Chloe Darcy - eCommerce Forum | Forum Events Ltd
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Chloe Darcy

SEO MONTH: Where to start when selecting partners and solutions for e-commerce

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Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a critical component of digital strategy. For e-commerce brands in the UK, selecting the right SEO partner or solution is a decision that can significantly influence online visibility and business success. Here we outline the essential considerations for e-commerce brands when choosing SEO partners and solutions, based on input from eCommerce Forum delegates…

1. Understanding of E-commerce SEO

E-commerce SEO is nuanced and differs from generic SEO practices. The chosen SEO partner should have a deep understanding of e-commerce platforms, product page optimization, and the unique challenges of driving conversions. They should demonstrate expertise in optimizing for user experience, managing product inventories, and developing strategies for categories and individual product pages.

2. Experience and Track Record

A proven track record in boosting e-commerce site rankings is essential. Brands should seek SEO partners with demonstrable experience in their industry or with similar-sized e-commerce operations. Case studies, client testimonials, and performance data can provide insights into their capability to deliver tangible results.

3. Technical SEO Expertise

Given the technical nature of e-commerce platforms, the SEO partner should possess strong technical SEO skills. This includes site structure optimization, mobile optimization, page speed enhancement, and understanding of schema markup. Technical SEO is crucial for e-commerce sites where user experience directly influences purchase decisions.

4. Content Creation and Optimization

Content is a cornerstone of effective SEO. The ideal partner should not only excel at keyword research and meta-data optimization but also be skilled in creating quality, engaging content that resonates with the target audience. For e-commerce, this includes product descriptions, blogs, buyer guides, and other content forms that aid in driving traffic and conversions.

5. Alignment with Business Goals

SEO strategies should align with the broader business objectives of the e-commerce brand. The SEO partner should understand the brand’s target market, value proposition, and sales goals. Their approach should be tailored to not just drive traffic, but to attract the right audience that is likely to convert.

6. Transparency and Reporting

Transparency in strategies, actions, and reporting is vital. Brands should look for partners who provide clear communication and regular, detailed reports that not only show rankings and traffic but also provide insights into user behaviour, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI).

7. Adaptability to Changing SEO Landscape

The SEO landscape is dynamic, with frequent changes in search engine algorithms. The SEO partner should demonstrate adaptability and a proactive approach to these changes, ensuring that the e-commerce brand’s SEO strategy remains effective and compliant with the latest best practices.

8. Budget Considerations

Finally, the cost of SEO services is a practical consideration. E-commerce brands must balance their budget constraints with the quality of SEO services offered. It’s important to understand the pricing structure and ensure there are no hidden costs, and that the services offered provide value for money.

Choosing an SEO partner or solution for an e-commerce brand involves a careful evaluation of their expertise in e-commerce SEO, technical proficiency, content capabilities, alignment with business goals, transparency, adaptability to the SEO landscape, and cost-effectiveness. A well-chosen SEO partner can be instrumental in enhancing the online presence and success of an e-commerce brand in the competitive digital marketplace.

Are you searching for SEO solutions for your e-commerce business? The E-Commerce Forum can help!

Photo by Stephen Phillips – on Unsplash

Retail Media: Five key trends to watch in 2024 and beyond

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What’s going to be big in the retail media space in the coming year? Alban Villani, Regional CEO for EMEA at CitrusAd shares his thoughts on five key trends to watch…

Retail media is no longer limited to on-site and endemic brands

As retail media matures, retailers are starting to understand the opportunities of off-site media, and of selling ad inventory to non-endemic brands. Both are hugely attractive to brands: With the end of third-party cookies approaching, retailers’ customer data will hold the key to personalised customer targeting. In addition, Epsilon/CitrusAd’s State of Retail Media Reportfound that only 37 per cent of retailers currently offer off-site programmatic advertising – the rest are losing out on opportunities to increase revenue.

Those retailers who can master the art of reliably identifying customers on the open Internet, connecting with customers wherever they are and independent of which device they are using, will have the competitive edge. As will those retailers who can offer a unified retail media solution across on-site and offsite, with clear metrics for both that help brands properly attribute results and the success of their advertising campaigns.

