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Case Study: SEO and UX Optimization Before Launching E-Commerce with LeapVapor.com

July 17, 2019 | |

Satisfying Brick and Mortar Retail While Growing an Online Brand

E-Alternative Solutions, Inc (EAS) had a problem – they needed to release their new nicotine salts based e-liquid vape device and disposable e-cigarette, Leap, online without upsetting the brick and mortar retailers that were currently selling their product. Their solution was a compromise – delay e-commerce until Leap can gain a foothold in the brick and mortar space, while releasing an informational site on BigCommerce that supports their brand.

An Informational BigCommerce Site – Why Not WordPress?

EAS’ first instinct for LeapVapor.com was a WordPress build – and logically so. WordPress is known for its static, non-commercial builds. However, IntuitSolutions thought, “Why do the same work twice?”. On BigCommerce, we can create Search Engine Optimized (SEO) informational static pages while also iteratively laying the groundwork for robust e-commerce experience.

Additionally, if you’re expecting any sort of volume for a website, then your company’s local server isn’t going to cut it. A WordPress hosting solution is almost certainly needed, and services like WP Engine – that don’t include e-commerce functionality – can cost just as much as BigCommerce.

IntuitSolutions’ Base Theme scores a perfect 100 from Google Lighthouse’s v3 Scoring Guide.

Expedited Launch Schedules – Building from an Ironclad Foundation

Houses that stand the test of time are usually said to have “good bones” – the frame is solid and the structure secure. The same can be said for IntuitSolutions’ Optimized Base Theme – recently rated perfect 100s across the board by Google Lighthouse. We used this theme to develop and launch just a homepage and a few static pages on LeapVapor.com. Even though we didn’t yet have all of the image and copy resources necessary to develop the entire site, we forged ahead regardless. You have to start somewhere and you might as well start right away. Growing an online presence starts with the first seed. Furthermore, our seed had to be grown in the competitive landscape of the burgeoning online vape industry.

Optimizing SEO Value of Static Content for Increased Organic Traffic

More people are searching Google about vaping every day. Since IntuitSolutions uses a variety of SEO tools to determine which keyword opportunities can best be acquired without necessarily spending money on Pay-Per-Click ads (PPC), we were able to choose the most valuable on page text to populate our static pages, followed later by category pages, and product pages

After the pages were published, we used the initial keyword data to better refine our SEO initiatives – tripling traffic in under 3 months and acquiring nearly 100 keywords on the first page in Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS).

Instead of an “Add to Cart” button, LeapVapor.com has a “Find a Store Near You” button.

Just Flip the Switch to Turn on E-Commerce

While developing the category and product pages, IntuitSolutions uploaded optimized images into BigCommerce, included long tail keywords in the product descriptions and meta data, and pointed pertinent links to a customized Zendesk Help Center that provides additional content searched by Leap’s retail customers. Really, the only thing we left out of the website was the “Add to Cart” button, and that would neither be hard nor time-consuming to replace – especially since EAS is one of our Recurring Services members. Recurring Service clients receive priority care and can schedule revisions and improvements often within the same week as the request. 

Our customized Zendesk Help Center on Help.LeapVapor.com.

Bolster Your Customer Service with the Zendesk Help Center

The Zendesk Help Center is a very powerful BigCommerce integration that allows direct contact between your customers and customer service representatives and also provides a seamless CMS to track those interactions. However, the Zendesk Help Center came with two major limitations out-of-the-box:

  1. The Help Center theme did not match Leap’s brand.
  2. EAS wanted the Help Center to live on a subdomain of LeapVapor.com instead of a Zendesk domain.

Re-developing the Help Center theme files was relatively straightforward for IntuitSolutions’ front end developers, as many of the coding libraries match that of BigCommerce’s Stencil framework, like Handlebars.js. IntuitSolutions’ back end developers were then able to direct EAS’ IT department to transfer the Help Center to the appropriate subdomain – help.leapvapor.com. 

Since Zendesk’s Help Center is built SEO-ready, IntuitSolutions didn’t need to focus time optimizing the code for semantic HTML. Instead, we utilized our previously aggregated keyword research to expand EAS’ already written content so that it would register for opportunistic long tail keyword phrases. Finally, we organized Help Center Articles into collections that would provide appropriate internal links between pages in the site, thus decreasing the overall bounce rate of LeapVapor.com.

Vape Customers Take an E-Commerce Detour with a Customized Store Locator

Since our main objective for LeapVapor.com was to support brick and mortar retail, we spent considerable effort in amplifying the value of the site’s custom built Store Locator. Vaping is still a relatively new phenomenon, and – as such – many popular Leap vaping products are not necessarily carried at every tobacco vendor. Therefore, IntuitSolutions collaborated with E-Alternative Solutions to show stores that carry Leap’s e-Vapor products by connecting a PHP database into a beautifully styled Google Maps iframe. 

After deploying this feature, we found it to be one of the most popular pages on the site, with its keywords frequently reaching the top 10 in Google’s SERPS. So we further refined the Store Locator page by adding keyword-rich crawlable content which increased organic traffic. However, we weren’t done yet. We reduced the bounce rate on the page by adding Call to Actions (CTAs) and even enacted a “Preferred Partner” initiative that showed the logo of retail stores with large quantities of Leap Vapor merchandise.

We tailored the content of LeapVapor.com by responding to customer search behavior, further increasing traffic to the site and directing more customers toward Leap.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

Alexander Graham Bell

LeapVapor.com still has yet to launch e-commerce, but when it does it will hit the ground running. Every page has an SEO optimized title tag, meta description, and keyword-rich, crawlable content. Now, users find LeapVapor.com simply by the quality of its content. Once e-commerce is activated and direct traffic to LeapVapor.com is normalized by online shoppers, the domain authority of the site will increase and lead to better rankings on Google than some of its more established competitors.

Zak, aka Ziggy, is a Senior Project Manager for IntuitSolutions, providing high-touch project management for VIP clients, most notably those in the vape industry. His interest in coding originated from his discovery of a 1980's robot named the Omnibot 2000, which Zak is now trying to resurrect for a new life in the 21st Century. When he's not hard-wired to the Matrix, you can find him performing improv and sketch comedy in and around Philadelphia and New York City.

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