As the world’s leading search engine, Google is in a good position to understand what makes online stores successful. Indeed, its influence gives it the power to set the criteria by which eCommerce websites are judged. Its latest tool, Grow My Store, is designed to provide online shop owners with valuable information and site analysis that can help them improve. Here, we’ll take a closer look at what the tool has to offer.
What does Grow My Store do?
Google’s primary objective is to offer its users the best search results. While it constantly works to improve its search algorithm, it also tries to improve the quality of the websites that feature in its search results. Those that follow its guidance generally end up ranking higher. This is why it has so much power and influence. One of the key attributes that Google wants online stores to improve is customer experience. The Grow My Store tool was designed with this in mind and is particularly aimed at small and medium-sized retail sites.
In a nutshell, the Grow My Store tool will scan your online store and provide you with a customer experience report which will point out what you are doing well and areas where you should look to make improvements. The benefits, apart from helping your site to be more Google-friendly, are that improved customer experience can increase your revenue by as much as 15% and also help you cut costs.
What kind of websites can use Grow My Store?
The tool is designed to analyse the websites of all retailers, whether you only sell via a bricks and mortar store, only sell online or sell both online and in store. The feedback you get is tailored to the particular business model that you have. However, while the tool is helpful for retailers who don’t sell directly from their websites, it’s not designed to help businesses that aren’t in the retail sector.
Getting started with Grow My Store
Like most of Google’s website analysis tools, using Grow My Store is easy. Simply visit the Grow My Store page and paste in your website’s URL and click the ‘Get Started’ Button. You will then be asked to choose your business model (i.e. online only, physical store only or both) so that results can be tailored to your needs.
After this, you are asked to choose the sector which best suits your site. The options are limited to apparel, beauty and personal care, computers and consumer electronics, food and groceries, home and garden and other. If you choose ‘other’, you are able to type in something more specific. Once this information is inputted, the tool will begin analysing your website. To get the full report, you’ll need to sign up or sign in.
What kind of feedback will I receive?
Google will analyse your site on 22 areas of customer experience best practice. These include basic things like having a returns policy, clear pricing and adequate product information, as well as website features such as easy site navigation, live chat support and a customer-friendly checkout process.
The tool will analyse site speed, including loading times, how long it takes for customers to be able to interact with the site and the time it takes for the site to respond to interactions – all of which can affect bounce rates and shopping cart abandonment. It will examine mobile friendliness, which is increasingly important as more people shop with smartphones and use them to search for local stores. From a security perspective, it will look to see whether you have an SSL certificate installed that encrypts data sent between the user’s browser and your server, keeping payment details secure.
Other areas the tool will report back on include whether you have product ratings enabled; if you display basic store information (e.g. opening times and location and direction details for physical stores); how well your site offers personalisation; how easy you make it for customers to order, return and collect products; and the quality of your fulfilment and customer service.
When completed, the tool will give your store an overall rating and compare it to the average of similar stores. It will also offer advice and guidance on areas in which it thinks you can improve.
It’s always helpful to get feedback on the quality of your online store. The information provided by Google’s Grow My Store Tool can offer insights that you might not have previously considered or highlight issues that you were unaware of. What’s more, it can show you how well your site performs in relation to your competitors. Hopefully, it can help you improve your customer experience and reap the benefits of doing so.