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Onsite Search: A Goldmine of Analytical Data

Posted on March 18, 2015 by Vitaly Gonkov

About the Author

Vitaly Gonkov is the Chief Marketing Officer of Mageworx. Mageworx is a Magento solutions provider that crafts better experiences for Magento users. Mageworx helps Magento store owners acquire, convert and retain more customers.

These days, ecommerce sites are getting more and more complex—they may have up to several thousands of products and hundreds of categories. Site owners are struggling to introduce advanced, flexible and even self-learning onsite search mechanisms to help shoppers quickly find what they want.

But store owners may not realize that, besides its main function of delivering results, onsite search can also be a goldmine of valuable analytical data. According to the SLI Systems report, only four out of ten ecommerce brands are trying to leverage internal search data for their online marketing campaigns.

Meanwhile, this data can significantly magnify your marketing efforts and increase site sales performance. By looking at onsite search reports you can:

  • Gain a clearer picture of customers’ purchasing behavior
  • Get onsite ranking data and use it to improve your landing pages and fine-tune merchandising
  • Find new ways to enhance communications with customers
  • Discover new approaches to email marketing
  • Learn how to adjust your SEO and PPC campaigns for a better effect

All that can contribute to a better overall user experience and lay the foundation for higher sales volume.

Read on to learn how to better utilize onsite search data when planning your online marketing campaigns.

Analyze Customers’ Behavior

By analyzing the queries visitors enter in the search box, you can get a general pattern of customers’ purchasing intentions.

The pattern will let you figure out which products people are mostly interested in, find products that have the call with your audiences, check the current popularity of every item in your store, and more.

With this data, you can adjust your site architecture and navigation to better meet your customers’ needs.

For example, say that you have an electronics website and that most of your searches are about smartphones and tablets. This suggests that visitors may prefer to find these types of devices over the others. Hence, by placing the smart device section at the top of your homepage, you will let your visitors immediately find want theу want. Also, you can save customers time by putting this section at the top of your site navigation menu, highlighting it to attract more attention.

Adjust Your Site Content

User experience could be further enhanced by improving and adjusting pages that receive the most of onsite search queries.

Just like in SEO, when optimizing internal site search, we should help visitors land on the most relevant and effective pages. Hence, by creating pages specially tailored for popular search queries, you increase your chances to retain customers and decrease site bounce rate.

Note that you can also direct shoppers to these pages. Display those popular products on the home page or category page and manage search priority for every product’s attribute.

On top of that, you can define products’ search ‘weight’. For example, you may assign an adjustment weighting of +1 to a particular product, so that it appears before others in onsite search results. Thus, you will help your customers land on the right pages.

Use Onsite Search as a Communication Channel

Treat search queries as a message your customers send you, and never ignore what your customers say.

For instance, you may look at terms that are receiving big search volume, but result in a high percentage of people leaving your site. That gives you a clear indication that customers can’t find the desired product, the searched term is out of stock, or it doesn’t have the necessary configuration. So you must act quickly to provide customers with what they want to get.

Even if you can’t satisfy the current customers’ demands, don’t just throw an indifferent “no results found” message. Think long-term:

  • Offer a special deal on the most-searched products as soon as it appears in your store
  • Add a wish list and email notification options for products that are currently out-of-stock or not yet available

If that’s impossible, tweak your merchandising to suggest similar or alternative products.

Use Onsite Search Data to Adjust your Email Marketing

Site search data can help you maximize the relevancy of your emails. These emails should offer your customers the exact products they want, and increase your sales in the process.

To merchandise products for your email marketing, you need to start with site search keyword data. By analyzing this information, you will find your best and worst-performing products. Through this valuable insight, you can compose a beautiful landing page with the most-searched products and send an email that will guide your customers to it.

If your most popular queries are the general keywords (e.g. smartphones, tv sets, cameras) you can create a category landing page, like ‘The best of mobile’ or ‘Best deals on SLR cameras’ and send a link to it to the customers who shared an email with you.

Use Onsite Search Data to Adjust your Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click Campaigns

And last but not least, once you have completed the analysis of onsite search queries, you can apply this knowledge to your SEO and PPC strategies.

Onsite search data is perhaps the best way to identify what your potential customers are really interested in. If your visitors keep entering the same terms in the onsite search box, consider adding these words to your SEO and PPC target keyword lists.

Therefore, you can shift emphasis to whatever that search is for a period of time, which will let your prospective customers easily find the desired products right from Google search results or PPC ads.

Bottom Line

Onsite search data reflects all major shoppers’ concerns and interests, as well as trends of their purchasing behavior. So this essential data can make a huge contribution into the success of your campaigns for:

  • Product management
  • Managing online customer behavior
  • Improving customer retention
  • Search engine optimization and paid search ads

Have you ever experimented with onsite search data in your marketing campaigns? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

Amazon S3 Integration Upgrade

Posted on March 17, 2015 by Alexander Diegel

Spree Commerce upgraded the Amazon S3 integration for its automated ecommerce integration platform, Wombat. Now, users can connect with this in just a few minutes without any custom coding required.

With its variety of pre-built ecommerce integrations, as well as fully customizable features, Wombat connects any storefront to any service. By increasing speed to market, Wombat allows store owners to dedicate more time to what they do best; grow their business. By connecting to the Amazon S3 integration, Wombat users can quickly import and store customer data.

