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  • 11 of the Best Microsite Examples We've Ever Seen - They say the best things often come in small packages. Think about it: jewelry, books, the keys to a new car ... all of these things support this notion. And with our attention spans shrinking below that of a goldfish, it should come as no surprise that we crave more focused content at a smaller scale, too.
    Topics: microsite, main, grader, site, websites, page, best, visitors, weve, seen, way, website, microsites, examples.
  • 12 Bad Link Building Practices & What to Do Instead - Gaining inbound links from other websites is one of the best ways to improve your website’s rankings on search engines. However, link building can require a significant investment of time and resources and it may be tempting to take shortcuts.
    Topics: links, way, website, instead, practices, site, bad, web, content, building, link, websites.
  • 14 Copywriting Examples From Businesses With Incredible Copywriters - We’re all familiar with Flo from Progressive, right? Stephanie Courtney, the actress that plays her, makes Flo memorable by capturing Flo’s quirkiness — appearing in everything from commercials to print ads, and social media posts.
    Topics: little, theyre, copy, examples, businesses, brand, incredible, site, product, think, copywriters, page, job, copywriting.
  • 15 Analytics Plugins for WordPress - With the right analytics plugin, a WordPress merchant can track prospects and customers, get advanced stats to improve site performance, and fix what’s broken. Here is a list of analytics plugins for WordPress.
    Topics: feed, website, plugin, analytics, stats, plugins, google, track, wordpress, visitors, site.
  • 20 Free Design Tools for 2022 - We update our rundown of free design tools every year. This 2022 installment includes apps for web design, logos, fonts, color palettes, photo and video resources, and much more.
    Topics: premium, icons, create, tool, design, free, price, plans, templates, tools, site.
  • 20 Ways to Effectively Increase Your Conversion Rate - Have you ever heard the term "analysis paralysis"? It's the concept that too many choices can inhibit a person's ability to make a decision. Visitors to your website can experience this too if there are too many places to look or if there’s a confusing design.
    Topics: page, landing, effectively, need, mobile, site, improve, visitors, conversion, rate, increase, ways.
  • 21 of the Best Examples of Mobile Website Design - Now more than ever, businesses are focusing on creating delightful mobile website experiences.
    Topics: youll, works, experience, desktop, site, simple, examples, design, best, mobile, website, large, users.
  • 34 of the Best Website Designs to Inspire You in 2022 - Your website inspiration journey starts here.
    Topics: best, website, webby, product, way, designs, site, inspire, design, makes, day.
  • 4 Ways to Differentiate Your Emerging Ecommerce Brand - Your new company features a great product and there’s genuine hope and excitement among your team about the days ahead.…
    Topics: customers, social, product, ecommerce, offer, media, website, buying, differentiate, site, ways, emerging, brand, company.
  • - In this article, learn more about what remarketing is & remarketing strategies you can use to increase your ecommerce conversion rates.
    Topics: rates, customer, site, ads, increase, strategies, visitors, products, pages, remarketing, conversion, product.
  • 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Landing Page - First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to web design. A landing page is a great way to get visitors to interact with your site by engaging with your calls-to-action, making a purchase, contacting you, or sharing your content.
    Topics: landing, information, lead, page, site, effective, highly, sure, visitor, youre, button, habits, visitors.
  • 8 Discontinued Social Media Channels and Features (+Why They Never Took Off) - What was the first social network you ever joined? While many people will recall it being Facebook or Twitter, others might remember some of the earlier, less popular social networks. You know, like Friendster, Open Diary, and Orkut? A lot of these original social networks go forgotten, but that doesn't make their stories any less important. After all, these networks laid the groundwork for the social media giants we use today.
    Topics: google, features, site, discontinued, took, network, media, networks, friends, users, channels, facebook, ping, social.
  • - WordPress.org has been one of the most famous CMS platforms since its launch in 2003. Its success is primarily attributed to one thing: WordPress's unmatched flexibility. Its simple framework allows users to design and populate professional-looking websites and blogs quickly. That… Continue reading 9 Must Have Free WordPress Plugins
    Topics: plugin, website, features, wordpress, site, free, plugins, design, woocommerce, seo.
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Web Analytics - Pageviews, unique pageviews, new visitors, and returning visitors — they all sound similar, but these metrics are not the same. If you don’t know the difference, you could be misinterpreting your website analytics and making some ill-informed decisions. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.
    Topics: analytics, beginners, guide, website, visitors, page, traffic, data, user, site, web, google.
  • A Nightmare on E-Commerce St - It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s… oops, wrong genre. It’s that time of year for all things spooky, scary, and spiced pumpkin latte. In keeping with the theme we present common eCommerce horrors sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Or, better yet, get the conversation going on how best to avoid them. So grab your sweater, light the fire, lock the doors, and curl up for tonight’s ghost story… A Nightmare On eCommerce Street. Our story begins with a widget and a dream. But what lurks behind the corner? The goblins of eCommerce gone bad: Design Flaws – considering you have a matter of seconds to make a good impression on your site or app, the architecture must produce a flawless user experience from end to end. If the customer experiences delays in page loads, has trouble finding an item or a menu function, or has problems with checkout, that is a lost sale and a lost customer. And unlike a spirit, they won’t return. Have professional developers and UI/UX designers build your site from the beginning with the customer experience at the forefront. The goal is intuitive, de-cluttered flow. An Unreliable Host – how many times have you experienced or heard of this nightmare: it’s the holiday season and a site goes down for two hours on Cyber Monday from traffic volume. That is one expensive roadblock for just two hours. You’ll need to do your homework to find a reliable and responsive host provider who reduces downtime to minutes, if it happens at all. Look for reliability and accessibility to support when issues arise. Problems of Scale – something to think about as you review your digital commerce plan is where you’re heading. Think about your needs of today as in budget, your technological maturity, your product offering, and how fast you want to go to market; but bear in mind where you want to be in 3-5 years. Playing catch up with upgrades is costly. When looking for an eCommerce platform, make sure to lean towards partners and solutions that grow with you. Don’t let eCommerce complexities be the death of your business! Lack of Touchpoints – this frightening tale goes back to site design. When we talk about eCommerce solutions one of the goals is to create an omnichannel experience. Rising smartphone and smart home voice assistant usage are changing how we shop. As a customer browses from in-store, to smartphone, to tablet or laptop, the user experience must fit the device depending how the purchase is made. And as we know, not all screens are created equal. A site must be optimized to eliminate user issues along the buying journey. If not, you risk losing a customer to a competitor who is at the ready to accommodate modern shopping habits. Ignoring the Data – analytics are key for eCommerce experiences. You need to be monitoring cart abandonment rates, conversion rates, buying patterns, and what pages customers are spending their time on and for how long. The more you get to know your customers the better you engage with them from discovery to purchase. Returned Product/Customer Dissatisfaction – no way of testing or trying on the product creates a barrier to customer satisfaction. This leads to buyer hesitation or worse yet, returns. Ecommerce technology has answered the call with augmented reality applications with features like virtual try on; and the ever-essential review function calm many of the fears customers face when buying online. A few key takeaways: Smart, informed design sets you up for success. With proven UX/UI methodologies and industry metrics in place, your site is built to outperform the rest with a seamless user experience your customers can trust   Lean on trusted partners who grow with you. Seek out providers who are less outcome-based and more solutions-based, from the host to the credit card processor   Plan for tomorrow with an eCommerce strategy for where you’re going   Meet the customer where they are. Build an experience for any device and offer diverse payment options aligned with your customers’ habits and preferences   Embrace data and technology. The eCommerce playing field is a competitive one. Analytics and a tech-forward mindset influence the day Looking for more good stories? Follow our blog. And Happy Halloween!
    Topics: st, ecommerce, nightmare, customers, customer, experience, host, user, think, site, buying, youre.
  • - Wix is one of Australia's easiest-to-use and most popular website builders. In fact, in 2021, the platform had over 200 million users worldwide, making it a go-to place for millions of entrepreneurs starting their online businesses, blogs, and stores. Within hours, Australian… Continue reading A Wix Review Australia Complete with Wix Pricing
    Topics: website, business, online, free, features, create, wix, pricing, australia, review, plan, wixs, site, complete.
  • Active Ants opens distribution center in Belgium - Active Ants, an e-fulfillment company from the Netherlands, has opened its first distribution center in Belgium. The site is located in Willebroek, a town between Antwerp and Brussels. The Bpost subsidiary is now eying international expansion. Active Ants, founded in the Netherlands in 2010, got acquired by the Belgian postal… Continue reading
    Topics: company, belgian, active, bpost, belgium, site, opens, serve, ants, center, distribution.
  • An Advanced Guide to Product-Based SEO for Online Stores - Boost traffic and increase sales with this product-based SEO guide for eCommerce. Learn 9 practical steps to improve product pages & attract visitors.
