Tag Archive | "eCommerce"

Rakuten Super Logistics To Open 6 New Ecommerce Fulfillment Centers

The recent USPS shipping structure changes will increase retailers shipping costs, says Rakuten CEO Mike Manzione. What Rakuten does is help retailers offset these increases by utilizing a network of order fulfillment centers, thereby controlling shipping costs while decreasing shipping times. “With the change to zone-based pricing for First Class Packages, all clients must reconsider how to locate their product closer to their customers,” says Manzione.

Mike Manzione, CEO of Rakuten Super Logistics, discusses RSL’s plan to open six additional ecommerce fulfillment centers in 2019:

Retailers Must Locate Products Closer to Customers

Our continued expansion into major metropolitan markets is a commitment to our clients. We’re creating a network that provides our clients a greater choice and flexibility that aligns their customer base with their product. With the change to zone-based pricing for First Class Packages, all clients must reconsider how to locate their product closer to their customers.

By 2021, worldwide retail e-commerce sales are projected to be 4.9 trillion dollars (USD). At the same time, customers are demanding shorter shipping timelines. RSL is uniquely positioned as an industry leader with our nationwide network of fulfillment centers. With our increased major metropolitan presence, RSL will reduce ground transit delivery to within one day.

RSL To Open 6 New Ecommerce Fulfillment Centers

Houston and Los Angeles will be our first 2019 expansion markets. The new Houston facility will be strategic for our clients importing product and materials from all over the world – including Brazil and Germany. Los Angeles will be strategically located near the Port of Los Angeles, a major container port. The Los Angeles location will be instrumental for our clients that import product from Asia.

As a leader in the order fulfillment industry, RSL will also be employing state-of-the-art technology in all six new facilities. In 2018, RSL began deploying ‘order fulfillment robots’, developed by inVia Robotics, in its facilities nationwide and will be expanding with inVia’s automation technology in the new warehouses.

About Rakuten Super Logistics

RSL  Fulfillment Centers have been carefully managed from the ground up, to create unique, high-velocity operations:

  • Maintain complete control of your fulfillment with a cloud-based fulfillment management system.
  • Save on shipping costs and expedite shipment times with the 2-Day Delivery Network.
  • Improve customer satisfaction and earn repeat business from shoppers.
  • Focus on your business by partnering with the industry leader in eCommerce order fulfillment.

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SearchCap: Google Lens for iOS, Facebook search ads & eCommerce SEO

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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Ecommerce Startup Zola Seeks to Reinvent the Wedding Industry

The wedding niche is a $ 100 billion industry in the US alone and is ripe for ecommerce startups. In 2013, Shan-lyn Ma and Nobu Nakaguchi realized through their own experiences that they could not only improve on but literally reinvent the wedding industry, so they started Zola.

According to Shan-lyn Ma, Zola is the fastest growing wedding company in the US, with the goal of reinventing the wedding planning and registry experience. To date, it has received over $ 140 million in funding.

Shan-lyn Ma, CEO, and co-founder of Zola recently talked about how Zola came about and where it’s going:

Personal Experiences Were the Spark

Zola means love in the Zulu language. In 2013, which was the year that we were brainstorming was also the year all my friends got married at exactly the same time. I was shopping on a lot of my friend’s department store registries and finding that it was the worst ecommerce shopping experience I had ever seen. Talking to my co-founder Nobu Nakaguchi, he’s married and he was complaining about how painful it was from the couple’s perspective.

We had worked in design and product and technology together building great products and so we knew we could do a much better job and we knew our friends getting married deserved a much better product. Before Zola launched a couple would have an average of three registries and Zola takes that down to just one registry.

Zola Weddings Launched Last Year

Last year we launched a second product called Zola weddings. That includes is free a wedding website, our guest list manager,  and our checklist for all your to-do’s in order to plan your wedding. This was the number one request we were hearing from couples who were saying I love you for my registry, why can’t I just add a few more details about my wedding and I’ll make it my wedding website and then I’m done.

Pitching Zola to Investors

Regarding how we pitched Zola to investors, it was harder to show that emotional connection to a problem and how the product sold this better than anything else. We focused on how is this business model is innovating how we are redoing retail and we had the numbers to show it and they absolutely got it.

