We have a feeling that you are interested in driving more sales to your online business and increasing your bottom line. Of course you are; everyone is.
Luckily, you have come to exactly the right place.
We actually have a lot to say on the subject, so we won’t waste your time any longer. Instead, we’ll get right into how you can increase ecommerce sales immediately.
1. The Basics: Have A Well Designed, Optimized Website
Let’s start with the basics. One of the first elements you need to have in place is a website that is not only well designed but also one that is carefully optimized for search engine purposes.
Both are necessary means. You can’t increase your sales without an increase in ecommerce traffic, but you also can’t sell well if your website is poorly designed.
So, what does a well-designed, optimized website look like?
First of all, we are talking about a website with an attractive design that reflects your brand. This should be a website that is easy to navigate and equipped with an easy-to-find search button.
Your website should have a responsive design – that is, one that looks great not only on desktops but also on tablets and mobiles. After all, for the first time in history, we have officially entered the decade where more people are using mobile devices and tablets than computers worldwide.
Page loading speed is also very important, not only for ranking higher when it comes to search engines but the page at which a website loads can also drastically determine how much (or how little) you sell.
Take it from one of the biggest ecommerce sites out there – Amazon – one of the top brands in the world.
Amazon conducted research and found that 100 milliseconds of latency reduced their sales by 1% – findings that have been repeated again and again.
Landing pages are also a necessary component of an ecommerce website and ecommerce lead generation by extension.
We’ve covered landing pages before, but you should direct your traffic to designated landing pages – pages that are designed in such a way, even from the smallest details, that they push people to do what you want, whether that’s sign up for your newsletter or make a purchase.
There is an entire psychology behind an effective landing page, which you can read more about here.
2. Abandoned Carts
Stumble across any article about increasing ecommerce sales and you will find something about the need to reduce abandoned carts. Cart abandonment has well been studied, and rightfully so, since it’s a major problem.
It is thought that the average abandonment rate is nearly 70 percent – some even claim that the number is as high as 80 percent. Ecommerce sites are losing a lot of profit via abandoned carts and, as such, it deserves a spot at the top of our list.
There are a number of reasons why people abandon their carts at checkout. What you will see over and over can be boiled down to a few similar ideas. We suggest that you read more into the topic of abandoned carts after you finish this article, but we will briefly cover some causes here.
Statistica, for example, found that the top three common causes were because of shipping costs. Secondly, the total cost became too much and, lastly, because the act of potentially returning something was perceived to be too much work.
As a solution to some of these problems, we would first advise that you are always forthcoming about shipping costs; if you can, making shipping entirely free or reduce these costs as much as possible to get some benefit in decreasing your abandoned cart rate.
Secondly, don’t ever tack on any costs at the end. Not only will this cost you a sale, but it will also make you look untrustworthy, which is not ideal for your brand.
Consider that exit offers can also be placed on websites so that when a user is about to leave your page, a pop-up shows up on their screen with an offer, whether it’s a discount, free shipping, etc. This may just be enough to make them think twice about abandoning their purchase.
Another common theme that often comes up in a discussion of cart abandonment is that you have made the checkout process too daunting.
Amazon, for example, takes care to emphasize that you can make a purchase with one easy click. You want people to buy from you; don’t make it hard for them to do so.
Also, be sure to give customers the option to save their credit card information and make logging in very simple to promote future purchases. Speed is also important here.
Here is another easy solution that comes highly recommended.
Consider sending a follow-up email, reminding them of the item(s) that were left in their cart (Ebay often does this, for example). Of course, you need to do a few extra things in the email in order for it to be as effective as possible.
The email should contain an image of the product they abandoned, along with great copy to capture their attention and reel them back in. The icing would be to offer a discount code or other type of similar offer like free shipping, etc.
Here is a number of additional ways you can reduce cart abandonment.
3. Improve Your Sales Copy
Another very important aspect of your ecommerce website, in addition to good design and SEO optimization, is compelling copy. This should follow these rules:
- Compelling, SEO Optimized Product Descriptions – Avoid taking lackluster descriptions from databases.
- Benefit-Driven Copy – The copy should expand on the problem mentioned in your headline (see below); then, you should move into how your product or service can solve the problem. Copy should always be focused on the customer. Remove any mention of “I”, “You”, etc.
Your copy should contain a sense of urgency – potential customers should feel the need to buy your product now.
This should be done near the call to action (i.e. right when the customer is about to make a purchase). Whether you offer a limited-time discount or you mention that you are running out of stock, creating urgency is always a good idea.
And be careful not to try to sell them too soon; this creates the sense that you are untrustworthy. Remove words like “buy” or “cost” or any other mention of sales from the top portion of your copy.
- Include Customer Testimonials/Product Reviews – Effective sales copy always includes customer testimonials – they increase trust.
Whether you include a snippet of an email or another type of testimonial, the most effective customer testimonials are the ones that mention how the product solved a problem (notice a theme here?).
This is much more effective than a customer testimonial that says how great your product is.
Product reviews are highly correlated with conversion, as much as 76% in some cases. One reason for this is the fact that product reviews generate social proof.
Secondly, product reviews increase the amount of content on your website, which is beneficial for SEO purposes and for you to increase ecommerce traffic to your website.
You can also increase trust by including a section detailing your own credentials or background and what makes you qualified to solve these problems.
- An Attention-Grabbing Headline – The headline should reference a relatable problem, in addition to the benefit of the product or service (specifically how it can solve the problem).
- Draw Attention to the Important Parts – Most people merely scan any given page. That’s why it’s important to present the most important facts in a way that makes them clearly stand out.
