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June 15
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Over two billion people purchased goods or services online last year with e-retail sales surpassing 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.

As of 2020, online marketplaces account for the largest share of online purchases worldwide. Leading the global ranking of online retail websites in terms of traffic is #Amazon. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant hit a new record with over 5.2 billion unique visitors in June 2020. In terms of gross merchandise value (GMV), however, Amazon ranks third behind Chinese competitors Taobao and Tmall. Both platforms are operated by the Alibaba Group, the leading online commerce provider in Asia.

During the year of Covid-19 pandemic Armenia’s e-commerce sector also hit a historical record. In a time of quarantine when leaving home was not advisable and was restricted, people started searching for goods and services online. A drastic transition from offline to online showed that Armenian businesses were not prepared for a New Normal. The pandemic changed the realities, but Armenian business is also to blame.

Let's conditionally divide businesses into 3 groups: online friendly, semi-online and offline. Some businesses can be included in the first group, but there are not many of them. Almost all businesses refer to the second and third groups. They are well aware that the online presence is mandatory, but they hardly do anything for it, or their websites resemble a business card.

Let's imagine how such a website can look like. Once we visit a website, we can see an unsecure connection, weird design of a business logo, a strange text, an e-mail address which is invalid in 90% of cases or is valid but you get no reply.

If we compare it with an offline store, we will get a shop with a dirty entrance hall, broken glass and broken doorknob with a dirty floor tiled forty years ago and sticky fly ribbons hanging from the ceiling. The goods are stacked on each other and the shelves are half-empty. If you even decide to buy something, it will take long, because the shop assistant is not there. By the way, there are still such stores in Yerevan.

#HoReCa businesses appeared to be the most online friendly sector in Armenia, but no one needed their services during the lockdown. People were more interested in visiting the websites of medical facilities, pharmacies, homecare services and retail stores.

We have been living in a rapidly changing world for 18 months now, and during this time businesses have been engaged in creating websites and social media pages. Now we have a different situation with Armenian businesses facing competition on the web. It turns out that just building a website is not enough, because if you sell potatoes, shoes or fever reducers and you are not the only one on the market, you need SEO.

Have you heard about SEO? How to make people visit YOUR website to buy veggies, fruits or sneakers? If you don’t know, you will find the answer to this question here.

Your business needs Search Engine Optimization. Moreover, your website needs local SEO. Without SEO, you have to do nothing but to pay for traffic and to buy ads from Google or Facebook for years. This strategy is like becoming an “ads addict” which is the worst thing that can happen with the online aspect of your business. Imagine you have a store but no regular customers.

So, your website traffic has to be distributed the following way.

You need

1.    direct traffic

2.    organic traffic

3.    social traffic

4.    and only then paid traffic.

SEO consists of numerous elements, but the main idea is the website has to be designed and developed in a way for search engines to be able to crawl and index your website quickly and without mistakes. You do not want a delivery company to supply goods wrapped in a dirty paper, which you have to clean before selling them to your clients. You’ll have to spend time and money and will finally change the supplier. The same is with search engines, they do not like to see “dirty work” and errors. You may not see it but the search engines do a lot of work “backstage”. The website has to have a simple and clear design, it must have content related to your business and images of a right size and format. Search engines focus on dozens of details - if we name all of them this article would turn into a novel.

You have two options: either to learn SEO or to find an SEO expert who will be in charge of this job. SEO is of key importance for your business to remain competitive in Armenia’s rapidly developing e-commerce sector.

Constantine Amirakian

CEO, PRADIX LLC

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