Search engine optimization helps e-commerce websites meet their goals

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become increasingly important for e-commerce businesses as a method of increasing organic growth and traffic to their site. SEO, as described by Search Engine Land, is “the process of getting traffic from the ‘free,’ ‘organic,’ ‘editorial’ or ‘natural’ search results on search engines.” SEO is seen as an alternative method from paid online advertising that delivers a higher return on investment.

Every search engine uses web crawlers to scan websites and determine the contents of the site. This information is used to rank websites based on user preferences. In a video produced by Search Engine Land, the process is explained within a library analogy. If search engines are a library containing all of the world’s knowledge, they need a system to determine which books (websites) are important to readers and answer all their questions. SEO is the process of a website including aspects that best meet a search engine algorithm’s requirements.

Google and other major search engines have made the SEO market more competitive over the years, in order to increase the value of achieving a high-ranking website. They sometimes make decisions as subtle as decreasing the number of organic blue links displayed from 10 to 8.5 on average in 2016,according to Searchmetrics. However, ranking highly on Google has become increasingly competitive due to their growing share of the search engine market. As of 2016, Google accounts for 76 percent of global desktop search traffic whereas Bing, Baidu and Yahoo make up for 22.5 percent of the market combined, according to NetMarketShare.

All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. — Search Engine Land

E-commerce websites benefit especially from SEO by driving organic traffic to their sites, increasing the probability that certain key performance indicators are met. The return on investment for SEO is higher than purchasing an ad campaign through Google AdWord, AdSense or online advertising space purchased on specific websites. Still, EMarketer forecasts estimated U.S. digital ad spending reached $72 billion in 2016. By prioritizing SEO, businesses are meeting the search needs of consumers and increasing the probability of higher traffic without having to overly spend on advertising.

Dirxion online catalogs offer SEO guide pages that involves a process of indexing every page of the printed catalog. This practice helps boost the overall SEO of the online catalogs site, as well as increase the likelihood of someone finding a catalog page when searching for specific products. Such is the case for Dirxion customer Aviall, whose online catalog pages can be found on search engines like Google and whose primary site (catalogs.aviall.com) shows up at the top of Google when searching for “aviall catalog” or similar terms.

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Retailers who developed an omnichannel strategy thrived in 2017

Many retail businesses experienced growing pains due to the market’s shift towards e-commerce and the omnichannel shopping experience. Some businesses are facing massive closures and potential bankruptcy. Many others, however, thrived through 2017 and can expect success in the months ahead.

The holiday season provided an indiction for many market analysts which retailers would survive well into 2018 and which would fall. For instance, Sears and Kmart both saw sales drop somewhere between 16 and 17 percent while announcing plans to make multiple cuts worth $200 million in the near future, according to CNN. The company accrued up to $10.4 billion in losses since 2014 and currently has 1,400 stores.

Many market analysts and those within the company feel as if Sears may not make it through the year before declaring bankruptcy. But multiple legacy retailers have already done so in markets that traditionally thrived in brick-and-mortar locations. For instance, Toys R Us declared bankruptcy in September of last year and Payless ShoeSource Inc. did so in April.

 

Other retailers haven’t fallen to the same fate as companies like Sears and Toys R Us. Target, who may be within Amazon’s sights, saw sales from November to December rise above expected levels to 3.4 percent. In addition, Target’s online sales grew by 25 percent. The company has a new focus on e-commerce as they purchased Shipt in December to bring same-day delivery to a majority of their stores by this year’s holiday shopping season.

“We will also remain focused on rapidly scaling up new fulfillment options including Same Day Delivery, which will be enabled by our acquisition of Shipt, and our recently launched Drive Up service.”
Brian Cornell, CEO and chairman of Target Corp.

New technology and business methods have allowed many companies to create an optimal omnichannel shopping experience for customers while at the same time boosting sales. Walmart recently built online order kiosks in some of their stores which allows customers to pick up their online orders in-store. Mobile payment options have also been popular for many retailers and customers alike. The platforms allow customers to pay for their products in-store from their phone. By capitalizing on the rise of m-commerce, retailers have put preference into the hands of the consumers to make payments in the method of their choice.

Many companies are attempting to reach the same destination: a complete and comprehensive omnichannel for their customers. But such a business model isn’t exclusive to large corporations. Dirxion online catalogs give both retail and B2B companies a tool to create an omni channel approach for their businesses and aids any e-commerce operation. Both versatile and optimized with HTML5, Dirxion online catalogs ensure cross-platform and multi-browser performance standards are met.

