eCommerce Marketing Increases Traffic & Sales [Case Study]

eCommerce Marketing Strategy Increases Sales and Site Traffic for Small Business

This is the title image for an eCommerce Marketing Case Study that shows increased sales, site traffic, and user-experience

After Vogt Silversmiths discovered their digital presence needed improvements, they partnered with Capitol Tech Solutions (CTS) to develop a full eCommerce Marketing Strategy to increase their online business. After meeting with Vogt, CTS developed a plan that included:

  • Migrating their existing online store to the Shopify eCommerce platform
  • Creating a new eCommerce Website design to improve user experience
  • Full Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy
  • Generation of Quality Content

After designing the new online store, focused on the customer experience, implementing a full SEO strategy, and utilizing features provided by the new Shopify eCommerce platform, Vogt realized a 10% increase in web sales in the first two-months, followed by an impressive 140% increase in total gross sales for their Summer Sale Campaign compared to the same campaign in the previous year.

Small Business Needs Big eCommerce Help

The spring of 2015, Vogt Silversmiths, a designer and manufacturer of sterling silver and leather accessories for the Western lifestyle industry, was faced with an organizational change. The newly appointed Operations Manager identified inconsistency and potential overspending in their Digital Marketing.

Additionally, the Western lifestyle industry was moving from a smaller dealer-based channel to an eCommerce and big box marketplace. To assure the overall success of the organization, it was evident that Vogt needed to adapt to these changes to remain relevant in the industry.

In response, the company set out to find an agency to provide eCommerce and Digital Marketing expertise and provide support and maintenance for their IT infrastructure. After researching and interviewing three IT & Web Development agencies, Vogt Silversmiths chose to partner with Capitol Tech Solutions.

eCommerce Goals and Objectives

The immediate needs for Vogt were broken down into three project goals:

  1. Migrate the existing online store from the Magento platform to a new eCommerce solution. The new platform needed to offer a more user-friendly experience that would allow the Vogt marketing team to manage page content, provide the ability to include additional product information and variants, and easily develop promotional campaigns. Additionally, the new platform must integrate with QuickBooks Enterprise and eliminate the need for additional 3rd party credit card processing vendors.
  2. Design an eCommerce website that rejuvenates the Vogt brand and is appealing to online shoppers. The site must be designed with the user experience in mind to increase sale conversions.
  3. Develop a full eCommerce Marketing strategy to improve Vogt’s online visibility, brand awareness, and site authority to improve Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Rankings and ultimately increasing customer traffic to their online store.

Strategic and Technical Process

The process that we follow can vary dependent of the client’s specific project needs. Understanding the unique needs and goals that a business has is always the first step of our process when first partnering with a client. Our meeting also allows us to find how to best maximize their strengths while minimizing any weaknesses.

Our team designed a strategy that focused on delivering solutions to all Vogt’s needs. The resulting eCommerce Marketing and Design process followed this outline:

  • Face to face meetings to understand business goals and needs
  • Identify solutions to primary objectives
  • Technical SEO Audit
  • Outline User Experience and Site Structure
  • Migration to Shopify Platform
  • Implement a Successful Website Launch

Understanding Clients Needs and Goals

The first step in our process for developing an eCommerce Business strategy for a new client is to gain a deep understanding of their business. We have found that best way to do this is through face-to-face meets with the client, preferably while visiting their offices. Through individual interviews and group meetings we can gain insights into the strengths and weakness they currently have. We are also able to pinpoint the needs and goals they have for the current project.

During our site visit to the office of Vogt Silversmith we met with their Operations Manager, Sara Menton and the Customer Service Manager, Debbie Sherman. We were able to tour of the office and view their jewelry designs and leather goods. We also learned more about the history of the company and their values, such as:

  • Vogt Silversmiths is proud to be a family owned business and is recognized as a leader in the industry for 45 years.
  • Owner, Chet Vogt, is a rancher, competitive horseman and active in land and water conservation in California and Oregon.
  • Heirloom quality, lifetime guarantee of their sterling silver and superior customer service top their company values.

Following the initial meeting, our full CTS digital team, including experts in Shopify eCommerce, web design, and SEO began researching the industry and market place as well as reviewing their internal processes and past marketing strategies.

After fully understanding how they were currently operating their online business, we defined their needs and goals moving forward. After many conversations with the Vogt team, our experts proposed a full eCommerce Marketing Strategy that addressed all their current issues while improving process efficiency, user experience and ultimately, increasing sales.

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Answering the Key Objectives

Our team developed a strategy that focused on addressing the three primary project goals.

  1. Migrate the Vogt online store to the Shopify eCommerce Platform. The Shopify platform offers a user-friendly interface, provides the needed areas for product information and variants, allows promotional campaigns, integrates with QuickBooks Enterprise, and includes credit card processing.
  2. Complete redesign of the outdated Vogt online store to rejuvenate the brand by developing a modern eCommerce website. The new site will be designed following the best user experience practices to allow the greatest opportunity to convert visitors to customers.
  3. Develop an ongoing Marketing Strategy focused on the best SEO practices to improve the company’s SERP Rankings, increase brand visibility, and opportunity for traffic to the site.

