3 Simple Ways To Boost Holiday Conversions For Online Merchants

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Online stores spend to get customers to their websites, but do they invest wisely to turn that traffic into sales? The “Holy Grail” of eCommerce is a high conversion rate. The Affiliate Marketing Specialists at MGECOM recommend the following 3 things to help any online merchant convert more site visitors from Window Shoppers to Buyers.

MGECOM: Affiliate Program Management at it's finest

MGECOM: Affiliate Program Management at it's finest

Online brands that invest wisely in these 3 ways to boost holiday conversions will enjoy more sales and profits this holiday season and beyond.

eCommerce stores spend heavily on advertising to get customers to their sites. However, many online merchants overlook strategies that can increase conversion rate and turn more site traffic into purchases. Online brands that invest wisely in these 3 ways to boost holiday conversions will enjoy more sales and profits this holiday season and beyond. The best news is that all of these conversion boosters are available via Affiliate Marketing Programs, where the affiliates take the risk and burden of implementation in return for a small share of the profits that they influence.

1. Long-tail Pay Per Click advertising
eCommerce merchants can often expand PPC campaigns to include all meaningful combinations of search terms that consumers may use to search for products available from the merchant. The likelihood of a perfect search string match on any given long-tail search term may be low, but the odds that a perfect match will result in a motivated consumer clicking through to the merchant’s site and completing a purchase are much higher than more general search terms.
Conversion rates on PPC ads vary wildly based on how well the ad’s messages matches the intention of the consumers that click them. The big risk in PPC is the very real possibility of the cost of non-converted clicks wiping out the profits from conversions.

Better long tail PPC campaign = higher conversion rate.

How an affiliate program can help with long-tail PPC?
Rather than the merchant paying huge PPC charges while also paying someone to build and manage huge long-tail PPC campaigns, merchants can recruit and partner with affiliates that specialize in PPC advertising to do the heavy lifting and shoulder the financial risk of PPC. These specialized PPC affiliates earn a commission only on sales, not clicks, which removes significant risk from the merchant. There is a limited supply of effective PPC affiliates and they are in huge demand. PPC specialists affiliates also often have specific, complex technology requirements for working with merchants. Enlisting the help of an affiliate specialist agency like MGECOM to recruit the right PPC affiliates and manage their needs is a great option for many merchants.

2. Shopping Cart Abandonment solutions
Forbes reported recently that 89.2% of all shopping cart instances in 2011 were abandoned before the transaction was completed. Unfortunately, they predicted that the 2012 holiday season would see the cart abandonment rate hit 90%, or more. Converting even a small percentage of abandoned carts to sales boosts conversion rates and profits. Some examples of effective cart abandonment solutions include automated chat, email remarketing and abandonment survey campaigns. Picking the right cart abandonment solution for a specific brand can be tricky, as the merchant must walk the line between being responsive and helpful vs making the consumer feel like Big Brother is watching their every move. There are many Shopping Cart abandonment solution options and myriad service levels and payment structures to choose from. A good match between the merchant’s site and the abandonment solution will boost conversions. The wrong choice will consume merchant resources, while annoying customers, reducing sales, and eating valuable margin.

How an affiliate program can help with Shopping Cart Abandonment?
Since affiliates only get paid when their efforts influence a sale, there is a built-in incentive for Cart Abandonment Affiliates to be very consultative and match the right cart abandonment solution to the merchant’s site. Instead of the Merchant hiring an eCommerce consultant to guide the cart abandonment strategy, many merchants enjoy free consulting from cart abandonment affiliates. There are a variety of Cart abandonment affiliates to choose from, and how each affiliate is compensated can determine whether working with them will be profitable for the merchant. A top tier Outsourced Program Management Agency like MGECOM can weigh the options, recruit the best Cart abandonment affiliates, and negotiate rates that allow both the affiliate and merchant to be profitable.

3. Reviews and Gift Lists
Opportunities abound during the holiday season as publishers create product reviews and targeted gift suggestion lists for consumers of every demographic and interest imaginable. Smart online merchants incentivise content rich websites to promote their brand alongside original or aggregated product reviews, or gift lists that include products relevant to the merchant. These publisher sites are often built for the sole purpose of attracting consumers of specific demographics or interests, so that the publisher can promote relevant products to them.
Some eCommerce brands hire digital media buyers or ad agencies to negotiate rates and secure ad placements with relevant publishers.

How an affiliate program can help with Reviews and Gift Lists?
Most publishers already operate as affiliates through the mainstream affiliate networks like Commission Junction, ShareASale, Google Affiliate Network, Linkshare, AvantLink, and PJX. Online stores with affiliate programs on these networks have a pre-built ecosystem of tracking technology, publisher tools, and payment systems, as well as communities of relevant affiliates that are looking for brands to promote. Choosing the affiliate network that is the best fit for their market vertical and recruiting the best publishers to promote their brand can be challenging for merchants. An experienced and well connected affiliate program manager can guide online merchants in network selection and leverage existing relationships to recruit top publishers.

Online merchants can boost sales and profitability by using the 3 methods above to bring better targeted consumers to their site and convert more of them into paying customers. While each of these can be done independently, either by the merchant’s in-house staff or by hiring agencies, an efficient solution to boost conversions can be found in a well designed and managed affiliate program. The best affiliates prefer to work with affiliate managers that they know, trust, and have a history of success with. Many merchants have determined that the most cost effective way to build a profitable, low risk affiliate program is by outsourcing Affiliate Program Management to a specialized agency like MGECOM.

Who is MGECOM?
MGECOM, Inc., based in Cary, NC, is the best Agency for Outsourced Affiliate Marketing Program Management & Affiliate Advertising Services. Specializing in affiliate program growth, affiliate recruiting, fraud prevention, and affiliate nexus tax compliance.
2012 TopSEO top 2 Affiliate Marketing Agency
2011 TopSEO top 10 Affiliate Marketing Agency
ABestWeb 2011 & 2010 Affiliate Agency of the Year Nominee
Commission Junction Agency of the Year Finalist
Winner of the 2011 & 2009 Small Business Commerce Association Best of Business Award
Trusted by great Internet Retailer Top 500, Internet Retailer Second 500, and Internet Retailer Hot 100 brands.

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Jeff Cress
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