    Topics: products, stores, search, include, advanced, page, guide, pages, site, google, productbased, seo, online, product, content, information.
  • Best Personal Websites: 19 Examples to Blow Your Mind - Here's the thing about resumes and cover letters: No matter how unique you try to make your own, for the most part, they tend to read dry. And there's a good reason for it: It's supposed to be a single, no-frills page that documents your work experience. And while being concise is good, there's very little opportunity to convey your uniqueness, or for your personality to shine through at all for that matter.
    Topics: blog, resume, work, blow, skills, examples, mind, best, site, website, portfolio, content, visitors, websites, personal.
  • Best Structured Data Testing Tools - Structured data is the code on your website that explains and organizes the content on the page. The image below is an example of structured data.
    Topics: best, data, site, structured, markup, tool, tools, testing, code, fix, errors, website.
  • Best eCommerce Search Engine Providers - With exponential growth in global eCommerce sales, it’s mission-critical to offer the best solutions for your customers’ experience. The numbers tell us just last year retail eCommerce sales estimated $4.9 trillion, with forecasted growth by as much as 50% to 7.4 trillion by 2025. How fast can your customers find exactly what they’re looking for with minimal effort, plus the valuable insights gleaned from that search into your customers’ behavior. Mobile optimization plays heavily into how your customer searches, as well as synonym results and autocorrect, with the goal to help to your customer zero in quickly on what they’re looking for, or nudge them towards results if their search is non-specific. Site search capabilities go well beyond a bar at the top of your site. Think of site search is an engine fueling your customer experiences. It will inform and transform your digital commerce journey. You’ll want to look at a few considerations and common terms as you evaluate site search vendors: Scalability – your eCommerce solution must weather the unpredictable nature of an online marketplace. Your system must manage the highs of traffic and data without downtime and a total reliance on an IT team Faceted Navigation and Filters – visual cue to narrow down search functions by the desired category such price, size, color, etc. Natural Language Processing (NLP) – allows for brand name recognition or other identifiers in a product set so your customers don’t have to be exact in their search, yet still land on the desired result Zero Results – a fix to queries that come up short to reduce the dreaded bounce rates Artificial Intelligence – a significant driver in the future of eCommerce. AI is behind the highly personalized experiences your customer's demand Just like any partner in your eCommerce solution, a search vendor needs to align with your business needs and goals and integrate well with your existing system. Interested in Learning More About Elastic Path Commerce Cloud? Launch and optimize innovative experiences fast, with a modern, headless, SaaS, API-first, & microservices-based commerce platform. See the Future of eCommerce Algolia Headquarters: San Francisco, CA Website: algolia.com Overview: With a search as a service model, their product indexes clients' sites and so the search task is far simpler. The benefits include an easy implementation and the ability to make changes quickly as needed. Algolia is known for their expertise in advanced search functionality especially useful for catalog management. Additional Resource: Elastic Path teamed up with Algolia and Contentful for an on-demand webinar on navigating and overcoming the barriers to the Composable Commerce approach. The presentation includes real life use cases and a Q&A.   AddSearch Headquarters: Helsinki, Finland Website: addsearch.com Overview: AddSearch customers report back the flexibility and easy integration of the product, and point to its cost-effectiveness and exceptional customer service for small business users.   Azure Cognitive Website: azure.microsoft.com Azure Cognitive Search is the only cloud search service with built-in AI capabilities that enrich all types of information to easily identify and explore relevant content at scale. Azure Cognitive Search service, provides indexing and query engine, persistent storage of search indexes that brands create and manage, and a query language for composing simple to complex queries. Bloomreach Headquarters: Mountain View, CA Website: bloomreach.com With applications for content management, site search, page management, SEO optimization and role-based analytics, Bloomreach is a central location for all players who manage customer experience to come together and intelligently drive business outcomes. Coveo Headquarters: Quebec, Canada Website: coveo.com Overview: Coveo touts search optimization for eCommerce applications, websites, and workplace enablement. Their solutions plug into any system regardless of tech stack; you can start from scratch or use their pre-built integrations. They score well with users for their analytics capabilities. Google Cloud Search Headquarters: Mountain View, CA Website: cloud.google.com Overview: Well-known market leader in search function. Using the powerful searching capabilities of Google, users are immediately able to enter their queries, look for contents and answers, and view search suggestions. Handshake by Perficient Website: perficient.com Handshake is a modern Search Connector Framework that takes the guesswork out of getting content to index. Handshake for Elastic Path gives users complete control over the flow of data from Elastic Path to multiple search targets, securely and flexibly. LucidWorks Headquarters: San Francisco, CA Website: lucidworks.com Overview: Founded in 2008, LucidWorks initially provided support and consulting services for the Apache Lucene/Solr open-source search project; they are currently the largest supporter of open-source search industry-wide. They offer search, discovery, and analytics solutions from two platform products. Sinequa Headquarters: New York, NY Website: sinequa.com Overview: Sinequa’s search optimization expertise comes from large organizations with complex information layers such has government agencies. They score well in the marketplace for a smooth integration process. Yext Headquarters: New York, NY Website: yext.com Overview: Yext offers customized search and discovery experiences based on natural language understanding and AI. Their real-time search analytics provide even more insight into how users are searching and what questions they’re asking. They are known in the market for their multi-format support capabilities. Site Search Informs the Journey – So What’s Next? With so many players in the market, you’ll need to evaluate who best works for you as far as your digital maturity, and how you’ve mapped out your digital commerce metrics and goals. Bear in mind how crucial the omnichannel experience is for the future of eCommerce. Meeting the customer where they are across multiple touchpoints with as little friction and effort as possible is the future and the now of digital commerce. A robust and intuitive search functionality is just the tip of the iceberg. For more information and insights on how to begin your eCommerce transformation, check out Elastic Path’s Replatforming Guide, or see what’s new in our Resource Library.
    Topics: customers, commerce, ecommerce, best, search, elastic, users, path, site, providers, engine, customer, service.
  • Black Friday Checklist: How to Prep Your eCommerce Store - Black Friday Checklist: How to Prep your eCommerce Store Black Friday is the official kickoff of the chaotic holiday season. And with heavier traffic in recent years to a digital experience, it’s key for you to prep your eCommerce store for the spike - just as any physical store preps their floor and staff for the holiday wave. Before we dive in on how to best prepare your site, let’s look at a few stats regarding the busiest shopping day of the year. What the Numbers Tell Us After pandemic restrictions were lifted and in-person shopping was greenlit for most of the world, the predictions gravitated towards a shift back to the physical store. However, that’s not exactly how it all played out. eCommerce shopping behavior studies show the needle would not sway dramatically back to the in-store experience. Across global markets, there are accelerated patterns towards post-pandemic shopping behaviors towards the following trends: Buying online for home delivery More time in research/discovery online BEFORE going to a store Buying online for store pickup Black Friday Deals Trend Earlier Retailers are choosing to offer deals ahead of Black Friday, as shopping behavior trends shift to starting the process earlier to “beat the rush,” or perhaps get an exclusive deal. A recent poll tells us as many as 22% of shoppers start as early as October to cross items off their list, with early bird shoppers spending on average $460 more than those who wait until after Thanksgiving. If you offer the deals, your shoppers will come. Follow the data and the demands of your customers. If the data tells you customers are looking for Black Friday deals in October, then set up a plan to have special promotions and marketing campaigns in place to support an early start. This may look like a deeply discounted 3-day early bird sale, or perhaps a special Black Friday sneak peek for loyalty customers with special pricing. Here is a checklist to keep top-of-mind as we enter the busiest shopping season all year long: 1. Set the Course for an Easy Checkout Process 2. Draft & Review Cart Abandonment Emails 3. Check Your Site Performance 4. Be Mobile Friendly 5. Be Promo Ready 6. Glean from Data Analytics 7. Beef up your Social Commerce Strategy 8. Cater to Loyal Customers 9. Beef up your Holiday Merchandising 10. Determine On Call Schedules for Support Teams   Black Friday Prep: A Digital To Do List 1. Set the Course for an Easy Checkout Process. The less friction from discovery to checkout the better. Don’t require shoppers to create an account to checkout. Allow for a guest checkout option. While some shoppers prefer having payment methods or loyalty rewards at a glance available to them at checkout, there are significant numbers of shoppers who want speed and convenience. Meet your shoppers where they are and allow for both. Keep the cart icon front and center at every click through your site. Even better, have a constant numeric reminder of what is currently in cart. It’s important to have a visual cue to the shopper whether it’s empty, full of “maybes” or items that are a sure thing. Allow customers to pay in the way they prefer. That means well beyond traditional credit/debit cards. Offer a range of payment methods to include PayPal, Venmo, digital wallets (Google, Samsung, ApplePay), and an increasingly popular BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) option like Klarna or Afterpay. Some European markets allow for bank drafts as a method of payment, but this largely depends on what the demand is of your consumer in your geographic locale. 2. Draft & Review Cart Abandonment Emails. As shopping cart abandonment statistics for 2022 reveal, the average cart abandonment rate ranges from 59.2% to 79.8%. Clearly too much revenue left on the table to ignore as a retailer. Here is where personalization becomes your ally. Using auto-generated, targeted emails to customers with abandoned carts is a proven strategy for conversion. Examples include offering a customer additional reward for purchasing such as a percentage, or flat amount with a cutoff date. Some shoppers change their mind about items. Offer alternatives based on their shopping history; sometimes offering a different style or brand, or perhaps accessories to support the category they were shopping such as camping or gaming. 