The e-commerce market has undergone many changes in recent years, largely forced by users whose habits and expectations regarding online shopping are evolving to ever higher standards. At Paraphrase-Online.com, we often witness the successes of ekomers. To some extent, we take part in them ourselves, because as much as 83% of our clients’ total expenses are B2C campaigns entrusted to us. So, we, our Google Ads or SEO specialists, have a large impact on the success of the campaign.
However, in many cases our actions are not everything and despite the application of best practices, a given e-commerce fails. So we have a few insights regarding the success of online stores, which we decided to share, further illustrating our point of view with a fresh case study of one of our clients.
The appearance of the online store – as we see it at Paraphrase-Online.com
Working with such a large number of online stores, we’ve had to deal with more than one website and technology. About those we know really well.
Very often, store owners, having in mind marketing activities that want to conduct in the future, seek our advice on solutions for online stores. Although we know a lot about this, the final decision is up to the customer. Nevertheless, consultation on the choice of CMS or e-commerce platform can save a lot of unnecessary nerves, ill-considered actions and, as a consequence, decreases results.
Consequences of unconsulted changes in an online store [case study]
In cooperation with our clients, we have repeatedly emphasized the importance of exchanging insights and consultation before introducing any changes regarding e.g. the interface of an online store, website or other issues that may have a small impact on the success of Google Ads campaigns or SEO activities. Unfortunately, it also happens that as an agency running a campaign or positioning a website, we are not kept informed of upcoming changes. Consequently, all online sales suffer, which, for example, with an average of $ 100,000 per month dropped to around $ 30,000, while maintaining the same costs for the campaign.
The drop in campaign results in the online store can be seen very quickly, reacting to this drop, but unfortunately not always. In the described case, a complete change in the appearance of the site and certain technical aspects brought unexpected consequences. A more modern look of the site does not always go hand in hand with easier navigation and better customer experience. This is evidenced by the change in time spent on the site by users before and after the modifications introduced. The difference in average session duration was 45 seconds and the number of transactions dropped by 70%.
The best look of an online store – what to consider when changing?
If you want to completely change the appearance of the online store, it is worth basing on the best practices of both UX and SEO (on-page and off-page), as well as analyzing what can affect any major change, e.g. the sales process, returns or marketing activities, e.g. Google Ads or Facebook Ads campaigns.
The optimal appearance of an online store is one that will satisfy the expectations of consumers above all, but also improve the sales process, i.e. allow, for example, obtaining feedback from the customer about the product or improve shipping. Optimal appearance does not always mean the most modern. Of course, a website with a large number of beautiful graphics can convince the customer to buy more, however, it is worth remembering that photos cause a decrease in the speed of loading the website, and may also limit the field to the activities of a specialist in positioning an online store.
In the case of the case study in question, prior to changing the website, consultation with existing store customers was carried out. However, there was no verification of the received insights with proven UX practices, which the industry is talking about. As a consequence, the most important aspects related to the user’s movement on the website were ignored, and only the visual side was taken into account.
What should an online store look like? – best practices.
All you need to do is to check what the largest and most recognizable online stores look like before starting work on a new online store project or before redesigning it. Very often, their appearance is primarily very intuitive. Most of us expect certain solutions and although the modern look attracts us more at first glance, we still prefer shopping on simple pages. The division into product categories, the ability to filter by sizes, colors, etc. have been used for years. Among the more modern solutions it is worth considering the product presentation itself, i.e. the quality of photos or videos showing the product “in action”. By checking the path of users on our website in Google Analytics or based on statistical data collected on the basis of research of other online stores, design the path that the customer should follow from product search to purchase. Most practices say that this process should be as intuitive and short as possible so that the customer can proceed to payment in two or three steps. Optimizing the online store and Google Ads product advertisement will help you bring the customer to the product you offer.
The appearance of the online store and the impact on the Google Ads campaign.
Every major change in the online store can also be seen quickly in advertising channels. Google Ads campaign leads to the online store, i.e. to specific products or their categories, and thus, changing the appearance or certain settings in the store has an impact on the final results of the campaign, e.g. on CPC, number of conversions or other dependent parameters.
The incomprehensible look of the website lengthened the customer’s shopping path and quickly became apparent. In the first two quarters of this year, i.e. before changes were introduced, the average ROAS for the campaign was 1,429.216. Changes on the store’s website occurred at the end of the second quarter. Their effect can be seen already in the third and fourth quarters where the average ROAS was 766.31.
Therefore, we want to warn every store against making drastic changes on the site without prior consultation with any entity that works in our favor and whose actions may be very dependent on these changes. Cooperation between e-commerce and the agency should not be limited to exchanging reports on campaign results or position reports. If you already work together, it is worth using the knowledge and practice of specialists who will gladly suggest what you need to consider and what may affect the success of Google Ads campaigns or SEO activities.
Many factors contribute to the success of an online store, and any changes should be discussed with us. Not only generated sales, but also customer opinion and experience on the site are involved. The success of Google Ads campaigns or online store positioning activities are also heavily dependent on them. The best appearance of an online store should therefore take into account its functionality and the ability to implement various additional activities that will support sales.