Building links for ecommerce sites is one of the most challenging and most lucrative parts of SEO.  With complex information architecture, highly commercial content, and often little differentiation, ecommerce link building is difficult but rewarding.

This month, I asked 6 experts for their top tips on link building strategies for ecommerce sites in 2013 and beyond.

Todd McDonald

todd-mcdonald

 

 

Todd is the Director of Link Strategy at RKG.  You can find him on Twitter or Google Plus, or read his posts about link development on the RKG blog.

 

 

 

One challenging aspect of ecommerce link building is prioritizing page types. How do you prioritize building links to category versus product versus home pages?

To me, priorities are determined by your combining your goals, your current situation in relationship to the competition, and your own limitations.  Something like…

Goals + Competitive Situation/Standing + Internal Limitations = Priorities

There are some other things that need to be considered, but this line of thinking will get you thinking more strategically about how to prioritize.

As an example, lets take a cigar store that sells online – company Z.

Goal: Increase revenue by 50%
Competitive Situation: Company Z is a relatively unknown brand that has been selling cigars and cigar paraphernalia for the last two years online.  From an SEO perspective they are relatively knew to the game and have few backlinks compared to their competitors.
Internal Limitations:  Currently, Company Z has a part time employee and a budget of $1,000/month for link development.  Also, their product changes frequently as they often get leftovers from suppliers that they sell for cheap (read, their product pages will disappear and may not come back).

In this situation, it may be “easy” to achieve their revenue goal if they can rank well for a head term(s) such as “cigar”, “cigars” or maybe even “buy cigars”.  However, based on their situation/constraints, this likely won’t be achievable.  Instead, it makes more sense for Company Z to focus on the long tail.

Ideally, this would likely mean pushing specific products.  However, if their products go away frequently, you don’t necessarily want to build links into those pages and have the equity either disappear or go through a 301 at some point.  As a result of this limitation, it likely makes the most sense to target category level pages and work to internally flow equity to target product pages.

There’s any number of factors that can combine to guide you to proper prioritization for your link building in this situation.  Ultimately, it’s key to remember link building is part of the whole SEO picture, which should always be tied to a business goal or objective.  Thinking strategically will guide you in the right direction and help with your prioritization.

There are lots of ways links can pass value – link equity, converting traffic, branding, web influencer attention, and more.  How do you evaluate a link prospect for an ecommerce site you’re working on?

It really depends on the goal(s).  You nailed a few key objectives above that can even take links outside of the strict SEO realm, and thus some of the standard ways of evaluating a site’s strength from an SEO perspective may not apply.

Generally, we look at metrics such as Page Authority, Domain Authority, Page MozRank, Page MozTrust, ranking of the page for keywords in its title and others to help determine it’s strict SEO value.

The key here is to match the link to the goal as I mentioned above.
Want to drive qualified traffic? Then don’t worry if the link is followed, worry more about the placement on page (which is important for SEO, but could be even more important in this situation), the content of the site, the visitors of the site, how engaged they are, etc.
Want to improve branding? Again, don’t worry about the link being followed or even SEO metrics of the site, just focus on getting your link in the right spot, in front of the right people, and associated the way you want.  PR can obviously be big here.

The same principles are true for the rest of the examples.

For us, when it comes to ecommerce because we are often tied to organic traffic and revenue goals and don’t always get credit for referral traffic, referral revenue, etc., we primarily focus on the SEO strength of a site.  I will say we are always working to move away from that single minded thinking to help clients get the most value from our efforts.

We’ve seen a lot of link development techniques depreciated in 2012 – what ecommerce link development tactics are you excited about in 2013?

This is the question where no one shares his or her best secrets J.  Personally, I’m excited that the trash is getting removed and seems to be becoming not only less and less effective, but as a result, generating worse and worse ROI’s which is what will ultimately drive people from those tactics.

I will say we’ve had a lot of success with blogger outreach and I think that will continue.  When I say that, I mean legitimate, value-add work that helps build relationships.  Our big focus is always on relationship development.

I also think we’re going to see more and more creative examples of content showing up in e-commerce.  As companies broaden their thinking about how and where they bring individuals into their sales/marketing funnels from SEO, content is going to start making more and more sense to them as an SEO driver.  This doesn’t even take into account the strict SEO benefits.

E-commerce links to category pages, product pages, etc. can be hard to come by in legitimate fashion.  Content, creative design, and utilizing link equity from around a site can help bring in the equity needed in stunningly effective fashion when done well.

