A key role for digital marketers is coming up with ways to ensure customers can find their products through general search engines such as Google or ecommerce sites like Amazon.ca and Walmart.ca.
Studies show many consumers search and compare products online before making their purchase; some even visiting three digital channels on average before buying. The pandemic stay-home orders accelerated the online shopping trend, and experts believe it’s here to stay.
In other words, if your lavender hand soap or vegan protein bars don’t show up in these online searches, it’s as if your brand doesn’t exist. Top digital shelf positions are as crucial for sales as eye level physical shelf positions in a brick-and-mortar store.
Why online positions are so important
Most marketers (and consumers) know items that receive the most attention are usually near the top of the first page of search results. According to Hubspot, 75% of users don’t make it past the first page. It’s not surprising given our busy lives short attention spans; most online shoppers want to do a quick search, click and buy. Most consumers are conditioned to find the product they want (or think they want) near the top of their search results.
The reality of human nature makes the positioning of online products more important than ever for boosting ecommerce sales. By optimizing the position of your products on the digital shelf, you can increase their visibility, brand reputation and, most importantly, sales.
Tips to improve ecommerce positioning
The first step to achieving good online positioning is knowing where your products currently appear within a specific category or for a particular search.
Each ecommerce site may have a different algorithm or scoring system to calculate relevance and decide what to show on the first page. But in most of them, these factors will help you to improve the positioning of your products:
● Take care of the images: A good image attracts the customer’s attention and differentiates your product from the competition. It also helps your product climb positions on the page. Find out the image requirements for each website and provide the number of images necessary. Learn how to optimize your images so they are sharp and clear but also fast-loading (small file-size). Also, whenever possible, include photos that provide product details, such as the size of product and the ingredients, which gives consumers more confidence in what they’re buying. Consider shots from different angles to provide as much information as possible.
● Pay attention to product descriptions: Consumers want to learn more about what they’re buying and how it might suit their needs. Product descriptions are the best way to support the sale. Make it short and descriptive, highlighting the benefits in short sentences or with bullet points. Also, use keywords about the type of product and what it can do to help improve its position in the search results.
● Read your reviews: The product review section is where consumers give their (often frank) opinion of your product. While reviews can sometimes be difficult to read, you need to monitor what your customers are saying. As any good marketer knows, both positive and negative feedback are valuable to improve your product and evolve as a brand. Also, find out the rating and review policy for each retailer to promote ratings and reviews since it can significantly increase the position of your product within a category. Consider addressing issues raised in negative reviews in your description text.
● Look at the competition: Why does your competitor appear ahead of you in your star category? Check the websites where your competitors rank best and analyze their product descriptions, images, prices, etc. to identify what strategy they are applying. Also, read their reviews and how they may be responding to them. You might pick up some tips to use for your own pages.
● Keep an eye on your stock: Continuously check the stock of your product on each site, since many online stores will move products down the list if they’re not available to buy. Also, if your product is out of stock, you’re inviting your customer to buy from the competition. Availability is a key factor in brand switching – a McKinsey study shows 42% of consumers tried a new brand during the pandemic because it was in stock.
● Reassess your advertising: Many brands make strategic advertising decisions to appear at the top of the search on Google, and the same is possible for ecommerce. If sales and reviews aren’t enough to get you to the top, consider advertising your way there.
Benefits of being on top
Reaching and staying on top of a retailer’s website may seem like a lot of work, but it’s no less effort than you’d likely put into placing your product front and centre on a physical store shelf (in fact, it might be easier!)
But being at the top isn’t just about looks; it’s also about control. Strategically positioning your products has several advantages including the ability to:
● compare the performance of your products with those of your competitors
● identify SKUs that have no visibility
● prioritize search optimization according to categories and/or retailers, and
● control the impact of your paid positioning investment.
Upshelf helps you improve your brand positioning and visibility through detailed information about your brand image, ranking in the most relevant pages and benchmarking with your competitors. Uncover your ecommerce blindspots and unlock your online growth by requesting a free trial of our easy-to-use platform.