CONDUCT A TECHNICAL SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION AUDIT

To identify what content needed to be created for the new site, we first had to analyze the current site. Our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts put the existing site through our technical and strategic SEO process, analyzed Google Analytics reports, review of both Vogt and their competitor’s current content. This process produced the answers to these key questions:

  • What key words and search terms does Vogt currently rank for?
  • Are those results representative of the most profitable products, categories, and overall brand?
  • How often are targeted Keywords searched for?
  • What have competitors done for content for each of the keywords?
  • Is the current site’s HTML structure optimized for SEO?
  • Is there content on the current site not relevant to existing business practices?
  • What is the current customer conversion process, and is it being tracked?

One area of great concern after analyzing the results was in what Keywords they currently ranked for. They ranked well when “Vogt” was searched however, they were not ranking well, or at all, for common industry related terms. We have seen many companies have this same issue, their site format focused on WHO they are rather than WHAT they are, do, or offer.

While our development team began working on the new site, the SEO team began to improve aspects of the current site that could have immediate and future benefits for the business. Improving basic content on the existing would provide improvement to the SERP rankings for the Key Search Terms potential customers were using.

Once the keyword analysis and on-page technical audit was completed, we reviewed Vogt’s current business profile on the web. Evaluation of their backlink profile gave insight of how many other websites reference the domain and the quality of those sites. Backlinks, originating from quality sites, continues to be a major ranking factor for Google and other search engines.

Our results showed that Vogt Silversmiths lacked a strong backlink profile compared to their competitors. It was also noted that they did not understand the value of Social Media. Moving forward we knew that this was an area that would help them create more buzz on the Internet.

All our findings were compiled and presented to our development team and Vogt. This gave our team understanding of how to design the site structure while giving the Vogt team key terms to focus on while generating quality content and product descriptions.

Ecommerce Platform Migration

This is an image of the Shopify Expert Partner Badge earned by Capitol Tech Solutions

To answer the needs Vogt had for their eCommerce site, we recommended building the new site on the powerful Shopify Platform. In our experience, this solution would immediately solve many of the issues they highlighted with the current Magento Platform.

The way that the current store was programed, required Vogt to outsource even minor changes to the website. They wanted the ability to easily change content and update products and promotions in-house. Shopify’s user-friendly interface allowed their team the ability to handle these requirements with little training.

The existing site required multiple 3rd party applications to handle the integration of QuickBooks Enterprise, credit card processing and shipping options. The new platform minimized the need for these apps with many of the services built into the software.

Additionally, the current credit card processing charged nearly 5% to process online orders. By switching to the new platform, they reduced the fees to 2.6% by utilizing the included credit card processing. This provided immediate cost reductions while also reducing the number of service providers.

Once we presented how Shopify would solve all their eCommerce business needs, Vogt agreed to have the new site built on the new platform. Having this in place, our team went to work on how the store would be presented.

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Online Store Redesign

The look and functionality of the current site had become stale and web sales were stagnant. A top priority for our Web Design Team was to rejuvenate the brand by creating a new modern website that reflected the quality workmanship that Vogt Silversmiths was associated with.

Vogt used the Shopify Themes to get inspiration for the new feel they wanted for the new website. They chose one of the premium themes that they felt offered many of the design elements they desired. Our team then set out to customize the theme, giving the site a unique look that fully reflected the Vogt brand.

The first priority for the designers focused on ensuring that the sites organization and submenus presented their product pages in a way that made it easy for current customers to find what they were searching for. Our designers worked closely with their team to create an outline of the full product line. We mapped out how the products would be presented by categories, types, and collections on the product pages. To make this process more efficient, we utilized the product tagging feature available with Shopify.

Content Review and Creation

Content Creation is critical for business to be found online, users may use a variety of search terms before finding what they are looking for. According to Google search experts, increasing the amount of quality content on a website allows the business a chance to outrank their competitor to relevant key terms being searched.

The Vogt Silversmiths team understood that the existing content was minimal in terms of product descriptions. It was also discovered the descriptions included terms that online shoppers may not be familiar with. This required a significant amount of new quality content be developed for their new website.

Our SEO experts worked with the team to better understand how to write effective content that targeted Key Search Terms searchers were using. Properly training their inhouse team on the best quality content creation processes provided two great benefits. It allowed our team to focus on other aspects of the development process and get the new site launched as soon as possible. Training their team not only sped up the development process, but also ensured that they would be able to properly generate content in the future when they added new products to the store.