Weddings are a $ 100 Billion Industry

Weddings are a $ 100 billion industry in the US and globally it’s a $ 300 billion industry. When you think about it, weddings is one of the few industries remaining where we haven’t seen a dominant startup player or disruptor emerge to take the market.

There’s no one that does everything that we do and there’s certainly no one that does it all on the website and on your mobile device serving every couple no matter who you are, no matter what your sexual orientation, no matter what you want your wedding to look like, or your religion. We are there to serve you and that is what is unique and that’s why we’re the fastest growing wedding company.

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The E-Commerce Benchmark KPI Study: The Most Valuable Online Consumer Trend of 2018 Revealed [Video]

Posted by Alan_Coleman

The latest Wolfgang E-Commerce Report is now live. This study gives a comprehensive view of the state of digital marketing in retail and travel, allowing digital marketers to benchmark their 2018 performance and plan their 2019 strategy.

The study analyzes over 250 million website sessions and more than €500 million in online revenue. Google Analytics, new Facebook Analytics reports, and online surveys are used to glean insights.

Revenue volume correlations

One of the unique features of the study is its conversion correlation. All website metrics featured in the study are correlated with conversion success to reveal what the most successful websites do differently.

This year we’ve uncovered our strongest success correlation ever at 0.67! Just to give that figure context: normally, 0.2 is worth talking about and 0.3 is noteworthy. Not only is this correlation with success very strong, the insight itself is highly actionable and can become a pillar of your digital marketing strategy.

And the stand out metric is (drumroll, please!)…

Number of sessions per user.

To put it plainly, the websites that generate the most online revenue have the highest number of sessions per user over 12 months. Check out the video below to get a detailed explanation of this phenomenon:

Video transcript available below

These are the top factors that correlated with revenue volume. You can see the other correlations in the full study.

Click to see a bigger version

  • Average pages per session (.37)
  • Average session length (.49)
  • Conversion rate by users (.41)
  • Number of sessions per user (.67)
  • Percentage of sessions from paid search (.25)

Average website engagement metrics

Number of sessions per user Average pages per session Average session duration Bounce rate Average page load time Average server response time
Retail 1.58 6 3min 18sec 38.04% 6.84 1.02
Multi-channel 1.51 6 3min 17sec 35.27% 6.83 1.08
Online-only 1.52 5 3min 14sec 43.80% 6.84 0.89
Travel 1.57 3 2min 34sec 44.14% 6.76 0.94
Overall 1.58 5 3min 1sec 41.26% 6.80 0.97

Above are the average website engagement metrics. You can see the average number of sessions per user is very low at 1.5 over 12 months. Anything a digital marketer can do to get this to 2, to 3, and to 4 makes for about the best digital marketing they can do.

At Wolfgang Digital, we’ve been witnessing this phenomenon at a micro-level for some time now. Many of our most successful campaigns of late have been focused on presenting the user with an evolving message which matures with each interaction across multiple media touchpoints.

Click through to the Wolfgang E-Commerce KPI Report in full to uncover dozens more insights, including:

  • Is a social media engagement more valuable than a website visit?
  • What’s the true value of a share?
  • What’s the average conversion rate for online-only vs multi-channel retailers?
  • What’s the average order value for a hotel vs. tour operator?

Video Transcript

Today I want to talk to you about the most important online consumer trend in 2018. The story starts in a client meeting about four years ago, and we were meeting with a travel client. We got into a discussion about bounce rate and its implication on conversion rate. The client was asking us, “could we optimize our search and social campaigns to reduce bounce rate?”, which is a perfectly valid question.

But we were wondering: Will we lower the rate of conversions? Are all bounces bad? As a result of this meeting, we said, “You know, we need a really scientific answer to that question about any of the website engagement metrics or any of the website channels and their influence on conversion.” Out of that conversation, our E-Commerce KPI Report was born. We’re now four years into it. (See previous years on the Moz Blog: 2015, 2016, 2017.)