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Email, aided by online catalogs, can be an effective advertising tool

Consumers have made their mobile devices a more integral part of their daily lives, using them at higher frequencies for a wider variety of tasks. Plenty of data has been collected which established a connection between higher smartphone usage across the globe and the proliferation of m-commerce. As a side effect, consumers have taken other services and shown an interest in taking them mobile.

Email has seen one of the biggest changes as consumer are becoming more mobile-friendly. In 2012, 29 percent of emails were opened on a mobile device, according to eMarketer, with desktop and webmail collecting 34 and 37 percent respectively. In 2017, 55 percent of emails were opened on a mobile device as compared to 28 percent on webmail services and 16 percent on desktop.

In 2016, there were an estimated 238 million email users in the United States, according to Statista. In a different set of data, the United States is tied for second in weekly mobile email access rate globally alongside Italy and Japan. The data indicates 65 percent of mobile users in the U.S. accessed their email through a mobile device on a weekly device. Which means roughly 154 million users in the U.S. checked their email on a mobile device on a weekly device in 2016.

Email marketing has become a popular method of engagement for many companies. In many instances, email marketing provides a direct avenue to customers via highly-visible push notifications. According to data from Statista, 48 percent of companies surveyed indicated they planned to expand spending on email marketing in 2017. The same amount of respondents said they plan on maintaining their current email marketing budget while only 2 percent planned on decreasing.

Marketing SpendingThree-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI, according to a 2016 survey from Econsultancy. Dirxion online catalogs can aid a business’s email marketing strategies as the familiar layouts and designs give a campaign an additional layer of depth and interactivity. Printing and shipping charges are eliminated with Dirxion’s services, which give businesses a new and engaging method to attract customers.

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Post-holiday shopping breaks records in retail and e-commerce

With the holiday season having concluded, market analysts can now look at the data as a whole in order to make predictions for both the next holiday season as well as e-commerce in 2018. While pre-Christmas sales surpassed expectations, both physical retail locations and e-commerce sites saw increases in traffic and revenue. According to data from Salesforce, Dec. 26 saw a 19 percent increase in traffic, 5 percent higher than the year before.

Retailers are seeing the beginnings of a new trend arising. Many Americans now utilize the day after Christmas to shop while still on break from work. During what was previously known as a “retail lag” in which stores would attempt to get rid of outdated inventory, stores are now flooded with post-holiday shoppers. 40 percent of consumers shopped the day after Christmas, according to a survey from Deloitte.

“This week has, over the years, been gradually assuming more and more importance in the overall mix. Retailers want to get a second bite at the apple.”
– Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners

E-commerce continued to outpace retail in volume and growth. Amazon recently announced over 4 million consumers started a free trial or began paying for an Amazon Prime subscription in one week alone during the holiday season, as reported by Digital Commerce 360.

There was an unexpected rise in traffic during the New Year’s as well. For instance, e-commerce traffic across the top 25 retailers in the U.S. rose by 15 percent on New Year’s Eve and 32 percent on New Year’s Day, according to data from Verizon Communications Inc.

However, e-commerce and physical retail locations have shifted into a mutualistic relationship of sorts. Many consumers use physical retail locations to make returns on items that were purchased online. For instance, Kohls began accepting returns of certain Amazon items at 82 of their stores.

Christmas Returns

 

Dirxion online catalogs offer businesses the ability to tap into shopping trends and habits during both the holiday season and throughout the year. Dirxion online catalogs also serve as a complementary product to any e-commerce operation. Both versatile and optimized with HTML5, Dirxion online catalogs ensure cross-platform and multi-browser performance standards are met.

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E-commerce giant Amazon may set its eyes on Target

Ulta Beauty’s e-commerce continues to grow

Ulta Beauty’s investment in their e-commerce platform paid off. Earlier this year, it was reported the beauty salon company’s total traffic to their website increased by 74 percent with a 104 percent increase in mobile traffic alone. The result: Ulta Beauty’s online sales for Q3 rose by 62.8 percent from the same point last year. Online accounted for nearly 9 percent of all sales for the quarter.

Ulta Ad

Improvements in the company’s supply chain lead to a 10 percent cost reduction to complete each online order, according to CEO Mary Dillon on an earnings call. Such improvements lead to the expansion of other programs, such “store to door” which allows customers to order items to be delivered to their house at no extra cost if they can’t find it in-store.

