BigCommerce and Your WordPress Site

WordPress is an amazing option for businesses that are just starting out with their online presence. The WooCommerce plugin allows businesses to easily add eCommerce functionality to WordPress websites. Since late 2018, there has been a new option for WordPress users to dip their toes into the eCommerce world. Businesses no longer have to choose between WordPress’ flexible platform and BigCommerce’s proven eCommerce engine. For WordPress-based entrepreneurs wondering if they should consider adding BigCommerce to their site, here are some factors to consider.

Your Content and Your Commerce

If you have a well-established WordPress site, you undoubtedly have built a network of content related to your business. While migrating that information to a new platform is possible, it is a time consuming and sometimes risky procedure. If you have dedicated time to building your brand through WordPress, the BigCommerce plugin is a great way to add the checkout options your business needs. 

Increasing Your Scalability

If your business is growing, adding BigCommerce’s functionality is a great option. As you start to do more business on your site, the increased activity can drag down your page’s performance. Letting BigCommerce handle the eCommerce side of your business will leave your content pages running smoothly as your user interactions grow. You get all of the advantages of your WordPress site and BigCommerce’s powerful eCommerce platform. 

More eCommerce Options

Choosing BigCommerce for your WordPress site means WordPress developers can quickly add a huge array of eCommerce options to your site. For example, with the BigCommerce plugin, you have access to 65 payment gateways and seamless access to all major global carriers for your shipping needs. Shopping carts developed through this BigCommerce platform can easily integrate sales and discount codes from your website and make the user experience quick and easy. You can also use this BigCommerce plugin to expand your business’ sales across multiple popular platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and eBay.

Additional Security 

Adding BigCommerce to your WordPress site means that you can use their secure checkout service. Working with BigCommerce means that your checkout process is PCI secure out of the box. You will not have to worry about securing your customer data as your business expands. 

 

If you feel like your business is growing beyond your WordPress’ sites current capabilities, adding BigCommerce’s plugin might just be the perfect way to handle your checkout process. If you’re not ready to move off your established site, but you need to broaden your eCommerce horizons, this plug-in is a perfect way to get the best of both worlds. 

Here at Genius eCommerce, we are dedicated to helping your eCommerce business succeed. To stay up to date on the latest eCommerce news and tips, check back in with us for regular updates.

 

Three Valuable eCommerce Features that Require Development

When you partner with an eCommerce platform, you gain the suite of development options offered by that platform. While these options are often more than sufficient for setting up an eCommerce site for any business, there is no way for platforms to offer all of the features their clients would like. When developing your eCommerce website and comparing it to other sites in your industry, you might quickly develop a list of features you would like for your site that are not baked into your platform.

In order to add these features to your website, you need a webpage developer who can physically code them in. By hiring a development team familiar with your eCommerce platform, customization is virtually limitless.  Web development can greatly improve the appearance and function of your website, leading to greater user retention.

Mega Menus

Mega menus are an amazing feature for your eCommerce site. Unlike a standard drop-down menu, these menus often feature categories and subcategories so your customers can browse a wider range of options at a glance. While standard menu options are a standard feature for all eCommerce platforms, they do not include options for creating these comprehensive menus.

Developers can easily create gorgeous mega menus with any of the options your business needs. Whether this includes several subcategory options or the inclusion of images with your menus, almost anything is possible with the right coding.

Search Features

Another common feature that requires development is custom search. Most eCommerce platforms come with search features that allow for faceted search. This allows users to customize their search in terms of brand, size, color, and other common facets.

If your business requires a more specific facet, you’re going to need a custom search. For example, if you run a business that sells plants, you might have customers who want to search your products by how much light they require. This functionality will be valuable in assisting your customers to make purchases, but no platform is going to have a “light level” facet built into their search functions.

Auto-completing search terms are another feature that customers appreciate. Several developers are able to add coding to your search features to include auto-complete and recommended search features. Features like these make it easier to navigate your site and add a professional touch that users appreciate.

One Click Purchasing

Another valuable function that many platforms do not include is one-click purchasing. Made popular as a feature for Amazon Prime, the eCommerce giant now offers this to all of its customers. Rather than adding a product to a cart and then moving to checkout, one-click purchasing takes the customer straight to checkout.

For sites that link customer payment data to account, this can even be used for instant purchases with no further steps. These tools are extremely valuable for cashing in on impulse purchases and streamlining the purchasing process. Having customers view their cart before checkout can lead to indecision. The faster you can allow a customer to go from the initial desire for a product to purchase, the less chance that your customers will reconsider.

