Starting an ecommerce business is never easy. Running a successful one even less so.
Though there’s no scarcity of tips and tricks on strengthening ecommerce sales, most will turn out to be irrelevant if you don’t have the right strategies in place to support them.
People should not be unfamiliar with strategy. Those who understand it will survive and those who do not will perish - wisely said by Sun Tzu.
Increasing online sales is the key goal of most businesses, regardless of their size. Whether you run a small retail business or are employed by an ecommerce giant like Google, boosting sales through online channels takes the same level of effort and dedication.
Before starting an ecommerce business, you should consider a checklist to ensure everything goes smoothly.
In the crowded ecommerce world, competition makes opportunities few and far between. But when it comes to enriching the online shopping experience, most retailers look no further than the ever-present, “Add these two items and get 10% off”, or “Customers who purchased this item also bought…”.
In most cases, the competition comes from other retailers using complex algorithms to track and predict customers’ needs and then delivering against them.
But, what about those small ecommerce businesses with shoestring budgets? Must they play second fiddle forever?
Here are the top 13 ecommerce marketing tips for boosting growth and taking your business to a new level of success:
1. Real-time personalization
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of online consumers get annoyed with websites where the content (e.g. ads, offers, promotions) appears irrelevant to their interests.
The days of “spray-and-pray” marketing is are gone. If you want to gain and keep customers, you need to provide them with the tailored shopping experience they’re looking for. The more relevant offers you promote, the higher the chances they’ll buy. According to a report, 73% of customers prefer doing business with brands that make use of personal information to create a more relevant experience.
Use customers' browsing history, interests, and preferences to send them personalized marketing messages. Make them relevant and targeted.
As one survey shows, 45 percent of customers are more likely to buy from sites offering personalized recommendations. Shoppers want a personalized experience across all touch-points of their customer journey. It’s helpful to stitch together separate interactions between your customers and your brand, so if customers abandon the checkout process unexpectedly on desktop, when they return through smartphone, you can encourage them to complete the transaction.
When personalizing your marketing messages, remember not to go too far. There’s a fine line between using shoppers' personal information to customize messages, and invading their privacy.
2. Be wary of slow-selling items
Products that are slow to shift cut down the cash flow and decelerate a business’s development. As a result, it’s necessary to have closeout sales. Providing these discounts helps you sell out and attract new customers at the same time.
If possible, consider stock items that are:
- Generate newer or updated versions
3. Make your ecommerce website mobile friendly
In today’s world, a responsive, mobile-optimized website is a necessity for any business. So much so that in a Google survey, 61% of consumers said they were likely to leave if a site wasn’t mobile friendly. According to a Comscore report, mobile-only users now exceed the number of desktop users in the U.S.
In order to maximize conversions then, it is necessary to provide the best possible mobile experience.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Make your site responsive
- Make sure your site loads quickly
- Optimize your mobile site and improve site search
- Simplify the checkout process
4. Adding live chat
Using live chat, customers can ask questions or express concerns before making any buying decisions, thus increasing your conversion rate and creating a great shopping experience for your brand.
Resolving those problems helps improve your conversions.
A BoldChat survey found that 31 percent of the online shoppers in the U.S. and UK are more likely to buy after utilizing the live chat feature on a site.
There are many reasons customers appreciate live chat, and time is one of them.
Of those who agree live chat is the most effective communication method, 79 percent said they did so because of quick responses.
5. Use opt-in pop-up offers to convert users
If you want to improve your conversion rates, don’t overlook the potential of opt-in offers. Pop-ups encourage visitors to sign up for your mailing list, newsletter or loyalty program. This increases your contacts list, which is great for email marketing, and in the end helps boost sales.
A pop-up featuring on the screens of customers unsure about buying, offering them 10% off and free shipping on orders above $100 to sign up, may well influence them to take the next step and purchase. Even if they don’t complete the transaction at that time, they may sign up for your opt-in offer, which means they still got added to your database and could purchase later.
Make sure to test every element of an opt-in offer and optimize accordingly. A/B testing shows which one works better for generating sign ups. Ensure visitors see pop-ups just before they’re about to leave. Remember, the more people who enter their email addresses, the higher the probability of future sales.
6. Offer free shipping
Several studies have shown that there are many benefits to offering free shipping.
