4 Best Practices to Improve the Overall Functionality of Your eCommerce Site

As an eCommerce retailer, you have a lot to consider when trying to optimize and enhance your online store. Not only do you need to think about your own site, but you also need to take into consideration your competitors and current industry standards.

Below, Nextopia is happy to share four best practices that will help improve the overall functionality of your eCommerce site, helping increase customer loyalty and leading to better retail results.

1. Make Website Navigation Flawless

Navigation is a key component of a successful eCommerce site. The navigation bar, which typically resides at the top of the site, allows shoppers to easily browse through your site. You should make sure that your navigation bar is prominent and can be easily located, and that it appears on every page of your site, helping to maintain a consistent design.

Using self-explanatory and easy-to-understand navigation titles will ensure that your shoppers have a good idea of what they are going to see when selecting each navigation category.  For example, let’s pretend you own an eCommerce woman’s clothing and accessory store. To help your customers quickly find the products that interest them, consider using categories such as “dresses”, “tops” and “bottoms” rather than the more generic “clothing”. You could take this even further by breaking the category “bottoms” down to “skirts”, “pants” and “shorts.”

It is important to note, however, that using too many navigation categories can overwhelm your shoppers. If you find your store has too many categories to fit across one navigation bar, consider implementing drop down menus that provide more detailed sub-categories. And remember that all navigation categories and sub-categories should be click-able links that lead directly to an appropriate product page.

Another aspect of a flawless navigation bar is the breadcrumb trail. Breadcrumbs remind your visitors of what page they are on and how they got there, allow them to easily navigate back to more general results, and have been shown to reduce bounce rates.


Your site’s navigation can be further enhanced by pairing these strategies with strong on-site search. On-site search gives visitors the ability to take control of the shopping experience and to locate products using their own terminology, instead of navigating through categories you have pre-determined. By offering shoppers an additional way to locate the products they desire, you are creating a comfortable and easy shopping experience, helping turn site visitors into dedicated customers.

2. Merchandise, Merchandise and Merchandise Some More!

Merchandising is an important element of every eCommerce website, and directly impacts the appearance and perception of the site. The most successful brick-and-mortar stores are masters of merchandising, using displays, demonstrations and unique signage to draw in shoppers and appeal to their wants and needs. Online stores must find a way to do the same, in order to keep shoppers on-site and encourage them to keep exploring.

Part of effective merchandising effort is ensuring all product images and descriptions are complete, professional and up-to-date. The images should be high resolution photos that show the details of a product. The descriptions should present all of the information that shoppers will need to feel comfortable making a purchase, and should answer questions and offer advice the same way that a sales associate would in a brick-and-mortar store.

Merchandising should happen on every page of your site, not just on the home page and product pages. By adding merchandising to your search result pages you will encourage shoppers to spend more time on site and increase conversions.

The most effectively merchandised result pages use banners at the top or side of the page to encourage purchases (“New for spring!”) or to provide other helpful information (“Free shipping over $100”).   Product spotlight tags (such as “staff pick” or “on sale”) can help guide visitors to a purchase.  Search result pages should also help instill confidence by clearly displaying prices, ratings and reviews.

Many eCommerce retailers also use merchandising on product pages to encourage cross-selling and/or up-selling by displaying a line-up of products that are similar to the one being viewed. This section is typically titled something like “People who viewed this also viewed” or “Commonly bought together”.

3. Integrate Impactful Calls to Action

Calls to action are typically used to motivate a shopper to take the next step towards a purchase.  There are often several different calls to action on an eCommerce site, with one of the most common being an “add to cart” button. But instead of simply adding another generic button to your site there are ways to get creative!

Make the button a color that stands out and creates contrast, but be sure that the color goes with those already present on your site. It is also helpful to have some white space around the button in order to create a clean appearance and make it obvious where to click.

After color selection, choose the text you want on the button strategically. Use words that are going to inspire a shopper to take action and tell them what is going to happen when they click. The most effective way to understand which terminology resonates with your shoppers through A/B testing, as there really is no way to know what is going to appeal to your shoppers until you try it. For example, you might want to test a button that reads “add to bag” against one that reads “add to my cart.”

4. Simplify the Payment Process

As eCommerce technology advances, newer and faster payment methods are being developed. This means that there are several things that you can do now to simplify your payment process, helping decrease your cart abandonment rate.

Improving payment and shipping is all about providing options to customers, in order to make them feel comfortable.