The metric with the strongest correlation to conversions: Number of sessions per user

We’ve just released the 2019 E-Commerce KPI Report, and we have a standout finding, probably the strongest correlation we’ve ever seen between a website engagement metric and a website conversion metric. This is beautiful because we’re all always optimizing for conversion metrics. But if you can isolate the engagement metrics which deliver, which are the money-making metrics, then you can be much more intelligent about how you create digital marketing campaigns.

The strongest correlation we’ve ever seen in this study is number of sessions per user, and the metric simply tells us on average how many times did your users visit your website. What we’re learning here is any digital marketing you can do which makes that number increase is going to dramatically increase your conversions, your revenue success.

Change the focus of your campaigns

It’s a beautiful metric to plan campaigns with because it changes the focus. We’re not looking for a campaign that’s a one-click wonder campaign. We’re not looking for a campaign that it’s one message delivered multiple times to the same user. Much more so, we’re trying to create a journey, multiple touchpoints which deliver a user from their initial interaction through the purchase funnel, right through to conversion.

Create an itinerary of touchpoints along the searcher’s journey

1. Research via Google

Let me give you an example. We started this with a story about a travel company. I’m just back from a swimming holiday in the west of Ireland. So let’s say I have a fictional travel company. We’ll call them Wolfgang Wild Swimming. I’m going to be a person who’s researching a swimming holiday. So I’m going to go to Google first, and I’m going to search for swimming holidays in Ireland.

2. E-book download via remarketing

I’m going to go to the Wolfgang Wild Swimming web page, where I’m going to read a little bit about their offering. In doing that, I’m going to enter their Facebook audience. The next time I go to Facebook, they’re now remarketing to me, and they’ll be encouraging me to download their e-book, which is a guide to the best swimming spots in the wild west of Ireland. I’m going to volunteer my email to them to get access to the book. Then I’m going to spend a bit more time consuming their content and reading their book.

3. Email about a local offline event

A week later, I get an email from them, and they’re having an event in my area. They’re going for a swim in Dublin, one of my local spots in The Forty Foot, for example. I’m saying, “Well, I was going to go for a swim this weekend anyway. I might as well go with this group.” I go to the swim where I can meet the tour guides. I can meet people who have been on it before. I’m now really close to making a purchase.

4. YouTube video content consumed via remarketing

Again, a week later, they have my email address, so they’re targeting me on YouTube with videos of previous holidays. Now I’m watching video content. All of a sudden, Wolfgang Wild Swimming comes up. I’m now watching a video of a previous holiday, and I’m recognizing the instructors and the participants in the previous holidays. I’m really, really close to pressing Purchase on a holiday here. I’m on the phone to my friend saying, “I found the one. Let’s book this.”

Each interaction moves the consumer closer to purchase

I hope what you’re seeing there is with each interaction, the Google search, the Facebook ad which led to an e-book download, the offline event, back online to the YouTube video, with each interaction I’m getting closer to the purchase.

You can imagine the conversion rate and the return on ad spend on each interaction increasing as we go. This is a really powerful message for us as digital marketers. When we’re planning a campaign, we think about ourselves as though we’re in the travel business too, and we’re actually creating an itinerary. We’re simply trying to create an itinerary of touchpoints that guide a searcher through awareness, interest, right through to action and making that purchase.

I think it’s not just our study that tells us this is the truth. A lot of the best-performing campaigns we’ve been running we’ve seen this anecdotally, that every extra touchpoint increases the conversion rate. Really powerful insight, really useful for digital marketers when planning campaigns. This is just one of the many insights from our E-Commerce KPI Report. If you found that interesting, I’d urge you to go read the full report today.

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How Artificial Intelligence Will Affect eCommerce in the Future

Over the past decade, there has been an exponential rise in the integration of artificial intelligence in many areas of our daily lives. You encounter it every time Amazon recommends a product for you, or when Google predicts what you are looking for before you’re done typing it in the search box. AI is also likely to be the first thing you talk to when you call your bank to check your account.

Because of AI’s efficiency and ability to give consumers a one-to-one experience, its use will continue to grow. A Gartner Study predicts that by 2020, as much as 85 percent of all customer interactions will be done without humans.

If you own an eCommerce store, it’s essential to make yourself aware of these trends and decide on how you will apply them to your business.

