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Spree Commerce Represents at MagmaConf 2014

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Melissa Pegus

Magmaconf, Mexico’s premier mobile and modern web development conference, was held in beautiful Manzanillo last week. The annual event, hosted by Spree Commerce Certified Premier Partners Crowd Interactive, was a huge success! Attendees from all over the world, including Github, Rackspace, Engine Yard, and Code Climate, descended upon the beach town for a few days of collaboration, commemoration, and festivities.

Spree Commerce Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Melissa Pegus, was there to represent Spree, and came prepared with her own presentation, “A Modular Approach to E-Commerce.” In her talk, Melissa detailed what Spree believes are the benefits of modularity when it comes to e-commerce, including improved speed to market, empowerment of e-commerce teams to be self-sufficient, and global business scalability.

Everyone from Spree-certified partners, integration partners, developers, and store owners had a blast. MagmaConf’s social events included great food, cold beer, a mechanical bull, and a very lively game of volleyball. A great time was had by all, and we are already counting down the days until next year’s event. Hope to see you there!

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Top Three Mistakes Made When Building Mobile

Posted on June 05, 2014 by Alexander Diegel

“Top Three Mistakes Made When Building Mobile,” by Satya Krishna Ganni

Special thanks to Spree Commerce partners MartMobi and their CEO Satya Krishna Ganni, who hosted a webinar for us detailing the top three mistakes made when building a mobile website, and how to avoid them. The top three mistakes made when building a mobile site are as follows:

Trying to force-fit a traditional website into mobile: This will lead to your website not fitting on the entirety of the screen (as seen in the photo above), poor load times, and a difficult navigation paradigm that will create a frustrating user experience, and drive m-commerce shoppers straight into the lap of your competitors.

Not optimizing the checkout process for mobile: One-click checkout is a mobile shopper’s best friend. Longer forms that must be filled out for every order are guaranteed to turn shoppers away from your brand.

Not doing real-world testing: In-house testing is simply not enough, as different networks, devices and operating systems must be put to use before subjecting your mobile platform to e-commerce shoppers.

Satya goes into further detail on these points, so be sure to check out his slides, as well as the recording, to learn why it is a must to treat m-commerce as a separate channel, not merely an extension of your traditional platform. The next Spree Webinar is already in the works, so be sure to check back in with us!

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The State of the Spree Commerce Ecosystem

Posted on June 03, 2014 by Alexander Diegel

“State of the Ecosystem,” by Ryan Bigg

The first day of Spree Commerce community manager Ryan Bigg’s SpreeConf 2014 presentation was such a success, that the masses insisted he come back for Day Two! Following up Day One’s “Adjusting Adjustments,” the author of a Rails 4 in Action dove deep into the state of the Spree Commerce ecosystem.

In his presentation, Ryan detailed the increased activity of the Spree community, including consistent and substantial increases in the amount of commits, Spree Commerce downloads, comments and notifications.

Ryan also explained Spree’s contributing guide to filling an issue, which included a comprehensive list of steps to reproduce the issue, what to expect to happen compared to what’s actually happening, and the preference for “full trace” stack traces.

Ryan’s “State of the Ecosystem” is truly a can’t-miss for Spree Commerce contributors, and anyone interested in the Spree community, so be sure to check it out today!

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Why Site Search and Navigation Matter

Posted on May 30, 2014 by Search Spring

Why Driving Traffic to Your E-Commerce Site is Only The First Step in Conversion

A lot of online retailers, and large businesses alike, think that by driving more traffic to their site, they are guaranteed to increase conversion. And while that might have once been the case, shoppers have more options than ever online and just by getting them TO your site, you are not garaunteed they will complete the purchase ON your site. To be successful in e-commerce you need to give the user a complete experience – one that includes simple navigation and search options throughout your site.

In this blog our partner, SearchSpring, dives deep into the numbers behind driving traffic to your site, and explains how you might be looking at those numbers all wrong.

Why Site Search and Navigation Matter

In recent months, the e-commerce industry has seen mobile technology creep into a double-digit market share for online sales. Consumers that are purchasing goods online via tablet and smartphones have now eclipsed 12% of yearly-spent revenue. In recent years, online sales have grown abundantly into a $1.2 trillion-dollar market. Since 2008, the U.S. e-commerce industry has more than DOUBLED from $31 billion up to $71.2 billion in Q1 of this year.