Some online retailers require shoppers to register or create an account before making a purchase, which requires the visitor to enter a long list of information and often drives shoppers away from your site. Instead, give shoppers the option to check out as a guest and enable those shoppers who don’t want to provide personal information a chance to become a dedicated customer.

Customers are going to have preferences about how they want to pay, so accepting different forms of payment is a necessity. Many retailers are now adding PayPal to their site as an additional option for their customers.

Up to 37% of consumers avoid buying anything online because of shipping costs, so try reducing this barrier by offering a variety of shipping options. Many retailers provide free shipping that takes a little longer to reach its destination, or that requires a minimum purchase amount. More traditional shipping options are still provided for customers who are willing to pay more for faster delivery. While offering free shipping is not realistic for every eCommerce retailer, it may be worthwhile to run a free shipping promotion for a certain amount of time, perhaps even for just one day.

Finally, customers want peace of mind and need to know their money is safe with you. Make sure that every step of the checkout and payment process has visible trust seals and signals.

In the end, taking the time to know who is visiting your site, whether that is through a thorough Google Analytics analysis, surveys or A/B testing, it is worth it. Understanding your customers and creating a shopping experience based on their preferences will improve the overall functionality of your site, as well as your key metrics.


About the author:
Sanjay Arora is the Founder & CEO, Nextopia Software Corporation.

5 Tactics to Maximize Conversion Rate

For search marketers, conversion rate is an important metric used to judge success and a big factor in advocating for a fair share of a business’s overall marketing budget. As such, search marketers spend countless hours studying, optimizing and seeking advice on improving this vital metric; read on to discover 5 unique tips to improve your campaign conversion rate.

1 – Analyze Search Terms

Phrase and broad match types are excellent for driving conversion volume for terms that aren’t captured by your exact match types, but they inherently have a lower conversion rate. To get the most out of your campaigns, use phrase and broad to drive impression and click volume, then review your search term report and avoid these 2 common mistakes:

1. Matching to a search term is not the same as bidding on that search term as an actual keyword. Unless you add a search term as an explicit keyword, you have not indicated that you want traffic from that specific search term and your quality score and ad rank for that search term will be subpar. Review your search term report to find converting search terms and make sure to add them as explicit keywords in your bidded set.

2. Search marketers often become frustrated with broad matches, but fail to realize that A) broad match is simply a representation of matches to a collection of individual search terms, and B) a handful of bad apple search terms can spoil what is otherwise a healthy broad match keyword. Review your search term report to find low converting, bad apple search terms, and add them as negative keywords. Once you discover a keyword or phrase you would like to exclude, add it as a negative keyword at the ad group, campaign or account (shared campaign negatives) level; but be careful to specify a match type, as mistakenly adding a phrase rather than exact match negative keyword can be disastrous.

2 – Conversions via Ad Extensions

Ad extensions can help drive conversions that aren’t traditional (e.g. buy a product, download a whitepaper, fill out a form), but just as beneficial and often do lead to a traditional conversion. Enable and consider the actions that searchers can take via ad extensions in conversion rate analysis; for example, facilitate calls to your business with call extensions, direct people to your brick and mortar store with location extensions and drive app downloads with app extensions (coming soon).

3 – Remove Funnel Bottlenecks

One mistake that many search marketers make is to focus entirely on their search marketing campaigns and ignore what happens between the click and conversion. If your searcher clicks an ad for designer jeans, lands on your page and is prevented from purchasing a pair of True Religion jeans because you are out of stock, you’ve just unwittingly lowered your conversion rate. Similarly, if your landing page buries the answer to the searcher’s question, your funnel requires them to go through more steps than are truly necessary or your website is non mobile-responsive, your conversion rate may suffer and leave you scratching your head, trying to figure out why your clicks are not turning into sales.

4 – Target Segments

The more control you have over how your ads show to each of your customer segments, the more you can influence your conversion rate. Showing Spanish ads to Spanish searchers, French ads to French searchers and Chinese ads to Chinese speakers will produce better results than targeting an English ad to all customers. Using incremental bidding to show ads in better positions during Mondays between the hours of 8AM and 5 PM can raise your conversion rate by ensuring your ads are most likely to be clicked when your most likely customers are searching will raise your conversion rate. Using remarketing (more below) to create custom audience segments and adapting the way you market to those custom segments will improve your conversion rate. Take a moment to draw out your customer segments and then make sure your search campaigns are appropriately optimized for each segment.