We will see more new media formats

There is a clear appetite for retail media technology solutions that support new advertising formats including video and rich media. Channels such as on-demand streaming services and connected TV can be used by retailers and brands to deliver relevant and targeted ads to their audiences. In contrast, the practical reach of traditional linear TV campaigns is now only approximately 50 per cent of their intended audience according to Samsung Ads.

As streaming is becoming viewers’ default preference, connected TV presents an almost untapped but huge opportunity. It vastly increases the off-site advertising inventory and promises greater reach, capturing consumers at different points in their media journey. Plus, acceptance is growing amongst consumers who are willing to watch ads in return for free content.

Artifical Intelligence will power retailmedia growth

Brands are well aware of how powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) is. Applied in retail media, it allows better use of the available customer data to more precisely target and measure advertising campaigns. Retailers can harness AI to improve the site experience, as well as for next-level personalisation. For brands investing in retailmedia, AI – used correctly – can make the retailer’s first-hand data smarter and more actionable.

In the next few months, we will see more retailers and brands employ Predictive AI to analyse usage patterns, identify customer intent signals and zoom in on their target audience with a granularity that they haven’t been able to achieve before. Coupled with using Generative AI to support the faster creation of personalised ads, this AI-based targeting will allow them to reach the right customers at the right time. Ultimately, advertising will be powered by smart technology that works in the background in near real-time.

Retailers are looking for new ways to monetise the physical world

One fast-moving trend is how retailers are finding new ways of monetising physical retailmedia, such as digital screens in stores. A study by Insider Intelligence found that for some leading brick-and-mortar retailers, in-store audiences can be considerably bigger than their online audiences. Retailers will want to capitalise on this in-store footfall. The challenge is how to target individual customers with tailored content – for example, using data from loyalty schemes –, and how to do it precisely and at scale.

This is a true omnichannel challenge as retailers will need the ability to make the connection between what they know about their customer and their location in real-time, joining the dots on the entire online and offline customer journey, to deliver truly targeted in-store advertising. They will also need to be able to analyse their data to close the loop on how both in-store and online advertising have affected online and offline sales. After all, return on ad spend is one of the most important metrics for nearly half of brands according to the Epsilon/CitrusAd State of Retail Media Report.

Retailers are outsourcing some of the retail media work

Due to the growing maturity, but also complexity, of the retail media market, more retailers are asking for specialist consulting services to help them understand and maximise their opportunities. This includes strategic advice on how retail media can be applied to their own business models, how to reach target customers with the most relevant content and how to measure and improve profit margins.

Increasingly, retailers are also looking for support with retail media sales. As their retail media offering sees growing demand, in-house resources alone are no longer enough; they need help accelerating their retail media growth. External retail media specialists can add another layer of expertise, complementing in-house sales teams and boosting the retailer’s ability to execute.

Some larger retailers will benefit from a full-service partner who can supply the retail media technology as well as the plethora of services surrounding it. While every retailer has different needs, for some brands, tapping into RetailMedia-as-a-Service will be an interesting strategy alongside developing their own in-house resources, and this is another trend to watch in 2024.

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

Do you specialise in Customer Experience or IT Security solutions for e-commerce? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on eCommerce & Payments Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on different parts of the market – and in December we’ll be focussing on Customer Experience and IT Security solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help eCommerce management buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a Customer Experience or IT Security specialist and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Liam Cloona on

Here’s our features list in full:

Dec – Customer Experience / IT Security
Jan – Customer Engagement Solutions / ePayment Solutions
Feb – Mobile Optimisation / Mobile Payments
Mar – Conversion Rate Optimisation / Fraud Management
Apr – A/B Testing Platforms / Card Payment Solutions
May – Multi-Channel / mWallets
Jun – Affiliate Marketing / Payments Processor
July – Email Marketing / Payment Service Provider
Aug – Google Shopping / Chargeback Systems
Sep – Personalisation / Artificial Intelligence
Oct – PPC / Account Issuing & Merchant
Nov – SEO / Payment Solution Software

For more information on any of the above, contact Liam Cloona on

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

SEO MONTH: How recent trends have impacted online store marketing

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) remains a cornerstone of digital marketing, continuously evolving to adapt to new technologies and changing user behaviours. For e-commerce stores, staying abreast of these trends is vital to maintaining visibility and competitiveness. Here we explore key recent trends in SEO and their influence on e-commerce store marketing…

One of the most significant trends is the shift towards mobile-first indexing. With the majority of internet users now accessing the web via smartphones, Google has adapted its algorithm to prioritise mobile-friendly websites. This change has pushed e-commerce stores to ensure their sites are responsive and optimized for mobile users. Aspects such as faster loading times, responsive design, and mobile-friendly navigation have become crucial for SEO success.