“We rolled out this capability chainwide at the end of the third quarter, and while this initiative is still fairly small in terms of demand, it’s proving quite useful and satisfying guests looking for hot brands that are not available in every store, such as MAC or Morphe,” – Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty

M-commerce continues to be a focus of Ulta Beauty’s expansion efforts. Having re-launched their mobile application in Q3, the company saw their mobile traffic increase by 92 percent year-over-year. Ulta Beauty’s mobile app has been downloaded over 4.4 million times and has an average 4.8 stars out of 5 across the Google Play and iTunes stores.

Dirxion has partnered with Ulta Beauty to provide the company with new avenues to connect to their customers. This is done by utilizing Dirxion’s integration technologies and e-flyers within Ulta’s mobile applications. The e-flyer gives customers a new way to browse and purchase Ulta’s products in a format that can be sent to their customers at anytime from anywhere. This format also increases the efficiency in which Ulta can interact with and extend new deals to their customers. Integrated into their Google Play and Apple iTunes store applications, Ulta’s e-flyers receive a high level of exposure to their mobile customers.

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Holiday e-commerce sales reach unprecedented levels

The 2017 holiday shopping season has continued to break records. Consumers began their shopping earlier than ever aided by the growing retailer trend of the pre-Black Friday sale. Despite it’s reputation as a retail-orientated shopping holiday, Black Friday brought in historic e-commerce sales.

Estimates from Adobe say consumers spent a little over $5 billion on Black Friday. On Thanksgiving Day, consumers spent $2.87 billion alone, which was up 18.3 percent from a year ago, according to the same estimates.

Cyber Monday also brought in historic numbers and showed double-digit growth from a year-over-year perspective.Consumers spent $6.59 billion, according to Bloomberg News, which showed a 17 percent increase on e-commerce spending.

M-commerce, which has quietly been growing throughout the years, played a large role in the holiday shopping narrative this season. On Black Friday, purchases made on mobile devices accounted for 37 percent of all sales which generated just under $2 billion in revenue, according to TechCrunch. Cyber Monday saw similar numbers. Revenue generated by mobile devices increased 31 percent year-over-year for $2 billion in sales, according to Digital Commerce 360.

As a whole, holiday shoppers have spent a record $89.88 billion online from Nov. 1 to Dec. 17, which is a 13 percent year-over-year growth, according to data from Adobe. Adobe originally predicted to online sales would reach $107.4 billion through Dec. 31, which is expected to be reached at the current rate of online sales.

Online Holiday Sales

 

Outside of e-commerce, holiday spending in total has reached decade-high levels. American shopping intentions this holiday, on average, will top $900, according to a survey conducted by CNBC. The average is higher at a large margin than last year’s $702 and is the first time in the survey’s 12 years that the average broke $900.

Dirxion online catalogs offer businesses the ability to tap into shopping trends and habits during both the holiday season and throughout the year. Dirxion online catalogs also serve as a complementary product to any e-commerce operation. Both versatile and optimized with HTML5, Dirxion online catalogs ensure cross-platform and multi-browser performance standards are met.

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E-commerce investment pays off for Walmart

Following a summer of acquisitions and growth from Amazon, a larger narrative began to form for legacy retailers. They were viewed as stagnate and doomed to fall to the growing e-commerce market. However, shifts in business strategy coupled with a newfound omni-channel blend has lead to encouraging results for big-box retailers. Walmart has been one of the major companies leading the charge into this new, e-commerce-fueled era.

Walmart, who recently re-adjusted their e-commerce strategy, showed their ability to aggressively compete with Amazon. Recent earnings and growth have left many market analysts feeling as if they underestimated the legacy retailer’s ability to build a presence on the e-commerce market.

As part of their new strategy, Walmart went on an acquisition spree similar to Amazon’s. To start, Walmart purchased Jet.com, an American e-commerce company, for $3 billion in August of last year. According to a press release on Walmart’s official website, the acquisition was intended to build upon Walmart’s existing e-commerce foundation and expand upon their efforts to integrate their online and in-store shopping experience. Walmart bought other “e-commerce-friendly” companies such as ModCloth, Shoebuy and Bonobos.

“Walmart.com will grow faster, the seamless shopping experience we’re pursuing will happen quicker, and we’ll enable the Jet brand to be even more successful in a shorter period of time. Our customers will win. It’s another jolt of entrepreneurial spirit being injected into Walmart.” – Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

The aggressive acquisitions have paid off for the legacy retailer, as Walmart recently reported online sales were up 50 percent for Q3. Following such growth, Walmart has looked to continue to expand their e-commerce efforts. The company has been experimenting with new ways to integrate Walmart.com with their physical stores.

