Brands put additional focus on building efficient and optimized ecommerce hubs for 2013.

Consumers turn to the web to make purchases more often than ever before. Brands need well-designed ecommerce presences to build loyalty with online shoppers, and, while a great user experience makes buying products or services easier, marketing collateral also needs to have a resounding impact.

According to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), global ecommerce sales will pass $1.25 trillion by 2013. This significant uptick puts site optimization as a top priority among brands, and SLI Systems conducted a survey to understand the preparation retailers need to drive more traffic and website conversions. Data found that improving conversions (63 percent) and attracting more customers to websites (61 percent) continue to rank as the biggest challenges for businesses. In order to cope with these hardships, marketers must address certain site features that not only bring new traffic, but encourage visitors to stay.

Customer AcquisitionSLI Systems’ report noted that brands plan to mitigate challenges by upgrading or changing their ecommerce platforms (18 percent), improving their site search functionality (18 percent), improving SEO content efforts (17 percent) and building stable mobile commerce initiatives (15 percent). The study also highlighted specific plans brands will implement to improve their commerce sites, such as A/B testing (52 percent), refinements (48 percent), merchandising capabilities (39 percent) and auto-complete functions (34 percent).

A growing focus on improving on-site conversions is in direct contrast with data recently published by Econsultancy. In the source’s “Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2012,” businesses tend to focus more energy on driving traffic than improving on-site conversions, with brands spending an average of $92 acquiring visitors, and only $1 on converting those internet users.

While upgrading ecommerce site functionality to make user experience simpler and more efficient can help convert leads, brands also need on-site branded content to reach prospects who might not be ready to buy. Educational custom content provides visitors with information that helps them make decisions between one product and another. Perhaps site visitors hesitate to buy because they’re conflicted between two products sold by the same brand. Marketers must highlight the right features and benefits of the items sold online to improve all aspects of user experience. SEO content that drives search results can also fuel brand visibility, which touches on companies’ other goal – customer acquisition.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.