Another trend is the increased emphasis on user experience (UX) and site usability. Google’s algorithm updates now consider factors such as site speed, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads (Cumulative Layout Shift). For e-commerce stores, this means re-evaluating website design to ensure a seamless, engaging, and efficient shopping experience that not only attracts but retains customer attention.

Voice search optimisation is also reshaping SEO strategies. With the rise of digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, more people are using voice commands for online searches. This shift has led e-commerce marketers to optimize their content for conversational keywords and phrases, often posed as questions, to capture this growing segment.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another technological advancement impacting SEO. AI algorithms are increasingly used to predict user behavior, enabling more targeted content and personalized shopping experiences. E-commerce sites are leveraging AI tools to create content that resonates with their audience, thereby improving their SEO rankings.

Content quality remains king in the realm of SEO. However, the focus has shifted from keyword-stuffed articles to providing value-driven, informative, and engaging content. E-commerce brands are now investing in comprehensive content strategies that encompass blogs, videos, tutorials, and user-generated content to enhance their SEO performance.

The importance of local SEO has also escalated, particularly for e-commerce stores with physical locations. Optimizing for local search through Google My Business listings, local keywords, and location-based content can drive both online and in-store traffic, offering a holistic approach to customer acquisition.

Finally, the integration of social media and SEO has become more pronounced. Social signals, while not a direct ranking factor, contribute to a brand’s online visibility and authority. E-commerce stores are leveraging social media platforms not only for promotion but also to build brand recognition, engage with customers, and drive traffic back to their websites.

Recent SEO trends are largely driven by the goal of improving user experience and adapting to technological advancements. For e-commerce stores, this means embracing a more holistic, user-centric approach in their SEO strategies. By focusing on mobile optimization, enhancing site usability, adapting to voice search, leveraging AI, producing quality content, focusing on local SEO, and integrating social media, e-commerce marketers can effectively boost their online visibility, attract more traffic, and ultimately drive sales. As SEO continues to evolve, the ability to adapt and innovate will be key to e-commerce success in the digital marketplace.

Are you searching for SEO solutions for your e-commerce business? The E-Commerce Forum can help!

Photo by Myriam Jessier on Unsplash

E-commerce trends to watch out for in 2024: Part 1

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Gav Winter, CEO of RapidSpike, on how ‘mobile-centric’ will mean more than just your pocket device, why AR/VR/AI and voice commerce will be used to enhance shopping experiences and how sustainability will take centre stage…

Everyday AI is revolutionising how we work by seamlessly integrating automation, data-driven decision-making, and personalised experiences into our personal and professional lives. This transformative technology streamlines tasks and empowers individuals with data-driven insights, enhancing their skills and efficiency across various industries. The first evolution of AI will not be AI taking our jobs; it will be those who can use AI effectively to do more people’s jobs and machine learning taking over logistics transportation.

For those who find themselves made redundant by AI, there is a need to reskill those people, so there is a considerable surge in the technology educational markets, especially in deprived areas. The drivers can become technicians for the new logistics sector, and those who found themselves out of a role will be reskilled to help create more AI integration; this is where we provide the basic universal income in the first instance to allow some of those people to follow a passion rather than a vocation.

Moving onto a subject closer to RapidSpike, changes in E-commerce and Online will be exciting. The future of websites themselves is poised for transformative change, focusing on immersive and interactive experiences, mobile-centric design for personalisation, and an unwavering commitment to enhanced data privacy and security. As technology evolves, websites will continue to adapt to meet users’ changing needs and expectations in an increasingly digital world.