How should ecommerce merchants make their product and category pages more valuable, content-rich, and linkable?

I think it’s important to study how users are landing on those types of pages on your site (where did they come from and what searches did they use to get there, etc.), how they are interacting with your content, and what other ecommerce sites seem to be doing really well to attract links/social mentions/attention to those types of pages.

This has been brought up hundreds of times before, but unique design or fun surprises can often add enough value to a page to get someone interested in it/make them link to it.  If nothing else, if you do it well, you’ll likely get links from the marketing industry, which is certainly something.

Maybe you offer special discounts randomly; maybe you build in a chance for someone to win the product for free.  Maybe you include videos, extra photos, or other forms of content that help the user not only get excited about the product, but want to share it with others.  The trick is to find the mediums and messages that will add the right value yet not get in the way of conversions.  It’s not easy, but when done well, shopping becomes more of an experience and the benefits will likely go far beyond just earning links.

Something else that I think can be over looked is making these pages easier to link to.  If you have creative assets of some kind, it may be a good idea to provide some embed code for the user to grab for a video or image.  While there is debate as to what value some of those links have, I believe they can still be a positive signal and help get your content spread.

As a certain Seattle-based eretailer gets bigger with faster shipping and lower prices, how do you recommend smaller ecommerce differentiate themselves and stay competitive?

From a business perspective, giant e-commerce retailors tend to win based on selection, price (sometimes), brand (sometimes), and ease of use.  Because of this, their SEO machines feed themselves.  The more products, branding, sales, etc. a business has, the more exposure it gets. More people search for the site, tell their friends about the site, and select their products from results when the brand pops up.  This exposure earns them more links and other positive SEO signals.  It’s a great example of how a business doing what it does well can naturally acquire SEO strength in many ways.

How do you beat that if you aren’t a 10,000-pound gorilla yourself?

I think you have to play up why you are different, work hard to provide value to the people you really want to connect with and build relationships with (both those that shop at your and those that talk about your industry/products/services), and find out what gaps exist between these giants and you.  They do exist if you know how to look.  There are things about your business that should be unique that you can capitalize on.  If there aren’t, it’s going to be very tough to succeed.  It might mean you tackle long-tail keywords first or branch into areas you’d never thought of in order to gain recognition, but there are opportunities

I think it’s important for smaller ecommerce sites to think deeply about when, how, and why people search for the products they offer, as well as view their digital marketing very holistically.  As an example, many smaller e-commerce sites are regionally focused and have a few brick and mortar stores.  Capitalize on local search and own it wherever possible.  This is an area where Amazon will have more trouble competing in the SERPs.

When thinking strictly about SEO, you need to carefully pick your battles.  Often, using the formula I posted above can help you identify your chances and then craft an effective SEO strategy (and ideally digital marketing strategy that includes SEO) to take advantage of what you’re seeing.  Personally, I really like it when smaller ecommerce sites go the extra mile to let me know who they are.  I know who [enter big box retailer is] and most of the time they bore me.  However, if you can tell me your story, convince me that there is something you unique about you, your products, or how you sell/provide service, I’m much more likely to talk about you and share your stuff.  That’s a core piece of successful SEO no matter what specific signal you are trying to build.

Alisa Scharf

AlisaScharf

 

 

Alisa Scharf is an SEO Associate at SEER Interactive.  You can connect with her on Twitter or G+, and read her writing on the SEER Interactive blog.

 

 

 

One challenging aspect of ecommerce link building is prioritizing page types. How do you prioritize building links to category versus product versus home pages?

Short answer, typically I prioritize – Home page > Category > Product.

Long Answer – So of course all sites are different and need a unique linking strategy, depending on everything from how competitive the industry is, what pages your competitors are getting links to, how architecturally sound your site is (how well is the value of a link to one of your category pages going to trickle down or up to your homepage/product pages?), etc. You need to know where you’re getting beat and how you’re getting beat. This can be pretty daunting for a big site with lots of varied competitors, so starting with a deep dig into a few category pages should get you off to a good start.

The great thing about building links to category pages is it can be easy, depending on your industry. If you’re in a position to send out products to influential bloggers for review you can naturally get links to product pages and category pages. That’s just one reason why I love product reviews, I wrote up some more selling points on SEER’s blog recently if you need more convincing.

