Starting an e-commerce business is never an easy job. Running a lucrative one is even more difficult. Though there’s no scarcity of tips and tricks on strengthening e-commerce sales, most of them will turn out to be completely pointless if you’re not following the right strategies.
People should not be unfamiliar with strategy. Those who understand it will survive and those who do not will perish - rightly said by Sun Tzu.
Regardless of the size of the business, increasing online sales is the key goal of most businesses. Whether you run a small retail business or are employed by a big eCommerce giant like Google, boosting sales through online channels is similar to bowling a strike – it looks easy but, in reality, isn’t.
Before starting an e-commerce business, you should consider a checklist to ensure everything goes smoothly and correctly.
In the crowded e-commerce world, every store struggles to get even the smallest opportunity with today’s tough competition. But when it comes to enriching the online shopping experience, most retailers stop at the ubiquitous, “Add these two items and take 10% off” and “Customers who purchased this item also bought…”.
In most cases, the competition comes from other retailers who take advantage of the complex algorithms for tracking and predicting the customer’s needs and then delivering it to them early and often. But, what about those small e-commerce businesses with the shoestring budgets? Are they relegated to playing second fiddle forever?
Here are the top 13 e-commerce marketing tips for boosting business growth and making it reach a new, higher level of success:
1. Real-time Personalization
Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of online consumers get annoyed with websites where the content (e.g. ads, offers, promotions) appears irrelevant to their interests, according to a report.
Today the “spray-and-pray” marketing is, unfortunately, dead. If you wish to win customers and improve customer adherence, you need to provide your customers with a shopping experience that’s tailored to what they’re searching for. The more relevant offers you present to your shoppers, the higher the chances will be that they’ll buy. According to a report, 73 % of customers prefer doing business with brands that make use of personal information for perfecting shopping experiences.
You can use an on customer's browsing history, interests, and preferences to send them personalized marketing messages. Just make sure to keep your messages relevant and targeted
As per a survey, 45 percent of customers are likely to buy from sites that offer personalized recommendations. Shoppers want personalized experience on the web and they wish for the same experience as they repeat different touch points in their customer journey. It can help when a customer is shopping on their desktop, gets distracted and abandons the checkout process before success. When they return (especially on your smartphone), flaunt some relevant recommendations and the products lying in their cart and encourage them to complete the transaction.
When personalizing your marketing messages, you need to remember not to over-personalize or else it can make you flop. There’s a fine line between using shopper’s personal information for customizing the message and invading privacy.
2. Exclude Slow-selling Items
Products that remain on your shelf and sell slowly can, in several instances, cut down the cash flow and decelerate a business’s development. As a result, it’s necessary to have closeout sales.
Consider stock items that are:
- Sold less than one every quarter;
- Newer or have updated versions;
- Not sold online in a month or more.
Provide a discount for these items. It will help you sell out and attract new customers as well.
3. Make your E-commerce website mobile friendly
In today’s world, a responsive, mobile-optimized website is necessary for any business. As per Google survey, 61% were more likely to leave if a site wasn’t mobile friendly. As per Comscore report, mobile-only users now exceed the number of desktop users in the U.S.
In order to maximize conversions, it is necessary to provide the best mobile experience to users.
Below are few things that need to be considered:
- Make your site responsive
- Make sure your site loads faster
- 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 decision. This opportunity can increase the conversion rate or perfect the customer shopping experience for your brand. Offering live chat on your site will also let you discover the minor and common problems experienced by customers. Resolving those problems can lead to an overall rise in conversions.
A survey found that 31 percent of the online shoppers in the U.S. and UK accept that they are more likely to buy after utilizing the live chat feature on a site.
There are many reasons for why customers appreciate live chat and time is a key factor. People who prefer live chat agreed with the 79 percent that said they did so because of quick responses and 46 percent agreed it was the most effective communication method.
5. Use Opt-In Pop-Up Offer to Push Them over the Edge
If you wish to improve your conversion rates and sales, 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 not only increases your contacts (a useful resource for email marketing) significantly but also boosts sales quickly.
A pop-up on a prospective customer’s screen who is on the fence about buying from your site may well be influenced by a well-placed opt-in offer. For instance, 10% off on their first order or free shipping above $499. Though they may not complete the transaction at that time, they will likely sign up for your opt-in offer, which means they still got added to your database and they may change their mind and come back to complete the sale.
Make sure to test every element of an opt-in offer for maximum optimization. Often A/B tests different offers to see which one works better for fetching more sign-ups. Ensure that visitors see the pop-ups before they’re about to leave the page. Remember, the more people who enter their e-mail addresses at opt-in, the higher the probability is that they will make a future sale.