Take a look at some of the ways that AI is changing eCommerce:

Provides More Personalized Customer Experience

One big advantage of using AI is how much it can personalize a customer’s shopping experience. A good example is The North Face’s collaboration with IBM to assist customers in finding the right jacket.

[Image of user interface via TheNorthFace.com]

When customers visit The North Face website, IBM’s Watson pops up to ask where and when the jacket will be used. The AI will also ask follow-up questions based on the answers the customer gives. Once it has enough data, it will scan The North Face’s inventory and recommend several jackets based on its relevance to the client’s answers.

Boosts Customer Trust and Exposes Fake Reviews

Online reviews have a big impact on whether a consumer will make a purchase. Unfortunately, not all reviews are made by people who legitimately bought a product. This can affect a site’s algorithms and result in mistrust between buyers and sellers. AI can combat this dilemma. Let’s take Amazon’s example. Its AI puts more weight on verified customer purchases while also taking into account reviews that are marked “helpful” or new.

Making sure that the reviews consumers read on your site regarding your products are trustworthy is essential to building your reputation and brand loyalty. Customers will also be more willing to return and buy more if they know the reviews they’re reading are genuine.

Makes Search Easier and More Customer Focused

As a consumer, you’ve probably experienced seeing something that you want but have no idea what it’s called, who makes it, or even if it’s on sale. AI is now making it easier for you to find the information you need, thanks to its enhanced capabilities to interpret, classify, and understand images.

Pinterest has already been making use of AI technology with its enhanced visual search tool. Now, if a cool pair of shoes catches your eye while looking at Pinterest, you’ll be shown items that are visually similar to it.

Image result for pinterest visual search tool gif

The tool reduces the time a consumer will spend searching for an item. It also boosts conversion rates and retargeting options for businesses that market their items via the platform.

Improves Inventory Management

AI is also making a big difference in how companies manage their inventories. People who work in retail understand how difficult it is to keep shelves stocked, track everything accurately, and ensure that inventory is up-to-date.

Inventory management traditionally utilized a hindsight perspective, something that doesn’t work in today’s dynamic online marketplace. AI technology uses predictive analysis to assess what demands will likely rise and gathers key information about factors that are driving this demand.

AI’s machine learning feature also means that the longer the company uses it, the more it learns about the business, its customers, and site visitors. It will then get better at accurately predicting what items the company requires in its present inventory and what it will need in the future.

AI is becoming a driving force in how businesses cater to their clients’ interest and needs. With it, eCommerce platforms can give more personalized services, provide better recommendations on products and improve trust between the customer and the brand. 

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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States Can Now Collect Sales Tax From eCommerce Businesses, Supreme Court Gives Go-Ahead

Online shoppers will soon be shelling out more money for their purchases now that the US Supreme Court ruled that states can demand e-businesses collect sales taxes.

The case, which will have a profound effect on the consumer economy, saw the country’s Supreme Court justices voting 5 to 4 that states have the right to impose taxes on online sales even if the retailer does not have a warehouse or a physical store in their jurisdiction.

Brick-and-mortar shops have been blaming online stores and the apparent tax break they enjoy for slow sales. Meanwhile, eCommerce businesses have claimed that their success was because of the convenience they offer, not the sales tax (or lack thereof).

Doing Away with Years Worth of Laws

The surprising ruling ended years of legislative battles as it overturned a 1992 decision. It also answered the question of whether the law had fallen behind the digital economy. According to the Supreme Court ruling, the requirement that sales taxes are bound to retailers with a “physical presence” in a state was “unsound” and outdated.

South Dakota is a clear winner in this ruling. The state had petitioned the court to uphold recently passed legislation imposing a sales tax on online retailers. Marty Jackley, the state’s attorney general, defended the law by claiming that South Dakota was “losing millions for education, healthcare and infrastructure” and that the unfair playing field was hurting its citizens.

The ongoing issue that eCommerce businesses had an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar shops was pushed to the forefront again when President Donald Trump tweeted in April that online retail giant Amazon was paying “little or no taxes to state & local governments.” It should be pointed out, though, that Amazon has been collecting sales taxes from customers in 45 states since April 2017.