There are lots of ways links can pass value – link equity, converting traffic, branding, web influencer attention, and more.  How do you evaluate a link prospect for an ecommerce site you’re working on?

Ideally every link would come from a brand advocate with a high authority site and result in referral traffic and conversions, but that’s obviously not going to happen every time. There aren’t infinite opportunities that exist to hit every one of those metrics. This is another reason a diverse linking strategy is important. So say you’ve got clearance for X amount of product reviews every month – you have a finite budget and it’s your most expensive linking strategy so you want to get the most bang for your buck. I’d take a look at the influence of the blogger – their social presence as well as interaction on their site:

  • What’s the DA/PA of their site and deeper pages? How often are their deeper pages cached?
  • Are readers commenting on their posts?
  • If this is a sponsored post, how have previous sponsored posts been accepted by their audience? Same question with reviews/giveaways, whatever the theme of your post will be.
  • What social channels is the blogger going to push this post out on?
  • Can the blogger give any insight on their daily traffic?
  • How well are the posts put together? Does it fit your brand’s voice?

Those are just a few questions I would ask myself, and not necessarily in that order. Some clients are more focused on maintaining their brand, so making sure the site is a match for the brand’s voice is top priority. Some clients just need links, so DA/PA is more important.

Overall it’s naive to believe every link is going to mean more to your business than as a signal to Google, and sometimes a signal to Google is enough to be considered positive ROI.

We’ve seen a lot of link development techniques depreciated in 2012 – what ecommerce link development tactics are you excited about in 2013?

Have I mentioned I love product reviews? Still do, and likely will still be loving them in 2014, 2015, 2016, etc. Other than that, there are two kinds of linking strategies that I get geeked out about – really big picture linking strategies that transcend sending a signal to Google is something we’re seeing more and more. John-Henry Scherck has done some exciting things with event link building, and he’s always one to watch for that kind of thing.

I think overall there’s a push to think less about “tactics” and more about integrating SEO into your marketing plan holistically, and I agree that that’s super important, but the fact is you still need links.

How should ecommerce merchants make their product and category pages more valuable, content-rich, and linkable?

To be 100% honest, this isn’t feasible or scalable for most companies. If you’re in an industry where your audience appreciates cool or pretty stuff, you have room to play. If you’re in an industry where your audience is generally nervous about trusting the internet or disinterested in the product they’re choosing, thinking outside the box too much isn’t your best option. If you sell vintage jewelry or mustang parts, people probably will link to your product pages. So make sure there’s social share options setup, make sure the URLs are clean if possible, and evaluate which pages naturally get links – make sure the qualities of those pages reaches all of your pages.

If you sell cleaning supplies or Bibles, people probably won’t link to your product or category pages.

IRL examples – one of my clients maintains an amazing brand image. Their site obviously exemplifies this brand in it’s look and feel and product selection. Their category pages naturally get links. That’s a consequence of caring about your brand and knowing your audience more than making category pages to look like link bait.

Considering these are your money pages, I would be cautious about anything that could negatively affect usability. And last thought on this, because you mentioned content-rich – that’s a given for every category page! Please, please, please put content on your category pages!

As a certain Seattle-based eretailer gets bigger with faster shipping and lower prices, how do you recommend smaller ecommerce differentiate themselves and stay competitive?

Good question – it’s tough. Nothing’s more frustrating than crawling your way to the top for a ranking and watching Amazon or Zappos knock you down a few notches and take position 1-2. It’s never going to be a fair fight, but there are advantages you have as the little guy. Getting people in the door is your biggest challenge, so do what you can to make your listing stand out.

  • List your unique value proposition in your title and/or meta description. Don’t have one? Then do you deserve to outrank Amazon or Zappos?
  • Do what you can with schema to get some rich snippets going. Video can be huge for your product pages, but it’s an investment. Test it out with a few products to see if it makes a difference.
  • Pick your battles – go after long tail and smaller keywords.

Everett Sizemore

Everett Sizemore

 

 

 

Everett Sizemore is the Director of SEO Strategy at seOverflow.  Previously, he ran SEO at a large eCommerce company.  You can follow him on Twitter or G+.  He is a frequent contributor to the SEOmoz blog on Ecommerce topics.

 

 

One challenge in ecommerce SEO is the size and structure of the sites – how do you prioritize building links to category versus product versus home pages?

