked highly by the search engines. In order to minimize delicate content you should:

- Submit keyword-rich URLs to Google and reference them regularly
- Use Noindex elements on product pages you don't want indexed
- Use canonical tags for pages you want indexed and
- Nofollow elements on links you don't want search engines to follow
- Make use of user-generated content
- Ask Google to cancel reused pages that result to duplicate content
- Let Affiliate sites use alternate pages than the ones on your site

When you control duplicate content in addition to other basic requirements, your site has a higher chance of being ranked on top of search engine results.

3. Experiment with Different Types of Content

Google has made it possible for users to search a wide variety of content so you should utilize this opportunity. Create text and images that are catchy so you can make your website more appealing to online visitors. Use title tags, links and alternative tags that have the relevant keyword phrases in them. Use specific words in the titles instead of general terms.
Today, everyone has a chance of marketing their products and compete with the big guys in the market. The marketplace has been leveled by the internet and if only you can work on those small elements that drive e-commerce sites down, you can gain from Google Search regardless of the size of your site. One of the ways to market your small brand is to make your products appear on local news. You will be lucky if your URL appears in the news results because Googlebot will likely crawl on it in Google News.    

4. Prioritize your Products

It is important to focus your attention on products that generate sales and revenue. Even in a brick and mortar store not all products sell and this is the same with online stores. Set priorities and focus your marketing strategies on products that sell most. Place them on the homepage or put direct links that lead to these product pages if they are not on the homepage, to make them visually visible. Putting great emphasis on hot items and optimizing them for Google search will be beneficial.

5. Go Google All the Way

To optimize your e-commerce site for Google search you need to utilize Google products especially if this is where you want your site to be ranked. These include Google Merchant Center, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google Places and Google + among others. You can post product feeds on the search engine Product Listing Ads PLAs and link the feeds to your AdWords account and this will generate SERP rankings to your advantage. 

6. Adopt the Latest Google AdWords Features

There are many features that you need to adopt to get ahead of the competition since many online merchants have not embraced them yet. Better still, the pay-per-click is still low when compared with traditional text advertising costs. These features include Google Remarketing, targeting and re-targeting, pay-per-click PPC and PLAs among others. Google Remarketing enables you to show ads to people who had previously visited your site as they browse the internet in order to catch their attention. Pay-per-click enables shoppers to pay only when they have clicked your ad. You can also create a PLAs campaign if you have an AdWords account and a Merchant Center Account. Visit Google AdWords Center if you have any questions. They have provided instructions of how to utilize these benefits.

7. Google Places

Google Places is vital especially if you have brick and mortar stores. This is because one-fifth of all Google searches are related to finding a location while the majority of consumers (over 90%) search for local businesses on the internet. For best results, list each physical store individually and include the following details-:
- Photos
- Location and Map
- Business hours
- Coupons
- Updates

8. Social Media

The use of social media cannot be over-emphasized. Many e-commerce sites have Facebook and Twitter buttons while several brands are displayed on Facebook Fan Pages. However, the recent "Search, Plus Your World" by Google has enabled the search engine to integrate content, photos and reviews from fans on search engine results. This means that, your site now has a better chance of appearing on a potential customer's search query if you utilize this Google+ opportunity.


You need to use to enable Googlebot to crawl the data. Users expect correct search ranking results as much as is possible. Most of the data available online is consumer-friendly but may not be search engine-friendly. That is why using comes in handy.


In addition to adopting the above 10 ways of optimizing your site for search, you need to utilize other channels that will continue generating sales and revenue if Google drops your ranking. Google changes its algorithms from time to time and a site that was up can drop down suddenly. For those who adopt one channel, this can mean loss of revenue and growth, but for those who have known the benefits of diversification, the impact of such changes will be minimal.

7 eCommerce SEO Tips for 2013

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Search engines have been replacing commercially-oriented sites that lack quality useful content, with their own shopping programs and free or paid ads. It is becoming quite difficult for ecommerce sites to survive the algorithms which search engines use. And yet, online shoppers are increasing as they can now trust Web purchasing than previously. This has created a great opportunity for online merchants who know how to strive ahead. They can now stay ahead of their competitors by modernizing their ecommerce SEO.

You should know that, about 90% of the search is owned by none other than Google. You Tube is also owned by Google and it is the second largest search engine. It is important therefore, to make your site appealing to Google by adopting the following 7 e-Commerce SEO tips for 2013 so you can remain relevant and cut an edge in the competition.  

1.Avoid Over-Usage of Keywords

Do not stuff your site with keywords all over, in the content, title tags, alt text, product descriptions and links, like merchants used to do in the past. This is no longer necessary and in fact excessive keywords will impact your search results negatively. Google is shifting away from links and keywords and increasing their density will be interpreted as a focus on search engine rankings instead of the user. All you need to do is to put the keyword in the title and ensure that the pages are about the keywords without mentioning them excessively.

2. Minimize Load Times

When a site takes a long time to load, customers abandon the site and move to competitors sites which load faster. To make them stay on your site you need to minimize load times to keep them interested in what you are offering. Sites which load slowly are a discouragement. People are conscious of time and you need to minimize load times to keep them engaged.

3. Make Your Site Interactive and Engaging

In order to catch the attention of online visitors, your site has to be interactive as well as engaging. This will keep the site visitors interested in what your site offers giving them an enjoyable experience which will make them come back over and over again. The word customer is derived from custom. When your customers keep coming back to buy from you, it means that they had positive buying experiences which they want to repeat. To keep them coming back you will need to create an interactive environment for them. You can do this by asking customers to leave feedback, write reviews and comments about the products and their experiences as well as having live chat, videos and such kind of interactions.