Impact of Supreme Court Ruling on eCommerce

The decision to levy sales tax on online retailers had traditional retailers celebrating while the stocks of ecommerce companies took a dive.

Wayfair, an online furnishings retailer, saw its shares drop 3.8 percent while Overstock.com and eBay fell 2.5 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Amazon’s shares also took a hit, going down 1 percent. However, the retail giant’s situation is more complicated. While the company enjoyed the tax exemption for several years, a policy change in 2012 has seen it collecting tax on its own sales in the District of Columbia and 45 other states. But its third-party sellers haven’t been required to do so and thus will feel the impact of the court’s decision.

President Trump has declared the Supreme Court ruling as a “big victory for fairness” in the US and a “great victory for consumers and retailers.” However, consumers would be paying more once this ruling is implemented.

There’s no telling yet how the new ruling will affect the retail landscape as this will largely depend on how states choose to exercise their authority regarding online sales. Some experts have noted that the emphasis placed by the justices on South Dakota’s law provides small online businesses with some protection as only sellers that engage in transactions of 200 or more or those that deliver goods worth more than $ 100,000 will be taxed.

However, the numbers could vary as $ 100,000 can be considered quite low from a company income tax perspective. But it’s safe to say that states will try to implement these tax sales, whether via existing or new legislation.

[Featured image via Pexels.com]

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SearchCap: Google News updated, standout tag gone & e-commerce SEO

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.



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How to Optimize Checkout Flow in Your eCommerce Store

It’s a sad truth that a lot of eCommerce stores don’t put too much thought or effort into their checkout page, leading to cart abandonment. However, making a few changes and optimizing the checkout flow can do wonders for your store.

What’s the Deal With Checkout?

Most online stores tend to focus on their home page and product pages. It’s easy to understand why since the goal is to catch and hold the customer’s attention. But what eCommerce businesses should remember is that the checkout process is also essential and has to be given proper consideration.

Consider this—research firm Statista determined that as by the end of 2017, nearly 70% of shopping carts worldwide were abandoned. What’s worrying is that the rate of shopping cart abandonment has remained relatively high for the past decade.

The data also suggests that most established eCommerce businesses that garner over 100, 000 visitors per month would likely see and an astronomical boost in revenue if their conversion rate went up by even 1%.

Online shopping cart abandonment rate worldwide from 2006 to 2017

People who reached the checkout page are obviously motivated to buy something. The mystery here is what caused their desire to fizzle out. Retailers should also think about what they could do to optimize the checkout flow.

3 Tips for Optimizing Checkout Flow

Never Force a Customer into Making an Account

Forcing a customer to create an account just to purchase a product is one of biggest reasons why shoppers abandon their cart. It’s easy to understand a business owner’s point of view on this matter. Aside from the desire to make a sale, they also want to get the customer’s data in order to market to them again.

However, requiring customers to register or create an account before they can even finish their purchase slows down the transaction and leads to frustration. Remember that they’re on your site because they want to purchase something and they want to do so in a quick and efficient manner.

A better solution would be to wait until the checkout process has been completed and the deal closed. At this juncture, you can simply ask the client if they want the information they provided to be saved for future purchases. A good transaction experience will likely prompt them to agree to have an account created. You can also take a page out of Speedo’s handbook and offer an incentive if the customer agrees to register.

Image result for speedo checkout page

Choose Forms That are Well-Designed and Easy to Fill Out

Retailers should also pay attention to how their forms are designed. Aside from following the usual web form standards (ex. using asterisks for required fields), the field size should reflect the information that the user is expected to fill in.

Asking the right kind of information is also essential. Do away with unnecessary data as it only makes the process longer and makes customers wary. For example, an Apple customer in one study complained about a form asking for their phone number and worried that they’ll be hounded by salespeople. Make sure that when you ask for a customer’s personal information, the reason is obvious to the customer or is explicitly explained (ex. for shipping purposes).