 

To learn more about features that will improve your eCommerce site’s performance, turn to Genius eCommerce. Our experts are here to keep you up to date on the latest tips and news in the world of eCommerce.

 

Choosing a Design Theme for your eCommerce Site

The web design theme you use for your eCommerce site can have a major impact on your business. Whether this is positive or negative depends on how much research you put into your decision.

Consider your users: The number one criteria when choosing a theme is your user base. Many businesses that are trying to appeal to a young and trendy audience will have the most success with modern minimal templates. This style is currently in vogue and does not provide an abundance of distractions from your call to action. Flat themes typically feature light backgrounds and darker text, making your content really pop off the page.

A full-width template is a great option to achieve a very contemporary look. For a more traditional design, a boxed width design is another great choice. These templates include a border around your content and tend to be perfect for websites marketing to other businesses.

No matter what theme option you choose, you will have some empty space on your page. While it might be tempting to fill that negative space, it’s important to avoid over-saturating the user. If you have a lot to say, consider a simple link to another page where you can go more in-depth.

Choose the right header: A strong header sends a strong message. As soon as a user lands on your page, the header should be the first thing that draws their eye. A bold, bright image is truly worth a thousand words. You can tell an entire story about your brand with the right combination of graphics and text at the top of your page. If that story appeals to your user base, it will leave them hungry for more information.

You also want to be sure that your header leaves enough space for users to want to continue their journey through your site. A header that takes up half of your page might make your website appear underdeveloped.

Instead of extending your header vertically, you might want to extend its width beyond the rest of your content, guiding users from the literal big picture to the important details about your business. The right balance between the “curb appeal” of your header and the substance to back it up will be what keeps users interacting with your website.

Check out your competition: If your business has competitors with a successful website, take some time to navigate them. It’s never a great idea to use the exact page template as a competitor, noting their successful layout features will help you improve your own site.

Does your lead competitor place their menu above or below the header? How do they lay out their links or organize their products? All of these factors can contribute to their success and might be a huge help when deciding what your customers want to see for your business.

You should also consider the inverse, what does their site lack? Are there clunky or unnecessary features on the competition’s website? Avoiding their mistakes is a great way to give your site a superior layout.

Menu designs: Your menus are your user’s travel guide to the rest of your website. You need menus to point users towards your products and more information on what you offer as a brand. Whether you feature a simple dropdown menu or what a custom designed mega menu, making your site easy to navigate is key to retaining users and increasing visit durations.

Factors like whether you want to include subcategories to your menu can affect the ease of use for your website. A challenging menu will lead to increased bounce rates, but having too many subcategories can be confusing to users. Be sure to test your own menus and make sure they serve as an efficient gateway for visitors to understand you and your product line.

Branding: What is more important to you, your brand or your products? The idea of your brand is important, and how you feature it on your site will send a message to users. You definitely want your pages to prominently feature your brand logo so visitors will see and remember it.

If your brand is the focal point of your business, you will want that logo front and center. This works well for businesses that are selling a “lifestyle” that goes with their products. For markets like footwear, sometimes having a popular brand of shoes is more important than having shoes in general to consumers. These businesses will want to display that brand first and the products second.

If you want your products to speak for your brand, placing your logo off to the side or in a corner might be a better choice. This placement will give visitors an idea of who you are, while still maintaining your site design’s focal point to display your products. For businesses that want customers to display their product’s utility, or do not have powerful brand recognition, this product fronted design will focus visitors’ interest on what you have to offer.

 

Keep your business up to date with Genius eCommerce. Our experts compile news and tips on every facet of eCommerce so you can always find new ways to improve your site and your business.

eCommerce Migration and Your SEO Campaign

Sometimes you need to migrate your eCommerce business to a new platform. If you need your website to feature functionality your current eCommerce platform doesn’t offer or you’re overpaying for features your business doesn’t need, it might be time to consider a migration

One important consideration to make when you migrate your business is how it will impact the efficacy of your SEO campaign. SEO campaigns can last for months to years and often involve an extensive network of links. Moving your platform means all of that work and link equity might be placed in jeopardy.

Protect your Links

If your migration is going to affect your URL structure, you will need to implement 301 redirects to your old links. Without doing this, your SEO backlinks from offsite content will no longer direct to your website and Google will no longer associate your business with them. This can quickly drop your Google search rankings.

For internal links, be sure to physically actually change them rather than using more redirects. Too many redirects will slow your website down and negatively impact the user experience.

A new platform will also mean new SEO options. Making sure your SEO data is compatible with your new platform is crucial. If you know that search engines will analyze your new pages differently, you will have to adjust your strategy to match.

