New E-commerce for a New Year: Improving Your Magento Store in 2014

Published March 24th, 2014 by Michael Farin

Here is one scary fact you may not have known about 2014: This is the year many online retailers will fail.

They’ll fail because they weren’t paying attention to the trends. They’ll fail because they stubbornly insisted on maintaining outdated storefronts and refusing to upgrade. They’ll fail because they didn’t pay attention to what their customers wanted and needed.

Fortunately, you don’t have to let this happen to you! Here are three important ways you can stay on trend and improve your Magento store this year.

#1: Focus on content.

We don’t just mean “write blurbs that adequately describe your products.” We mean start with the content  – and become a thought leader and information clearinghouse that customers will visit because the site holds genuine informational value.

Your content shouldn’t just accompany your products – it should stand alone as a valued, attractive commodity, similar to a lifestyle magazine. Ideally, your customers should come for the content, and stay for the catalog. They don’t want to read annoying ads – they want enriching reading material that informs and entertains.

For instance, check out the finely-calibrated content of the Wine Enthusiast Magazine, which entices many consumers to visit the company’s wine retailing site. Customers enjoy reading the magazine and treat it as an authority. And that readership ultimately creates buzz and traffic on the ecommerce site.

Content is king. You’ve heard it before. Now do something about it.

#2: Explore video options.

It’s not as expensive, as time-consuming or as scary as you may have thought.  The rise of YouTube has made video content increasingly popular, as more and more consumers discover they prefer watching to reading. The reality is: almost 50% of consumers watch a video related to the product they’re thinking about buying. So the longer you put off making videos, the more potential customers you’re sending watch videos that other people have made.

Your video doesn’t have to be expensive, or even professionally produced, to look good. Check out the simple, streamlined product clips at – the founder briefly explains the benefits of each product, and that’s it. As long as you’ve got a cheap camera and a charismatic screen presence, there’s no reason you can’t produce several of these videos in a single day.

Remember, your customers are watching. So give them something to see.

#3: Get in touch with mobile.

Even though eCommerce platforms like Magento do include responsive design, that doesn’t mean you can go on autopilot. Don’t assume that, once your site shows up on mobile, it will automatically be easy or intuitive to navigate. Shopping on a smartphone isn’t just a smaller version of shopping on a desktop – there’s a whole different set of issues to consider.

For instance, take a quick side trip and visit Bellroy, an online wallet retailer. View them across several different devices. They’ve really got the mobile retail experience figured out. Their copy creates a strong brand identity, and their product shots are more visually interesting than typical catalog pictures. Product pages feature videos with stop-frame animation. Most importantly, they’re touch-friendly. Swipe to navigate! Slide some images! Try it, you’ll like it!

Optimize your site for all different devices, and keep the differing user experiences of desktop and mobile customers in mind. Ultimately, you’ll drive more traffic to your site – and make more sales.

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