Wondering how to increase online sales? What strategies can you use to attract more online customers? How can you convert browsers into buyers?
Are you really open to making changes? There is no magic wand you can wave to grow sales without change. And what I am about to share are some brutally honest recommendations.
Some businesses are so enamored by their logo, colors and website that they totally overlook the most important thing. The customer.
Customers don’t care about your logo. They care about a solution to a problem they have.
The easier you can make it to get the solution, the more likely you are to get the sale. So how do you do that?
Let’s get started:
1. Understand your ideal customer.
So many businesses overlook this step. They have a cool product or service that does: this, this and this! People use this type of product, so they should buy yours. Right?
Unless you understand your target client’s profile, you won’t get the sales you want. So, how can you find that information?
Online you can use analytics to identify what visitors are doing on your website. You can find out where they come from, which gives you insights into how they found your business. This tells you where they browse and what interests they have.
You will learn how consumers navigate your website, when they leave. That information helps you determine where in the prospect’s journey something wasn’t right. This is valuable information because it allows you to address and test to correct the problem.
You can also learn more about them by communicating with them. It isn’t as good as face to face, but asking questions by email, surveys, online chat and phone calls can give insights into customer experience and service.
The better you understand your ideal customer, the better you can form your content and sales process to meet their needs.
2. What is your USP?
Your unique selling proposition is what sets your business and products apart from the competition. Do you offer something no one else does? What is the reason you do what you do?
Your USP needs to be highlighted on your website, social media, advertising and email marketing. It gives people a reason to remember and do business with you.
3. Simplify the customer experience.
People want easy. They want what they want, and while you can upsell, make every step super simple.
If you saw an ad for a white dress shirt, needed one and clicked the button but was taken to a page of suits you’d think WTH?
Sure, the white shirt may be down a few rows on that page, but that means someone has to search around for it. NO! You have the technology to take people to exactly what they clicked on – so do it!
You or your website designer may be too close to the process. Get friends and family to surf you site looking for things and testing your purchase process. If they have any problems, fix those trouble areas to keep it simple!
4. Simplify the sales process.
This is an important step! If there are a lot of forms to fill out you may experience abandoned carts and lost sales.
Amazon put in the Buy It Now button and you can bet sales increased. You see what you want, click one button and it is on it’s way to you. That is simple!
Keep things as simple as possible. Try breaking up the sales process into multiple pages so you don’t overwhelm customers with a lot of questions and forms to fill out. Or, if you can keep it really simple, do everything on the same page because it is easy!
Can they check out as a guest? Can they use their credit card or online service such as PayPal?
Is there a better option than the service you use now? Look around for the best solution you can find.
I can’t stress this enough – go over this process with a fine tooth comb. Don’t give people a reason to stop the sale at this point!
5. Keep shipping costs low.
Shipping is expensive. Most consumers don’t even think about shipping until check out. At that point, a boost to their total can cause abandoned carts and lost sales.
Can you build shipping into the cost of your product? Big ecommerce business offer free shipping for a minimum order. That may help boost sales too.
6. Improve your customer service.
Have you ever tried to get an answer or help yet were unable to find a way to contact someone? That is pretty common online. Sometimes you will reach out and not get a response, which is infuriating.
Make sure your website includes a contact page. Include an email address, a phone number a contact form and an online chat option. Make it easy to get hold of someone. And have someone who can respond quickly! That can win you sales and recommendations!
I also recommend an FAQ’s page to answer common questions that can provide immediate help to many.
7. Constantly work on search engine optimization.
A study showed the 65% of ecommerce sessions were the results of a search. When people are looking for what you offer, if your product or service doesn’t appear, you can’t make that sale.
There are plenty of people who share search engine optimization tips. Be careful though, you don’t want any quick fixes that may end up getting your site in trouble.
White hat SEO takes more time, but it is the proper way to go about things. Then you won’t need to panic every time Google makes an algorithm change.
If you aren’t into SEO and are looking for someone to help you, I recommend you reach out to my friend Randy at BizMarquee.com
I don’t get anything for recommending him. I share his information because he is amazing at what he does and his customer service is top notch.
8. Content creation.
What questions do people have in relation to your product or services?
As an example, I am a product photographer for ecommerce businesses. I help my clients raise awareness of their brand and increase their sales using high quality product images, short videos, stop motion animations and cinemagraphs.
My customers may be interested in how to increase online sales. So I go to Google and type that in. Google also tells me people may ask: how to increase ecommerce sales, or how to increase online sales fast.
Using my knowledge of ecommerce from my perspective, I’d work on an article for this. I’d also research the topic so I could offer a comprehensive guide that will offer solutions to these questions.
Each article would have keywords that link to different pages on my website. I might link my product photography portfolio or another article of interest such as photography licenses for ecommerce businesses.
The more content you create that helps answer a prospects questions, the more help you will be to potential customers. Then you will need to promote this content on social media, emailings and other pages of your website.
9. High quality photographs.
Images are one of the most important things you can have on your website. People will look at a photo faster than they will read.
There is a difference between a professional photo and one that you take yourself. Even if you aren’t sure what it is, people can tell a difference. (And I can tell you what it is … I’ll talk more about that in the next article.)