If your business doesn’t offer a free shipping option for your customers, it’s time to add one.
In a survey carried out by Ask your target market, 70 percent of respondents said that they have a higher opinion of brands offering free delivery and shipping, 84 percent are more likely to shop on sites with this service, and 75 percent said they are more likely to shop if there’s a free shipping promotion, rather than other types of promotions or discounts.
7. Reduce shopping cart abandonment
According to Baymard Institute stats, the average cart abandonment rate sits at 69.57%. A large amount of potential customers add products to the cart, only to drop out before they complete the checkout process.
There may be many reasons why online visitors abandon their carts.
Below are some of the smart ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment:
- Make a user-friendly interface to simplify navigation and checkout process
- Send shopping cart abandonment emails
- Increase trust in the process by showing valid SSL certificate and trust symbols
- Offer price match guarantee
- Provide guest checkout option
8. Promote customer reviews and build trust
Social media has added a new dimension to people’s lives. Whether you’re buying a new smartphone or trying to find a restaurant for dinner, the first place people go is online.
According to Invesp, 90 percent of customers prefer reading online reviews before visiting a business or using its services and 88 percent said they trust online reviews like a personal recommendation.
Check out their infographic on the importance of customer reviews.
Customer feedback can make or break your sales. Positive reviews from happy customers help you gain the trust of potential customers. Negative reviews help you gain experience, providing vital information on issues to address within your business.
Customer testimonials and reviews are even more influential than perfectly written sales copy, so be sure to encourage customers to share how they found your services.
9. Automate your email marketing
Automation is essential for boosting your email marketing. Using pre-set triggers allows you to send hyper-relevant and timely messages seamlessly, delighting your subscribers.
According to Mailgen, 89 percent of marketers said that email is their key channel for lead generation.
It’s well worth the effort to be more proactive and automate your email marketing campaigns for a smoother and more effective process. For instance, if a customer abandons his cart, an email can encourage him to revisit the site and complete the transaction.
Sending emails to cart abandoners is only made possible through automating your email marketing. Manually sending emails is incredibly time-consuming. Once you automate your email marketing, as soon as someone trips an online trigger, the email goes out. Statistics show that “Automated emails get 119 percent higher click rates than broadcast emails.” and B2C marketers who used automated emails noticed conversion rates as high as 50 percent.
10. Ensure excellent customer support
The ecommerce marketplace isn’t only about selling quality products and creating must-have designs. Obviously, these help, but to really stand out in a competitive market you must provide excellent customer support. This will determine the sustainability of your business.
According to one study:
So, if you don’t provide great customer service, you may lose potential customers.
Providing the best customer service means being available multi-channel:
- Social media
- Live chat
- Customer service center or help desk
Your customers need to be able to reach you through these mediums and will expect a swift response.
11. Reward your loyal customers
According to white house office of consumer affairs reports,
- On average loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
- The probability of selling to new customers is 5-20 percent which is very low compared to the chances of selling to existing customers at 60-70%.
- Getting new customers costs more than keeping existing ones.
Keep existing customers buying from you again and again by using loyalty programs. Give them reward points which they can use to get free products, discount coupons, or free shipping.
12. Not innovative products but an innovative approach
Most people who want to make waves on the ecommerce scene look to try and provide innovative products and services, spending a lot of time and resources on it, only to find out later that the same products/services are already available on the market.
Even if they aren't, it’s only a matter of time before someone else follows suit. Once you have started selling innovative products or services online, others will come in to compete.
It’s better to dedicate your efforts to innovative marketing ideas. The biggest ecommerce sites, like Amazon.com or Ebay.com, are selling things you can find in department stores.
So what's the reason these companies earn the big bucks while Mom and Pop shops are struggling to survive? Because these ecommerce sites sell these same products in a different way.
13. Make an ecommerce site with great content
Looking closely and you can see the change happening.
Before, people created ecommerce sites based on the latest technologies, apps and the like. But now, technology has been replaced by emotions. Ecommerce sites make use of content rather than spending on high-end technology. The content is highly accessible, offering valuable takeaways.
Content truly is king. Try creating jargon-free content talking about your journey, what you believe in, and the story of products you sell or services you provide.
The last word
Running an ecommerce business is never going to be easy, but by using the above-mentioned strategies, putting them properly in place with resources behind them, you can improve your chances of success.