With meetings and events still on pause, NBG has taken a look back at some of its gatherings which took place just before lockdown. With online shopping becoming more popular than ever as a consequence of the pandemic, the tips presented in a workshop hosted by VELUX® can now be seen in a new light for optimising e-commerce results.
The e-commerce landscape is evolving, driven by a rise in voice search, mobile browsing and on-the-go purchasing. For NBG’s merchant Partners, this is a challenging and transparent trading environment, pushing independent merchants to compete in a global marketplace. That’s why, even prior to lockdown, the digital marketing team at VELUX hosted a workshop to help Partners make the most of the opportunities to do more business and maximise the digital content that Suppliers can provide.
Some of the key talking points were:
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free service from Google that allows local businesses to add contact details, location photos, videos, and customer reviews. This information is one of the first things that appears when customers search for a business.
Merchants can create their own listing to promote specific products or ranges and localise content from suppliers.
The lowest price doesn’t always get the sale, but it is one of many online factors. You can see what matters to your customers and if they are getting what they need. Use Google Analytics to identify hot spots and weak spots on your website. Losing customers at checkout? Review your payment methods.
Mark Daniels, from Andrews Building Supplies, is in the final stages of redevelopment for his e-commerce site. He explained: “I’ve started my thought process again, re-evaluating what we need. Google Analytics will really help me understand who is using my site, why, and what they need. I’ll definitely be checking the bounce rates, traffic sources and the search terms that customers are using to find my site.”
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
There’s so much you can do to improve your rankings, it’s important to prioritise. Technical fixes are generally easy and quick to solve but require digital knowledge. You can identify the search terms or phrases that your customers are using on free sites like askpublic.com or moz.com and write specific content for each keyword.
A hidden regional landing page and dedicated keyword landing pages (product range) can help you fill your page with keyword-rich content, without cluttering up the main body of your site.
Drew Goudie, DTC Merchants, said: “We have over 5,000 products in stock, so making sure we have the right content for these is our priority. Our products are categorised in a way that makes sense to us, but can our customers find them? We need to look at the search terms and make sure that we’re offering what the customer is looking for.”
Know your audience
Who the website is for — trade, homeowners or both? Similarly, modern customers are time poor, and don’t bother to locate a store to ask questions. They turn to Google instead, looking for instant answers on their mobiles. Investment is well spent in features that help your customers save time.
Glynis Catterson, from S & A Builders Merchants, commented: “How can we make it easier for our customers to do business with us and access our expertise? If they want out-of-hours services, like accessing invoices or reviewing accounts online, maybe this should be the focus for our website?
“We’re known for our knowledge and relationships, so a chat facility would be an interesting addition to our offer.”
In summary, Nick Oates, Managing Director at NBG, said: “NBG Partners are putting into practice the key tips that we learnt from the VELUX workshop. This means Partners are always scoping out online opportunities for business and we are able to request digital content from Suppliers to help maximise sales for NBG members.”
Speaking of the pre-lockdown workshop, Steph Kuklinski, VELUX Digital Manager added: “The event outcome was to boost e-commerce knowledge and confidence, while encouraging merchants to be more empowered and self-sufficient when managing their own sites. Events like these – and tools like the VELUX Media Library – help our merchants to help themselves which is great.”