3. Check Your Site Performance. If your site isn’t performing at peak speed, you stand to lose everything you’ve worked hard for as a brand. What is the importance of site performance? You have as little as 50 milliseconds (or .05 seconds), to make an impression on your site visitors. If pages take too long to load, or there is a delay in the checkout process, that is a customer gone for good. Fifty milliseconds sounds daunting, but there are web performance and speed testing tools at your disposal to gauge this critical metric your customers’ experience relies so heavily upon. Let’s take a look at some of the criteria for site speed/performance: How to Test Your Site’s Performance. Programs such as Pingdom Speed Test, GTmetrix, and Google PageSpeed Insights (see a Top 10 list here) help you diagnose problem areas you may not have known existed so you can fix the issue quickly. You’ll be able to see how your site is measuring up across devices, and also geographic locations. Also key to performance is how well your site is ranking in user experience. Does your site load quickly? But also is your site easily navigated? Can your customer find what they’re looking for quickly through your menu or search function?   Dynamic vs. Static Content Management. The difference between the two is dynamic content is anything subject to change based on user input such as product, pricing, or descriptions. This content is stored in a database and is fetched when the user engages with it, otherwise known as async communication. Static content on the other hand is anything remaining the same in the experience such as the navigation menu. Both types of content have distinct yet crucial functions on a site but are managed differently. Load speed is generally case by case so we recommend an API-first/ best-of-breed approach that gives you the flexibility to deliver quick speeds and dynamic content. As you edit dynamic content you want to avoid editing the HTML code as this will cause breaks in your site. Additionally when managing dynamic content, use proper caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to bridge the gaps between dynamic and static content.   Image Optimization. No surprise that visual content engages users. However, high quality imagery means larger files that eat up load time. Using resized and compressed files is a lighter lift for the server to load the image. Within imagery you’ll want to pay attention to the file format. There are four file types: PNG, JPEG, GIF, WebP, and SVG. A general rule of thumb is to avoid GIFs since they do drag on site speed. When choosing between PNGs and JPEGs, PNGs work well for graphics and screenshots, while JPEGs are ideal for photographs. The newcomer is the SVG file format, or scalable vector graphic that renders well in web applications and across other use cases. Lazy load plugins are also useful to only render photos where the user is browsing.   Reduce HTTP Requests. HTTP requests occur when the browser sends a request to the server for information. The fewer requests a website must make the faster the site can load. The amount and the size of the requested files affects load times, however most engaging sites have both multiple and larger files. The best way to address this issue is to run a full report on your site and assess what images are taking the longest to load and if in fact you need them. After you assess what’s needed, you can reduce the file size.   4. Be Mobile Friendly. Having a site optimized for mobile is mission-critical to your site’s performance. If a customer doesn’t have the same flawless experience from laptop, to tablet, to smartphone, you stand to lose. Consider this: 70% of web traffic comes from mobile phones, and 80% of the top-ranked websites are mobile-friendly. The great news is that site performance tools help identify mobile optimization deficits and fixes. As you gear up for the holiday shopping season, it’s an opportunity for cross-collaboration between business and IT teams to address the issue head on given how much it affects user experience and bounce rates. As much as 60% of shoppers won’t return to a site that is not mobile-friendly. Nearly 43% of Black Friday sales in 2021 happened through mobile phones. You’ll want to lean into your developer team to fully optimize your site for mobile. The end goal is to have the exact , flawless experience from desktop to tablet to smartphone. This involves a few tactics such as image optimization as I’ve mentioned above, ensuring your site has a responsive design, and optimizing the above-the-fold content to engage shoppers quicker and for a longer period of time. Additionally, avoid intrusive ads that will hinder your shopper from engaging with your site, especially if they are on a mobile device. Recent studies have found that 96% of eCommerce businesses in North America and 94% in Europe have at least five basic errors in their checkouts. Watch the Webinar to make sure your business is not making them. Go to Webinar 5. Be Promo Ready. Are you prepared to manage the deep deals the holiday season brings? As I mentioned above, if the data shows your customers want the deals and they want them early, are you set up to provide them? Is your site prepped for sales banners front and center on your site driving shoppers to the deals you’ve carefully curated? Is your Order Management System (OMS) prepped with a clear view of inventory and a plan for backorders or pre orders for items that sell out quickly? An OMS can help automate these functions which gives your operations teams more flexibility to handle holiday shopping issues while still satisfying the customer with clear communication and a timeline as to when to expect delivery. 6. Glean from Data Analytics. In the same vein as Always Be Testing, take a look at data from the year before. What drove revenue and what might have fallen flat? What can you tweak from last year’s holiday season? You have customer gold in the numbers. Take a look at what product categories and pages saw the highest volume of traffic. What days of the week saw a spike in traffic? If you had an early bird special or flash sale, analytics and your OMS will tell you how many eyes were on it, and how well it performed revenue-wise. 7. Beef up your Social Commerce Strategy. Selling products through social media channels is currently estimated at $45 billion and expected to triple in the next few years. This figure equates to more than half of U.S. adults alone purchasing through social media. Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram allow brands to create another channel through curated content and influencer marketing. Perhaps the biggest advantage to social commerce is its power within the discovery phase of the buying journey. Instagram reports 60% of its users discover new products on their platform. When paired with word-of-mouth reviews from people you trust, (or at least share similar tastes) and the ability to tag and highlight products in both Story and Feed, you've got a highly versatile, perpetual sales engine. The path to purchase is expertly laid out from discovery, research, review, one-click purchase, and delivery. As you dive into this holiday season, it’s critical to use social media to your advantage. You’ll be missing out on a significant shopper segment, many of whom will be looking for new products to fit the people on their list. You may consider using live shopping feeds to fully tell your brand’s story and what’s new in your product line, and always make sure products can be purchased within the app using personal information already stored within a profile. In app links easily navigate shoppers to products and one click checkout. Additionally you may consider the power of social proof. As you market your products through a social media shop, offer your shoppers a way to interact with products and share them across the platform. Through the use of hashtags you create, empower your customers to use the hashtag and create their own posts. A two-fold benefit is that your customers peer review your products and have a voice, while enabling customer confidence for the shoppers new to your brand. On the flip side if a shopper is dissatisfied, you as a brand have the opportunity to address the issue. Prior to Black Friday, you may consider having a campaign for your loyal shoppers to share product reviews with a coupon reward or offer like a free gift. Peer reviews increase both customer confidence and conversion. 8. Cater to Loyal Customers. The unicorn of customer personas! Here are a few eye-opening stats on what Lifetime Customer Value (LTCV) or what is often referred to as Customer Acquisition vs. Retention: The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%. It costs up to 7x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. Sixty-five percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers. What does that mean? You have a treasure trove of information on your loyal customers; you know their shopping habits, their product preferences, and even their payment preferences. Take full advantage of these habits by giving them an exceptional customer experience. In the realm of holiday shopping, what can you offer? Plenty. Double the points or rewards on all holiday shopping. Free gifts for loyalty members. A Black Friday “sneak peek” sale exclusive to loyalty members with special pricing. Free holiday wrapping and gift options. A portion of holiday proceeds goes to charity. 9. Beef up your Holiday Merchandising. You have more shoppers now than any other time of year. How will you stand out among the competition? Convenience. Many holiday shoppers find themselves frustrated with what to buy for the loved one/receiver who has everything. Enter gift sets or bundles. If you can afford the cost to offer this type of merchandise, it’s a solution for many harried shoppers trying to check off people on their list. Think of spa baskets, grooming products for men, kids’ items like themed candy and holiday stockings, wine and cheese assortments, or teacher gifts. Additionally for the shopper who is looking for a gift for themselves, you may see dynamic bundling as an offering. This allows the shopper to pick and choose from a selection within the bundle. An example is for the gamers or sports enthusiasts in your customer base. For the gamers, maybe you offer a choice between a headset or an additional monitor, or maybe for the skier, your options include goggles or a choice of gloves. An all-in-one gift option with more selection and control on the user experience side, but with the convenience of a single price point. 10. Determine On Call Schedules for Support Teams. Determine on call schedule for each department. It's not just IT, for example a promo may be broken, or products not published to the catalog. Elastic Path similarly has a plan and schedule in place to offer support for our customers during peak holiday traffic. In Closing Food for thought as you think about future holiday shopping experiences that drive revenue and are meaningful to your customer while optimizing your team’s time. Gartner tells us to look for a trend in how brands interact with products. According to the analyst, companies should invest in more robust product experience management (PXM) solutions. Gartner outlines this shift in their 2022 Strategic Roadmap for Digital Commerce in Direct (D2C) and Indirect Channel report. What does that mean? Brands will fare well who broaden their geographic and channel reach, and do more on the customer experience side. How will they do it? As you think about each of these strategies and tactics to optimize the holiday shopping experience, there are options to streamline it and empower people to solve customer pain points, especially in the role of merchandiser who is pulled in several directions as it is. Eager to talk about what’s next for your eCommerce strategy and how we can help? Reach out to us.  