5 – Leverage Macro Data

There are many resources available to help search marketers with account planning, such as the Bing Ads Blog’s Insights Section, which will help you better understand and market to your target market.

Utilize the Bing Ads Campaign Planner to discover which verticals, sub-verticals and products have low CPCs and create product ads for those products types that have low CPCs and high margins.

Create reminders well before public holidays to optimize your campaigns and capitalize on higher holiday conversion rates and sales volume.

Additionally, Bing Ads recently released a new method of tracking conversion, revenue, and page engagement (including custom events!) called Universal Event Tracking (UET). If you’re still using the old campaign analytics code, make the switch to UET by browsing to the shared library, and clicking into goals and conversions. Beyond enabling you to track your conversion rates with more accuracy (across devices, across your site and across accounts), UET will enable you to run re-marketing in search (coming soon), which is a great way to re-engage “almost customers” that you paid to acquire but never converted, and thus decrease the CPA of your campaigns by raising conversion rates.

Thanks for following along! Feel free to comment with questions or additional thoughts, and happy optimizing!


About the Author: 

Gabriel Kwakyi is a search advertising account manager who works for Microsoft Bing Ads in New York, NY. By helping clients from many different industries, sizes and business models develop search advertising strategies and fine-tune their campaign performance, Gabriel has gained a strong collection of PPC best practices and optimization insight, which he enjoys sharing with his clients, team and the broader digital marketing industry.

JXT Group Hosts Google Partners Connect Event

According to statistics shared by Google, 97% of consumers go online to look for local products, but only 2 out of 5 (37%) of US small businesses have a website.  The main purpose of this event was to understand the value of digital marketing and how you can expand your online presence through smarter insights to grow your business.

The speakers included Tom Rowe, the Managing Director of Global Channel Sales, who discussed how small businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors through digital marketing, and AdWords Evangelist Fred Valleys, who covered how small businesses can navigate the web and expand their online presence through smarter insights.

At the conclusion of the live stream, we held a discussion where guests asked questions about the presentation, as well as how the topics discussed could be applied to grow their business. Our team was able to answer these questions, as well as discuss our own personal experiences with using Google for online marketing and advertising.

This event was a huge success, and we at JXT Group would like to thank Google for giving us this opportunity to learn more about the value of digital marketing and to engage with future clients! If you were unable to attend the live stream, you can watch the video below, or by clicking on this link.

Dimensional Weight & Google Shopping: How Does It Affect You?

UPS and FedEx have just both adjusted their shipping fees to work off of Dimensional Weight. Previously, they were just charging you based on the weight of the package. With the new change in effect, you’ll be paying for weight and volume.


How does this affect me?

This change sounds like it won’t affect you outside of shipping fees, however it will affect any online retailers that sells on Google Shopping and uses the Merchant Center “Carrier-Calculated” shipping options.

Google just sent out a notice regarding Dimensional Weight in Merchant Center, the full email is printed below.

In a nutshell, if you’re using Carrier-Calculated shipping rates in Merchant Center, you’re left with several options once it goes into effect on April 6th 2015.

  1. Add three new columns to the datafeed for package length, width and height
  2. Switch to a new shipping structure on your site that doesn’t use Carrier Calculated rates (i.e. Flat Rate, Percentage of Order Total etc…)
  3. Do nothing and hope the account is not suspended

Thankfully, there is time to implement these changes, but you’ll want to make sure you figure out the best solution before the deadline.

Important: You May Need to Add Shipping Package Size to Your Google Shopping Product Data


We’re reaching out today to let you know about changes to the carrier-calculated shipping feature in Google Merchant Center.

In the US, major shipping carriers recently began calculating many of their shipping rates based on the dimensional weight of a package rather than just the actual weight. These dimensional weight rates take into account the weight, height, length, and width of a package.

Today, we’re introducing support for dimensional weight shipping rates for carrier-calculated shipping methods in Google Merchant Center. This update lets you define the dimensions of your packages used for shipping taking into account the length, width, and height of a package — in addition to the weight you already provide. We’ve created three new attributes that merchants can add to their product data to provide the dimensions of shipping packages for an item: ‘shipping length’, ‘shipping width’, and ‘shipping height’.

In a recent review of your Google Merchant Center account (Account ID XXXXXXXXX), we have determined that you have specified one or more carrier-calculated shipping methods in your account. Merchants who have active carrier-calculated methods for the US may need to provide these three additional attributes in their product data in order to allow accurate shipping rate calculations based on dimensional weight. If you’re unsure if your carrier is using a new dimensional weight rate model, or whether your shipments will be impacted, please verify directly with your shipping carrier.

