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5 Learnings from one year of Customer Excellence Consulting.

For one year, our Customer Excellence team advices FACT-Finder customers across Europe – with the aim of achieving a maximum conversion and highest customer satisfaction. Our experiences reveal: Hidden potential for optimization remains in nearly every online shop.

The user-friendlyness and the clarity of the shop design, the product data quality and the perfect configuration of the shop functions – all these are at the focus of our consulting projects.

“Being involved with the FACT-Finder Customer Excellence Program is already having an impact on our bottom line, with our staff gaining a better than ever grasp of how our online shop works and how its performance capabilities can be increased. We are confident that the Programm will play a significant supporting role in the growth of Hobbycraft’s online strategy over the next few years”. – Mike Thomas, IT Director at Hobbycraft

Learn more about Customer Excellence for FACT-Finder customers …

Best practice hints for a maximized e-commerce success.

As a matter of principle, for each online shop, the optimization measures have to be figured out individually. Nonetheless, there are a number of gernerally admitted recommendations – some of them very basic, others much more complex. But one aspect applies to all of our shop analysis: The devil is in the detail.

1. Make the entrance in your product range an ideal one.

Different customers get to your shop via different venues – in most cases through the typing of the URL in their browser or through Google search with a subsequent click on the Ad Words ad, or a link shown in the organic results.

Using URLs in which relevant keywords are included helps making your product range more visible for search engines. You automatically generate “speaking” URLs with an ecommerce platform recognizing the correct keywords among the article denotations and incorporating them autonomously in the web address.

When your SEM and SEO actions start having an impact and search engines generate a regular inflow of visitors in your shop, you should start establishing landing pages for each article – individually adjusted to the term the visitor searched for in Google and co. and retaining the product the visitor was interested in during his last shop visit. This facilitates the entry in your product range and reduces the bounce rate significantly. For instance, a visitor searching for „red shoes Nike“ in google could be guided to a landing page which is optically (with the help of banners etc.) built up as a nike brand world and on which the filters “shoes” and “red” are installed from the beginning. If your e-commerce platform further disposes over tracking options, the former shopping behavior can be taken to consideration and automatically add the filter „men“.

2. Strengthen your customer’s trust.

Whether quality seals for certified dealers, shipping terms or contact information: Everything that enforces your shop’s authority and establishes trust among your customers should be accentuated and easily made available. If your merchandising tool allows defining formalities like „contacts“ or „terms and conditions“ as re-directs, this would enhance customer’s convenience as they can easily find those categories through the on-site-search.

3. Guide customers to their desired product as easy as possible.

Visitors „scan“ websites according to certain patterns, instead of reading them. If it is difficult for them to orientate, they quit the website in a shortest period of time. In order to avoid such inconvenience, you can place the most important shop functionality prominently in the upper part of your site – i.e. the on-site-search: A search box that is sufficiently large, that is not placed next to other input boxes and that sticks out due to its coloring or contrast, is more obvious for shop visitors. An effective trigger making sure that the search is used.

Besides, you should name the search button with „search“ and not with „Go“ or others. Alternatively, a magnifying glass symbol can serve this purpose. It is indispensable that the visitor does not get confused.

Also a text like „Please type in your search term“ can be helpful. However, two things need to be considered: First, for a previously defined text you should use a JavaScript, so that it disappears when clicking in the search box and does not demand a manual elimination. Second, when clicking on the search button without adding a term there should not trigger a search „Please type in your search term“. Empty searches should be directed to special landing pages – e.g. to those with current offerings.

Search quest without search term at Hobbycraft.co.uk: Instead of a 0-result page, the on-site-search displays current offerings.
Search quest without search term at Hobbycraft.co.uk: Instead of a 0-result page, the on-site-search displays current offerings.

Already while typing in the first letters in the search box an error tolerant suggest function offers a useful orientation support and facilitates the search for products with complex spelling. According to current usability studies it is recommendable that the search result list consists of maximum ten articles and can be scrolled both with the mouse and the arrow keys.

hobby_craft_suggest

Sub-dividing search suggestions in different categories and adding some additional information, e.g. “price“ or “sale“, makes of the suggest area a small sales area. Besides, it is recommendable to establish some Business Rules through which specific search terms will be ranked higher. Articles with high margins, high storage costs or with a high purchase probability can thus be prioritized. This is possible when the search algorithm learns from the user behavior and considers previous clicks, search queries, orders etc.

4. Accelerate purchase decisions.

Purchase decisions can be accelerated when the result ranking adapts automatically to the customer behavior. If you have access to analytical data, profit from these in order to identify current trends and to prioritize requested products. By offering your customers filtering features in order to refine their results, their way to the right product is significantly shortened. In this regard, it is essential to only indicate relevant filters in a reasonable order. For example, the filter group “screen diagonal” is essential for TVs and should be placed at the top. For digital cameras, however, the screen diagonal is negligible.

If there are more than eight different filter groups, rarely used filters can be summed up under “more options“. By adding the sample space for each filter group you create a good overview.

5. Create the perfect e-commerce product data stream.

Our experiences have revealed that in online shops‘ product databases remains a high potential for optimization. Valid, complete and consistently structured product data are the basis for a high hitting precision of the on-site-search and for a well-functioning filtering navigation.

In order to ensure sustained high product data quality we recommend a five step process:

1. Data inspection throughout the data analysis and a rough classification. Additionally, establishing of the large categories (e.g. jewelry & watches, fashion, …).

2. Creation of specific, rule-based filters in each category to represent product features. By doing this, finger rings for example will be differentiated by “[n] mm“ according to their diameter and LCD televisions by “inch” according to their screen diagonal.

3. Capture the specific information for each product with the help of the rules depicted in step 2. Thereby, variable terms, units, and formats in the product data – e.g. screen diagonals in “inch” as well as in “cm” – are harmonized.

4. Reconciliation of duplicates in order to control and optimize results with the help of new, precisely definite characteristics.

5. Qualification of the final results with the assistance of specific cleansing software.

3 Customer Excellence offers: Seminars, Reviews and Managed Services.

The FACT-Finder Customer Excellence team has the mission to analyze online shops, to reveal hidden potentials and to configurate FACT-Finder for a maximum conversion. For this purpose, we offer three consulting services:

  • FACT-Finder User Training. Users will be trained in such a way that afterwards, they will be able to take the most important measures themselves in order to optimize the configuration.
  • Systematic analysis and Site-Reviews. After a review, a customer knows immediately his or her position regarding the FACT-Finder implementation. We deliver meaningful reports with recommendations concerning all topics on search and navigation.
  • Managed Services: Online merchants should concentrate on their core business. As shop operator, one only has to book a monthly contingent, in which our experts deduce analysis and recommendations for the online business. It is convenient for customers and brings a quick return on investment.

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