4. Go Mobile and Multi-Channel

Online shopping via mobile has been driven by the rapid adoption of mobile devices especially smartphones and now the tablets. The use of mobile when shopping either in-store or on the go has become popular among consumers most of who prefer more mobile-optimized information of products while they are shopping.

If you have multi-channels like unique content, social media networks, Pinterest and mobile marketing, your site will not suffer when search engines change their algorithms. Your business will continue to grow and attract traffic helping you stay ahead in competition despite the algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin and future ones which are still unknown.

Developing and implementing a mobile strategy cannot be over-emphasized. You need a mobile commerce strategy if you do not want to be left behind in this playing ground. Mobile commerce involves buying and selling media products, travel, application downloads and advertising among others. By studying consumer buying behaviors and patterns, you can develop the right mobile strategy that is suitable for your e-business.

5. Social Media and Pinterest

Great content catches the attention of online traffic that shares the information with friends, family and followers who visit their sites and social media networks. Facebook and Twitter play an important role in marketing businesses online. You should set-up profiles on these social networking sites to generate organic traffic. Relevant updated fan pages, blog posts, Twitter ‘tweets’ and Facebook ‘shares’ generate organic traffic despite algorithm updates.

Photo sharing has become a major element of e-commerce. Online shoppers are more likely to buy what they see making Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Pinterest platforms to look out for in today’s e-commerce pursuit.

6. Content Marketing is Vital

These days search engines results are based on content rather than on products. Content marketing which is a combination of original text, blogs, video, images and photos catches the attention of online visitors. Content has to be unique, useful as well as high-quality. If you want your ecommerce site to be ranked highly by search engines, you need to focus on quality content that is useful to readers.

High-quality content aimed at readers and not just focused for search engine rankings is ranked on top of Google SERP rankings. Browsers are looking for relevant information which will help them get what they require and that is why content has overtaken keyword optimization and link-building in its importance. Google helps people find high-quality sites by placing them on top of search engine ranking results. Sites which offer relevant content to users are therefore visible.

Original quality content which is user-friendly is rewarded by the main search engines.

7. The Customer is Key

Some merchants start an ecommerce site expecting to reap rewards almost immediately. But a lot of work has to be done before any rewards start to tickle in. Many things have to be put in their right perspective knowing that the customer is vital for ecommerce success. There is no need of selling items just because you like them. You have to find out what customers want and supply it to them.


Other important ecommerce SEO tips which you can adopt include starting a blog, a newsletter, writing articles and getting involved in press releases help to get your products or services noticed online.

Europeans to Increase Mobile Spending 11 x Over Next 5 Years

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Online shopping via mobile has been driven by the rapid adoption of mobile devices especially smartphones and now the tablets. The use of mobile when shopping either in-store or on the go has become popular among consumers most of who prefer more mobile-optimized information of products while they are shopping.

Mobile commerce has gained so much popularity that it is predicted that people in western Europe will increase their mobile spending by 11 fold within the next 5 years to reach 19.2 billion pounds, according to a study conducted by Forrester. The total number of mobile shoppers in Europe will increase dramatically to over 79 million in 2017 as compared to 7.6 million in 2011. This is forecasted as a 45% leap of mobile phone owners mainly from UK and these are the consumers who will drive mobile spending in the next 5 years and beyond.

Europeans spent 1.7 billion pounds last year on mobile purchases which is 1% of total online sales and this is expected to rise in the coming years. By 2017, mobile purchases are predicted to reach 6.8% of all online sales and this will closely follow U.S. mobile purchases which are expected to hit the 8% mark. 
This figure is based on mobile purchases of retail products and services, magazine subscriptions, gift cards, in-store purchases but it does not include any readily consumable digital content such as applications and ringtones, stock trades and mobile payments made physically at check outs using phones and other mobile devices. 

In UK, online shopping and multi-channel purchasing has penetrated the market already and that is why this country will lead in mobile commerce spending in this region. It is expected that, by 2017, UK mobile revenues will exceed 6.1 billion pounds. Germany will lag behind since users in this country have been slow in adopting the smartphones and only 5.7% of total online sales will be realized here, from mobile purchases, in 5 years time. Italy and Spain will leap forward within the next 5 years to achieve an above-average level of online purchases made by mobile. Currently, online shopping is still at a low level in southern Europe but this will change in the coming years.  

Media products, advertising and travel have dominated the mobile commerce spending for now and this is expected to rise as more people buy mobile devices.

Currently, the main mobile purchases are low-cost items such as books, games, music, apps, videos and popular event tickets. Fashion, beauty and accessories are expected to rise in demand in the mobile market and retailers should position themselves for this growth.

The mobile activity involves browsing the items, checking and comparing prices and purchasing the items from mobile phones, tablet computers and other mobile channels. Generating more sales of goods and services and attracting more traffic is one of the major goals of mcommerce retailers. Yet, mobile will continue to play a major role in locating physical stores, price comparison and redemption of coupons as people shop in-store or on the go. 
Mobile ads affect consumer purchasing positively especially if they are from their favorite brands. The effect smatphones have on shoppers is bound to increase their retail purchases. Some shoppers prefer to refer to their mobile device when in-store rather than talk to a sales rep, purchase items from a mobile device and repeat business when they enjoy the shopping experience.

Developing and implementing a mobile strategy cannot be over-emphasized. You need a mobile commerce strategy if you do not want to be left behind in this playing ground. Mobile commerce includes media products, travel, app downloads and advertising among other types of retail. By studying consumer buying behaviors and patterns, you can develop a mobile strategy that is suitable for your type of business.

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