There’s always two high-risk situations for an online business that wants to generate more e-commerce sales. First: sales are going so well that it doesn’t seem necessary to take any new action. Second: sales go badly or suffer a sudden drop and the alarm goes off.
Curioser and curioser: both scenarios have the same solutions.
Resting on your laurels can be even worse than experiencing a slight decline in your e-commerce sales, as this may be due to seasonal reasons and fluctuations that any omnichannel business has. Whether your online conversion and sales rates seem OK or they look risky, we give you 10 strategic actions that you can undertake to increase your e-commerce sales from now on.
1. Take good care of your loyal customers
When online sales freeze, our first thought is that customers no longer want us and that they have fled away. However, it’s much easier to retain and convince customers who already know your brand and products than to get new buyers from scratch.
It’s very likely that you have neglected taking care of your most loyal clientele. How often do you study them and listen to them, discovering new needs, trends or segmentations among your main audience?
An existing customer spends on average more money, adds more products to their shopping cart and grants more sales conversion in each visit to your online store. You should develop marketing actions that refresh these loyal customers’ memory and make them feel cared for, such as mailings with recommended products based on previous purchases or searches in your store, information about products without stock or that will be launched soon, coupons and congratulations for their birthday…
Also identify your clients’ favorite products and target them as best sellers on your platforms (80% of your profits come from 20% of your product catalog). If these items have satisfied so many customers, they can convince more users with the same profile. In addition, it's easier for a new client to discover your catalog through some highlights.
2. Launch a new product
It’s the most expensive action to increase online sales, but expanding business is a way to make your e-commerce conversion rates grow. However, you need enough resources and time, because a new product takes up to 12 weeks before launching. Of course, if your business or retail is selling products that are easier to manufacture and that need regular new collections (such as clothing or shoes), this action is essential to avoid an outdated brand and e-commerce site.
If you’re afraid of launching a product from scratch and you prefer to study some reactions first, you can publish product pages with pre-sell or out of stock stock products. This way you can collect information about how many people is really interested in that product (you can also activate a “Notify me when it’s back” button).
3. Expand your cross-sell and upsell strategies
Related products accounts for 35% of Amazon’s profits. Apply this rule to your own online store and think about offering more information about your catalog in each product page and every shopping process. Cross-selling involves recommending complementary products and accessories: what products do your customers usually buy together? What needs can a specific product arouse? It’s also useful to apply this strategy for marketplaces online sales, looking for listings and best seller products where you can add your own products as related suggestions.
Upsell means that you offer a higher category product or an upgrade to clients. Econsultancy states that upselling is up to 20 times more effective than cross-selling, so you ought to always include visual and textual strategies to give customers an option to improve their purchase.
4. Improve content quality
Figures make e-commerce experts’ mouths water, but the main key in all these strategies is the quality of product content.
Apart from prices, the main explanation for customers behavior is product information. This applies to all your catalog materials: the more content you offer to clients, the better the conversion of online sales you will get.
Take care of product images, because e-commerce is manly visual. Include useful and diverse images in your product pages. Create descriptions and bullet points with clear and striking features and functions. Study SEO and test new keywords and word combinations. Add photographs to your testimonies. And video is the future: time spend in a page increases up to 88%. Even a short video can make a big difference, explaining more clearly your product and getting more impact on other channels and social networks.
5. Get yourself a PRO information management
In order to fully dedicate yourself to these actions, you need to keep things going smoothly in the background and avoid repetitive tasks. Data reviews, channels synchronization, image formats, information sent to distributors... Hundreds of small tasks that, added together, take an insane amount of time and resources.
But don’t worry, you have a great invisible strategy for increasing online sales with digital tools that automate your content management and multichannel marketing. This type of software, accessible from any device, such as a Product Information Management (PIM), free yourself from catalog and product information management and ensure a painless omnichannel experience.
6. Reduce shopping cart abandonment
According to Baymard Institute, up to 67.45% of customers abandond their online shopping carts. The main reasons are prices, costs and shipping times, but also your website or app design.
You need to offer a more agile customer shopping experience, with better information, more payment choices (PayPal, Apple Pay, several credit and debit cards… ), and several shipping and returns options. Keep in mind that this strategy must be applied to all your online sales channels, and especially to mobile or mCommerce, because up to 67% of users prefer to buy from their smartphones, as it’s more convenient and faster. Develop an app where customers can save their preferences and personal data, and make your website mobile-friendly. And don’t forget to use recovery mailings to convince your customers to come back to their abandoned carts and wishlists.
7. Improve your shopping experience security
Nobody really reads privacy policies, so the most effective tactic is making your security and antifraud icons and seals visible in your online store.
Needless to say that they must be real seals, because if you use them without hiring the service you can get into legal problems. The most valued seal by customers is Norton, but there are dozens of official security services: PayPal Verified, Google Trusted Store, Truste Certified Company, Fake seal, Thawte, GeoTrust, Comodo, McAfee Secure, VeriGisn, ScanAlert Hacker Safe, GeoTrust, SSL Value...
8. Take advantage of social media
Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit are the social networks with highest conversion rates for e-commerce businesses, depending on your niche and audience type.
Also study the influencers sphere, and not necessarily the millionaire personalities: there’s a lot of young people out there with audiences of very specific niches that have a smaller effect, but with higher conversion rates. Offer giveaways, discount codes or invitations to events, while you expand your followers network and get publicity through reposts.
Instagram is the new great opportunity to increase online sales through social media, since according to Hootsuite, 75% of users take some kind of action after seeing a post. The platform has even launched a New York team focused on their e-commerce possibilities.
9. Encourage user reviews
Customer reviews improve e-commerce conversion rates by 14%-76%. It’s very important to listen to your customer base and take good note of complaints that can improve your sales: what usually frustrates your clients and how can you solve that? For example, if you sell earrings, perhaps a lot of users are complaining about not having reference photographs. Or if you sell organic cosmetics, maybe your customers want to know where your suppliers are based. Customer reviews are a valuable source of information to make your e-commerce sales grow.
Also improve your customer service and offer personalized answers with a fast response margin, and even some compensations if some product or online process goes wrong. Failures don’t hurt you, but your response can: customers will be more willing to forgive you and keep shopping if you offer a good service.
10. Create an affiliate partners network
It’s tempting to work on your own and maybe you fear joining forces with potential competitors. But more people means more efforts and resources, and this way you can get access to sales channels and customers that you don’t have time to track for yourself.
A partners program is an unusual but very effective action to increase e-commerce sales and is a win-win for all parties involved. Other businesses will be able to promote your products or services, attracted by getting commissions in exchange (you can offer up to a 2% and 5% margin). Publish an easy form to contact you, give complete information about benefits, and promote synergies and good relations in public events, such as trade shows and congresses.
Together is better! The more strategic actions you add, the better e-commerce sales you’ll achieve. But it’s essential that you study your weaknesses and choose the most convenient strategies for each stage.
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