Consider a Strategic Approach to Your Product Hierarchy Structure

Dear Reader,

I want to start by sharing that as an ecommerce consultant located in Miami, Florida, I get all types of calls from both local online merchants and online merchants in the carribean and Mexico. This makes my everyday very interesting becuase I never know who is going to call me; the call could come from a merchant in Miami or abroad. My uniqe geographic location gives me the ability to speak to a wide range of customers and clients with different needs, especially living in such a diverse city.

Last week I got a pretty interesting call from an online merchant who was seeking assistance with their e-commerce site. The merchant was a local electronics merchant, who sourced their products on Mexico but fulfilled in the U.S. This particular merchant was racking their brain over why he wasnt able to convert at a decent level. Please understand, whenever I get these types of calls I know our conversation or relationship could go in a number of different directions because the conversation revolving around conversions is so wide and so broad there could be a number of different reasons why they are not converting, However over the years I’ve found that  there are a few indicators that could immediately surface that might tip me off as to where to start and in my particular experience I know that this means a lot, especially to an online merchant that needs help and needs it fast! So when I speak to a merchant I try to get to the point, I try to quickly identify their issues and look at proposing a smart, thorough, strategic plan and solution.

As we got started in our conversation the merchant began to share with me the difficulties they were experiencing with converting on their site, they explained that they were acquiring all sorts of traffic but the site was simply not converting. They explained to me that the deals and prices were excellent and that the average time someone was staying on the was well over the norm, customers were staying on the site for an extended period of time, 10-15 minutes on the average, which is not typical, yet site vistors were not buying.

After our lengthy phone conversation I decided that the best thing I could do was to review his site without accessing their server and offer an on the surface, comprehensive review of their website. Whenever I offer this type of review I usually get some push back from the merchant becuase they usually prefer I offer my advice in conjuction with their data and information, however over the years I’ve learned that the only way to start these types of review is to use external tools and analysis to really offer an unbiased site review.  I like to ensure that I am not swayed by any initial data that could be delivered to me in advance. I like to review and do my own analysis to offer the merchant a valuable, unbiased opinion and then confirm my assumptions with data analysis from their analytics or server logs.

One of the first things that immediately surfaced in my review of their site was my inability to navigate the site quickly and find products easily, I found the site to be very difficult to navigate. One of the other elements I discovered in my assessment was their poor product hierarchy, it was completely off! This might or might not explain why site vistors were staying so long on the site, but there was much more analysis to be done before I could confirm my assumptions…

more to come….

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