If your carrier has changed the way they calculate shipping rates, you will need to add the following three attributes for items utilizing carrier-calculated shipping rates based on dimensional weight:

‘shipping length’ – Length of the item for shipping.

‘shipping width’ – Width of the item for shipping.

‘shipping height’ – Height of the item for shipping.

Starting April 6th, 2015, we’ll begin verifying that merchants using carrier-calculated rates are providing accurate rates by including these new attributes when the shipping rate is calculated based on dimensional weight. If merchants do not add these new attributes, we’ll continue to calculate the shipping rate based on weight only, which could lead to inaccurate shipping rate calculations. Accounts with inaccurate shipping rates will be suspended from Google Shopping. [Emphasis Added]

To learn more about using the new dimensional shipping attributes, please visit the Products Feed Specification at and select ‘United States’ at the top.

It’s worth mentioning that if your website will still lookup rates by weight only, you should be safe doing the same on Google Shopping without getting suspended.

How To: Setup eCommerce Conversion Tracking In Bing Ads (Universal Event Tracking)


Bing Ads recently unveiled a new version of their conversion tracking pixel. While the new Universal Event Tracking (UET) gives you more flexibility, it is also slightly clunky. Below is a quick run-down of how to install the eCommerce Revenue tracking using the new UET.

NOTE: The old tracking system can be found under: Tools —> Campaign Analytics, that has be deprecated and can no longer be used.

Get the Universal Event Tracking Code

Start by logging into your Bing Ads account and then navigating to:
Campaigns —> Shared Library —> Goals and Conversions —> Create Tag

You’ll get to this form, you can fill it out like my example below. Don’t forget to turn on “Goal Value,” this is needed to send Bing Ads the revenue on completed transactions.

Bing Ads Universal Event Tracking

Install the Universal Event Tracking Code

Once you save the above form, you’ll be taken back to the Goals and Conversions page. Now click the checkbox next to your code and select “View Tag.” Here’s where Bing Ads makes it more complex than it needs to be, so just note your Tag ID and follow along.

Bing Ads will now display a pop-up with two tags: JavaScript and No Script. In addition, it will not provide you with the eCommerce Revenue Tracking portion of the code.

Below is a complete example of the code you need. Paste this code on the order confirmation page and replace the following two variables:

  • TAG_ID = Replace this with the Tag ID in two places
  • ORDER_TOTAL = Replace this with the order total in two places
<script>(function(w,d,t,r,u){var f,n,i;w[u]=w[u]||[],f=function(){var o={ti:"TAG_ID"};o.q=w[u],w[u]=new UET(o),w[u].push("pageLoad")},n=d.createElement(t),n.src=r,n.async=1,n.onload=n.onreadystatechange=function(){var s=this.readyState;s&&s!=="loaded"&&s!=="complete"||(f(),n.onload=n.onreadystatechange=null)},i=d.getElementsByTagName(t)[0],i.parentNode.insertBefore(n,i)})(window,document,"script","//","uetq");</script>
<script> var uetq = uetq || [];  uetq.push({ 'gv': ORDER_TOTAL });</script>
<noscript><img src="//" height="0" width="0" style="display:none; visibility:hidden;" /></noscript>

You should be all set. Questions? Leave a comment.

How To: Setup The Google Trusted Stores Badge

Google Trusted Stores

Google just announced on the Inside AdWords blog that they have simplified the requirements for joining the Google Trusted Stores program.

Applying to become a Trusted Store is now simpler than ever. You only need to create an account and add two snippets of code to your website. You no longer need to submit shipment and cancellations feeds.

Here’s a quick tutorial on the integration process. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments.


First you’ll need to setup a Google Trusted Stores account. You can start by clicking on the”Become a Google Trusted Store” button on the top right of the page and logging into an existing Google account.

Then you will want to select your country under “Create a new Trusted Stores account” and click “Start account setup” and go through the six steps of the form.

Google says it will take you 30 minutes, you’ll be done in 10. On to the next step, Technical Integration.


After completing the Application and Account Setup, click on the “Go” button by Store Integration. You’ll be provided with two sets of code that need to be added to your website.