Mobile-centric in the future doesn’t just mean your pocket device. It will be watches, glasses, TVs, intelligent walls and more. E-commerce platforms like Shopify and similar will provide technology to many leading brands, with less being done in-house on the basic structure and more 3rd party tools created to enhance small niche parts of the experience. Standing out will be about the online shopping user experience, zero tolerance for issues, expectation of speed and the product itself.

AR/VAR/AI combining to create a virtual fitting room. Advanced technology, including AI-driven virtual try-ons either on an avatar on a 3D model of yourself, haptic feedback for fabric feel, high-quality imagery, and AI-powered fit predictions and recommendations, will revolutionise the online fashion retail industry, offering immersive’ almost real world’ shopping experiences.

Voice commerce is gaining traction due to the growing popularity of voice-activated devices like smart speakers. E-commerce platforms must optimise their voice search capabilities to ensure customers can easily find and purchase products using voice commands. Creating voice-friendly shopping experiences will be essential to effectively tap into this emerging trend.

As we look to the future, sustainability is poised to take centre stage in the technology industry. Beyond addressing the environmental impact of devices and data centres, consumers and stakeholders will increasingly expect brands to take a comprehensive approach to minimising their carbon footprint. Online sustainability extends from managing energy consumption to optimising data centres and making eco-conscious website design choices. Keeping the per-user footprint low will be crucial, aligning technology with the growing global commitment to a sustainable future.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

eCommerce Forum: Act now to secure your free place!

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Places are going fast for our eCommerce Forum on 6th February 2024, following on from a sold out July event, so we would like to offer you a complimentary invitation.

eCommerce Forum | 6th February 2024 | Hilton Canary Wharf

Your complimentary invitation includes:

  • A full pre-arranged itinerary one-to-one meetings
  • Inspiring seminar programme hosted by some of the industry’s most dynamic minds
  • Opportunities to network with your industry peers
  • Lunch and refreshments available throughout

Areas covered at the event can include: Customer Retention & Loyalty, SEO, CRO, User Experience , Social Media, Website Design and Performance, Web Analytics and much more.

Click Here To Register

Five payment strategies to improve online conversion rates

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Rob Crutchington of Encoded identifies how merchants can streamline transactions, improve customer satisfaction and increase online sales.

The checkout experience is a key measure for merchants looking to improve their customer conversion rates. While a well-designed website and the right product mix are crucial, streamlining the checkout with successful transactions significantly increases sales.

Here are five ways that merchants can increase online sales:

  1. Offer customers a choice of payment methods

The new ways to pay ie, Google Pay, WeChat Pay and Apple Pay, all provide convenience, security and speed. With an independent payment gateway service provider a merchant can capitalise on these options by using a gateway that connects seamlessly to multiple acquirers. This enables the merchant to offer Alternative Payment Methods (ATMs) to improve customer experience.

  1. Streamline transactions

A payment orchestration layer takes this one step further.  As a standalone platform (working independently of a gateway provider), it provides a resilient payment ecosystem that allows merchants to connect and manage multiple payment methods through a single integration. It optimises transaction success for a smoother, more reliable customer experience.

  1. Make sure customer payment details are accurate

Ensuring that transactions are processed efficiently, and ideally first time, reaps dividends on the bottom line.  Choosing a payment gateway provider that offers detailed declined codes means that more specific information is available for unsuccessful payments. This can be followed up and actioned to increase transaction success.

  1. Expand across borders

Enabling customers from different countries to purchase online can increase revenue opportunities. An independent payment orchestration platform makes it easy to connect with third-party payment service providers via different platforms or merchant accounts. It helps a business to grow globally without significant infrastructure changes. 

  1. Manage your online brand

To offer the best consumer experience, e-commerce pages should reflect a company’s look and feel. Choosing a payment solution that gives your website developers control of your e-commerce pages ensures consistent branding. It provides customers with a seamless experience and confidence they are buying from a trusted business.

For merchants wanting to increase successful transactions, addressing these five key areas will ensure frictionless payment processes, increased conversion rates and a satisfied customer.

Rob Crutchington is Managing Director at Encoded

Demand for e-commerce platforms to hit $13.5 billion by 2028

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The E-commerce platform market size is projected to grow from $7.1 billion in 2023 to $13.5 billion by 2028, equivalent to a CAGR of 13.8% during the forecast period.

