It is an exciting time to be in eCommerce, and not so for brick-and-mortar retailers. Stores with physical locations are down hurting even the biggest of companies from Nordstrom to Sears with many falling to bankruptcy. Meanwhile companies like Amazon, Wayfair, and Newegg are stronger than ever. Companies like Wayfair have an ingrained strategy to help them maintain a competitive edge, and smaller companies that have been acquired have followed some basics guidelines to build a moat in online businesses. These do not just apply for eCommerce but for online, media, and technology companies such as the Interactive Group that maintains these rules for their portfolio of brands. The basics of eCommerce can be broken down into the 4 S’s.

1. SEO

The number one most important thing as an eCommerce company or any sort of online company is to be found, that’s the priority. There are plenty of companies that sells home goods and furniture, but only Wayfair rose to the top. The reason behind this is strong search engine optimization and strong search engine marketing techniques. It is important to be ranked in the top 3 results on the front page, 99% of people do not go to the second page, and the overwhelming majority look at only the first three results. With Google’s new algorithm update in Hummingbird it is important to host good content and this relates to YouTube as well with longer videos now having a higher PageRank. Similar changes have been observed on Bing’s end as well.

2. Simplicity

A cluttered website is going to lead to confused potential customers that will exit the page or not be enticed to learn more about your product. No more scrolling pictures and large menus that distract people. Apple is the largest company in the world with a lot of information to give, but if a user looks at their company page they can see how it subtly says simplicity. Only eight options for the top menu, and a long home page with pictures and short blurbs of text.

3. Speed

Speed is of the utmost importance, especially optimizing that speed for mobile devices. A larger and larger amount of users are doing the majority of their online time through their smartphones so it is important that the page can run in a mere second. Most people will exit a page if they have to wait longer than ten seconds. Speed also plays into how well you are ranked, and a higher bounce rate will mean being bumped down on your PageRank. Speeds can be increased by simplifying Javascript and CSS code on websites.

4. Statistics

Once the keys have been done, it is a matter of using statistics to better your process. If most people are landing on one page, use that as a gateway to get future clients on the top part of the funnel lower to better the chances of a sale.

If you or your organization have done all of the above more likely than not, you will achieve success. It is important to be patient. There have been websites around for years with a large amount of content and keywords that have already been indexed. The best digital strategists and business analysts will pay attention to new updates and trends. Search algorithms are constantly changing and so are the way people visit websites – it may be a search engine today but maybe a voice assistant the next.

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