    Topics: holiday, customer, checklist, shoppers, site, experience, black, customers, products, content, strategy, shopping, ecommerce, offer.
  • Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content - 56% of surveyed consumers have made a purchase from a company after reading their blog and 10% of marketers who use blogging say it generates the biggest return on investment. If you're writing a blog for a business, those stats make blog SEO a pretty big deal.
    Topics: engine, seo, blog, posts, optimize, post, keyword, site, search, content, keywords, help.
  • Choosing a Powerful Host for Your Growing eCommerce Store - Big stores need big solutions. From security and backups to traffic spike protection, see the must-have features in a great host for your online store.
    Topics: customer, growing, sales, choosing, host, traffic, storage, store, support, hosting, ecommerce, site, youre, powerful, company.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: What It Is and How to Measure It - We’ve all had it happen to us: we try to choose an option on a website, and right before we click, the page jumps away and we end up clicking something we didn’t mean to. Doh!
    Topics: experience, cls, performance, layout, content, web, cumulative, shift, page, site, website, measure, user.
  • Customer Service Is the New Upsell - If your customers aren't satisfied with their experience, you won't be able to convert new customers. Here's a deep dive into how to turn ecommerce expectations into guaranteed sales.
    Topics: site, purchase, upsell, ecommerce, returning, customer, help, service, offer, sales, customers, customerservice.
  • Don't Build an Ecommerce Site If You Don't Have These 7 Things Covered - If handled correctly, your ecommerce platform can provide a solid basis for success.
    Topics: experience, covered, dont, site, help, website, providing, customer, things, strong, products, build, customers, ecommerce.
  • Drive Your Online Business's Sales With 5 Simple Strategies - Here are five strategies for growing your online business.
    Topics: businesss, sales, strategies, checkout, customer, bounce, experience, drive, business, online, process, site, trust, ecommerce, cart, simple.
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  • - When picking a site builder—whether for ecommerce, blogging, or a business website—you must decide if you want the simplest interface possible, or perhaps something that provides a more complicated infrastructure with improved control. Fluid Engine and Editor X are in… Continue reading Fluid Engine vs Editor X (Nov 2022): Choose the Best Site Builder
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  • How to Sell CBD Online - The CBD market is booming, and the growth of eCommerce will only amplify it. Now is the time to build and launch a CBD online store. Learn how to build your website and get the top tips for boosting your CBD sales. Why you Should Look to Start a CBD Online Store? 1. The CBD Market is Growing CBD is a budding business.The cannabidiol (CBD) market is booming but starting this post with a pun was unavoidable. In a report released from the Brightfield Group, a company specializing in predictive consumer and market intelligence for the CBD and cannabis industries, they noted CBD sales are expected to reach $20 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 147%. While forecasts aren’t set in stone, historical numbers can’t lie. Ninety-seven percent of cannabis users primarily took CBD for chronic pain relief, while 50% of 100 respondents said they used CBD to reduce stress or anxiety. Looking at the same CBD usage statistics, 45% stated they took CBD to improve a sleep disorder, most commonly insomnia. Numbers aside, it’s hard to miss the explosive growth and use of CBD products. People of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles seem to be avid consumers and it feels like almost everyone has experimented with various forms of CBD for one reason or another. It is truly becoming a mainstream component of today’s culture, which means there is a huge market opportunity for business owners. Whether you’re already in the CBD business, or looking to break in, now is the time to launch your online store. For those with brick-and-mortar shops who might be wondering whether to expand, you honestly don’t have a choice. Taking an omni-channel approach to your CBD business will be the key driver behind continued success and growth, because if you don’t, your competitors will. 2. ECommerce in General is Exploding In the United States, sales of CBD in the e-commerce channel are forecast to increase from approximately two billion U.S. dollars in 2021 to more than six billion U.S. dollars by 2026. The new shopping mindset of the consumer is pushing more companies than ever to turn their sights to the internet, and you don’t want to get left behind. 3. The Constraints around CBD Have Loosened The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the production and sale of industrial hemp in the U.S., the plant where CBD derives. Legislation helped facilitate explosive growth in CBD products by reclassifying CBD and disassociating the compound from its cousin, THC, giving growers and businesses the ability to legally manufacture, sell, and ship hemp-derived products. This in turn gave consumers easier access to CBD, and as we know today, convenience in shopping is everything. Positive public perception surrounding weed in general is on the rise with legislators on both sides of the aisle looking to support the full legalization of cannabis. More than two in three Americans (68%) support legalizing marijuana, maintaining the record high level, according to a Gallup poll. The same research shows Democrats (83%) in support of full legalization, with Independents coming in at 71%, and Republicans on the fence at 50% supporting full legalization. 4. Consumer Demand is High From recreational use to treating everyday anxiety and stress, or even alleviating the symptoms of more serious medical conditions like Parkinson’s or PTSD, the reasons for consuming CBD are expanding, and just as with any product, consumers like having options. You can find CBD coffee shops as well as established spas offering CBD massages. Companies even sell CBD pet products. From CBD oil to gummies, chocolates, creams, supplements, vapes, or even chap stick and nasal spray, manufacturers and distributors are getting more creative with what products they’re infusing with CBD. The Bottom Line is Consumers Want CBD. The Demand is There. Nine million people started using CBD for the first time due to the pandemic; on average Americans spend an average of $20–$80 per month on CBD. One in three American adults have used CBD oil, and over 66% of the population is familiar with the product. Moreover, about 40% are using it for chronic pain relief. What does the average CBD oil user look like? 20% of U.S. adults aged 18-29 personally use CBD products, with the percentages decreasing as the age groups progress. An expanded customer base means more potential sales and opportunities for your CBD business, but it also means you need to find and define your ideal customer and product. The first step, however, is making sure your business is legal. Ensuring you Sell CBD Online Legally The answer to the question, “is it legal to sell CBD online?” is yes and no. If you’re looking to expand your existing company or are interested in starting an online CBD business, I’m sure we don’t have to tell you this, but we’ll restate it anyways – selling CBD oil or other products, online or in-store, is not the same as selling marijuana. They are different; marijuana is in fact still federally classified as a Schedule I narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). A Quick Overview: CBD vs. THC Without getting into the weeds, the high-level differentiation between the two is that the compound CBD is typically extracted from the hemp plant, while tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD contains minimal to no traces of THC and is non-psychoactive, so it does not affect the brain the same way that THC does (also, if you caught that last pun, I promise there are only one or two more). While federally legal, CBD is still highly regulated both nationally and at the state level. The Farm Bill shifted oversight from the DEA to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means there is a whole array of testing that needs to be done and labeling regulations that must be meticulously followed. States also have the final say as to whether it’s legal to buy, possess, manufacture, or sell CBD products within their borders. Using hemp-based CBD for recreational or medicinal purposes remains illegal in in Idaho and Nebraska. Do’s and Don’ts of Selling CBD Know your state-by-state laws. CBD sellers and buyers should know where CBD is legal. This is a two-way street. As a business owner however, you need to ensure that your online CBD store is built to handle the varying regulations. To legally sell CBD, all products must be within the THC limit of 0.3%. You need to be 100% positive the products you're selling, or if you’re manufacturing and providing wholesale options, that your CBD products follow this guideline and don’t surpass the legal limit. Do not make health claims. The FDA has issued warning letters against making health claims. While both marijuana and CBD have documented health benefits, there is only one FDA-approved drug that contains CBD at the moment, the epilepsy medication Epidiolex.  Some states have legalized medical marijuana and the grip on CBD is loosening, so the opportunities for researching cannabis and running studies to understand marijuana and CBD benefits are expanding. Until it’s been thoroughly vetted however, it’s best to steer clear of making health claims. Finally, your products must be labeled correctly. Your label has to say CBD (among other things). This is essential for you to not only ensure your FDA compliant, but for shipping carriers to acknowledge and mail your products. Finding a CBD distributor whose products comply with FDA regulations is vital, and just like your customers would expect to trust you as a business, you need to know you can trust your source. There are many components to a CBD business, and your distributor is just one piece of the puzzle. Starting a CBD Online Business So you’ve decided to dive in. You’ve researched how to sell CBD oil (or other CBD products), sculpted a business plan, and are now ready to build and launch your brand. There are several pieces you need in place to start selling and making revenue. 1. Finding a Reputable CBD Supplier If you already own a CBD shop, you can skip ahead to part 2. If you’re just getting started and are looking at reselling CBD products that have already been manufactured or are interested in creating your own, you need a high-quality CBD supplier. There are a number in the market today, both U.S.