Every site is going to be different, but generally speaking the first thing I do is to find out which pages, products and keywords have the highest average order volume, conversion rates, organic search traffic, and revenue.
I also try to remember that a link into a category page is going to benefit several products (as well as the category page) more than a link to a product. If the products come and go often then that is one more reason to focus on category pages in your link building efforts.
If the client is unable to get static content up on the category page we may focus more on product pages. Home page links tend to come organically, though there are many
reasons to link to the home page when building links (i.e. when deep links look suspicious, such as directories and business listings).

There are lots of ways links can pass value – traffic, converting traffic, branding effects, likely to bring social traffic and second-degree links.
How do you evaluate a link prospect for an ecommerce site you’re working on?

I evaluate the site based on the sniff test, first and foremost. If it looks like a spammy site to me – such as those linking out to all sorts of different niches with highly-optimized anchor text on fluffy articles – I move on without further evaluation.
You can’t really automate that process in a way that would satisfy me. I need to see it myself.

Once the sniff test is passed I would collect the various metrics available, such as traffic, page rank, linking root domains, page authority from the targeted page, etc… Above all, it
needs to be relevant to the client’s site.

We’ve seen a lot of link development techniques depreciated in 2012 – What link development tactics are you excited about in 2013?

I am excited about link building being virtually forgotten about by online marketers who see the higher ROI of “real” online PR. I could spend ten hours sending out automated emails asking for guest posts to land a couple of low quality links, or I could write an awesome article for a major publisher / news outlet that just happens to mention the client’s site within the context of the article. We’re not talking guest posts or PR-web distribution here.

How should ecommerce merchants make their product and category pages more valuable, content-rich, and linkable?

Great question! Make category page content useful, first of all.
If the content consists of cookie-cutter “SEO” paragraphs that don’t help the user make a buying decision it isn’t going to be linkable.
Think about what the visitor needs to know on that page for the queries most likely to land them there. Help them decide what to do next. I always like to point to http://www.crutchfield.com/ as a good example.
For product pages you need to get into the nitty-gritty details. Use content tabs to fit a lot of information into a small piece of real estate. Collect common questions from the call center at the product level so you know what people are asking about.
If you can’t scale serious, custom content on product pages you can always start with your top 100 or so products and gradually improve the others over time. I love seeing video demonstrations on product pages, which can be great “linkbait” if done well.

As a certain Seattle-based eretailer gets bigger with faster shipping and lower prices, how do you recommend smaller ecommerce stay competitive?

Amazon can’t scale link building into product pages, and they can’t be the “expert” in every niche. Focus on being the best resource in your niche, and build good links into product pages. Those are the competitive advantages of being small and nimble.

Don Rhoades

donrhoades

 

 

Don Rhoades, the Gonzo SEO, is an SEO and link development professional in North Carolina.  You can follow him on Twitter and Google Plus.

 

 

 

One challenging aspect of ecommerce link building is prioritizing page types. How do you prioritize building links to category versus product versus home pages?

For me it depends on what fits. Example: If the ecommerce site I am building links for is a fitness/running gear, I follow relevancy criteria. If the link-referring page has a broad relevancy about running, then I go with home page or category. If the link-referring page is a (running) influencer’s personal blog, then we go with specific products.

There are lots of ways links can pass value – link equity, converting traffic, branding, web influencer attention, and more.  How do you evaluate a link prospect for an ecommerce site you’re working on?

I chiefly go with projected traffic. I also look at where that site links out to. If I see they have a ton of sitewides or a ton of poor quality outbounds, they automatically go in the 2nd tier. In terms of projected traffic, there are considerations made on the quality of that traffic. I have gotten over 7,000 uniques in a day from reddit, but none converted to a sale over the next 30-60 days. While that exposure is nice, it ultimately hurts my conversion rate.

We’ve seen a lot of link development techniques depreciated in 2012 – what ecommerce link development tactics are you excited about in 2013?

I’ll stick with forums for link building, they provide some of the best converting traffic with the least amount of effort/budget. What I am excited about in 2013 is finding broken links, then creating/revising linkable assets on my site. I’ve found that attempting to outreach without the best resources in the space is largely fruitless. What is working, is having either an identical (or better) resource that the now broken links goes to. Hadn’t considered it in the past, but this might be a common practice for other folks.   

How should ecommerce merchants make their product and category pages more valuable, content-rich, and linkable?

