Ecommerce is a challenging business. Some estimates place the number of ecommerce sites online worldwide at 12-24 million. With each competitor just a click away, that’s a lot of competition. However, only about 650,000 of these ecommerce sites are generating more than $1,000 per month.
When it comes to the pet industry, the competition is even more ferocious. Companies like Chewy.com, Amazon, and Petco are stepping up their ecommerce game. These large pet supply companies are investing heavily in their websites, logistics and digital advertising. Meanwhile, grocery stores, hardware stores and convenience stores are all raising the competitive stakes as they incorporate more pet supplies into their product mix.
In the ultra-competitive world of ecommerce, traditional independent brick and mortar pet retailers need to offer the best online buying experience for their customers.
Fortunately, companies like Phillips Pet Food & Supplies and their subsidiary, Phido, are providing digital solutions with first class logistics to help the independent retail channel succeed. Enter the Endless Aisles program.
If you’re a pet store and you’re not familiar with the program, you need to be. The program offers Phillips customers a way to integrate a drop ship catalog of up to 10,000 products that are fulfilled direct to consumers within 1-3 business days. The entire program can be set up and run on an ecommerce system built by one of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, Shopify.
This means that your pet store can be up and running with a fully functioning ecommerce website within 30-60 days.
Once the site is set up, the fun begins. Creating a successful online sales component to your business is a journey. This involves trial and error with various advertising methods, website optimizations and user experience updates. We offer 7 tips to help streamline your efforts and make online sales a vital and quickly growing component of your pet business.
#1 Navigation & Categorization
Have you ever visited a website and not been able to find what you’re looking for? Some websites make it difficult to even find the company phone number!
Don’t make your consumers work to find your products and services on your website. Ensure that the links from your main menu are clear, clean and visible. Confusion can arise easily, and confusion leads to customers leaving your website without making a purchase.
Companies like PetSense create clean navigation menus on the homepage that allow customers to quickly and easily click directly into the subcategory of the product that they’re looking to purchase. Looking for Litter Boxes and Accessories on PetSense? No problem, click directly into that category from the homepage menu.
When a customer is browsing your online catalog, it is important to take advantage of Shopify’s robust tagging, brands, type and collections product meta-data to organize your products in a coherent manner. Some Shopify templates have robust features that allow you to organize your catalog based on brands and tags.
If you’re struggling to create this clean organization on your own, consider the Filterize App. This app is designed to specifically filter the tags provided with the Endless Aisles catalog to provide your customers with an easy way to browse the products available for sale on your site. Check out Filterize in action on Choice Pet.
#2 Mobile Optimized
By 2020, mobile ecommerce will account for 45% of all ecommerce activities!
If your customers are shopping online, there’s a good chance they’re completing purchases on their smartphone. Furthermore, this trend is only increasing with time. How can you make sure you keep up with the trend?
First, make sure that your website is built to be responsive. That means that your website will respond to the size device it is being viewed on and create the appropriate layout.
Second, when you’re picking a Shopify template, make sure you find one that works well for your business on mobile. The mobile layout of a responsive website can often be quite different than what the website looks like on a laptop computer. Make sure that you check out the template on your smartphone to ensure the layout fits the style of your business. Chances are, many of your potential customers will only see the mobile version of your website!
#3 Email Capture
Statistics show that every $1 spent on email marketing creates $44 in return. So why aren’t more small businesses seeing a huge return from email marketing? Simple, they don’t have healthy, growing lists of email subscribers.
Email marketing is a crucial component of driving sales on your website. But your effectiveness can be limited by the size of your email marketing list.
One of the most effective forms of growing your email list is a pop-up on your website. If you’re concerned that a pop-up will deter people from staying on your website, consider some of the tools web developers are implementing to alleviate that issue.
Consider offering your customers something in return for their email address. Perhaps, 10% off their first purchase if they provide their email?
Also, the pop-up doesn’t need to happen when the customer first lands on your website. Pop-ups can be configured so that they only show up when the visitor moves their mouse to the top right of the screen to leave your website. 70% of website visitors who leave your website, never return. That means they were leaving anyway, might as well ask them for their email so you can stay in touch!
#4 Images & Calls to Action
You can drastically improve your Endless Aisles website with simple calls to action. Calls to action are terms like, “Shop Now” or “Contact us”. The marketing psychology behind calls to action are simple and powerful.
When you tell someone what to do on your website, “Shop Now” or “Schedule a Grooming Appointment” you’re providing clear direction that tells them how to interact with your business. For instance, you may consider changing a link from saying, “Dog” to “Shop Dog Products”. These types of changes lead to more conversions of website visitors into paying customers.
And don’t forget about images! Quality images can have a major impact on the professional appeal of your website. Grainy images taken with a smartphone often make websites look tacky or unprofessional. Conversely, websites with high resolution images that are relevant to your audience can be engaging and fun. Try out a program like Canva or contact your top manufacturers to see if they can provide high quality images for your website.
Good news! You don’t have to spend hours of labor to find high quality product images. The Phido team has already been taken care of for you through the Endless Aisles program. Finding the right images for products is one of the most time consuming, yet important, pieces of driving sales on your website. Lucky for you, Endless Aisles took care of it all for you! Your Endless Aisles catalog is already complete with thousands of images to represent the products in your online store.
#5 Promote your Brick and Mortar
Don’t forget that your ecommerce website isn’t just for creating sales online, it’s also important for driving sales in your brick and mortar store. What other areas of your store drive revenue for your business?
Do you offer a dog wash or grooming service? Build nice landing pages that highlight your dog wash services. Or, if you’re like Nourish Pet Care, perhaps you offer a service for your market like Cat Boarding Houston Texas. Also, remember to highlight your team and your story with a well-designed about us page.
The bottom line, remember that local customers are checking out your website with the intention to shop in your store. Use your ecommerce website to drive sales both in-store and online.
#6 Google Search Console
Research shows that 44% of online shoppers begin with a search online. Showing up at the top of Google search results is extremely important.
Luckily, Google has a great tool to help called Google Search Console. Google designed this software system to help you manage your website as it relates to Google. You can submit sitemaps, crawl pages and reconcile any issues that are hurting your search engine rankings.
#7 Track & Grow
Are most of your visitors through Social Media or through search? Which brands are selling the most, which product lines? How often are people purchasing through your site? How many of your website visitors abandon their cart before purchasing products?
As your website grows over time, it is important to pay attention to the needs of your specific market and optimize accordingly. Each trend you notice, whether positive or negative, will need to be addressed. There are a multitude of marketing and optimization options to help you increase sales, or stop negative trends in their tracks.
However, you can’t optimize if you aren’t paying attention. Fortunately, Shopify offers a fantastic analytics dashboard to help you track your progress every step of the way. Be sure to pay attention!
Ecommerce is an exciting business, yet, you’ll encounter challenges and successes at every step in the journey. With an Endless Aisles powered Shopify website, you’re headed for online success in a way that could only be dreamed of just a few years ago.
Do you need help setting up and running your online store? Our ecommerce administrators are here to help! Contact us to learn how our team can power your Endless Aisles website.
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