Use bold and italics to draw attention to the benefits of the product (of course, with anything, you don’t want to go overboard).
Consider even using sub headings. Use bullets to clearly illustrate your most important points. You get the idea.
4. Grow Your Email List + Optimize Your Email Marketing
We’ve talked about the importance of building your email list over and over, and it especially holds true when it comes to ecommerce lead generation.
One quick tip: ensure that your sign-up bottoms are strategically placed and clearly visible on each page of your website. We’ve covered more on this topic on our blog.
Did you know that studies show that email marketing is more effective than social media across a variety of fronts, including 17 percent higher conversions with research showing it’s also 40 times more effective at getting customers than Facebook and Twitter combined?
Sure, social media may be the hot topic right now, but email marketing should still be the priority. We don’t need to go into all of the reasons why, but one reason is because email goes directly into their inbox. People also still send more emails than they make social media posts.
Your customers also may not ever see your Facebook post or tweet. In fact, the mayfly, the shortest living species on earth, a species that lives no more than 24 hours, lives longer than a Facebook post or tweet.
Once you grow your email list, you are halfway there. However, you also need to optimize your email marketing to actually increase your sales.
Send out regular emails offering discounts. Another type of effective email is the wish list reminder email; if someone has had a particular product in their wishlist for some time, you can send out an email reminding them about the product.
Just like how you want to create a sense of urgency on your website, this approach is also effective in email marketing. For example, if a product is about to sell out and that product is on the person’s wishlist, send out an email and let them know.
Automated email marketing can also be an effective way to maintain existing relationships and use this to drive more sales in the future. As much as businesses may like to, they don’t have the time to maintain relationships with their customers. That’s why automated emails are so useful.
Whether you send out birthday greetings or the occasional hello, businesses shouldn’t neglect their current customer base – especially if they are interested in more sales.
Yocale’s automated marketing features, from personalized emails to rebooking reminders are just the kind of things we’re talking about.
5. Invest in Ads
Ecommerce websites should be investing in pay per click advertising, both paid search (Google Adwords) and paid social on social networks, such as Facebook, if you aren’t already.
Paid search allows you to increase ecommerce traffic to your website within hours through the process of bidding on keywords.
Did you know that research shows that people click on traditional PPC ads more than any other form of digital ad? While Google Adwords should be the priority, Facebook advertising is also highly effective, especially in terms of exposure.
However, we urge you to do your search on the spectrum of pay per click advertising; a lot must go into a campaign in order for it to be successful. You can’t just sit back and watch things happen.
6. Use Social Media
Sure, you’ve created a Facebook page and perhaps a Twitter account. You’re on Instagram. Those are all good things and important parts of any marketing strategy. But are you using social media platforms to directly drive sales?
Smaller businesses may be reluctant to spend on ad revenue, but the results have consistently been proven to be in such spenders’ favour.
First, consider opening up a Facebook store. According to Shopify, this is the social network that drives the most sales out of any social media platform – a total of 85% of sales.
If we are almost at the point of being able to order dinner from Facebook, now is certainly the time to open a Facebook store. An added benefit is that it’s easy to set up.
Instagram is another social media network that can drive a lot of sales. In fact, according to Shopify, the average order value on Instagram is $65, more than any other social media platform with the exception of Polyvore.
Not only does Instagram result in top dollar sales, but it also results in 25% more engagement than any other social media platform out there. As any business owner would know, engagement is always a good thing.
In this way, ecommerce sites should take advantage of the high level of engagement on Instagram and use it to drive sales.
For example, once you have a following (if you don’t already), you can implement a variety of strategies, from running campaigns or contests to sharing a lot of user generated photos – pictures of customers using your products.
User generated photos create a lot of social proof, which is one of the primary reasons why they are so effective. You can do this with help from the app Instagration.
7. UpSell (And Cross Sell)
Has someone ever tried to sell you a warranty for your printer? Upselling is the process of trying to get someone to purchase some kind of upgrade, whether that’s a warranty on a product or a better, more expensive version of a product. Just how effective is upselling, you ask?
PredictiveIntent found that upselling is 20 times more effective than cross-selling, the attempt to sell a related product.
Perhaps the customer was unaware of the better version or, perhaps, the upgrade fit more closely to what the customer was looking for, but either way, we can’t dispute facts.
There are two important takeaways in order for upselling to be effective. First, the upgrade should be related to the original product. Secondly, it is also important to consider the price point.
By this, we mean that once a customer has a certain price in mind, they are generally reluctant to pay more. Therefore, the upgrade has to actually be worth the additional cost.
Now, just because upselling performs better than cross selling, that doesn’t mean that cross selling shouldn’t be a part of your marketing strategy.
If you’ve ever noticed Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This, Also Bought…” section, this cross selling is part of the reason why Amazon has done so well.
Whether you take a similar approach or you recommend products that go along with the product they bought (for example, a cell phone case for a new mobile phone) at checkout, cross selling shouldn’t be overlooked.
In fact, the synergy effect of both upselling and cross selling creates 35% of Amazon’s total profit.
8. Test Everything
If you have noticed a common thread in any of our articles, it’s that you should test everything – even the strategies that tend to bring in the most sales for your business.
If you’ve tried all of the above strategies (or even if you haven’t), consider altering small elements and measuring their results.
Even small changes can mean a big difference in sales. For example, try selling only a few related products or services at a time and accompanying those products or service with lengthier copy. This approach has worked for many companies.
Start following these tips and you could begin to increase ecommerce sales today.