In the very least, merchants should make product pages and reviews of those products shareable. AddThis for Magento has been superb. One thing I’ve found that works really well is prompting buyers via timely emails to leave a review after they’ve received/used their new purchase. This generates a remarkable response in general. Then we share their reviews via social channels. I may experiment with automating this UGC, just need to wait until we have enough. What also works is when we have complaints via social, we like to send new product/make buyer happy/customers for life, and ask them for a review. We do not incentivize reviews with discounts or freebies.  

As a certain Seattle-based eretailer gets bigger with faster shipping and lower prices, how do you recommend smaller ecommerce differentiate themselves and stay competitive?

User experience. I don’t just mean digitally. For me personally, I’ll gladly pay more to get a better customer experience. A good example of a retailer doing this is, musiciansfriend.com. Amazon had the microphone I wanted for a lot less, but it wasn’t in stock with the other items I wanted. I bought the mic (for my wife) and a couple of new drums for me. Because they know I’m a drummer, I get specials on drums and drumming equipment emailed to me weekly. I don’t get emails for mics or round back guitars, despite purchasing one from them recently. Most of the automated emails I get I don’t even bother to look at, but these I do because the specials are different every week. So far, they’ve made a couple of sales from me by putting the kind of stuff I want in my face often. Aside from that, having the best sales copy includes FABG [Features, Advantages, Benefits, Grabber] is imperative. I learned as a retail salesman years ago, price was rarely a factor when you had product knowledge over your competitors.    

Steph Chang

 

 

 

Stephanie Chang is an SEO Consultant in Distilled’s New York Office.  You can connect with her on Twitter and Google Plus.  She frequently contributes to Distilled’s blog and the SEOmoz blog.

 

 

One challenging aspect of ecommerce link building is prioritizing page types. How do you prioritize building links to category versus product versus home pages?

It really depends on the ecommerce site. If it is a brand new site, I would definitely prioritize building links to the home page. Since crawlers crawl the home page first and use that information to help determine the information architecture of a site, it’s very important to build the authority of this page. Also, building links to the home page can also be extremely important for business intelligence/other marketing purposes. If you find that you’re having trouble finding sites/bloggers/journalists that are willing to link to your home page, it might be worth taking a step back and re-assessing your site. Are you building a brand, a positive UX experience for site visitors, and/or interesting content/PR-worthy information? It has almost become an industry standard to ask for a link or credit back to your home page when developing relationships online. If you find other sites don’t want to associate with your site, it’s not a good sign. This also means it will be exponentially harder to build links to the deeper pages of your site, such as category or product pages.

If your site has a decent domain authority, I would then prioritize building links to category pages over product pages because product pages tend to change over time (when products are out-of-stock or out-of-season). Category pages, on the other hand, tend to be more static.

There are lots of ways links can pass value – link equity, converting traffic, branding, web influencer attention, and more.  How do you evaluate a link prospect for an ecommerce site you’re working on?

It really depends on the goal of link building. If it’s to build authority, I’d go for the link prospect with the highest domain authority. If it’s increases in organic traffic, then go for the link prospect that is able to generate conversions. Ideally, I’d definitely prioritize any link prospect that is able to fulfill multiple goals (help the site develop brand recognition from a well-respected site with high domain authority, and is likely to generate conversions)

We’ve seen a lot of link development techniques depreciated in 2012 – what ecommerce link development tactics are you excited about in 2013?

I strongly believe building links to important ecommerce pages, such as category pages is going to require a higher creative investment. Building UX-friendly, unique pages with beautiful, quality content (images, guides, etc…) will pay off in dividends via high-quality links than trying to manually build links to a standard category page.

How should ecommerce merchants make their product and category pages more valuable, content-rich, and linkable?

I would take a step back and do some research – who’s doing it well in other industries (that might not necessarily be e-commerce or even in your niche)? Also begin with the end in mind – ask your family members, friends, and customers what they think of your new content idea for the site? Would they share it, find it useful, be inspired by it? I love looking at websites that get a lot of press either via social media or through publications to get inspiration for my clients. I’m still fascinated by these examples this, this, and this to name a few.

As a certain Seattle-based eretailer gets bigger with faster shipping and lower prices, how do you recommend smaller ecommerce differentiate themselves and stay competitive?

