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How to Drive Traffic to E retailers - New Trends in Industry When it comes to driving traffic and conversions, there are no hard and fast rules to be followed.

By Pavan Sondur

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2016 has been an interesting year for eCommerce in India, with an increasing number of shoppers using connected devices to purchase products online. At 277 Million users, India surpassed the US to become the 2nd most connected country in the world. Some skeptics might also consider it a bumpy ride, with an almost overnight fall from grace for the once poster boys of the burgeoning high tech industry. However, if we were to take a bird's eye view of the industry trends, I would say that it is an exciting time nonetheless – with international leaders like Amazon and Alibaba making their presence felt in the country, as well as the entry of an increasing number of traditional brick and mortar retailer businesses entering the ecommerce arena. Traditional businesses like Tata, Aditya Birla Retail and Reliance – all of whom have started to realize the importance of reaching out to a connected audience.

I for one, believe that if you're an entrepreneur who has been involved with the launch of an ecommerce business in the past, or are looking to get involved with your first venture, now would be the time to get your foot in the door. And with the numbers showing the growth of the sector doubling by the end of this year to cross Rs. 2 lakh Crore, it is time to take things seriously.

While these numbers suggest a significant growth in the coming months and years, it is important to note that in order to see any kind of positive results, you need to follow the right approach. So whether you have a small store that you operate via your Instagram account or a major ecommerce site, the fact remains that traffic drives sales! Shoppers today are spoilt for choice, and it's important to ensure that they not only choose your store over the competition, but also choose to remain your loyal customers. Now if you're wondering whether you're doing enough to drive traffic to your store as possible, I suggest you read on. I've put together a few ways in which you can not only see more hits on your site, but can also maximize your entire conversion funnel.

1. One Google to rule them all. Focus on improving your search engine rankings

There is no denying the power of search engine optimization. Traditionally, SEO was all about words like metadata, keyword density and basic structure. Search engines were much easier to manipulate, and to fool in that era. This made it extremely easy for startups, and smaller players to compete with the bigwigs in the business. However, the evolution search engines, more importantly, Google – has brought about a new emphasis on unique, quality content and inbound links. The key is to ensure that your website has the right words in the right places, and that there are a lot of other websites link to it. This has given birth to the "Content is King' movement, the goal is to ultimately generate great content which gains good traction, and widespread distribution on the Internet.

Most outsiders believe content marketing is easy: write a blog-post with eye-catching images, or just create a meme. But let me tell you that you that in order to see any kind of positive results, you need highly targeted and quality content. And that requires a lot more effort than a blog-post or a meme!

One of the secrets to effective content marketing is convincing them to evangelize your business. Seek out your customers, make them the hero, and get their stories. Highlight what your brand means to them, and why they chose you over others.

2. More power to your shoppers. Understand their needs and intent to offer a truly personalized shopping experience

It's no secret that one of the biggest shortcomings of purchasing products online is the fact that a computer simply cannot give you the personal attention that a store attendant can. But what if I told you that with modern technologies like Machine Learning and predictive analytics, it has become easier to understand your shoppers, as well as your store's target segments better? These technologies can help you make product discovery on your site much simpler, and faster. One of the first steps is to improve site search, which is often the first touch-point for any shopper on your site, especially when the intent to purchase is high. The autosuggest feature in search is often an overlooked, but an extremely powerful merchandising tool which can be leveraged to provide highly relevant suggestions based on the shoppers' browsing history, demographics, intent, or simply their stage in the buying cycle. An improved customer experience on your site, will result in increased repeat visits, and higher conversions too.

3. Aim for a higher share of the shopper's wallet. Promote up sell and cross sell

Picture this scenario. You enter a store looking to buy a TV. You pick a model that fits your requirements and budget. However, the salesman tries to convince you to loosen your wallet to just a little bit more to buy a bigger screen, and maybe even buy a new home theatre system just to go with the new setup. Does that sound familiar?Online selling is no different, but instead of a sweet-talking salesman, you need to rely on tools to promote relevant, personalized recommendations when the intent to purchase is clear. Personalized recommendations have been known to increase the Average Order Value by over 40%. Ever so often, your shoppers won't be aware of a better product that is available in your catalogue, or they may be convinced that a different product may be a better fit for their needs. This is where personalized recommendations can make all the difference.

However, there are two important considerations when upselling:

  • The upsells HAVE to be related to the original product being viewed
  • Respect the price range specified by your shoppers. Once your shoppers have an anchor price in mind, they will probably stick to the original product that meets their basic requirements. In order to get them to spend more, the new product needs to be much better than the original product.

4. Mobile readiness is not just a buzzword. The numbers tell you why you should care

mCommerce and mobile's influence in retail is increasing exponentially. Whether it is to make a purchase, or research products, there's no denying the fact that mobile is a channel that your shoppers care about, making it one that you cannot choose to ignore anymore. However, the numbers also suggest that while mobile accounts for more than half of all ecommerce traffic globally (with an even higher percentage in India), the conversions are less than 25% compared to desktop. You're probably wondering why you still need to care. And the answer is simple, your mobile site or app is often the first channel that your shoppers choose to interact with you on. And while a mobile device might not be used to make the final purchase, its influence on all your other channels is immense – whether it's a desktop, or a physical store.

It's also important to note that merchandising on mobile is vastly different. So re-design your mobile shopping experience by thinking mobile-first - and create more than just mobile responsiveness or a mobile site.

When it comes to driving traffic and driving conversions, there are no hard and fast rules to be followed. More often than not, it's how you combine some of the guidelines mentioned above, along with your instinct. And while driving traffic is extremely challenging during the initial stage of operations, it is the next stage where most entrepreneurs falter - where the focus needs to be on building value and loyalty. Your happy shoppers are your greatest asset, with the power to influence others, and minimize your customer acquisition costs. Continuously measure and analyze your performance to optimize, and to build a scalable and sustainable business.

Pavan Sondur

CEO and Co-founder Unbxd

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