Specific benefits Wombat users gain by connecting to Amazon S3 include the ability to:

  • Retrieve and store data and order history to track sales information
  • Export data in CSV or JSON format
  • Send event notifications when objects are uploaded to Amazon S3

“Having a connection like Amazon S3 that you can rely on to track and record data can be a huge a help to your sales,” said Spree Commerce CEO and co-founder Sean Schofield. “We’ve made connecting to this integration as simple as possible. Just follow a few steps and users are up and running.”

Get accurate and reliable access to Amazon S3 by signing up for a free, two-week integration platform trial of Wombat. For technical documentation on this integration, visit the Wombat knowledge base.

To view this press release in its original format, visit Nasdaq GlobeNewswire.

CAG And Spree Commerce

Posted on March 11, 2015 by Commerce Acceleration Group

About the Author

Commerce Acceleration Group is a design and development shop specializing in ecommerce. Through passion, transparency and creativity, CAG delivers a great customer experience and ensures clients’ goals are achieved.

Commerce Acceleration Group And Spree Commerce: A Combination for Excellence in 2015

One of the goals we’ve always had as an organization is to remain agile. Agility in technology is, to us, the most important characteristic to keep at the foundation of an organization. In the mid-2000’s we saw many development agencies go out of business because of their inability to adapt their organizations to open source and support PHP based frameworks and platforms. Likewise, later in the 2000’s, we saw many web development firms go out of business as a result of not being able to integrate analytics and metrics with strategy into their projects. A few years later, we saw may Ad Agencies go out of business due to their inability to adapt and learn digital.

We feel there’s a similar shift happening in the ecommerce industry currently. It’s a trend that most people know as truth deep down inside, but won’t admit it until the data and facts overtake their inability to see change coming. The fact is, for technology, times are always changing and it’s our role as an agency to address the changing times and make strategic decisions to stay in front of them. We feel there is a fundamental change coming in the middle market ecommerce space.

The change will see more platforms emerging with non-PHP frameworks, such as Ruby on Rails or ASP.net. What are the changing currents causing the switch, and what do we see shifting? We’ve outlined this below, but to summarize the end of this post, in 2015 Commerce Acceleration Group’s ecommerce platform of choice will be Spree Commerce. Here is why…

Why Does PHP Currently Dominate the Ecommerce World?

The short answer is open source. PHP is an easy language to learn, and because of the quick development of early adopting communities like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, PHP became the foundation for many new software platforms because of the existing ecosystem of human capital (developers) that knew the basics.

Why is PHP Not the Future of Ecommerce?

PHP in general is not the most effective programming language for the future of commerce. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going away any time soon. The ecosystem of platforms and technology leveraging PHP is too large for this to happen. In our opinion, it will be displaced over time. PHP is a resource-heavy option when compared to Ruby on Rails and some other languages. In fact, PHP can take up to 10 times more code to accomplish the same functionality.

Most PHP software requires larger hosting and IT infrastructure to run than other, comparable software on Ruby or other languages. With the increasing dominance of mobile usability, site speed and performance becoming an absolute necessity, the costs of operation to ensure optimal performance are less from a server perspective with Non-PHP technologies as a site scales.

Why is Ruby on Rails Now Viable?

Ruby has always been viable, but the big concern in the market is the availability of talent. Because the market demand for developers has been greater than the existence of quality developers, the cost for development has been higher. We are starting to see this shift now.

Ruby is now gaining more traction internationally, which is allowing for the offshoring of code. This allows companies to build hybrid US and offshore development teams to reduce overall development costs.

This trend will continue to drive down the cost of development for Ruby moving forward. Also, in our opinion, the Ruby community has the most traction for growth. It doesn’t have the largest community, but it has a lot of strong growth, which will start to drive the existing open source projects even more.

Why Spree Commerce?

To us, we look for platforms that meet the changing business climates of our customers. We look for speed to market, speed of platform, ease of use, stability and scale and we also look at the ability to integrate a platform with third parties. From our initial analysis we’re finding that Spree excels in all of these areas. While Magento and other ecommerce platforms may have a large library or third-party plugins and extensions, we find Spree makes up for the relative lack of maturity with the overall intuitive ease of use with the platform.

We will continue to update our progress with new projects throughout 2015 and share our additions to the Spree Community. We have several new clients lined up for Spree implementations in early 2015. We’re excited to deliver world class ecommerce results and would love to connect with you regarding your project.

To view this blog in its original format, visit the blog of Commerce Acceleration Group.

Spree 3.0.0 Released and Versions 2.2.11, 2.3.9 & 2.4.6 Released

Posted on March 10, 2015 by Jeff Dutil

Summary

The Spree 3.0.0, 2.4.6, 2.3.9, and 2.2.11 releases are out now!

What’s new in Spree 3? We’ve switched the front and back ends to use Bootstrap, added Rails 4.2 support, and added Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce tracking. We’ve also continued our move away from Spree handling things that should be done at the Rails application level, such as, specifying environments and setting up SSL.

You can view the Release Notes for more details, and upgrade tips.
Please feel free to submit a PR adding any of your own upgrade tips or gotchas not mentioned in the release notes.

Spree 2.2.11, 2.3.9, and 2.4.6 releases are focused on bug fixes related to regressions from the previous security release. You can view the full change comparisons on Github:

Older Versions of Spree

If you are using Spree versions 2.2.x and older you should consider upgrading as soon as possible. Our current Release Policy is to only maintain the latest two versions of Spree along with the current master.

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