I’ve worked with a number of ecommerce and online businesses over the past few years, and the main goal has always been the same: increase sales. This is no easy feat, and I’ve faced learning curves with different companies that I’ve worked with. That said, I’ve also had a lot of success. Within this guide, I’m going to talk you through some of the core fundamentals of growing your online sales.
I’ve spoken to some of the most innovative and exciting ecommerce companies of late to get their insight into what did work and what didn’t when it came to their online sales. In this guide, I’ve broken down multiple strategies into concise chunks of information that will tell you why each strategy is useful, how you can implement each, and many tools that will help you along the way.
1. Offer a sale
Consumers love a good sale. Admit it, we all do! How much better does it feel to buy those jeans you’ve had your eye on when you find out they’re 20% off? Not only does it feel better, but that 20% was very likely the reason you finally bit the bullet and bought something you had your eye on, right? And, realistically, the 20% probably wasn’t a very high dollar amount. So the sale itself didn’t hurt the seller, and it benefitted the consumer. Everybody wins when a sale is made.
The same principle applies to all ecommerce products. Get creative with the sale you are offering and always keep the consumer in mind. For the holidays, lots of companies offer “free shipping” or “guaranteed delivery before X date.” Why? Because they know people get frantic around the holidays, hunting for last minute gifts. Those small benefits, whether they be free shipping or a discount or whatever you come up with, may be the difference between an abandoned cart and a sale.
Instagram is possibly THE most important social media tool for online sales at the moment. Why? Because Instagram is still largely untapped, as opposed to Facebook, which has turned into basically a stream of constant advertisements. User’s interests and habits are much more refined and specific on Instagram than on Facebook.
The “story” feature on Instagram allows you to tell your brand’s story without getting lost in the Instagram algorithm. You can show off new products, updates, and sales. These are a few key phrases to increase conversions: ‘Swipe up for Free Shipping’, ‘Swipe up to get a pair for you now’, ‘Swipe up to get this for your girlfriend’. Draw them in, offer them something!
Influencers can be a huge component to your brand’s success on social media. A lot of small online businesses think that Instagram influencers are solely the Kardashians and Jenners of the world, but that’s not true.
There are influencers in every market, from sports to beauty products, and partnering with one of them could give you a big boost.
There are lots of different ways to compensate influencers, from free product to giving them an affiliate links to percentage-of-sales payments, which is something you and your partners can negotiate. Always check their numbers and request a media kit to ensure that this deal truly has potential to benefit you.
Make sure the content is (or seems) authentic, regardless who is delivering it, and that you’re following all of the rules when it comes to advertising with influencers on social.
3. Implement live chat
The biggest months of retail are November and December. If you can had a chance to increase your sales by 5%, 10%, or 20% would you take advantage? Of course.
As anyone in ecommerce knows, lots of customers abandon their cart with they have a objection about something. Maybe they don’t know if their shirt will fit them. Maybe they can’t justify spending $65 on those new joggers you were showing off in your Instagram story. Whatever the case may be, keep in mind that answering any objections your customer has is essential.
Live chat functionality allows you to get up close and personal with your customers by chatting with them in real time, answering any questions and quelling any concerns they may have.
4. Money back guarantee
I see this all the time. So many companies are offering “30-Day Money Back Guarantees”, no questions asked! Why? Because of the numbers. A 30-day money back guarantee increases sales by 12% on average, while the return rate is only 3%. You are communicating with your customer that you believe your product is so good that you’ll refund them if they don’t like it, putting your customer in a position to trust you.
Neil Patel added a 30-day money back guarantee to his traffic systems course, increasing sales by 21%, while only 12% of purchasers asked for their money back. Overall, offering this tactic increased his revenue and bottom line.
But, what about scammers? Yes there will always be those “tire kickers” that order $500 worth of merchandise and return almost all of it. I realize this is a pain in the ass but the numbers show that offering money back guarantees and full refunds increase your sales. Don’t believe me? Try this out on your online store if possible and let me know how it goes!
5. Creative email campaigns
Bird Dogs is a small company targeting college-aged males that want shorts that they can ‘frat with’ and go to the gym with. Take a look at 3 past emails I’ve received from Bird Dogs. They know their target market well: college aged males don’t want to see a boring email campaign, they want to laugh and connect with the company.
View their email campaign here: https://www.birddogs.com/blogs/the-weekly-bird
Creative email campaigns are going to allow you to connect with your customers. If people actually enjoy your emails, you’re going to see high open rates and increased sales. No one wants to read a boring email, so don’t send one.
6. Reduce abandoned carts
If you’re an ecommerce business pick a email marketing tool that can use automation. Klaviyo is an advanced email tool that will automatically trigger an email out to your customer if they abandoned your cart.
For example, if I’m about to buy 2 shirts for $75 on sevsshirts.com but abandon my cart I get an automated email from Sevs Shirts that says “I think you forgot something. Take 10% off your order and get free shipping if you complete this order,” or whatever verbiage applies to your particular product.
You can also do a funnel audit. Using a tool like Mouseflow or Hotjar is essential to learning how your customer is using your online store and figuring out WHY customers are abandoning their carts. Doing this will allow you to make the appropriate changes to reduce this.
7. Prioritize product reviews
In the world of online shopping, reviews are king. How many times have you bought something on Amazon because they product had 4.5 or 5 star review? How many times have you NOT purchased something because of bad reviews? Exactly. Reviews count.
Product reviews are testimonials, and consumers rely greatly on them. Don’t have product reviews on your product yet? No need to get stressed out! Use tools like Yatpo to integrate with your online store and gently push customers to leave a review. After someone make a purchase and receives their shipment, Yatpo automatically emails them and requests them to leave a product review in exchange for a percentage off their next purchase.
This automated service will grow the number of reviews you get, and therefore, grow your sales. If you believe in your product, there is no excuse for not implementing product reviews.
I’d recommend structuring your automation email requesting a review to be a no brainer offer. For example:
We’re glad you shopped with us and hope you are head over heels for our product.
If you leave a review we’re offering 10% off your next order! Let us know what you think!
We’re glad you apart of _company name_.
The _company name_ team
Product reviews also improve your SEO. They increase how much content is on your page and increase your likelihood of having long tail keywords. They’re a total win-win.
8. Cross-sell and up-sell
If a customer is willing to buy a razor from your online store, wouldn’t they want shaving cream as well? What if you could bundle your razor, shaving cream, and toiletry bag altogether for a reduced price? Using cross sells and upsells in your online store is a great way to increase your online sales and boost your online sales.
If you truly believe in your products, getting customers to buy MORE of what you’re selling will also increase the likelihood of them coming back for more.