How to grow your B2B ecommerce business? Our partner agency intoCommerce is a specialist in this area. In our three-part blog series, the team provides valuable tips and insights to help you set up your digital B2B business. This third and final post outlines what you can do to ensure long-term success once your B2B store is up and running.
An online store is always an ongoing project – the work doesn’t stop once it’s launched. New store owners often lack experience when it comes to structure, and weak content can also prevent a store from taking off. So once it has been launched, optimization measures are vital to ensuring success. Here, it’s important to consider a range of factors and look at optimization both from a technical angle and from the customer’s point of view.
Tailored for search engines
If you want customers to find you in the first place, search engine optimization should be a top – and ongoing – priority. First, choose from the various established tools that are designed to show you how your store is currently rated, and run a thorough check. One relevant factor is page speed analysis. This shows how quickly the page loads for the user. Google PageSpeed Insights not only gives you a numerical score, but also recommends specific technical steps you can take to achieve a better result. The tool also distinguishes between the load time on a PC and on a mobile device. Mobile devices have been increasing in relevance for the B2B sector for some years now. The steps recommended following the analysis can be complex, so it’s advisable to call on the assistance of experienced developers or a professional agency – and vital to keep up-to-date backups.
Google PageSpeed lets you measure your store’s performance
Classic SEO work
Alongside page speed, other hugely important factors if you want to rank higher in Google search results are the content, its structure, and readability. Here, too, there are various tools and portals available that use SEO analysis to flag up optimization potential and highlight issues that will be penalized in the Google rankings. The Google algorithm has evolved continuously over the years, and rules on the relevance of certain areas have altered. In the past, good keyword density and properly maintained meta descriptions and meta tags were enough to guarantee a high ranking. Today, the AI is significantly more intelligent, recognizes the added value of content, and checks the technical structure of websites and online stores. An experienced Shopware agency can interpret errors and make the necessary corrections. Changes to what factors are considered relevant by search engines, SEO optimization by your competitors, and adjustments to your own store ensure that the ranking is subject to constant alteration. A professional assessment of these alterations is helpful when it comes to improving your ranking.
Stay up to date
Alongside the search engines’ constantly changing algorithm, another key factor affecting your online store’s ranking is the performance of its touchpoints. Interfaces to third-party sites, payment provider plugins, and legally relevant content must be kept up to date at all times. Payment methods that don’t work and other similar failings result in a high bounce rate, which could definitely be rated negatively by Google and other search engines. The server environment and the online store itself should be professionally managed to minimize the chances of an important feature failing.
Keeping an eye on the KPIs
KPIs can be used to measure the performance of your online store. It’s important for ecommerce businesses to
- define clear goals from the outset,
- set a timeframe within which each goal is to be achieved,
- and identify factors that you can work on in order to achieve your goals.
Noteworthy KPIs include website traffic, traffic sources, the conversion rate, and the click-through rate.
And it’s all about the mix: When evaluating the success of an online store, you should always look at a combination of several KPIs. High website traffic may seem like a good thing, for example, but if you don’t factor in the bounce rate, it’s not particularly informative. If the bounce rate is also high, you need to revise your content. A/B testing can allow you to identify helpful design options. Cleanly integrated tools such as Google Analytics offer insight into the KPIs and provide a basis for optimization in line with the goals you have set. Again, the expertise of an ecommerce agency will help you interpret the figures and draw up an appropriate course of action.
Google Analytics allows you to measure your store’s success and identify where action is required
Customer recommendations are a key factor when it comes to the success of your online store. You can use the NPS (Net Promoter Score) to calculate how likely a customer is to recommend your store. The score is based on the answer to surveys sent to customers a certain time after they have made their purchase. The crucial question is “How likely are you to recommend our online store?”, and customers are offered a scale that runs from 0 (unlikely) to 10 (highly likely). Customers who select a number between 0 and 6 are referred to as detractors. Those who select 9 or 10 are promoters. A simple subtraction (promoters as percentage of all respondents - detractors as percentage of all respondents) gives you a value of between 100 and minus 100. After looking at the score, you may want to draw up measures to increase customer satisfaction.
Reward customers who have discovered you. You can use a bonus program, for example, to tie in existing customers, or design the program to increase the recommendation rate and bring in more new customers. To tie in existing customers, it’s worth setting up a points system where the customer earns points on each purchase according to a set formula. Once they have reached a certain amount, the points can be exchanged for a discount or gifts. If your goal is to boost your recommendation score, then offering some sort of incentive is ideal (typically “customer introduces new customer”). Here, too, points, discounts, or free products can be used to reward successful recommendations.
An experienced Shopware agency as a booster for your store
COVID has increased the number of B2B businesses that are adding an online store or moving entirely online. This is making for increasingly stiff competition. With a balanced combination of design, a well-guided customer journey, key SEO measures, permanent performance monitoring, and technical optimization, it’s possible to ensure your store moves up the search engine rankings, gaining and retaining customers. It’s important to keep an eye on a range of factors, to interpret the KPIs, and to then use them to draw up the correct measures. A professional Shopware agency can provide the marketing expertise and technological know-how you need to make your online store a success and significantly increase sales.
The bottom line is that a successful online store needs to follow a clear strategy from the outset – a strategy that covers the design phase, the required connections to ERP and other third-party systems, the selection and implementation of key features, the choice of a high-performance, scalable server environment, the marketing, and the technical optimization. With a balanced combination of these factors, you can make your B2B online store a digital sales booster – a feat you can achieve with ease with the aid of well-trained employees and an agency that specializes in ecommerce systems.
About the author
Kai Helmerichs is a project manager and marketing consultant at intoCommerce GmbH. Founded in 2014, intoCommerce is one of the leading Shopware agencies and specializes in Shopware for B2B and industry.