Walmart now offers lower in-store prices for food and household items, according to the Wall Street Journal. For instance, a 32-ounce bottle of Heinz ketchup which is $3.38 online costs $2.83 in-store. Additionally, Walmart now offers free two-day shipping on orders over $35 and self-service “Pickup Towers” for customers picking up online orders in-store.

Heinz Ketchup

 

Walmart and other large legacy retailers are now pursuing omni-channel routes to combine their offline and online sales efforts. However, these methods and strategies aren’t exclusive to large conglomerates. Dirxion online catalogs give both retail and B2B companies a tool to create an omni channel approach for their businesses and aids any e-commerce operation. Both versatile and optimized with HTML5, Dirxion online catalogs ensure cross-platform and multi-browser performance standards are met.
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Consumers, aided by e-commerce, began their holiday shopping earlier than ever

For some Americans, the holiday shopping season begins on Black Friday. But for many others, e-commerce and pre-Black Friday online deals have continued to push holiday shopping earlier and earlier in November. Earlier in November, Adobe predicted holiday shoppers would spend $107 billion during the holiday season (officially Nov. 1-Dec. 31). At this point in time, U.S. shoppers are on pace to spend $109 billion.

Holiday Shopping

 

E-commerce holiday shopping on Black Friday could even generate more sales than Cyber Monday, the traditional day most businesses and consumers allocated for online deals. Last year, Black Friday generated $3.34 billion in online sales which was just below the $3.45 billion generated by Cyber Monday sales. However, from a growth standpoint, Black Friday online sales have increased at a much faster rate than Cyber Monday. According to more data collected by Adobe, Black Friday online sales have grown by 21 percent whereas Cyber Monday online sales have grown by 12 percent year over year.

“Holiday online shopping continues to trend earlier and earlier each year, with this year eclipsing last year by about a week” – Bob Buffone, Founder & Chief Technology Officer at Yottaa

Consumers and Mobile

Mobile devices continue to play a role in the e-commerce market well into the holiday season. Projections from Salesforce indicate smartphone traffic will generate 60 percent of online traffic to retail sites during the holiday season.Additionally, conversion rates for mobile devices are expected to rise during the holiday season. Mobile devices will account for $1 of every $4 made from e-commerce sales, according to comScore. The majority of purchases made on mobile devices are expected to be smaller, less-expensive items whereas larger purchases will be made on desktop or larger electronic devices, as predicted by Kevin Bobowski, senior vice president of BrightEdge.

Dirxion online catalogs offer businesses the ability to tap into shopping trends and habits during both the holiday season and throughout the year. Dirxion online catalogs also serve as a complementary product to any e-commerce operation. Both versatile and optimized with HTML5, Dirxion online catalogs ensure cross-platform and multi-browser performance standards are met.

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Consumers use e-commerce websites to supplement their offline shopping needs

Growth in the e-commerce market has given customers a variety of avenues to acquire their favorite products. For businesses, however, it’s hard to analyze exactly where their sales come from and whether or not an online and brick-and-mortar presence can be mutually beneficial to future growth.

Consumers are moving toward a blend of offline shopping supplemented by a period of online research. While online sales have been on the rise, only 15 percent of Americans make purchases online on a weekly basis, according to a study from the PEW Research Center. About 45 percent of Americans have used a cellphone within a physical store in order to look at reviews or other product information. Consumers have long relied on the ability to get recommendations and reviews, hence the rise of websites like Yelp! and FourSquare.

 

On the other hand, some consumers are more skeptical than others when it comes to the validity of online reviews. According to the same PEW Research Study,48 percent of U.S. consumers believe it’s often hard to tell if online reviews are truthful and unbiased.Consumers more often than not will use websites to compare prices and products and then visit stores to get a reassurance of product quality before committing to a purchase. Even if shoppers don’t directly purchase from a website, businesses benefit from empowering their customers with the tools to do their own research and be confident in their purchase.

Such buying habits don’t necessarily adhere strictly along generational lines. A study conducted by RetailDive found 26 percent of U.S. adults frequently research products online prior to shopping for them in brick-and-mortar stores. The report then emphasizes the importance of a “compelling digital experience.” Certain things can improve the customer’s researching or shopping experience to create a seamless omni-channel shopping experience.

Dirxion online catalogs give businesses a strong tool to allow their customers to do their own research. The search feature allows users to find the exact product they’re looking for without having to search through tabs and pages of results. Dirxion’s integration capabilities can bring a business’s existing e-commerce website into the catalog. Customers are able to interact with linked images that open to Quick Views or iFrames of the e-commerce site. Customers can then read pictures, look through photos and even add to their cart without having to leave the online catalog.

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