-based and international that you can choose from. Many wholesalers in the U.S. have been sourcing their CBD from Europe, where farmers have had years more experience in growing hemp, so sourcing from abroad is an option. With the 2018 Farm Bill in place, I would expect the national options to be on the rise. Regardless, there are two key documents you’ll want to make sure any distributor has - the cGMP and COA. Certificate of Analysis (COA). Make this mandatory and make sure you know how to read a COA report. It is essential for you to vet the quality of the products or CBD extract you’re purchasing and ensure you’re running a legal business. The COA is a report that provides the test results and analytics (usually run by a separate 3rd party lab), of the supplier’s CBD goods. It will confirm what plant species the CBD was extracted from, the levels of CBD and THC, and verify you’re within your legal 0.3% limit. The COA will also give you a detailed analysis and the percentage breakdown of the other components that might be found in the CBD, including heavy metals, pesticides used on the plant (sample below), and terpenes, an aromatic oil that is secreted from the plants (it’s what gives off that skunky or sweet smell). If you’re ever in doubt, you can always get a test run yourself. Neither you nor your customers should be surprised by what’s in your products and you don’t want to be responsible for health risks. Source: AZWholeistic.com Current Goods Manufacturing Practice (cGMP). GMP is set of rules and regulations set forth by administrations, like the FDA, to ensure that products are safe for human consumption by outlining standards for how they’re manufactured, cleaned, packaged, and handed. Manufacturing facilities that meet these standards will be given a certificate, which is a good indicator for you that their practices conform to FDA and individual state guidelines. 2. Building and Launching CBD Websites Your online store will be your most powerful tool for driving revenue, so you’re going to want to make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. Ecommerce platforms come in many shapes and offer a myriad of capabilities and features. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll want to pick one that meets your business requirements. Option 1: Pre-Built Templates If you find yourself short of a web developer and need a solution that provides front-end themes, store templates, and other UI components out-of-the-box, companies like Shopify and BigCommerce might be a good choice. Platforms like these will also include other business critical features like shopping carts, but often provide flexibility when it comes to customizing. Option 2: Custom Stores If you want to provide a unique shopping experience tailored to your brand and consumer and have decided to go with a custom front-end, you will need an ecommerce solution that provides core services and features like shopping carts, checkout processes, and catalogue management. These pieces will have to tie seamlessly into your website and companies like Elastic Path or Commerce Tools will offer the type of solutions you’ll need. Either way, an attractive website with easy-to-understand navigation and fast loading times will make your users’ journey convenient and frictionless, the key to a higher conversion for you. Due to the nature of the CBD and marijuana industry, insurance companies, merchant account providers, and payment processors consider CBD businesses ‘high-risk.’ Many won’t take you on as a customer. Payment gateways and payment processors are no different, but there are a number that specialize in helping high-risk CDB businesses such as Payment Cloud or Easy Pay Direct. Make sure that whichever provider you choose, you can seamlessly integrate it with your full eCommerce platform or cart and checkout process. Without the ability to accept credit cards and process payments, an online store is pointless. A note on cannabis-focused cryptocurrency You can accept payment types outside of the typical credit card payment. For example, CBD companies like BlueBird Botanicals accept cryptocurrency on their website. Accepting and processing cryptocurrency payments gives you a broader array of payment pathways you can give your customers, many of whom may be trading cryptocurrencies. From household names like BitCoin, to industry specific options like HempCoin, there are a number you can look at. There is some concern that cryptocurrency will fail soon and that this link between industries will flop by association. However, it hasn’t yet and there seem to be close cultural ties between Cryptocurrency providers and CBD supporters, which is why many speculate the two industries have looked to each other for support. 4. Shipping Carriers With CBD being federally legal, you won’t face a lot of restrictions here, if you make sure you follow the guidelines of whoever you decide on using. The United States Postal Service has guidelines on shipping hemp-based products. UPS will carry your CBD products, just make sure you’re keeping tabs on what’s required. Top Challenges with Selling CBD Online & Suggested Solutions Everything we’ve discussed so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’ve guaranteed your CBD products are legal, built your website, and found funding, the real eCommerce challenges begin. 1. Banking and Payment Processing  We just walked through a short overview of why these are important but finding a payment processor and merchant account for your company is probably one of the most frustrating parts of bringing your CBD business plan to life. Providers that specialize in helping ‘high-risk’ merchants usually have higher processing fees, more restrictions, and will give you less time to solve chargeback issues. If you’re only selling CBD products online, you’ll have to choose a 3rd-party provider that will process payments for CBD goods out of the gate. If you sell other goods and have decided to expand your product catalogue to include CBD, you already have these systems and providers in place. This means you may need more than one, and your back-end website logic will have to treat CBD products differently. You’ll have to handle any payment restrictions or limitations at the product-level. This will add a lot of complexity to your site architecture and will require a higher degree of customization in the back end. Resources for Finding online CBD Payment Processors or a Merchant Account for CBD The Best CBD Merchant Account Providers CBD Payment Gateways 2. Risk of Losing Access to your 3-party Providers You’re at the mercy of whichever merchant account provider, eCommerce solution, or payment gateway you choose. It’s not unheard of for these companies to update their acceptable use policies on a whim and add new limitations to what their platforms can be used for. With CBD still a gray area legally, you’re pretty much always at risk of losing access. Tip for Reducing Risk: Build a website that decouples your front end, or what the customer sees, from the back end and take a component-based approach to building your eCommerce experience. This is a technical tip but taking these steps will give you the flexibility you need to switch vendors quickly if needed and will give you complete control over your website.  What we mean by this is, don’t lock yourself into a single vendor that offers everything ‘out-of-the-box’ with a particular list of integrations they suggest using. Giving yourself options and flexibility will reduce the risk of you losing the ability to keep your business running. 3. Tying State Regulations into your Cart and Checkout Process If you’re selling a mix of products that aren’t just CBD-based, you need to make sure your online store can implement product-based shipping rules that will guarantee you stay within safe shipping zones depending on what’s in your customer’s cart. Different taxes may also apply to different goods and depending on the state, so your shopping cart will need to be able to access the right data and apply it accordingly. 4. Competition and Differentiating your Business Earlier in this post, we talked a lot about the extensive market opportunity that CBD provides business owners and how the rise of ecommerce is geared up to support the continued growth of the industry. Unfortunately, with opportunity like this, comes great competition. The ‘green-rush’ is very real. Everyone, from your next-door neighbor to your local coffee shop, gas station, and even multi-national organizations are looking to take advantage of this increase in market demand. Many pharmacies and retailers now carry CBD products. The good news is, it’s still not a reality to sell CBD products on major platforms like Amazon and eBay. Tips for Beating the Competition: This is why it’s vital you build a trustworthy brand that consumers will love and follow. This starts with you providing a custom, customer-centric online experience. It’s like that saying where you have seven seconds to make a first impression. In this case, your website will have to do that for you. 5. Marketing CBD: Advertising and Promotions Anyone’s initial thoughts on how to build awareness and beat the competition would be jump on the online advertising bandwagon. Sorry again, but you’ll face huge limitations here as well. Google and Facebook Ads will not run CBD ads. This means you can’t leverage some of today’s biggest consumer platforms to market your products, like Instagram, in the same way other retailers can. This is a key reason you see brands vying for the attention and support of influencers, which, is a great tactic to explore. However, short of getting the Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski to partner with you and publicly back your business and product, you’ll have to get a little more creative in how you advertise your business. Tips for Advertising your CBD Business Focus on increasing website traffic with an SEO strategy and blog posts. We can’t state this enough, but your website is really the heart of your business. Build and implement a solid SEO strategy around CBD keywords and your products. Start a blog and publish regular, educational, and informational content. The goal here is to establish yourself and your business as an industry leader, or at the very least, as a knowledgeable and trustworthy brand. Blogs are also a powerful tool to connect to other 3rd party CBD companies or industry publications. Offering to link to them in exchange for a mention on their site will increase your backlinks and make you more favorable in Google’s eyes.   