That’s according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets, which says that an increasing online consumer base combined with growing adoption of smartphones in developing markets is fuelling demand.

The report also cites omnichannel retailing and a rising need to enhance global presence as drivers in the segment.

This digital revolution has made commercial transactions more convenient, efficient, and rapid, while technology has advanced significantly, with innovative, solutions becoming more common, extending into the realms of VR and AR.

The key global players are listed as Shopify (Canada), eBay (US), Etsy (US), Square (US), BigCommerce (US), Amazon (US), Adobe (US), Wix (Israel), Oracle (US) and Squarespace (US).

Based on the eCommerce model segment, B2C will hold the largest market size during the forecast period, while in terms of solutions the payment & billing segment is expected to grow with the highest CAGR during the forecast period.

By industry, the fashion & apparel segment is expected to have the largest market share.

Key technologies highlighted in the report include website and mobile development, content management systems, shopping carts, payment gateways, customer relationship management systems, inventory management systems, analytics tools, personalisation and recommendation engines, security measures, chatbots, and integration with social media and marketing tools.

Image by Bastian Riccardi from Pixabay

How to run effective PPC campaigns in the world of e-commerce

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Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a game-changer for e-commerce businesses, driving targeted traffic with a clear intent to buy. But like all tools, its effectiveness hinges on how you wield it. Here’s a guide to the key considerations when running a PPC campaign for your e-commerce enterprise, based on input from delegates and suppliers at the E-Commerce Forum…

  1. Clearly Define Your Goals:
    • Sales Conversions: If direct sales are the aim, focus on product listings and purchase-driven keywords.
    • Brand Awareness: Broader keywords and compelling ad copy can increase visibility and recall.
    • Lead Generation: Capture potential customer details for retargeting and future promotions.
  2. Keyword Research:
    • Relevance: Choose keywords directly related to your products. Using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can give insights into search volumes and competition.
    • Long-Tail Keywords: These are longer and more specific keyword phrases. They often have lower search volumes but can yield higher conversion rates.
  3. Budget Management:
    • Cost-Per-Click (CPC): Understand the average CPC for your chosen keywords. High competition keywords will cost more.
    • Daily and Monthly Caps: Set budget limits to prevent overspending.
    • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): Track your ROAS to ensure you’re getting a positive return on your investment.
  4. Ad Creatives and Landing Pages:
    • Relevance: Ensure the ad copy matches the keyword and that the landing page delivers on the ad’s promise.
    • User Experience: Ensure landing pages are mobile-responsive, load quickly, and have a clear call to action.
    • Testing: Use A/B testing for ad copy and landing pages to find out what resonates best with your audience.
  5. Targeting and Retargeting:
    • Audience Segmentation: Segment audiences based on demographics, interests, and shopping behaviours.
    • Retargeting: Re-engage users who’ve visited your site but didn’t make a purchase. Show them ads for the products they viewed or similar items.
  6. Optimise for Mobile:
    • Mobile-First: With the majority of shoppers using mobile devices, ensure your ads and landing pages are optimised for mobile viewing.
    • Mobile Ad Extensions: Use extensions such as click-to-call or location extensions for local e-commerce businesses.
  7. Analyse and Adjust:
    • Use Analytics: Tools like Google Analytics can provide deep insights into how your PPC ads are performing.
    • Adjust in Real-Time: Unlike other marketing strategies, PPC allows for real-time adjustments. Refine keywords, pause underperforming ads, or shift budgets to top-performing campaigns.
  8. Stay Updated:
    • Platform Changes: Platforms like Google Ads or Bing Ads regularly update their algorithms, ad formats, and features.
    • Trends and Seasonality: Update your campaigns based on seasons, holidays, or trending products to stay relevant.

A successful PPC campaign for e-commerce businesses is a mix of careful planning, continuous learning, and rapid adaptation. By keeping these key considerations in mind, businesses can maximise their returns and stay ahead in the dynamic world of e-commerce marketing.

Do you need PPC solutions for your online retail business? The E-Commerce Forum can help!

Image by Tammy Duggan-Herd from Pixabay

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