The ROI Revolution Blog

What We Learned at the Retail Traffic Summit 2014

May 29, 2014

rts-crowd-small.jpgEcommerce retailers are always looking for ways to drive more qualified buyers to their online store. The 2014 Retail Traffic Summit was an information-packed two-day event in Atlanta, Georgia where we gathered top experts in ecommerce to share their knowledge with over 150 ecommerce attendees.

These experts shared advice on everything from affiliate and email marketing to SEO and social media. Google joined us as well to highlight the latest innovations with Google Shopping and ways to convert buyers on the Google Display Network. We learned a lot at the traffic summit, and our guests left with actionable takeaways that will improve their business.

Let's look at the session highlights from the Retail Traffic Summit 2014:

Gone Shopping - Google Shopping Developments

Session 5 - Nicole cropped.jpgNicole Premo, a Partner Education Manager at Google, shared insights on Google's latest Google Shopping roll-out along with new initiatives that are all designed with one core focus; "delivering the right message at the right time to the right person."

Perhaps a message that Google has focused on since the launch of the Enhanced Campaigns format in 2013; however, Nicole shared with us the ways in which Google continues to make this a relevant goal for retailers. With innovations like Google Wallet to decrease the friction of mobile shoppers, Google is focusing on the entire shopping process from search to comparison shopping to point of sale.

The mobile shopping experience continues to be a hot topic for most retailers. As mobile shopping continues to grow at record rates, being present to mobile shoppers is increasingly important. Nicole offered a resource on the Google's 25 Rules for a Better Mobile Site.

Converting Shoppers on Display

Bob-Dillon-508.jpgGoogle's Bob Dillon, Director of Agency Sales, discussed what retailers need to be doing in order to capture and convert shoppers on the Google Display Network. The core of being successful centered around 3 main steps.

First, retailers need to build data and insights. Second, retailers need to turn those insights into action. Third, retailers need to measure and optimize their Display Network efforts accordingly.

Bob defended attendee questions on the reliability of Google's data for audience targeting as well as discussed Google's continuous efforts in providing reliable and actionable data.

Modern SEO Tactics for Retailers

seo-session-speakers.jpgOrganic search traffic is almost always the #1 or #2 source of traffic for any product or service company. In our SEO session, "Managing SEO Complexity: How to Rise Above the Ever-Changing Algorithms", Brooks Brothers SEO Specialist Mike Walker shared how the evolution of modern day marketing has shifted, and SEO has become a big part of that shift.

For retailers, this shift in SEO requires collaboration between departments to create that 1-to-1 conversation shoppers need to make their buying decisions. While you can't sit next to every employee to make sure they are thinking about SEO, empowerment and collaboration can make a difference. "The modern SEO Teams' success depends on being able to mobilize stakeholders across Brooks Brothers."

Factory Direct Craft's SEO expert, Jarrod Christman, shared the 5 things retailers can do now to improve SEO. They are:

  1. Use Canonical Tags to remove duplicate content records and compress multiple URLs.
  2. Incorporate Rich Snippets to introduce structured data to the bots scanning your site.
  3. Review of Products and Q&A content to help with creating additional content for engines to crawl.
  4. Have a Mobile-Friendly Site to reduce user redirects, URL fragmentation and consolidate link juice for better organic results.
  5. Evaluate Your Site Speed to help with conversions and boost ranking in Google over slower sites.

Intelligent Affiliate Marketing

durk-price-206.jpgFor ecommerce retailers there are a lot of questions surrounding affiliate marketing. Durk Price shared the most common affiliate marketing questions he receives from retailers looking to expand their reach without getting burned.

While, yes, there are a lot of ways to do it wrong, in recent years affiliate marketing has gone beyond coupon sites to include leveraging related blogging networks to promote products for a price. One concern for blogging affiliates is the impact on SEO. However, Google is aware of affiliate networks and affiliate links should not have any real impact on a site's link profile.

So, why build an affiliate network? Consumers referred from an affiliate spends more and converts better. For coupon affiliates, 69% of consumers used a coupon to make a purchase in the last 12 month. Since 82% of shoppers who used a coupon left the site to find a better deal, having a network of affiliates will bring those deal seekers back to your site.

High-Value Email Marketing

lynn-clarke-201.jpgWhat Retail Traffic Summit is complete without a session on high-value email marketing? Jim Davidson, Manager of Marketing Research at Bronto Software, partnered with Lynn Clarke, CEO of Metro Kitchen, to deliver an entertaining and thought provoking session on ways retailers should rethink their email marketing strategy.

Jim reminds us that it's a consumer world. Consumers are getting away from the linear path of buying products causing retailers to find more ways to move buyers along the path to purchase. Shopping habits that are heavily influenced by smartphones and tablets creates a shopping experience that needs to be versatile.

Lynn shared her "Ready, Fire, Fire, Fire, Aim" method to shaking up their email marketing strategy. She shared her strategies for testing different types of emails with her lists and which performed the best. From multiple product emails to specific brand promotions to leveraging a discount, they tried all combinations to find the best results.

Finding Social Sales - Accidentally & On Purpose

J.Winters-209x209.jpgRetailers are always looking for ways to leverage social media in their favor. Justin Winter, founder of Diamond Candles, shared his story of how he was able to grow his 'little candle company' into a social media phenomenon in less than a year. Diamond Candles are the candles with a ring at the bottom. Each candle has a ring valued from $10 to $5,000 and the "Ring Reveal" customer experience - when the candle has burned down enough that the ring can be extracted - is how Justin captured his audience of moms, wives, and women using social media.

Justin shared entertaining stories of his brand's experience with social engagement as well as useful social tools retailers can use to capitalize on their consumer's social engagement.

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The Retail Traffic Summit 2014 was full of great information for our guests. This year was dedicated to helping retailers drive more traffic to their online store. We will be expanding in 2015, so what retail topics do you want to learn about?

Leave us a comment below and tell us what types of educational sessions will help you grow your business.

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