photo via Flickr
While Steve Madden has recently received a great deal of media attention for its part in the Hollywood blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street, it first and foremost is a leading shoe brand with humble beginnings in the early nineties. The brand is one that many of us grew up wearing, so it is a company we all have an interest in seeing continue to grow. To that end, we spent an hour looking over their site and social media presence to see what they were doing right and what they could improve upon in the future. If you’re reading, Steve Madden, below we have some suggestions of what we believe could improve your ecommerce site:
We discovered a couple changes that could be made to the site to increase its ranking in Google. First, they should use keywords in the URLs and add written content to the category pages. For example, the URL for the Women’s Booties page would benefit from being changed from http://www.stevemadden.com/contentDisplay.aspx?pageID=1778&np= to http://www.stevemadden/com/women/booties, or something similar. And while that page in particular does feature a few short sentences about booties at the bottom, there are a number of other category pages that are lacking the same (Men’s Casual Shoes, for one).
On another note, while the fact that the Steve Madden site has a sitemap is certainly a good thing, it could stand to be more streamlined. Creating a sitemap index that contains 3-5 smaller sitemaps would make all of the information easier for Google to digest and ultimately help Steve Madden’s rankings. Another issue we found was that old category URLs were being indexed with no products; therefore they probably need to be redirected.
One of our favorite things about the Steve Madden site in terms of its usability is its easy-to-navigate mobile version, which we can’t stress the importance of enough. Mobile sites are the fastest-growing traffic sources for ecommerce sites.
For those using the desktop site, however, we suggest that the menu titles be made larger so that they are easier to view. Additionally the header pages and product pages are a little busy, simplifying the images on these pages, perhaps adding more written content, as previously suggest in our SEO evaluation, would help achieve this end.
Customer service is the cornerstone of any business—and even more so for an ecommerce site—so we found it promising that the Steve Madden site features “live chat” functionality for immediate customer service. However, they should move the customer service phone number to the top of the site as well. Their free shipping offer for purchases over $50 and free in-store returns are both great incentives for their ecommerce business. A study from a 2009 Online Retail Survey found that the most common reason for shopping cart abandonment on e-commerce sites was the cost of shipping. Therefore, offering a free shipping incentive with a $50 purchase is a huge value add for the customers on the site.
Along these same lines, establishing trust with the customer is important for e-commerce sites, as they are not in a store where the customer can touch and feel the products they are buying. Steve Madden’s site has security and trust symbols as well as a check out step-by-step progress bar which all go into making the user more confident in spending their money on this site. Another way to establish trust is through user reviews, which we believe the Steve Madden site could use more of to give customers more information about the specific products they are purchasing.
Steve Madden has a strong following on its social media channels and appears to have a strong social “voice.” At first glance, they appear to be providing true value to those their followers with engaging content, however their social engagement could be improved. Responding back to customers is one of the main tasks social media managers are handling on a daily basis. The social pages already have fantastic content, so if they were to engage with customers or participate in Twitter chats about fashion they would be able to grow their following.
They have built a strong Instagram following and feature some of their users’ content on their website—this integration is something brands should do more of. This shows that they are not only aware of what their customers are posting but are also giving it sizable space on their website. If they increased their engagement with customers they would have a fantastic social media presence overall.