Marketing Strategy for Now and the Future

Previous marketing efforts for Vogt included an AdWords campaign that proved to be a costly, yet ineffective marketing vehicle. In addition to not producing results they hoped for, marketing strategies that focus only on tactics like AdWords, provide no residual benefits from the investment.

“We found the cost of AdWords generated little in response and conversion.”
- Vogt Silversmiths

Our team knew that while the SEO Strategy would set Vogt up to have long term success, they wanted to be able to have immediate sale improvements once the site was launched. We developed a strategy that would help produce the desired immediate results while firmly establishing Vogt as a leader in the industry. The long-term strategy focused on SEO to improve search results on SERP Rankings and Organic Traffic. To create immediate buzz and sales, we focused on social media training and how to promote an upcoming sales event.

Social Media Training

We identified that Social Media was an area that Vogt needed to improve on. Having an active Social Media strategy gives another outlet to promote business, engage with customers, and create buzz for the products. Our team began training their marketing staff on the best Social Media Practices.

This is an image is an example of a Facebook Post created to promote a sale event for Vogt Silversmiths

Creating a Social Media Calendar was the first step in the training. We worked with the Vogt marketing team to enter upcoming sales and promotions onto a calendar. Then worked closely with them to design the promotion, create pre-sale announcements and posts to run during the sale to create urgency like count-down clocks and incentives.

With the events scheduled and promotional posts being designed, we explained how to read analytics, like Facebook Insights, to learn when their target customers we most likely to be online. We then took that information and began planning times the posts would be published and scheduled them on the new Social Media Calendar.

SEO Marketing for Long Term Success

Establishing the best practices of SEO has consistently proven to be among the most cost-effective forms of marketing and builds long-term value. The goal of this strategy is providing lasting benefits to the client. Developing a site that implements the best SEO tactics including quality content improves a sites ability to be found by potential customers and keeps them on the site by answering their original search intent.

As the design and migration of the site began to near completion, our SEO experts reviewed the updated content for the site. They took extra care to review the product descriptions. On the previous site, terms were used that did not match what potential customers were searching for. By adjusting the descriptions to match the terms that customers used provided higher possibilities of the products being found.

The general content on the site was again compared to the Google Key Search Trends. Our team met with Vogt to suggest ways to naturally work Key Search Terms into the content. As our partnership grew, the Vogt team became more comfortable in understanding the strategy and the writing became more natural.

The Finishing touches

As the site launch drew near, our team began testing the new site for functionality. Special attention was paid to the user-experience and how easily the site was to navigate. Once our team was happy with the site, we provided a link to the test site for the Vogt Team to review.

Once Vogt was happy with the look and feel of the new site, our team began training their team on the specific features of the new site. As mentioned, a requirement of the new site was the ability for Vogt to make any needed updates in-house. This required their team to have a full understanding of how all the different features worked together.

Finally, once the new website was ready to be launched, we setup 301 redirects from each of the previous page URLs to our SEO enhanced URL structure. Correctly assigning 301 redirects on old URLs to new URL paths ensures that if someone searches for an old page on the website, they will be directed to the new page with similar content that it is more valuable to their search.

With the design done, content updated, redirects set, and training complete, the new site was pushed live. We knew that the resulting site was a significant improvement over the previous site, but the true test would be realizing increased sales.

Launch the Site with a Sale

This graphic shows the comparison of year to year sales for Vogt Silversmiths before and after engaging in a SEO focused eCommerce Marketing Strategy

To coincide with the launch of the new site, Vogt began their Summer Sales Event. This sale brought all aspects of the project together. The Vogt Marketing team began to implement the Social Media Calendar to generate buzz about the sale and new site.

The owner of Vogt was particularly interested to see the results in terms of sales over previous sales events and the YTD comparisons from year to year. Our Shopify Experts were able to show how the platform included a reporting module that could easily represent sales dollars during the Summer Sales Event, track the number of new customers purchasing products, and identify returning customers.

Comparing the Summer Sale time of May to the first week of July provided amazing results. Gross sales minus advertising expenses increased 140% from $38,577 in 2016 to $92,684 in 2017. To make this even better, in 2016 Vogt spent $4,500 on advertising primarily focused on an Ad Words campaign that held no residual affects when it completed. In 2017, they spent $3,750 on their SEO focused advertising saving $750 with the SEO efforts remaining in place to promote sales in the future.

SEO Efforts Quickly Show Results

Overall, Vogt Silversmiths Digital Marketing efforts developed by CTS increased the company’s visibility, quality leads, and positively affected the sales objectives. The Vogt Social Media interaction increased and SEO statistics improved for keywords and SERP Rankings.

As the internet continues to evolve and the search engine algorithms change, how content is presented will need to be adjusted. By continuing to partner with CTS, Vogt continues to ensure that they will be in front of the next changes and thereby always in front of their potential customers.

The next phase of our work will focus on continuing to develop additional content for the site, continue SEO efforts and focus heavily on social media, including a fashion blog and exposure on Pinterest and Instagram.

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