Leverage industry publications. Speaking of publications, there are several marijuana and CBD magazines and sites with both print and digital editions, all of which offer advertising in one form or another and have Facebook and twitter followers in the thousands. Take a look at some of our favorites: Cannabis Culture Magazine Marijuana Business Daily Leafly’s Blog Emails. Seems basic but drive site visitors and blog readers to subscribe or leave their email so you can continue to send them information. Tradeshows. This is huge. Due to limitations surrounding online advertising, you may want to place a higher priority on making it to in-person events. There are several shows globally, multiple times a year - and they’re expanding rapidly. Tradeshows are not only a great place to meet potential customers and other CBD business owners (if you’re B2B) but also CBD suppliers, growers, manufacturers, labs for testing and analytics, flavor suppliers, and distributors. You might even meet a law firm or eCommerce platform that specializes in CBD. CBD Expo CannaCon Top Features to Look For in an eCommerce Solution for CBD We’ve talked a lot about how your website will be the key to success for your CBD business. All aspects of your business will flow through that online portal and because you’re selling regulated goods, some aspects will be more difficult to manage. Here’s the three key attributes you should look for when building your eCommerce site: Scalability. Whether it’s handling a larger volume of traffic and order placements, to a growing product catalogue, your site, and primarily your cart and checkout process, should be able to grow with you as your business scales. Flexibility. You need to seamlessly integrate with a multitude of 3rd party providers that address steps across the entire customer journey to keep the engine running. Just as you should be able to easily weave one into your architecture, should you be able to replace one. When your payment processor decides to stop handling payments for CBD products you don’t want to be stuck and risk losing the ability to accept credit card info. If you’ve decided to accept bitcoin payments for your products, you ecommerce site will need to be able to handle multiple payment types. Long term, as you expand, you might want to start using multiple languages and accepting foreign currency. You will also need to implement a variety of tax specifications and shipping regulations by state. If you decide to include an age-verification step in your checkout process, your site will need to be able to accept and process this data. Speed. You lose revenue for every millisecond your site doesn’t load. We’re not kidding. Amazon did a whole study on it. Your site’s architecture and the tech stack that supports it will directly impact your site performance. Building your eCommerce Experience with Elastic Path You only get the true flexibility you need from an eCommerce site that has an API-based architecture that decouples your front-end from your back end. Yes, I’m talking about headless, but merely picking a headless solution isn’t enough - you need a headless approach that is also ‘services based’ (meaning each part of your eCommerce journey is a separate microservice component that can be assembled together). We’re not talking about using a platform like BigCommerce, Salesforce, or Shopify that offer a form of ‘headless,’ where the APIs are bolted onto the infrastructure already in place, but about building CBD websites with a natively microservices-based back end completely built on APIs. This will enable you to create an eCommerce site with fit-for-purpose components and provide only the features you need. You can learn more here, about why a headless approach to ecommerce is the best option for regulated or high-risk businesses. With Elastic Path you can easily manage complex back-end logic and alleviate many of the challenges you’ll have to face when building and launching your online CBD store. Let us know if you want to learn more about how Elastic Path can help you launch and manage your CBD business.
    Topics: business, products, need, youre, cbd, sell, payment, ecommerce, marijuana, online, site.
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  • Needing Deodorant, Curie Founder Made Her Own - In 2018 Sarah Moret, an accountant and athlete, couldn't find a suitable aluminum-free deodorant. So she made her own. Fast forward to 2022 and that deodorant business is now Curie, a thriving direct-to-consumer seller.
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    Topics: seo, stop, authority, backlinks, sites, site, organic, google, using, metric, domain, traffic, rankings, page.
  • Subdomain or Subdirectory? What They Are & How They Affect SEO - One of the most heated arguments that I've been a part of was about whether or not Taylor Swift is a good dancer.
    Topics: subdomains, domain, subdirectories, content, subdirectory, root, seo, website, subdomain, affect, site.
  • The 13 Worst Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid & How to Fix Them - We are currently living in the age of the internet, and that means your business must cater to it. Promoting your business, your brand, and your product or service can all benefit from digital marketing.
    Topics: social, marketing, having, fix, customers, worst, avoid, site, traffic, business, mistakes, web, website, digital.
  • The 14 Best WordPress Email Plugins in 2021 - If your business has a blog, sending out an email newsletter is essential. Not only is it a simple way to distribute your content, but it can also help you better understand what type of content is resonating with your target audience so you can optimize your content strategy.
    Topics: email, best, emails, site, forms, tool, content, subscribers, wordpress, newsletter, plugin, plugins.
  • - When you start an ecommerce site you realize that there are loads of items that need to be checked, cross-checked, and tested to ensure that your customers have a quality user experience. From the website design to a sleek, quick… Continue reading The 14 Point Ecommerce Launch Checklist (Mar 2022)
    Topics: payment, checklist, launch, product, site, website, point, mar, customer, page, pages, customers, shipping, ecommerce.
  • The 15 Best Free Portfolio Websites for Creating an Impressive Digital Portfolio - Whether you're a UX designer, freelance writer, or photographer, an impressive online portfolio is critical for impressing potential clients and landing future jobs.
    Topics: impressive, work, online, portfolio, photographers, create, websites, digital, site, website, creative, creating, free, best, offers.
  • The 25 Best Website Designs—and the Creative Businesses That Power Them - “Best web design” lists often feature award-winning websites that are visually fascinating but sluggish and serve a single purpose. We wanted to flip the script a bit—that’s why our list will only feature beautiful, functional websites that power successful businesses.More
    Topics: design, users, creative, best, page, products, businesses, site, power, sells, website, product, brand, photography, designsand.
  • The Beginner's Guide to Keyword Density - When you’re writing SEO-optimized content, how many keywords are enough? How many are too many? How do you know? And what happens if Google and other search engines determine your site is "stuffed" with keywords?
    Topics: words, search, pages, tool, site, page, beginners, keyword, guide, keywords, density, seo.
  • The Best 17 Website Plugins in 2022 - There may be a feature or experience you want to add to your website, but you don’t have the coding chops to build it yourself. A website plugin can help.
    Topics: plugins, help, site, social, wordpress, website, plugin, proof, case, best, user.
  • The Best Navigation for Ecommerce Sites - The best ecommerce navigation mimics human decision-making. Too many sites overwhelm visitors with complex menus and an avalanche of info.
    Topics: menu, website, shoppers, navigation, site, sites, visitors, best, ecommerce, info, bars, brains.
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    Topics: offer, web, compared, builders, reviewed, best, youll, solutions, market, builder, website, youre, upgrade, site.
  • - There’s a reason that ecommerce has become a multi-trillion dollar industry — to the tune of a projected $6.5 trillion…
    Topics: checkout, experience, shipping, purchases, creating, store, customers, holidays, site, bigcommerce, shoppers, frictionless, help, customer.
  • The Ecommerce Guide to Winning Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2022 - A guide for ecommerce brands looking to win in Q4! It's going to be a tough one.
    Topics: black, ecommerce, guide, partners, influencers, winning, site, cyber, discount, customers, way, increase.
  • The Parts of a URL: A Short & Sweet Guide - If your website is like a house, then your website’s URL is like that house’s address. It defines where your website lives online, similar to how your home address determines where you live in a neighborhood, helping your visitors easily find your site. URLs also help Google understand what your website's pages are about.
    Topics: parts, domain, theyre, instance, sweet, guide, toplevel, short, websites, site, page, url, web, website.
  • The Trade-offs of Third-party Add-ons - Third-party apps and add-ons can enhance an ecommerce platform. Examples include exit popups, customer reviews, product recommendations, and marketing automation. But third-party add-ons can create more problems than benefits.
    Topics: performance, speed, improve, addon, site, slow, experience, create, thirdparty, tradeoffs, addons.
  • - When you start an ecommerce site you realize that there are loads of items that need to be checked, cross-checked, and tested to ensure that your customers have a quality user experience. From the website design to a sleek, quick… Continue reading The Ultimate Checklist for Every New Ecommerce Site (Oct 2021)
    Topics: checklist, ecommerce, link, items, page, site, shipping, product, support, pages, checkout, ultimate.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Building a Website Redesign Strategy - So, you want to start a website redesign. Maybe you just finished a brand overhaul or your product was recently updated. Whatever your reason, a redesign can be a huge success — or not. It can also be a long and tedious undertaking, which is why every redesign needs to start with a clear vision and/or problem to solve.
    Topics: marketing, strategy, websites, guide, page, pages, website, youre, traffic, building, design, ultimate, redesign, site.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics in 2022 - Are you confused — even intimidated — by Google Analytics? Good news: you’re not alone. GA is notoriously complicated, and with the latest release — GA4 — things are just about clear as mud.
    Topics: users, site, pages, report, google, guide, data, page, ultimate, user, goal, analytics.
  • The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO in 2022 - On-page SEO has the power to bring countless new visitors — and customers — right to your website.
