The Alpine Shop is a Burlington-based outdoor goods retailer with two brick and mortar locations. When we began working with them, they had a growing online presence, selling skis through eBay and on their website, alpinesportinggoods.com. The company asked for our help in auditing their four e-commerce properties, expanding their e-commerce sales and making it easier for employees to manage their growing inventory of products.
We began by reviewing their existing e-commerce infrastructure. Through interviews with employees and probing the website, we audited their existing e-commerce platform (CPOnline), ultimately determining the need for an alternative e-commerce platform. Our solution was to free them from the constraints of their existing closed platform and set them up with a best-in-class open-sourced system: Magento. This solution is more cost efficient, provides greater freedom in constructing an improved user experience, and allows us to implement the latest Google Analytics tracking capabilities via goals and events.
Having created an improved platform for conversions to take place, we then started to work on the site's conversion funneling strategies. To increase the number of visitors, we devised a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that dramatically increased the company’s ranking on various search engines for high-conversion keywords. Similarly, we developed a search engine marketing (SEM) plan that would utilize keywords to drive increased traffic, and ultimately sales to the site. As a happy result of the client's confidence in our e-commerce work, the client made a very deep buy (over $1 million) in Volkl ski inventory and challenged us to help them sell through this stock as soon as possible. To harness better search optimization, we created VolklSale.com, a vertical site that would focus exclusively on selling Volkl skis. This name resulted from our extensive review of what web domains were available, crossed by keyword search in Google. We then worked to create a "nested" e-commerce site that shares the back end with Alpine Sporting Good's other e-commerce sites on their Magento platform. This allowed for increased efficiency in SKU administration and inventory management. With a dedicated domain name, SEO, and SEM strategies in place, we developed an online strategy that included Google AdWords and social media tactics. Lastly, we integrated the site with free product listing services online to significantly increase referral traffic and back-links to the site.
We started with a deep dive on the individual SKUs that would be sold on the site, creating three tiers of priority, and addressing each sequentially. For each site’s SEO, we rewrote the on-page copy for each product description, replacing the manufacturer’s descriptions with custom, keyword-rich copy. We also integrated our established keywords into the site’s backend coding as well, making sure that everything was buttoned up: H1 tags, H2 tags, meta descriptions. For each site’s SEM, we then established Google AdWords accounts and used competitive keyword analysis to determine cost-effective terms. Working over time with the client, we constantly reviewed and updated terms and content based on efficacy, cost-per-click (CPC), click-through-rates (CTR), and Alpine Shop’s remaining inventory.
Our search engine optimization strategy placed AlpineSportinggoods.com and Volklsale.com on the first page of Google for over 121,000 searches during that season. Our search engine marketing strategy had a CTR of between 6% and 9%, quadrupling the industry standard of 2%. Overall, Traffic to AlpineSportingGoods.com increased 40.34% compared to the pre-optimization baseline and traffic to VolklSale.com resulted in a complete sellout of the deep inventory acquisition, at significant margins, six months prior to the client's expectation.