Amazingly, with the amount of spending online and its continual growth, e-tailers are still meandering through social media, SEO and other online marketing trends to improve the bottom line. Don’t get me wrong; these channels can be used to build strong brands and sales funnels. It’s the “getting more traffic” focus of the marketers that’s confusing.

Why focus on such a broad unruly metric? Sure, bigger traffic numbers mean more sales, but any business can do that. More traffic is not a differentiator.

It’s great that more traffic improves revenue, but what about all of the steps in between engagement and conversion? Many online marketers look at the entire pool of opportunity, then correlate that back to their conversion rate and say, “We’re going to make ‘X’ more if we can get ‘Y’ more traffic." Well, that’s fabulous. Let’s stop wasting time and put all our apples in the traffic generation bucket. We’re guaranteed to win, right?

Wrong! It’s harmful to the business in many ways. The customer has been forgotten in this decision.

Let’s Do Some Math!

If a fashion retailer wanted to grow into new markets and they were tallying 1,000,000 visits a month, a 50% website bounce rate, converting 2% of visitors and recording monthly revenue of $100,000, this breaks down to (on average):

(1,000,000 visits x 0.50) * (0.02) = 10,000 purchases with $100k in sales
- Traffic: Per-visit Value = $0.10

- Conversion: Rate = 2%

- Conversion: Average Order Value = $10
- Opportunity Lost: Bounce rate = 50%

Using the increased traffic model, we can predict if we double the traffic, we double the revenue. Excellent, right? Just dial up those pay-per-click ads, get the blog posts rolling, and printing money is just around the corner. Let’s open the floodgates…

The problem with this model is its inability to see an opportunity in the sales funnel, unless it’s directly correlated to a “visit” or a “conversion.” The model uses the biggest spread of possible traffic at the top of the funnel, and forecasts revenue based on the bottom of the funnel conversion rate, totally missing out on mid-funnel KPI’s that improve business performance alongside customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For the sake of numbers, let’s say the fashion retailer spends $10k a month on marketing for the traffic they generate now. So, they’re getting a million visits to the website for ten thousand dollars. We’ve already established the revenue model, so let’s go ahead and double it.

(2,000,000 visits x 0.50) * (0.02) = 20,000 purchases with $200k in sales
- Traffic: Per-visit Value = $0.10

- Conversion: Rate = 2%

- Conversion: Average Order Value = $10 

- Opportunity Lost: Bounce rate = 50%
- Costs (per month) 


Total Traffic Generation = $20,000

Looks pretty good, but notice how the investment into traffic never changed the per-visit value, average order value, or bounce rates on the website. The only two performance metrics used for gauging success are the numbers representing traffic and revenue (top and bottom). It is a great design if you’re an advertising company, or don’t give a crap about your customers. Also, this is a prime case for quantity over quality in e-commerce. 


Let’s do More Math! 


Now, again for simplicity, let’s say the fashion retailer is using a reputable shopping cart with no additional technology. They’re just using a shopping cart, with an attractive design and well-displayed product images. They’ve identified their opportunity and conversion rate, but this time, rather than use more traffic they leverage technology for better optimization. 


Using the same conversion numbers as before, after implementing site search technology, the retailer identified areas of improvement in the shopping experience and updated the website to reflect the customer needs. This example is totally fictitious, but let’s use a cost of five thousand dollars a month for technology (50% of the additional PPC budget to prove my point). Using site search, the conversion rate onsite jumped a few tenths of a percent, also marginally lowering bounces.

(1,000,000 visits x 0.48) * (0.025) = 13,000 purchases with $130k in sales
- Traffic: Per-visit Value = $0.13

- Conversion: Rate = 2.5%

- Conversion: Average Order Value = $10 

- Opportunity Lost: Bounce rate = 48%
- Costs (per month)


Total Traffic Generation: $10,000
Total Search Technology: $5,000

So, just by adding better site search to the website, revenue jumped 30%, bounces dipped, and conversions bumped up, due to the ease-of-use within the website. Simply by making products more findable, the retailer improved sales dramatically. Not too bad, eh? 
Before we get too excited, There’s more: We only added better site search. Now, let’s add faceted navigation as well, to improve the experience for non-searchers who prefer to browse before purchase.