Ask Credit Card Details Last and Provide Proof They’re Secure

It’s a good idea to ask for the customer’s shipping information first and credit card details last. This is because the former is easy and the latter is harder to input. Follow the same principle in other forms. Start with easy information, like name and address, and end with hard details like the credit card number. The credit card form should also look secure. Put the SSL logo prominently, along with explanations about the security code and card expiry.

Related image

Security credentials should also be placed in highly visible places. Customers are understandably wary about giving their credit card details. A 2015 survey by Experian that included over 1000 participants, revealed that more than two-thirds of the surveyed group worried about being scammed while shopping online.

It’s your job to reassure customers that their credit card details are safe. Use padlocks and https where needed or put security icons in the header, footer, and beside the “Checkout” or “Sign In” buttons. Adding Trust seals and SSL Certificates also go a long way in calming people’s fears. It can even increase conversions by as much as 30%. Conversely, one survey concluded that 61% of the respondents did not continue with their purchase because they didn’t see a Trust Seal.

Always consider your customer’s feelings, even during checkout. Consider the kind of experience you want them to have at this all-too crucial junction. Make some changes and optimize your checkout flow. A quick and painless checkout process will reduce cart abandonment and result in happy customers.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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4 Ways to Make Free Shipping Profitable for Your eCommerce Business

One of the most crucial decisions an eCommerce business has to make is whether to offer free shipping. If the retailer does opt to provide free shipping, then other equally important decisions have to be made, like what kind of go-to-market process will be implemented.

An online retailer’s free shipping policy can boost conversions, but it can also add to expenses. Luckily, there are several strategies open to a company.

Here are four ways that can make free shipping profitable for your business:

Image result for flat rate shipping1. Offer Your Clients a Flat Rate

One of the best ways to make good use of free shipping is to offer a flat rate for all packages, or flat rates for total orders and weight ranges.

However, this method requires intensive planning and preparation. The company has to figure out the average cost of shipping. This is to ensure that they do not overcharge or undercharge clients. When they do come up with the right cost, the price will likely be a little over or under the actual shipping cost. But this discrepancy would even out eventually.

Retailers considering a flat rate should be aware that they would need to conduct several tests to see which would work better – pricing by weight range or order totals.

2. Add Shipping Cost to the Product Price

Integrating the shipping cost to the product price will also work in the company’s favor. Consider the following options:

  • Offer 1: $ 50 for the product + $ 5 for shipping
  • Offer 2: $ 55 with free shipping

The majority of consumers would undoubtedly favor the second option. Studies have shown that the conversion numbers for the second offer were double that of the first offer. This method also works very well for unique products and items that are hard to find.

So how does one incorporate the cost of shipping into the product’s price? One way is to change the price of items below the free shipping threshold so that it would include part of the expected shipping cost. For instance, you can add 13% of the expected shipping cost to items priced at $ 10. So from $ 10, the product will now cost $ 11.30. With this strategy, you get to offer free shipping while recouping part of the cost.

Image result for ground shipping3. Substitute Service Types

Thousands of online retailers have found that ground shipping is the most affordable option, so this is the most common type used in free shipping. But retailers should make it clear to customers that this is not overnight shipping and that an additional fee will be charged if they want to expedite the process.

Ground shipping can actually reduce your shipping expenses by as much as 50% and most can easily meet 2-day expedited shipping requirements. If the product is to be delivered somewhere near the office or distribution center, then you can use the cheapest ground option available, meet the delivery window, and save money.

Don’t be afraid that your clients will be put-off by the 2-day wait. Nearly all online buyers are willing to wait longer for a product as long as shipping is free.

4. Exclude Specific Products From Free Shipping

Another way to reduce the negative impact of free shipping is to exclude specific products from the service. Companies can exclude large and heavy items with high shipping cost and products with low margins from free shipping. They can also just offer the free service exclusively to high volume products with low shipping costs.

Do not look at free shipping as a financial black hole. Savvy retailers can utilize free shipping as leverage to boost conversions and average orders while reducing any negative impact it might have on revenue.

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How on-site search can drive holiday revenue & help e-commerce sites compete against major retailers

According to SLI Systems, people who use on-site search are more likely to make a purchase than visitors who only browse a website.

The post How on-site search can drive holiday revenue & help e-commerce sites compete against major retailers appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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