5 common online marketing gaffes retailers must avoid

Herbert Knibiehly, VP of marketing at Twenga Solutions, outlines five common online marketing gaffes retailers must avoid to ensure a successful marketing campaign.

shutterstock_182769413As technology continues to develop rapidly, so too does the opportunity for marketers to exploit the advances by targeting their consumers on a more personal level. With consumer activity increasingly shifting to mobile, businesses must now focus on how to communicate campaigns to a mobile audience in an effective and profitable way. Here are five things that, if ignored, could damage even the most promising marketing campaign:

Don’t ignore the importance of mobile

People spend 60% of their online browsing activity on a mobile device compared to just 40% on a desktop, according to a report released earlier this year titled ‘Digital Future in Focus’. Now that websites are becoming mobile-friendly and payment technology has developed considerably, consumers are much more likely to make purchases whilst on the move. With this in mind, retailers must figure out an effective online marketing strategy that converts mobile browsing into tangible transactions.

But in order to convert this activity into solid purchases, it’s important for retailers to first get the user experience right. Is your website responsive enough? Are images compromising webpage response speeds? Is your website both secure and easy to use? The incentives are already there: in fact this year Google has released a new ranking algorithm, Mobilegeddon, which rewards retailers who customise their website to make it mobile-friendly, whilst penalising those who don’t (even on desktop devices). The chances are, if your e-commerce site is not tailored for optimum mobile usage, your company’s presence on online search engines will begin to diminish. 

Failing to maintain an up-to-date product catalogue

Consistently maintaining your product feed is crucial to achieving high conversion rates. To arrive at a purchasing decision, consumers embark on an extended journey starting from the research stage all the way through to the checkout phase. It is important, therefore, that the retailer eradicates any external factors that may jeopardise the chances of the consumer completing their transaction. Imagine the frustration when you click on the product you’ve finally chosen to buy (having already trawled through pages of other “related” content”) only to find it’s now out of stock. Updating your e-commerce website will not only make the purchasing process more fluid and easy-to-use for shoppers, but it will undoubtedly increase profit margins as well.

Don’t neglect SEO

In order to gain traction in a sector as competitive as online retail means ensuring your website remains top of the pile in terms of SEO. Who is your target consumer? What are the keywords that will attract consumers to your page? In order to avoid low conversion and high bounce rates, using programmes such as the Google Keyword Planner will help marketers establish what the most popular and searched words and phrases are. Retailers must create content that not only engage a consumer with the product but also enhance usability, as long as this is not at the expense of your SEO optimisation. Are the semantics right? Will the product descriptions match with the keywords entered into a search bar when they begin their purchasing process?

Using images incorrectly

Including the right images on your website can be an extremely effective marketing ploy, but only if they are used in the correct manner. Using images can trigger a psychological response from a consumer pre-purchase, which could ultimately lead to a better conversion rate. The problems occur, however, if an image is not optimised specifically for the website and device as this slows down the loading speed for product pages. This would ruin the user experience and potentially dissuade a consumer from completing a transaction on your site.

Allowing security to compromise experience

This may be one of the more difficult challenges for retailers. With it now established that speed, ease and simplicity of an ecommerce website is vital in order to achieve high conversion rates, how can web designers implement a payment method which is both innovative, simple and secure without compromising user experience? With a spate of high-profile cyber-attacks in recent months, using trusted providers and especially secure encrypted webpages has become of even higher priority to retailers.

Striking the right balance

The key here is balance. How do you meet adequate security provisions without compromising user experience? Communicate attractive and unique product descriptions without neglecting SEO? Create an attractive looking website without slowing down loading times? How do you produce an e-commerce marketing campaign that caters for needs across a number of devices?

In essence, the key to making the most of your marketing campaign is by embracing new technologies and the opportunities they provide without forgetting the traditional proven marketing techniques that are designed to improve your sales.