(1,000,000 visits x 0.47) * (0.029) = 15,370 purchases with $153.7k in sales
- Traffic: Per-visit Value = $0.15

- Conversion: Rate = 2.9%

- Conversion: Average Order Value = $10 

- Opportunity Lost: Bounce rate = 47%

Costs (per month)

Total Traffic Generation:$10,000
Total Search Technology: $5,000 


Notice how bettering the experience for shoppers maximizes revenue, without the need to flood more traffic through products. Shoppers have been enabled to spend more money without additional influence. Simply put, they’re finding what they’re looking for, and buying. 


So How Does Site Search Stack-up? 


We’ve boosted revenue by 50% with half the investment, lowered our bounce rates and elevated our conversion rates. Looking at the bottom line, we discovered that we have generated half the traffic for half the cost, resulting in a tossup between more traffic and better optimization. Seems like a no-brainer for the PPC team, right? Right now, “more is better” for traffic stats. 
Does optimization lose? No, not really.

Here Comes the Math Again!

Okay, now I’m pumped. Before I get too deep though, I’d like to mention the additional e-commerce solutions outside of the advanced site search, and faceted navigation that my company offers. These solutions provide many additional ways to drive revenue through on-site optimization, social merchandising and m-commerce. We have tons to offer!

Additionally, I’d like to mention our merchandising really quick. Combine our merchandising solutions with our learning search, and navigation improves average order values by as much as 250%, with typical averages around 30% of additional per-purchase revenue.

Which changes the equation to:

(1,000,000 visits x 0.47) * (0.029) = 15,370 purchases with $199.8k in sales
- Traffic: Per-visit Value = $0.15

- Conversion: Rate = 2.9%

- Conversion: Average Order Value = $13 

- Opportunity Lost: Bounce rate = 47%

Costs (per month)


Traffic Generation: $10,000
Search Technology: $5,000 


Reducing the bounce rate and increasing the AOV and CR is a continuous challenge, but with intelligent, automatable technology like SearchSpring, the value is clear. 


Huzzah! Back to the Math! 


Going back to the data, we need to think in economics of scale in regard to revenue and cost analysis. Yes, the initial model provides great returns, but comes at a continually elevating cost with lots of opportunity for wasted capital. Pumping visits across a website with a high bounce rate throws a lot of money into the fire. 
When an online business grows so does waste. Eliminating areas of wastefulness will save exponential amounts of revenue-generated capital. Let’s look at both models again: the traffic method in a five-times forecast, and the optimized funnel design in a three-times forecast. 
Additional Traffic Method x5

(5,000,000 visits x 0.50) * (0.02) = 50,000 purchases with $500k in sales
- Traffic: Per-visit Value = $0.10
- Conversion: Rate = 2%

- Conversion: Average Order Value = $10
- Opportunity Lost: Bounce rate = 50%

Initial cost of acquisition for these leads: $50,000 per month, or 10% of revenue

Optimized Funnel Method x3
(3,000,000 visits x 0.47) * (0.029) = 46,110 purchases w/ $599.4k in sales
- Traffic: Per-visit Value = $0.15

- Conversion: Rate = 2.9%

- Conversion: Average Order Value = $13 

- Opportunity Lost: Bounce rate = 47%

Costs (per month)


Traffic Generation: $30,000
Search Technology: $5,000 


Initial cost of acquisition for these leads: $35,000 per month, or 5.8% of revenue 


I hope these examples show a real value in onsite e-commerce optimization using site search and category navigation. Consumers rely on customer service to make purchases. Website technology that hinders them is, essentially, bad customer service. It’s important to look for ways to improve service and reduce costs where applicable. Don’t leave shoppers hanging with a bad experience. Instead, help them find your products and make a frictionless purchase. Who knows? Maybe they’ll keep coming back!

About SearchSpring


SearchSpring® boosts sales by unleashing findability with advanced site search and navigation for your e-commerce store. Providing faceted navigation, smart search results and IntelliSuggest® technology to lift conversions and increase speed, scalability, and intelligence. SearchSpring propels merchants to new levels of e-commerce performance by turning your website into a fire breathing, high conversion monster!

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