I had wanted to write about an e-commerce website or what is popularly known as online stores in Nigeria for a long time now. My intention was to explain how an e-commerce website can promote their website online leveraging Search Engine Optimization
The Black Friday euphoria was just a perfect excuse for me to do so.
Don’t worry. This post won’t be a Black Friday post. If you want an insight into what happened on Black Friday here is the link to a post someone shared on my network. Go read it and then come back here for serious business.
If you are like me, the history of how Black Friday began might also interest you. I suggest you start your search with this article on Wikipedia. Probably sometimes in the future, I will take a dab at this.
Black Friday or not online stores will always be relevant to us. With the increase in internet penetration and especially mobile density, the e-commerce business is here to stay.
If you have got an e-commerce website and you want to remain competitive you are in luck. This is because we will be looking at some of the criteria that can help an e-commerce website grow quickly even it is a brand new website.
After all the keyword “online stores” alone generate over 12,000 monthly searches if we are to depend on the data Google Adwords keyword planner shows us.
We will be using the big brands as we know them in the industry today as our case study. Run them against this checklist yourself. That is why I am presenting the methodology fully in this article.
I have always loved to analyze my competitors. Competitive intelligence analysis when properly done can give you insight into what is working, what is not working, and how to beat the competition.
The only caveat with competitive analysis is that you must resist the temptation not to get into the stalker mood. A result-driven competitive analysis will help you beat the competitor eventually, but a competitive analysis for the sake of competitive analysis only will only bring you one step below your competitors.
Here is a post I wrote on how to build backlinks by analysis your competitors.
Let’s get started. Below is the list of the online stores we used.
Here is the list of top online stores in Nigeria
NB: These are by no means the only e-commerce website in Nigeria. I decided to use this list because this is the list Google shows when you search online using the keyword “online stores in nigeria”. The search was carried out incognito.
If you want to start your own eCommerce website and you are not sure if you should use WordPress or get a custom-built platform, check out this comparison of WordPress and another platform
Let us look at some of the factors that can influence an e-commerce store expecting to make sales online.
- Mobile friendly
Increased internet penetration and mobile density can only mean one thing. More mobile searches!
A greater number of people continue to use their mobile phone not only as a purchasing tool but also to collaborate with their friends before they buy a particular product.
According to Google, 2015 is the first year mobile searches is surpassing desktop search. 76% of Jumia’s traffic for Black Friday was from mobile, Konga also recorded 52% of it’s traffic from mobile and I am sure not other brands will experience the same thing. This shows the role mobile is playing the in marketing funnel for most B2C companies.
Using this post to dive deep into why your eCommerce website needs a blog and how to get started.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. To test if your website is mobile-friendly, simply enter your url into this tool created by Google and you will get an analysis for your website.
If it is impossible to make your website mobile-friendly, then get a mobile version.
- Page speed
We want information and we want them fast. Secondly no one wants to use all their data trying to load a web page. According to Google, the minimum recommended page speed for a website should be 3 seconds or less.
If your web page fails to load within this time frame, you stand a high chance of losing the customer and of course, you are going to lose them to a competitor.
A lot of factors can lead to a higher load time for websites. This includes bad website optimization, unnecessary scripting loading, bad platform choice etc.
Plug your website into this recommended tool to get an idea of your web page load speed and how you can improve it.
- Social media integration
People want to talk and share your products. They can only do that if you give them the opportunity and make it easy for them to do so.
As at my last count, the total population of Nigerians on Facebook was 14.2m. Brands must continue to strategically leverage this platform to growth-hack their sales.
Focus on the metrics that matters and ignore vanity metrics. Other platforms you should pay attention to are Instagram and Pinterest.
Integrating your social media platform with your website will make it easy for consumers to share your products with their friends.
- SEO optimization
Okay. I admit it. I just can’t but talk about optimizing your website. One of the ways to consistently drive free traffic to your website is through search engine optimization. Today’s search has gone beyond keyword and $5 backlinks as provided by some providers.
Today’s optimization is all about understanding your audience, making your website a place to go to and ensuring they can find you when they need you most.
That is what SEO is all about. Only when you do this will you show up on Google’s first page.
If your online store is just about to kick off, you stand a greater chance. Think about your optimization even before you design that website. Understand how SEO works and the pitfalls to avoid.
- Make it easy to call you
Really just make it easy to call you. I don’t want to land on your website and have to stroll up and down to find your contact details. I need your contact information and most especially the phone number in case I am stuck or need to talk to live person and not a machine.
Put your contact information above the fold. Take a clue from Google’s recommendation for online stores.
- Enhance trust
Trust is at the center of an e-commerce website. If you expect people to part with their money on your website, then you must make them comfortable on your website.
This assurance can be given in different forms. One of the ways to do this is to actually sell what you show on your website. A colleague of mine once ordered a product on one of the e-commerce websites. When the good was delivered she actually had to practically go back and check because what was delivered was a far cry from what she ordered.
Use reviews and testimonies of customers to build trust and if possible, use vidoes to showcase how other people have used your products.
Beyond reviews and testimony is the addition of security seals to your website. And by the way, implement HTTPS
- Structural data
It has been fun all the way and before I part, here is a tiny tip that can make your product rank higher than any of the websites currently going for online stores in Nigeria.
Use structural data.
Structural data helps Google search engines understand what your website is all about and will you give an edge.
Login to your Google Webmaster tool or what is known as the Google Search Console to begin analyzing your website for structural data.
This is by no means an endless checklist for e-commerce websites but if you intend to grow your business site, here is a list of where to start. This checklist can help you grow your store faster.
Take an audit of your website and implement some of the changes today. Come back here and drop your comment. I love to read from you.
PS: If you are interested in learning how I can help drive traffic and improve conversion on your eCommerce website, please use this link to check out our ecommerce seo company services