  1. Trusted Store Badge
  2. Order Confirmation Module

The first snippet of code goes on the footer of all pages, the best place to add it is right before the closing <body> tag. You will need to replace the following variables with the correct information:

  1. GOOGLE_TRUSTED_STORE_ID: Your Google Trusted Store ID which can be found on the top right of this page.
  2. BOTTOM_RIGHT: You can choose BOTTOM_RIGHT or BOTTOM_LEFT depending on where you’d like the badge to display.
  3. PAGE_LANGUAGE: en_US, en_GB, en_AU etc…
  4. ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_ID: The value must equal the Product ID from your Google Shopping feed. This line is not required for Category/Brand pages.
  5. ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_ACCOUNT_ID: Your Google Merchant Center Account ID which can be found on top of this page.
  6. ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_COUNTRY: Your country code: US, GB, EU etc…
  7. ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_LANGUAGE: Your language code: en, fr, de etc…
<!-- BEGIN: Google Trusted Stores -->
<script type="text/javascript">
  var gts = gts || [];

  gts.push(["id", "GOOGLE_TRUSTED_STORE_ID"]);
  gts.push(["badge_position", "BOTTOM_RIGHT"]);
  gts.push(["locale", "PAGE_LANGUAGE"]);
  gts.push(["google_base_offer_id", "ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_ID"]);
  gts.push(["google_base_subaccount_id", "ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_ACCOUNT_ID"]);
  gts.push(["google_base_country", "ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_COUNTRY"]);
  gts.push(["google_base_language", "ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_LANGUAGE"]);

  (function() {
    var gts = document.createElement("script");
    gts.type = "text/javascript";
    gts.async = true;
    gts.src = "";
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];
    s.parentNode.insertBefore(gts, s);
<!-- END: Google Trusted Stores -->

Once the code is implement on your website, you need to install the Order Confirmation module. Add the following code to the order confirmation page.

The first half of the code is displayed once, the second half needs to be repeated once for each item in the order. Follow this link for an explanation of what is required in each field.

<!-- START Google Trusted Stores Order -->
<div id="gts-order" style="display:none;" translate="no">

  <!-- start order and merchant information -->
  <span id="gts-o-id">MERCHANT_ORDER_ID</span>
  <span id="gts-o-domain">MERCHANT_ORDER_DOMAIN</span>
  <span id="gts-o-email">CUSTOMER_EMAIL</span>
  <span id="gts-o-country">CUSTOMER_COUNTRY</span>
  <span id="gts-o-currency">CURRENCY</span>
  <span id="gts-o-total">ORDER_TOTAL</span>
  <span id="gts-o-discounts">ORDER_DISCOUNTS</span>
  <span id="gts-o-shipping-total">ORDER_SHIPPING</span>
  <span id="gts-o-tax-total">ORDER_TAX</span>
  <span id="gts-o-est-ship-date">ORDER_EST_SHIP_DATE</span>
  <span id="gts-o-est-delivery-date">ORDER_EST_DELIVERY_DATE</span>
  <span id="gts-o-has-preorder">HAS_BACKORDER_PREORDER</span>
  <span id="gts-o-has-digital">HAS_DIGITAL_GOODS</span>
  <!-- end order and merchant information -->

  <!-- start repeated item specific information -->
  <!-- item example: this area repeated for each item in the order -->
  <span class="gts-item">
    <span class="gts-i-name">ITEM_NAME</span>
    <span class="gts-i-price">ITEM_PRICE</span>
    <span class="gts-i-quantity">ITEM_QUANTITY</span>
    <span class="gts-i-prodsearch-id">ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_ID</span>
    <span class="gts-i-prodsearch-store-id">ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_ACCOUNT_ID</span>
    <span class="gts-i-prodsearch-country">ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_COUNTRY</span>
    <span class="gts-i-prodsearch-language">ITEM_GOOGLE_SHOPPING_LANGUAGE</span>
  <!-- end item 1 example -->
  <!-- end repeated item specific information -->

<!-- END Google Trusted Stores Order -->


You’re done the easy part once both snippets of code are in place. Now you just wait 30 days for Google to monitor the performance of your store… Good luck!

Boost Your Post Holiday Sales for a Happier New Year

The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean that the extra revenue they brought has to be boxed up along with the decorations. This new infographic from Wiser helps online retailers make the new year a bit happier with profit and revenue boosting tips. Check it out below to learn the top 5 ways maximize sales in Q1.

Why Consumers Prefer Online Shopping

With the arrival of a new year, number of shoppers making purchases online is anticipated to steadily grow. What is motivating consumers to shop online rather than making their purchases at a typical brick and mortar store? Check out the infographic below to learn more about the reasons behind this growing trend.

Via Nextopia