6. Offer Free Shipping
Several studies have shown that there are many benefits to offering free shipping. Online shoppers are 4 - 5 times more likely to buy from a site offering free shipping. People don’t like to pay for shipping.
If your business does not 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, average cart abandonment rate is 69.23%. This means for some reasons people do not complete the purchase. It refers to the potential customers who add products to the cart and drop out before they complete the checkout process.
What is cart abandonment?
Shopping cart abandonment refers to the potential customers who add products or items in the cart, but exit without completing the purchase. There can be various reasons why online visitors are abandoning carts.
Below are some of the smart ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
- Make user-friendly interface to simplify navigation and checkout process
- Send shopping cart abandonment E-mails
- Increase trust in the process by showing valid SSL certificate or trust symbols
- Offer price match guarantee
- Provide guest checkout option
8. Flaunt Customer Reviews and Build Trust
Social media has turned everybody’s lives inside out. No matter whether you’re buying a new smartphone or going out for dinner to a new restaurant, people check out the internet first.
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 this infographic on the importance of customer reviews.
Customer feedback can make or break your sales. Positive reviews by satisfied customers can help you gain the trust of your potential customers. Negative reviews can help you gain experience and work on the points that customers expressed a dissatisfaction with your services.
Customer testimonials and reviews are more influential than the perfectly written sales copy, so be sure to add numerous reviews and testimonials that speak to how wonderful you and your services are.
9. Automate Your Email Marketing
Automation is essential to improving the email marketing game. Automating your entire email marketing strategy based on pre-set triggers helps you to send seamlessly hyper-relevant and timely messages, delighting subscribers.
According to a Forrester research, 89 percent of marketers said that email is their key channel for lead generation. This means that you can be more proactive by automating your email marketing campaign and making the marketing process smoother and more effective. For instance, if a customer abandons his cart, an email will remind him about his cart and encourage him to revisit the site to complete the transaction.
What’s most important here is the email sent to the abandoners. This is only possible if you have automated your email marketing. Manually sending email takes quite a lot of effort and is time-consuming. Once you automate your email marketing, an email will automatically be sent as soon as someone trips the online trigger. According to statistics, “Automated emails get 119 percent higher click rates than broadcast emails.” B2C marketers who used automated emails noticed conversion rates as high as 50 percent.
10. Ensure excellent customer support
E-commerce marketplace is not only about selling quality products and catchy designs. Obviously, these two will help you but other than these to stand in the competitive market you must ensure that you provide excellent customer support. The way you are providing services to the customer will decide how long your business will sustain.
According to a study, 78% consumers not made an intended purchase due to low or poor customer service. So, if you don’t provide great customer service, you may lose potential customers.
You can provide best customer service across multi-channel
- Social media
- Live Chat
- Customer service center or help desk
Your customer to be able to reach you through these mediums and it’s important that you respond to them quickly.
11. Give rewards to 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 new customers is 5-20 percent which is very low compared to selling to existing customers i.e 60-70%
- It costs highly to get new customers than it does to keep existing customers.
You must find a way to keep existing customers to buy from you again. The best way to do that is with the help of a loyalty program. Give rewards in the form of points which they can use to get free products, discount coupons, free shipping to your loyal customers and this will definitely encourage buyers to visit your store again.
12. Not innovative products but innovative approach
Most of the people, who want to make it big in E-Commerce scene, look for innovative products and services and spend a large number of resources and time for the same only to find later that the same products/services are already available in the market.
Even assuming that they aren't, you are actually inviting other people to follow the suit. That simply means that once you have started selling the innovative products or services online, you are actually inviting your others to become your competitor. In fact, the flaw is the concept itself.
You actually need to devote the time for innovative marketing ideas instead of finding innovative products. The famous e-commerce sites like Amazon.com or Ebay.com are selling everything that you can find in any general grocery store or departmental store.
But what's the reason that these companies are earning millions while the common Mom and Pop shops are struggling even for the survival? It is because these e-commerce sites sell the same products in a different way. They employ several ideas to make sure that their products should sell.
13 Make an e-commerce site with great content
If you would observe closely you would see that the trend is fast changing. Earlier people would create the e-commerce sites with the latest technologies, apps and all sorts of elements.
But now the technology has been replaced by emotions. You will see the e-commerce sites that don’t use the high-end technology but rather spend on content. Even their content is simple, comprehensible jargon-free and emotionally valuable.
The content is truly the king. So try to go for a jargon-free content that tells about you and your company’s character, ethical values and a most important journey rather than the products you sell or services you provide. You can include all those elements in the menu links provided instead of boring your audience with the home page.
Successfully running an e-commerce business is never a sure bet, but using the above-mentioned strategies will ensure that you haven’t left things merely to chance. Moreover, all of these strategies will work if implemented correctly!