Good advice is only good when you take it.
A very talented and close friend came to me with a problem. He provides all the brand management, packaging and logo design for some of the most famous consumer home improvement, and lawn and garden products found in Lowes, Home Depot, Costco, and Walmart. He told me a couple of months ago the conglomerate he works for is making a move toward an ecommerce system. I said, how can I help?
He said they were considering Magento and I said, based on their back-office requirements, needs, expectation and roughly 400 SKUs, Magento would be an over-kill bill for starters. Therefore, I wouldn’t do it.
Magento’s support is what it is if you don’t mind waiting indeterminately. Pondering management’s expectation on success and who’ll be doing the edit-copy, edit paste grunt work may be overwhelmingly and yield unrealistic marketing results. I said, the manager of the website and the management of the company may be in for a rude awakening. He said, what do you mean by that?
I said, we rescued a client a while back who invested and lost over 6 months and $230,000.00 getting nowhere with Magento. We took over and delivered a website that won WEBPRO the IBA (International Business Award) of the year for website design, eCommerce and marketing. We crushed it! The new crafted website forced O’Reilly’s, Advanced Auto, AutoZone, Walmart and Harley Davidson to spend more on PPC (Pay Per Click) just to stay on the first page with us organically!
Web Strategy | Better have a plan
The conglomerate we spoke of wanting to move to Magento hadn't updated their current website in years but thankfully they sell on loosely on Amazon.com. I say loosely because they don't have a formal or dedicated store. Based on the lackluster call to action on their present site, it looks like Amazon is keeping their inventory moving thus providing a little safety-net. I rarely recommend a client place all their eggs into one Amazon basket but offloading everything to Amazon in the interim in their case would be an ideal first phase step until a carefully thought out strategy is cemented. Before going down Magento rabbit hole I would strongly recommend setting up a test environment demonstrating the ease or difficulty uploading and managing THEIR products compared to another system. Afterall, the person doing the work will have to commit to the process.
Ever heard, always use the right tool for the job? That goes for end-users too.
I disagree with their decision to move to Magento for a couple of reasons. Based on the client’s knowledge and who’ll be doing the actual work, I would say definitely not. Magento is not for the faint of heart or newcomers. Even power users and developers admit Magento is really hard to learn. True, their documentation has gotten better but Magento 2 has already been placed on notice for end-of-life.
Adobe (who owns Magento) officially announced that Magento 2.3. x will be entering EOL (End Of Life). The new Lifecycle Policy stated support for Magento 2.3 will officially end on September 8, 2022. What do you know about that?
What do you think that means for over 250,000 ecommerce sites? How many have transitioned to 3? Again, end-user learning curve, proficiency, complacency and access to support are real factors.
It takes time to become one with any eCommerce system. Meaning, not only do you have to know it, you have to know it well enough to develop a rhythm to be productive. This is why we make our eCommerce tools very simple.
Ever say, “What happened to our website?” We lost our position on Google!
Although this conglomerate has mediocre traffic, they run a high risk of losing what presence they have. Knowing the risk versus rewards model when it comes to a new website design, the stakes are much higher when you move to a new platform and URL structure. This company is about to embark on a brand-new design and link architecture that will certainly crater their position on Google when they release website back into the wild.
Lost and Not Found
Anyone who knows me knows I like illustrating a problem with a story or past experience.
Back in the day, we called them grocers not super markets. Imagine going to your favorite grocery store all your life. You can walk in and checkout blindfolded because you know where everything is. In between your visit, someone got artistic and moved your cheese (know the book?) and relabeled all the isles. I can still hear my grandmother yelling, Where’s the damned Windex?!” Oy!
We’re creatures of habit because someone trained us how to do it, where to get it, how to cook it and how many times to chew it. When our routine becomes interrupted, we look for alternatives.
In Google’s case, when a website drastically changes either by design or linkage, the preexisting position (relationship) with Google breaks. If certain criteria aren’t corrected like furnishing a updated sitemaps having permanent redirection, meta and so forth you’ll find your position removed from the listing altogether. Of the many technical SEO issues, you can stub your toe on, link preservation and the UI (user interface) layers is always our first consideration when relaunching. BTW, if you think just resubmitting a new map is going to solve your problem you better think again.
If Google says changing a website layout can affect your rankings, do you think gutting the sitemap makes it any better? In the case of this company, I mentioned 400 SKUs remember? What about all the images attached to those 400 SKUs? That’s a conservative 1600 images lost in space.
In almost all cases, the inexperienced ultimately reacts to combat the damage for pages and images that no longer exist. Since traffic reports are too complex to be fudged, management is going to demand answers that will ultimately leave someone holding a very unpleasant bag of reality.
Google loves it when marketers don’t think because they’re waiting to make it all better by offering you a free $500.00 voucher for AdWords. - Ain-nothing for free!
Here’s the typical chain of events when someone in marketing screws up.
• Link preservation ignored and broken
• New website design not measured
• All titling and description metatags changed
• Sharp drop in traffic
• Higher bounce rate
• Dry sales
• Management points finger of retribution to marketing
• Marketing blames web contractor and forced to run “Ad Campaigns”
• Marketing budget destroyed
• Heads roll
Fortunately for us, Google is an unemotional algorithm but it holds 92% of market share and search queries worldwide. Their expert support is virtual and rarely do you speak with anyone (clever little model) so you better know your SEO sauce and pick the right tools and relationship for your business online.