Go niche and know your audience (their specific interests and passions). Build a relationship with your customers. The big Seattle-based eretailer knows their audience, specifically individuals looking for convenience, one-stop shop, no frills, and low prices. However, not every individual is looking for that type of store. I personally think it would be difficult to compete with this eretailer on low prices and standard daily use products, but why not target higher-quality, higher-priced items that people are willing to invest more money in? Examples could be furniture, specialty items like antiques, or skin care products to name a few. For instance, I think certain eretailers are able to know their audience and do well online, even in this competitive ecommerce environment, such as Bonobos, The Clymb,Threadless, and Zazzle.

Nick Eubanks

nickeubanks

 

 

With nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing, Nick is currently the V.P. of Digital Strategy at W.L. Snook & Associates, a Managing Partner at Factor Media, and the Organizer of Shame On UX.

You can connect with him on Twitter, or read his SEO blog.

 

 

One challenging aspect of ecommerce link building is prioritizing page types. How do you prioritize building links to category versus product versus home pages?

Well, I guess to be fair to the people who are really good at link building (I would never say that I am particularly good at it) I tend to have a bias here… I prefer to build links to category pages for eCommerce. This lends itself well to optimizing for more generic head and body keywords and also passes incremental link authority to the product pages as they are usually 2nd tier links from the category pages.

I focus on links to product pages usually only in 1 of 2 scenarios:

  1. The product page is a high search volume item, i.e. 1000 exact local monthly searches or more
  2. The location of the link has the potential to send qualified traffic

There are lots of ways links can pass value – link equity, converting traffic, branding, web influencer attention, and more.  How do you evaluate a link prospect for an ecommerce site you’re working on?

I am bit biased here as well.. a lot of the Ecommerce websites I work on sell commodities that the shoppers are required to buy as part of their job, like a government agency or municipality . They don’t necessarily need to buy them from us, but they do have to buy them. So when evaluating links it almost always comes back to 1 of 2 things; what’s the potential SEO value of the link, or what is the potential to send traffic, and how qualified are those visits.

I also understand scenarios where say a link that may not necessarily trigger a qualified visit or sale now, can help develop legitimacy in terms of brand signaling for later. An example of this would be landing a link on a high profile blog within the same niche as the Ecommerce store where the link is placed as a reference for an idea or a sentiment… the brand gains some marginal, transitive brand equity from either brand text being used as the anchor or if they are lucky enough to get clickthroughs.. can’t underestimate the effects of brand exposure… hence the rampant success of retargeting.

We’ve seen a lot of link development techniques depreciated in 2012 – what ecommerce link development tactics are you excited about in 2013?

We are developing a lot of applications and content-focused properties. I see a lot of our links coming as a by-product of providing genuinely helpful and useful information to both our peers and our Ecommerce customers.
 
This brings to a somewhat obvious strategy at this point; develop perpetually useful content. 
 
We have begun to expand our content development efforts to look at how we can create more informational resources to better serve the needs of our target audiences, beyond what is directly related to our products. We sell parking blocks, and right now we’re working on an interactive guide to help people winterize their parking lots. This involves no additional purchases of our products; we don’t sell drills, drill bits, or any of the specific materials used in the best practice approach to lot winterization, but we know that this will be genuinely useful to people who use our products or may even use our competitors products… knowing full well this may never directly lead to additional sales for us, this content helps us extend our brand as a go to resource for information.

How should ecommerce merchants make their product and category pages more valuable, content-rich, and linkable?

Focus on creating content that is not only useful to customers and potential customers, but to a larger audience that may not even be shopping. Let’s say you you’re selling climbing equipment, and you have a category page about carabiners, what’s to stop you from including a guide on the 10 highest rated places/courses/resources to improve your climbing? How about a video on how to properly store carabiners on your harness or use them for technical climbing? How about any statistics around the proper use and safety techniques?

All of these content types when pulled together make your page less about selling your products and more of an informational resource for your customers and more so, your target audience. Also, add videos :)

As a certain Seattle-based eretailer gets bigger with faster shipping and lower prices, how do you recommend smaller ecommerce differentiate themselves and stay competitive?

Easy – kill it with customer service. This is going to sound silly, but it’s much easier to grow when you’re not shrinking. If you are able to hold onto 90%+ of your customers each year then your foundation will continue to increase and you can continue to grow your business. Don’t be short-sided on sales, invest in your customer relationships enough that they remember who you are, what their sales person’s name was; make them remember why they bought from you.

mattgratt

Matt works on customer acquisition at BuzzStream. Before BuzzStream, he worked as an SEO Strategist at Portent and a Marketing Manager at AppCentral (acquired by Good Technology). You can follow Matt on Twitter or Google Plus.

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