Digital Marketing Insights

I know I won’t be the first one to tell you that autumn is in the air… the TV has steadily been alerting us of new episodes of our favourite seasons coming back this fall. And you know what else happens in autumn? Back to school shopping… one of my favourite things from childhood!

Except the only thing that has changed is now, is that a large portion of back to school shopping is done online (at least 1/3 of back-2-school shopping was online in 2013 according to Google Canada… we can only assume it has increased drastically since then!)

As a web design agency, our question for you this fall is, is your website ready for back-2-school shopping? (Especially if you stock these hot items for back to school: supplies, clothes, shoes, bags (book and lunch), electronics, dorm items and accessories)

Back-2-school website readiness checklist

Is your website mobile friendly?

Since 77% of Canadians use their smartphones for researching information and products (We Are Social Singapore, Social, Digital & Mobile Around The World, Jan 2014), you’re missing out on mega back-2-school shopping traffic if your website isn’t mobile friendly. Not only are you missing out on traffic, Google may be punishing you and lessening your visibility in Google searches if your site isn’t mobile-friendly. Although this is no quick fix at all, requiring the transformation of your standard website design to responsive design, it is an ideal investment for long-term success as the use of smartphones and tablets will only rise over time.

Does your website load quickly?

Like 40% of Internet surfers (according to Kissmetrics), I admit to having no patience when it comes to waiting for websites to load. If I cannot see your site, let alone your offerings and benefits within three seconds I, like many others, will give up and research a new site to check out.

Is your website user-friendly and easy to navigate?

“If a website degrades the user experience too much, people will simply stay away.” No pressure but if your website isn’t as close to perfect as possible and doesn’t function as expected, visitors will leave. If your Google Analytics shows low traffic and high bounce rates, try these 5 simple tips for improving user experience. In a nutshell, can your visitors find what they need within 3 clicks? If yes, that’s great! If no, maybe it’s time to rethink your websites’ information architecture.

Does your website rank high in Google searches? 

Since Google dominates the search engine market with 67% share (according to Experian) it is imperative that your website shows up on the first page of Google. If you rank low in Google searches check out this Best Practices for Search Engine Optimization post to improve your search engine ranking.

Do you have back-2-school videos posted on Youtube?

According to Google Canada’s Back-to-School Trends Report, there has been 120% growth in watch time of back-2-school videos globally. To increase engagement and garner traffic to your website, upload “Back to School” videos to YouTube that highlight your product or service.

Do you plan to offer promotions, discounts, coupons, lower-rate/free shipping or pick up in store, contests this season?

Now is the time to implement new campaigns to attract new customers and to increase sales. Some common back-2-school promotion tactics include discount offers, such as BOGO or Buy-one-get-one free, or half off, as well as coupons. You can also hold contests to award prizes (such as discounts or coupons) to collect visitor information and send them automated emails. Another big hit during back-2-school shopping is offering a lower rate, or even free, shipping. A different way to approach this is to offer in-store pick-up for free as well.

Are you present and active on social media?

Since Canada has the highest social media network penetration in the world, with 82% of Canadians using a social network (from We Are Social Singapore, Social, Digital & Mobile Around The World, Jan 2014) it is crucial that your business exist on Social Media as well. Social media is a great platform for engaging with consumers, driving visitors to your website, and for marketing promotions.

Do you have Google Maps integration or other store locator?

It’s so 2000 to simply list just your businesses address on your website. These days users expect seamless integration. If they can’t complete their back-2-school shopping online, or need to pick up items in store, users want to be able to Google your business, locate it on Google Maps and head out with the press of a button and directions in hand. Visitors will appreciate this tiny integration that makes their lives so much easier.

We’d love to hear what have you done to get your website back-2-school ready or if you back-2-school shop online. Please leave comments below!

Mouneeb is an experienced digital marketing strategist with a passion for helping clients achieve their goals online. With over 15 years of experience in designing, developing, and managing a team that develops top-notch web projects, he brings a wealth of information to the teams that he leads and the leaders that he follows.

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