    Topics: page, content, site, seo, guide, website, keyword, search, ultimate, pages, elements, onpage.
  • The Ultimate Guide to SEO in 2022 - What is the first thing you do when you need new marketing ideas? What about when you decide it’s time to find a new accounting software? Or even when you notice a flat tire in the car? My guess is you turn to Google.
    Topics: content, links, engine, page, google, ultimate, guide, search, engines, site, seo, pages.
  • UAE B2B e-commerce site Dubuy targets Africa for growth - Dubuy, an e-commerce platform by UAE global logistics provider DP World, has entered Kenya with plans to launch the business-to-business (B2B) site in more countries across the continent in the coming months. This marks Dubuy’s third market in East Africa, coming months after setting up in Rwanda and unveiling plans to enter Ethiopia. The wholesale […]
    Topics: dp, businesses, uae, ecommerce, dubuy, continent, platform, world, trade, b2b, plans, growth, africa, targets, site, techcrunch.
  • Website Traffic Down? How to Diagnose and Fix Traffic Drops - Website traffic represents the volume of users visiting your site. Higher is better because more people visiting your site means more opportunities for advertising, engagement, and eventual conversion.
    Topics: drops, email, sites, website, traffic, search, diagnose, users, right, site, fix, sources.
  • What Are Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)? - Have you ever visited a website, looked at a product, left the site, but then seen an ad for that exact same product you were looking for on Google? I come across ads like this multiple times per week.
    Topics: user, remarketing, bid, search, google, users, business, lists, site, ads, rlsa.
  • What Is Bounce Rate? (And How Can I Fix Mine?) - Bounce rate is a metric that can be confusing when you first stumble upon it. I’m sure several questions pop into your head: Is a bounce rate close to 100% good or bad? Is it at all like a bounced email? Is it a vanity metric that I should ignore? And if I want to fix it, what should I do?
    Topics: fix, rate, rates, high, site, visitors, bounce, thats, page, mobile, content.
  • What Is First Contentful Paint? + An Action Plan to Improve It - If you could improve your website's performance by 10%, would you?
    Topics: action, score, performance, contentful, page, fcp, lighthouse, load, site, improve, speed, plan, paint.
  • What Is Small Business SEO? - Despite being a small business, it’s still possible to develop an SEO strategy that helps you stay competitive in your market.
    Topics: local, website, seo, business, google, helps, site, small, image, search.
  • What Is Temu, the Amazon Rival Rapidly Gaining Popularity? - The Chinese bargain shopping app has been downloaded more than 10 million times in the U.S. in less than four months.
    Topics: told, temu, site, low, legit, wsj, prices, shopping, business, days, xin.
  • What Is a CMS and Why Should You Care? - There are a lot of acronyms in the business world to keep straight. SEO, CRM, SERP, CDN, and CMS are just a few important ones.
    Topics: create, wordpress, content, code, build, builtin, web, care, website, site, cms.
  • What Is the Average Time Spent On a Website? [+ How to Improve It] - According to a Pew Research Center survey, 85% of Americans say they go online on a daily basis, with 31% reporting that they go online “almost constantly.”
    Topics: duration, session, content, visitors, site, seconds, spent, improve, page, website, average.
  • What is Advanced Search? - Anyone managing an eCommerce business knows how vital site search is to the customer experience. How customers find your products quickly and efficiently based on information such as name, size, color, or SKU can be the difference between a sale or a lost opportunity.  Let’s take a closer look at Advanced Search, commonly used terms in how we talk about it, and top takeaways to remember about Search optimization.  Advanced Search goes beyond the typical search box functionality shoppers use onsite. It allows brands to refine the search and discovery criteria to target user intent and display results quickly and accurately. We’ll discuss four Advanced Search tactics: Multiple Content, Faceted Search, Keyword Discovery, and Intuitive Search.  But first things first – how important is Search really? Consider this: as many as 68% of shoppers would not return to a site if they experienced poor Search performance. Studies show 15% of total users use site search, and this accounts for 45% of total revenue. Site search performance affects the bottom line; if you are not optimizing it, your competitor will.  The Cost of Ignoring Search  Advanced Search allows brands to refine and personalize search and discovery criteria so they find what they are looking for in less time. As user engagement improves so does checkout conversion and loyalty. Frictionless shopping experiences begin with how customers interact with your search functionality.  What can it cost you when you don’t make the investment in search? Plenty. Once your customers land on your site, the clock is ticking for search and conversion. The more obstacles preventing discovery and checkout, the greater bounce rate and ultimately decreased revenue, plus the cost of a damaged brand reputation.  At Elastic Path we have a trusted community of vendor partners and system integrators who bring your commerce platform to life. In the Search and Advanced Search realm, we have established relationships with those partners who do it well, such as Algolia, Bloomreach and Advanced Commerce.  How Do We Talk about Advanced Search?  Under the umbrella of Advanced Search are a few key terms as you think about the outcomes of robust search functionality. Here is a quick primer on what to know:  Multiple Content Types  In this example, a shopper chooses from any number of content types such as subscription type, a category, a collection, or a blog post related to the keyword. From the array of content displayed from a single keyword the shopper has multiple ways to browse and several paths to purchase.  Faceted Search  Faceted Search allows shoppers to define search terms by choosing from a range of product information.  Shoppers choose from predetermined attributes (such as category, brand, availability, etc.) to find a product with a closer match to their intent.  Source: Algolia  Keyword Discovery  There may be a disconnect between product descriptions and the language shoppers use in the search box. For example, shoppers may be frustrated searching for knives, when the marketing copy may only refer to the term “cutlery”. To make the product more discoverable, the search function may incorporate customer reviews into the related product function on the product and category pages.  End result: shoppers can now find products based on formal descriptions (cutlery), and by language actual customers use in reviews (knives).    Struggling with Your Search Function? Take a Look at How Composable Commerce Can Optimize the Search Process Go to Demo Library Intuitive Search Intuitive Search  gives instant results where the service or product referenced in the shopper’s search language lives.  Given the possible complexity of product information, Intuitive Search cuts down on the time it takes for customers to find exactly what they need and make the purchase.  Top Takeaways to Consider When Implementing Search:  1. Just like the cart, search boxes should be easy to find. With so much revenue riding on search queries, don’t make your customers hunt for the way to start their experience.   2. Put a Search Box (or universally recognized symbol for search like a magnifying glass), on each page of your site. 3. Allow for typos. If a brand name or attribute is misspelled, don’t have the search results return as zero. You will not see that shopper again on your site. Expand your site’s tolerance for spelling errors and alternative spellings.  4. Consider Auto Complete to quickly guide your shoppers to the most relevant results.  5. Use an analytics tool to further identify personas and what your customers want, or inefficiencies in your inventory.  6. Optimize the search function for mobile. With the majority of shopping (and just browsing) happening on mobile devices, the experience must be seamless, or you stand to lose a customer for life.  7. Use Natural Language Processing (NLP) for best search results.   
    Topics: product, shoppers, language, customers, discovery, ecommerce, function, search, advanced, site, results.
  • - What is MyShopify? And MyShopify.com? How is it different from any Shopify online store? In this article, we explain the exact purpose of MyShopify to ensure all store owners are clear about its functionality, what to do if you encounter… Continue reading What is MyShopify? Everything You Need to Know
    Topics: online, domain, myshopify, subdomain, need, shopify, youre, myshopifycom, custom, site, website, know.
  • What is Search Retargeting & How Does It Work? - When a user is on Google and searches for "athletic shoes," companies like Nike and Skechers probably want their ads to continuously show up for those users online because they're currently in the market for a product they sell. But how could they do that when the user isn't searching for them and perhaps doesn't even know that their company sells athletic shoes?
    Topics: search, site, display, visitors, user, work, retargeting, youll, does, ads, brand, users.
  • - Wix Velo, or “Velo by Wix” as it’s sometimes referred to, is a full-stack development platform created by the company known for being one of the most straightforward site-building tools around. Wix Velo helps developers to create more intelligent, efficient… Continue reading What is Wix Velo? Everything you Need to Know
    Topics: tools, coding, site, website, create, velo, need, wix, youll, features, know.
  • What is a Web Crawler? (In 50 Words or Less) - When it comes to technical SEO, it can be difficult to understand how it all works. But it's important to gain as much knowledge as we can to optimize our websites and reach larger audiences. One tool that plays a large role in search engine optimization is none other than the web crawler.
    Topics: search, page, web, engines, crawlers, words, pages, crawl, site, crawling, crawler.
  • When Scaling Your Link-Building Efforts, Don’t Compromise On Quality - You've launched your business and, with it, your website. Now you want to start driving more traffic to your site and build your brand salience.
    Topics: site, page, content, search, highquality, create, compromise, seo, increase, scaling, quality, dont, linkbuilding, links, relevant, efforts.