Hiring a professional product photographer is not cheap, but it is a solid investment in your business. Most online consumers rely on product images to decide on a purchase. The better your images, the more sales you can make.
Professional product photography stands out amongst the competition because it is unique to your business. It builds trust in your company and brand.
It gives you the advantage.
Consumers want to see more than just one image of a product. They want to see different angles. You’ll need close ups or zooms so people can see the details and quality. Lifestyle images help buyers to imagine the product in their life.
Professional product photos also help reduce returns. If color accuracy counts, you want a professional photographer who can make sure the photo looks like your product down to the tint.
Still want to take your own photos? Then check out my D.I.Y. Guide to Product Photography.
Want to talk about product photography for your business? Reach out to learn more …
10. Get customer reviews.
Nothing beats a great customer review. People want to use products that have good recommendations. If someone else liked it and would recommend it, they might too!
Client and customer reviews can go on product pages, home pages and anywhere social proof may prove useful.
11. Speed up your website.
People have little patience anymore. If your website takes too long to load, they will go somewhere else.
Watching your image file sizes and site coding can speed things up considerably. I’m not an expert at this and chances are you aren’t either. If not, you could either learn about it, or hire someone to help.
You’ve got a business to run, so I recommend option two.
12. Make sure your website is responsive.
Today, more people visit websites on phones than computers or tablets. If your site isn’t responsive, that makes it difficult for mobile consumers to do business with you. And you know what that means.
13. Use social media.
Being active on social media allows you to interact with potential clients and get word out on your business.
It shouldn’t all be sales either. Share client reviews, photos of product, staff and office. Post your latest news and videos. Be friendly, responsive and personable.
Did you know that 92% of all Instagram users that follow a brand have purchased a product after seeing it on the platform? That is the power of social media on sales.
14. Connect your ecommerce store to social media.
This way, consumers can buy your product right from your posts. They won’t need to leave the app or website, and it makes it super easy to purchase then and there.
To learn more about connecting this way, check out Square Online.
15. Collect email addresses.
Ever land on a website and get a popup promising 10% off if you subscribe to their newsletter?
How about a free guide they will email to you?
These are methods to gather email addresses and build a list. When you build a list, you have a way to make sales.
Stay in touch with subscribers, not always sales, but interesting things that tie into the products you provide. Share your latest blog post, or an invite to join your social media.
Every four or five emails offer a deal or discuss a private offering only available to email subscribers.
The biggest tip is to not make them spammy. Create emails that people will want to open and read.
16. Offer options.
Sometimes, having several price points can make the sale. You may have a basic option at the base price. A mid-range option that you label “Most Popular” and a high end option.
Depending on a consumers’ budget, if they can only afford the basic option, it is there. Most people will either buy the popular choice because, well, it’s popular. Then there will be those who want the best and will go for a high end option.
17. Encourage bundling and upgrades.
When you are on Amazon, you will see a block that shows people who bought this item also bought … and a button to add all three products to your cart.
You could offer extra (upgrades) to your product. For example, if you are selling a bar of soap, how about some shampoo and a loofa? These little sets can increase online sales, especially if someone is buying a gift.
18. Focus on the outcome.
People don’t buy shampoo because they want clean hair. They want hair that is soft and manageable.
People don’t buy a television because they want to watch TV. They want a sharp picture that allows them to see every detail.
No one buys life insurance because they want to die. They want to make sure their loved ones are cared for in case something happens.
Too often, companies talk about the benefits. People are emotional when it comes to purchasing decisions. So understand the prospect’s desires and speak to those. You will find sales increase.
19. Test everything.
A/B testing is another thing every online retailer should be doing.
Create two versions of your sales page with minor changes. Which one performs better? The one with bold text in the buy now button, or the one with small text? Keep the better performing and then test another small change.
Incremental changes and tests allow you to create better performing sales pages.
Warning: Only test small changes. If you change several options, you aren’t sure which change made the diffence.
20. Try creating a sense of urgency.
Another thing to test – unlimited supplies vs. limited time offer vs. only 8 left in stock, buy now before they are gone.
21. Offer a money back guarantee.
This one promise can get people off the fence and clicking the buy now button. If they aren’t satisfied they’ll get their money back and lose nothing.
It also shows you have confidence in the quality of your product or service and that you believe it will produce the outcome they want.
How to increase online sales fast.
Advertising on social media platforms allows you to target your ideal customer. If you need to get eyeballs on your product or service and have a decent sales ratio, this is a strong investment.
23. Flash Sales.
Announce a special sale day on your social media and to your email list. Done properly you can experience a sales increase.
24. Expert guest spot.
Does your customer demographic have a podcast? If you are selling something specific to moms with kids who get stains on their clothes, find podcasts aimed at moms with kids.
Come up with a related topic or repurpose one of your content blog posts. Send an email to the podcast and offer to be a guest and share your experience with the “topic.”
Depending on how far in advance they record the episodes, you may be able to get in front of your target audience fairly fast. If not, at least you will down the road.
Never forget to focus on the customer’s needs and experience. Be open to new things and willing to test and make changes. The more professional you appear online, the more people will trust you. Then reward that trust with an incredible experience and customer service.
And that is how to increase online sales for your ecommerce store.
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