Use a Sandbox

Sandboxes exist for a reason. Before you implement your migration, test the new website and make sure all your links work properly. Generate a migration checklist and ensure all your concerns have been addressed before you pull the trigger. By testing your links before you move, you can make sure that your migration doesn’t affect the SEO equity you have spent months building.

A sandbox is also the perfect place to test your new website’s functionality. Making sure your website maintains all its features will ensure that the work you’ve put into your SEO pays off in high visit durations instead of bounces.

Check and Double Check Everything

If you want to avoid significant content errors, it’s important to index your website. A thorough analysis will help find any broken links or duplicate content before you migrate your data. Migrating is the perfect time to take care of these problems so they don’t follow you to the new site. Too many broken links can negatively impact user experience and Google’s opinion of your site.

You will also want to check your analytics before you implement your migration. Knowing factors such as average traffic rates and keyword rankings will be crucial once you migrate. Comparing your pre and post-migration analytics will be the basis for determining any adjustments your SEO strategy might need.

You will likely notice at least some drop off during migration. This is completely normal and is no reason to panic. You are migrating for a reason that will help your business, and your traffic will increase as long as you continue to execute an effective SEO campaign.

At Genius eCommerce, our goal is to keep vendors up to date on the latest in eCommerce. Check our blog to find more information about SEO strategies and tips to help your business succeed.

How SEO and Web Design Work Together

Every eCommerce website should share the common goal of trying to attract visitors with a website that is both SEO friendly and visually pleasing. It may not seem like the design of your website has anything to do with SEO, but in fact, it does.

We at Genius eCommerce are going to take a look at how the two are linked, why design is just as important as SEO, why people tend to focus more on SEO and more. Our goal is to provide you with insights and information about how you can improve your eCommerce SEO.

Design vs. SEO

Obviously, SEO targets specific keywords that are relevant to your business with the goal of bringing traffic to your eCommerce store. We tend to look at SEO on the surface and simply think about the content itself — that if the keyword is featured and you can start ranking for the words to generate organic traffic, then you are on your way to success.

Targeting the right keywords and getting people to your website on SEO alone doesn’t do the trick though. Consider what could happen after people get to your website. The website may have content that relates to the search query, but be in need of a better user interface. Even if you get people to come to your website with the right keywords, that isn’t enough.

If you are a business that has not put in the effort to improve your website experience, customers may not care to do business with you. People want to see businesses that care about appearance and a good website design makes people more likely to stay on the website.

Why People Focus on SEO

SEO is so important to eCommerce success because it can help create a better flow of traffic. Naturally, people are going to look at statistics and want to see them rise. While the rise in numbers may look good on the surface, your SEO efforts aren’t completely working if you don’t have a great design to go with it. Customers like to hang around websites that are nice to look at. Here are a few tips for bringing SEO and design together.

Optimize Content – Content is everything. You want to consider the search terms and keywords you are trying to rank for and make them a big part of the content. Use long tail keywords and phrases that are going to be searched and create a content plan based off of that. Use your keywords in the title and subheadings. Keep things organized by having subheadings to separate large blocks of text, and make sure you are not keyword stuffing by using the keyword naturally throughout your content.

Mobile Friendly – Search engines today are looking to see which websites put an emphasis on mobile users. Today, internet browsing and shopping are being done with mobile devices more than desktops. Having a responsive design that can easily adjust your website to a mobile, or other, format makes a huge difference in retaining customers. If your website is not mobile friendly, people will likely go back into the search results and find a competitor that is.

How do these two very different elements of eCommerce work together? A website that has a good design and uses the right SEO practices is more likely to succeed. SEO drives more traffic and potential sales to a website. A great design keeps people on the website for longer, which can bring your bounce rate down and help you rank higher on search engine result pages.

Both of these elements hold the key to success in the eCommerce space, especially in your digital marketing efforts.

For more tips, tricks, trends and more from Genius eCommerce, continue reading our blog. Our goal is to provide eCommerce SEO tips that can help you succeed in the online space.

How To Make Your Landing Pages Stand Out

A landing page to a website is like walking through the door of a brick and mortar location. It is the first place you see when you enter an eCommerce website. Landing pages are different than the homepage in that they are a more targeted location to place customers in the right spot for the products they want.

Landing pages can have a 5 to 15 percent higher conversion rate and are great for lead generation. Many landing pages get overshadowed by the homepage or product pages when it comes to preparing these pages and designing them.