  • Why Page Load Time Matters - Have you ever been frustrated by an online shopping experience? Clicked on a link while scrolling social but abandoned it because the product page loaded too slowly? Increasingly, customers expect convenient and seamless experiences when buying online. These expectations can have a surprisingly impactful effect on your brand's bottom line. When it comes to eCommerce, an often-neglected aspect is website performance. How fast your website loads directly impacts your customer experience and outcomes. Is your website doing all it can to encourage purchases, or is it causing your brand to leave dollars on the table? Does it Matter to Your Brand? Over the past couple of years, you've undoubtedly heard about the increasing use of mobile to make purchases, both for B2C and B2B brands. Flashy stats and presentations often lead to knee-jerk reactions like setting up a mobile channel but fall short on delivering an experience that will help your brand convert more sales. As ever, the numbers don't lie. Here are a few stats to consider: “When pages load in less than 4 seconds they win 59% of the conversions, and those that exceed the four second mark experience 58% of the bounces” - eCommerce Speed Hub Each second of a buyer’s journey matters, ‘the Site Speed Standard benchmark data proves that reducing page load time by just 1 second results in a 3 – 5% conversion lift’ - eCommerce Speed Hub Before your customers can make a purchase, ensuring they make it through the door is essential to making a sale with the probability of a bounce increases 90% as mobile page loads go from 1s to 5s. Another added benefit is that your site speed directly impacts where you will rank on search. A few years ago, Google even announced it as an update, yet a significant number of retail sites still have poor load times. "Sixty-four percent of all online retail is from mobile, but conversion rates on mobile are only half that of desktop. That's more people browsing, but fewer people buying... In fact, we've seen that companies who commit to great mobile design are seeing 32% increases in revenue. And, get this, up to 400% improvement in conversion rates. " - Adrienne Clem, Director of Search Ads Growth and Optimization at Google. Check out our mobile commerce guide to learn more. This isn’t to say that mobile experiences should be the be the sole focus of your page speed optimizations. Providing seamless experiences across channels is a crucial benefit of a cloud-based Headless Commerce platform like Elastic Path; it's a perfect fit for your website's scalable, near-instantaneous performance. To learn more about how a Headless Microservices-based cloud platform, check out our guide to Headless commerce here.   Build Faster, Seamless eCommerce Experiences Start building the unique commerce experience your business demands with a faster, more flexible and scalable headless solution. Sign up for a free trial What Site Speed Should You Target and How Do You Get There? The holy grail of website performance is simple: a page load time of 3s. Two of the usual culprits for lagging performance are large images (file size), and the architecture used to build your site (from poorly designed coding to back-end systems like your eCommerce platform). Thankfully, there are a plethora of resources to help guide you on your optimization journey. We recommend Google's PageSpeed insights tool to start. The tool helps determine where you stand, and how you can start to make improvements. Optimizations will be an ongoing process for your IT team, however, it’s great to have the peace of mind that your eCommerce platform can help support your journey to stellar performance. Here’s a quick snapshot of what an Elastic Path powered site performs like. Versus a not-so-great performance on other Headless Commerce platforms. Ready to switch to an eCommerce platform that helps rather than hinders your website's performance? Chat with us today to see how Elastic Path can help your brand.
    Topics: page, speed, commerce, site, experience, headless, website, performance, ecommerce, load, mobile, matters.
  • Why Site Performance Matters and How to Improve It - Site performance (or lack thereof) is one of the biggest pain points eCommerce businesses face today, due in part to its direct correlation to conversion rate. If you don’t think site performance matters to your customer - your revenue, and your reputation, are at risk. I’ll cover why site performance matters and how best to improve it if you find yourself on the slower end of the speed trial. Consider this: It takes about fifty milliseconds, or .05 seconds, for users to form an opinion about your site and determine if they will stay or go. Think about your personal experience with a slower-paced load time on a site. How many times have you bounced off as quickly as you found it? From ordering a pizza to buying a couch, today’s consumer simply does not have time to wait.   Fifty-seven percent  of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed web application on mobile. Given the miniscule timeframe to make a good first impression on a consumer, plus the hefty influence of word-of-mouth first impressions by those same consumers (either favorable or less than), site performance is not a “nice to have,” it is critical. Poor site performance is expensive. Industries may vary as far as numbers, but let’s see on average what the damage looks like when it comes to what slow site speed will cost you. For example, if you’re running an ecommerce site that makes $100,000 per day, a one second page delay could  cost you $2.5 million  per year in lost sales. To put that in eCommerce behemoth terms, let’s take Amazon. Performance tests showed they would lose $1.6 BILLION every year if they slowed down by just one second. What is the Benchmark for Optimal Site Speed? The Google-recommended page load time is under  two seconds. Two seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability, while Google aims to keep load time under a half-second. Additional food for thought: 47% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds are less, while studies show for every 100ms decrease in home page load speed results in a 1.11% lift in session-based conversion. Other factors that affect site performance to keep in mind: mobile device usage, bandwidth, and variable internet speeds by user region. So now that you’re aware of the high stakes of slow site speed, the good news is you have options for improving it. First things first, always be testing. Web Application Performance & Speed Testing Tools There are many products and services in the market to diagnose web application speed and performance. It’s important to have a clear picture of how your site is performing and be able to make tweaks quickly and easily. More benefits to these tools include: Find out how your site is performing across devices. Most users are visiting through a mobile device so optimization is key See how your site is performing across regions and countries Analyze and optimize for better rankings and UX Triage bottlenecks and make optimization decisions based on ROI and conversion rates Interested in Learning More About Elastic Path Commerce Cloud? Launch and optimize innovative experiences fast, with a modern, headless, SaaS, API-first, & microservices-based commerce platform. See the Future of eCommerce The Top Web Performance/Speed Testing Tools: Pingdom Speed Test GTmetrix Google PageSpeed Insights Yellow Lab Tools WebPage Test KeyCDN Website Testing Tools DotCom-Monitor Dareboost IsItWP Website Speed Tool GiftOfSpeed     Figure 1: A typical Web Performance Tool interface Source: Pingdom Next Steps: How to Improve on Speed and Overall Performance Now that you’ve invested the time in the proper tools to monitor and improve site speed, and understand the slim window to keep a user engaged and on the path to purchase, here are a few things to consider that affect speed: Dynamic vs. Static Content Management – The difference between the two is dynamic content is anything subject to change based on user input such as product, pricing, or descriptions. This content is stored in a database and is fetched when the user engages with it, otherwise known as async communication. Static content on the other hand is anything remaining the same in the experience such as the navigation menu. Both types of content have distinct yet crucial functions on a site but are managed differently. While static content typically loads faster there are ways to manage dynamic content to alleviate issues and slower load times. As you edit dynamic content you want to avoid editing the HTML code as this will cause breaks in your site. Additionally when managing dynamic content use proper caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to bridge the gaps between dynamic and static content. Use a Faster Website Host – upgrading your website host can significantly affect your site speed. While you’d also be looking at site uptime, traffic volume (especially the ability to manage spikes during peak activity), customer support, and of course price. Here is a helpful Top 10 list of vendors to get started. You’ll want to review many providers and continuously comparison shop especially as you scale your business. Image Optimization - no surprise that visual content engages users. However, high quality imagery means larger files that eat up load time. Using resized and compressed files is a lighter lift for the server to load the image. Within imagery you’ll want to pay attention to the file format. There are four file types: PNG, JPEG, GIF, WebP, and SVG. A general rule of thumb is to avoid GIFs since they do drag on site speed. When choosing between PNGs and JPEGs, PNGs work well for graphics and screenshots, while JPEGs are ideal for photographs. The newcomer is the SVG file format, or scalable vector graphic that renders well in web applications and across other use cases. Lazy load plugins are also useful to only render photos where the user is browsing. Reduce HTTP Requests – HTTP requests occur when the browser sends a request to the server for information. The fewer requests a website must make the faster the site can load. The amount and the size of the requested files affects load times, however most engaging sites have both multiple and larger files. The best way to address this issue and is to run a full report on your site and assess what images are taking the longest to load and if in fact you need them. After you assess what’s needed, you can reduce the file size. Web Application Optimization is a Team Effort Web application design and management is a collaborative effort between IT and marketing teams. You’ll want to consider the user experience but also look at the technical load of what you’re providing to the user. Poor site speed results in bounce rates; essentially all the work you put into an engaging interface is null and void if the load times are sluggish. It takes the unique roles and goals of each side to create a memorable experience that consistently drives conversion.
    Topics: user, website, site, web, load, dynamic, matters, performance, content, application, speed, improve.
  • Why You Need to Prioritize Direct-To-Consumer Strategies - Direct-to-customer strategies can grow your business exponentially.
    Topics: engine, keywords, specific, strategies, site, set, prioritize, retail, directtoconsumer, search, small, business, marketing, need.