Retail websites are slowly but surely becoming less and less important. Eeking the most out of your website is still vitally important, by engaging in Conversion Rate Optimisation, focusing on User Experience and making sure that traffic levels are healthy via Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads. However, battles are increasingly raging for your customers’ hard earned cash before your website even comes into the equation.
Amazon is the obvious example. The ecommerce giant is essentially being used as a search engine for products, not only for bottom of the funnel activity but even at the research phase. A retail company may have the most optimised website possible, but if they’re not present on Amazon then they’re already conceding a share of the market.
The other notable example is ‘no click search results’, which occur on search engines like Google. Some studies suggest that around half of all searches on Google don’t result in a click. Users’ search queries are being answered by Google, without the user needing to click to a website. Search for flight or hotel information and see how Google provides information that in many cases negates the need to visit another website at all. This deprives airline and hotel websites the chance to convert users.
These two factors have been around for quite a while. All of a sudden, May has brought big developments.
Facebook announced this week their new platform for online retailers: Facebook Shops. Their goal is to “help businesses of all sizes to set up an online store that customers can access on both Facebook and Instagram.”
Retailers will be able to list and sell their products directly on Facebook Shops, cutting out the digital middle man that is their website.
Furthermore, it’s free.
In short, Facebook Shops is the Social Media giant’s answer to Amazon. Much like Google making Shopping free is the search engine’s response to increasing competition posed by Amazon.
You can read more about Google’s decision earlier this month to allow companies to list on Shopping for free, here.
These latest developments, combined with Amazon and the ‘no click search results’ trend, demonstrate that retailers have to think beyond their own website. Retailers especially.
If we think of the competition to attract relevant users that’s being waged across Amazon, Google and Facebook as a battle, then your website is the last line of defence; to be relied upon when users haven’t been converted on one of the aforementioned trio.
Of course, that scenario isn’t exactly here right now. Facebook Shops is only getting off the ground and for now is in the United States only, while free Google Shopping listings are still only in the very early stages.
However that future is coming and it’s coming quick. Investing heavily in a great website isn’t enough, if your Google, Facebook and Amazon presence isn’t treated equally as importantly.
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