At Genius eCommerce, we focus on all aspects of eCommerce websites from design to development to content and more. This is who we are and what we do, keeping you informed and updated on tips, trends and more in eCommerce.

Today, we will look at some tips for landing pages and ways that you can make yours stand out.

Avoid the Homepage – Your homepage should never serve as a landing page. There can be too much wording and visitors can easily get lost in their search. Having a dedicated landing page will perform better at generating leads and creating conversions, which is the primary focus of the page.

Include Specific Elements – Each landing page you create should have several different elements, among them a headline and sub-headline, a description of the offer, an image or video that supports the content, and any supporting elements such as testimonials, logos or security badges. Perhaps the most important element is to include a form on the landing page that allows you to get information. At the very least, if a form is not possible, include a call to action button to get visitors to the next step.

Limit Navigation – Unlike your homepage and product pages, the goal of a landing page is to give the visitor what they are looking for immediately. With this in mind, keep the navigation options on these pages to a minimum or not even present at all. This way, there is no possibility that they can wander off the landing page to a different page that does not pertain to their interests.

Clear and Simple Objective – Landing pages are also designed to give a clear and concise definition of what the page is about. A landing page should not be too wordy or hold too much information. Limit the amount of copy and additional media on the page to the necessities and keep the content organized. The most important thing is that the call to action is clear to the visitor.

Match Content – Consider the conversion path when creating landing pages. If a visitor comes to a landing page through a PPC ad, consider the language of the PPC ad. By echoing the same message as the previous ad, the customer feels like they are where they need to be and more likely to process. Give different information from the ad and they are more likely to click the back button.

Create Multiple Landing Pages – Every time you have an offer or new campaign, create a new landing page. The more landing pages you create, the more opportunity you have to connect with customers, generate leads and convert.

Using these tips can help you create landing pages that can be successful with the right message and products.

At Genius eCommerce, our goal is to keep you informed so you can succeed in the eCommerce space. It’s who we are and what we do. Continue reading the Genius eCommerce blog for more.

Why Excellent Customer Service is a Necessary eCommerce Trend

Shopping online is convenient. That’s why people love eCommerce. They can shop from anywhere at any time. With the growth of the eCommerce industry and the convenience it provides, having great customer service is important.

The customer experience can drive your entire business. It helps create repeat customers and gives you a solid reputation. Future customers may search for reviews on your business, and providing good customer service and a quality experience can lead to positive reviews that generate new business.

To make for a quality customer experience, you need to meet people’s expectations with a smooth checkout process, quick response to inquiries and a fast website.

At Genius eCommerce, it is our goal to be a source for trends in the eCommerce industry that you should know. This is who we are and what we do.

Here are some tips on how to achieve excellent customer service for your website.

Checkout – Any extra unnecessary steps should be eliminated. Many customers will start to abandon shopping carts if the checkout process takes too long. Focus on having customers fill out the essential information only and make the checkout process as quick and easy as possible and allow customers the capability of saving their information so they can check out even faster if they are a repeat customer.

Be Engaged and Responsive – An online presence gives you the opportunity to engage and interact with your customers. A timely response can be critical to achieving success in the eCommerce space. Customers may have several questions and if they are not addressed in a timely manner, they may go somewhere else to complete a purchase. There are many ways to interact whether you use social media, email, phone, or a live chat feature on your website. Having a live chat on your website is another growing trend within the industry that has been received well.

customer service

Personalization – The customer experience can be personalized by reading your customers purchase and browsing history. Websites that are developed well have the ability to complete this and read information about the customer through their histories to see what products they may be interested in. Consider how much Amazon has benefitted from this, recommending products based on previous purchases and searches to display products the customer is more likely to buy.

Feedback – If you are interactive with your customers, seek out feedback to find out what the perception of your business is and how you can improve. If there is criticism from a customer, address it. This is a great way to see which areas you excel in and which areas you need improvement, and it also shows a dedication to your customers that you are trying to improve and taking suggestions and criticism seriously.

By having a quality customer experience, you connect with your audience and can help influence future purchases with customers new and old alike. You can address any questions or issues with your customers and provide assistance for them.

Keep reading the Genius eCommerce blog for more updates, tips and trends on the eCommerce industry. This is who we are and what we do, and we want to keep you up to date on everything you need to know.

Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Why They are Trending

The world of eCommerce continues to grow every year. In fact, it is expected that the worldwide eCommerce market will have an increase in sales of over 246 percent by 2021.

The reason for this is that more people are willing to make purchases online as technology becomes more advanced and transforms the shopping experience.

One of the reasons is a growing trend of augmented reality and virtual reality. Today, we will explore what augmented reality and virtual reality are and why they are trending.

At Genius eCommerce, we stay up to date on the latest trends in the eCommerce world so you can stay in the know. It’s who we are and what we do!

Augmented reality is defined as the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time.

Virtual reality is defined as an artificial or computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real-life environment or situation.

The difference between the two is that augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays the new information with it, whereas virtual reality creates an artificial environment that makes the user feel like they are experiencing a situation first-hand.

augmented reality virtual reality

VR devices are already a popular trend that has developed over recent years. Between video games and immersive television experiences, virtual reality is a way to add yourself to the action as you would in a video.

From an eCommerce standpoint, the way people are experiencing virtual reality is through virtual showrooms and product portals. Whether it is viewing a shop in a virtual setting of a showroom before you physically go to buy or see the product or just a high-quality viewing of the product, the realistic view adds a real-life shopping experience to the eCommerce world.

eCommerce stores can take advantage of virtual reality by providing a glimpse at the product, the expected view of a product or a showroom without physically being there, allowing a look at the general setting before you ever attend. Ultimately, it becomes part of the shopping experience without getting in the car and going to a location. It’s a way to see how a store looks before you ever visit it or to see the product before making a purchase.

A way augmented reality is being implemented is through real-life product visualization. This feature is allowing customers to not only see a product before they purchase it, but to view the product visualized within their home. For example, if you were shopping for a new table, you could see what it looked like in your dining room before ever making the purchase with an augmented reality visualization.

These features both create a more immersive and involved shopping experience, which is ultimately the goal. People don’t want to shop the way they did before. They want to put technology to use, and you have that chance to reach a whole new client base that is interested in completing an entire purchase process from browsing products to check out, all in one place. Giving them the full experience of shopping in a brick-and-mortar location without leaving the comfort of their home is certainly a way to keep interest high.

Now that you have seen how a more immersive experience with augmented and virtual reality is changing the eCommerce world, you can start to take the steps to develop your website to give the user experience that customers desire.

Stay tuned for more eCommerce tips, tricks, updates and trends with Genius eCommerce by reading the Genius eCommerce blog. Remember that we keep you up to date on everything eCommerce so you can stay in the know. It’s who we are and what we do!

Why Website Performance is So Important to eCommerce

We may think of eCommerce trends as applications or features to websites that make them stand out. Sometimes, the biggest trends don’t have anything to do with a special feature, but a routine function to a website.

Website performance has been a popular trend over the years, mainly because people are impatient. If you want to make a connection with your customers, you need to have a website that loads quickly and makes function easy.

Most people are willing to wait about three seconds for a page to load before they abandon it and try to find something else. Most mobile devices average around 22 seconds for a website to load. Therefore, page speed and website performance hold a lot of importance to your website. You could have the nicest design but if your website doesn’t load quickly, people will never get to see it if they keep abandoning it.

More than just trying to catch the attention of your visitors and keep them engaged, but it also has benefits for SEO. Google views page speed as a ranking factor because user experience is so important, so how quickly your page loads and reacts to action holds greater importance.

How do you improve page speed? Optimizing images is a great place to start. You can cut down on load time by making sure all images on your pages are optimized.

Having a faster website increases conversions. If you reduce the page speed by three seconds, revenue increases by up to 12 percent. Pages that take three seconds or more to load produce 22 percent fewer conversions. Slow loading speeds and web performance would even affect a search engine powerhouse like Google. If Google had its search results slowed by just four-tenths of a second, they may lose 8 million searches each day.

That goes a long way with customers. Visitors to your website don’t want to wait. They want to gain access to the website, see products, get more information on products and complete purchases quickly. That kind of efficiency can lead to more traffic, better word of mouth marketing, better online reviews and eventually more customers.

website performance

A faster website performance also increases the SEO rankings. In eCommerce, your search rankings are critical to success and depend on it heavily. User experience and performance are now a part of the equation when considering website results, included in Google’s algorithm for ranking. The bottom line is that when a website performs poorly or loads slowly, a visitor spends less time on the website. A faster website improves operating costs as well, so there are many factors that go into improving page speed and website performance beyond the ranking system.

Now that you know about the importance of website performance and loading speed, you should consider your own website and if improvement is needed, especially as this trend continues to grow and affect the industry.

At Genius eCommerce, that is who we are and what we do, keeping up with the trends and tips within the eCommerce industry so you stay in the know and are prepared as changes and trends happen.

Be sure to continue reading the Genius eCommerce blog for more information and updates on other trends in the eCommerce world.