How to Increase E-commerce Sales: 9 Tips That Help Even When The Case Seems Hopeless
It is finally springtime, and everything is blooming, except your business? Keep calm and do not rush to another expensive course.
Of course, finding your target audience and learning to approach it correctly or rearranging your website’s layout might require professional assistance. Yet, sometimes planting small seeds like creating an email list or adding high-quality photo and video materials is an effective take on how to grow e-commerce sales.
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5 Ways You Can Disappoint Visitors and Fail to Boost E-commerce Sales
As eMarketer reported, e-commerce was on the rise even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now it is booming. With impressive 27.6% growth over the year 2020, online retail has finally exceeded the $4 trillion mark.
Retrieved from eMarketer
Naturally, when you are a part of the e-commerce industry, yet you do not witness the same positive development in your revenue, this is a signal to initiate drastic changes to your business strategy. However, determining the reasons behind the unsatisfactory performance is an antecedent to brainstorming possible takes on how to increase sales in e-commerce.
1. Your Brand Does Not Have An Appeal
When you are a monopolist, you can enjoy the luxury of not being a crowdpleaser. Still, you have to explain to people why they need your product in the first place. Plus, you might not experience the urge to elaborate on the benefits of choosing your services, but the situation will change when the competition arrives.
Hence, you need to develop a Unique Selling Proposition. This means that you have to give shoppers proper motivation to opt for your product or service. It can be any viable characteristic, including:
- Exceptional quality.
- Innovative materials or technologies.
- Diverse shipping or payment options. For instance, Dote offers free shipping for the first order and accepts cryptocurrency as a payment method.
- Easy-to-follow return & refund policy.
- The unconventional concept behind the product that speaks to the audience. Take a look at H*nest Meditation application. It was developed for those who are not “walking-on-air” spiritual people or gurus. This app provides a tool to address the eternal stress of everyday life, like a bad boss or annoying neighbors, while staying true to your ordinary self. That is why it resonates with the masses.
2. You Refuse to Learn More about Your Audience
Of course, the quality of products or services you provide always comes first, and allowing your fan base to proliferate organically is incomparably more effective. Still, if you fail to grasp what your potential clients are, you risk ending up selling your product to people that would never buy it.
Let’s examine ice cream. Everyone is crazy about it. So, there is no need to put a lot of thought into its market positioning, right? Not exactly:
- This is Mary. She is 7, and she wants her ice cream to have all the sprinkles in the world.
- Jane is 24, and she is into healthy eating habits. Thus, she prefers plombières with real butterfat.
- Steve loves “whiskey + chocolate” alcohol-infused ice cream. Worry not: it is legal - he is already 21.
- Charlotte is a corporate CEO. Therefore, she is willing to pay extra for handpicked strawberries and Belgian chocolate.
Overall, any attempt to approach all these categories at once will be futile. Hence, choose the segment of shoppers who are the most likely to become your clientele and investigate their preferences. As soon as you figure out what they wish for, you can start delivering it.
3. Your Communication Skills Leave Much to Be Desired
As in any form of social interaction, effective communication in e-commerce is also pivotal. Even when messages and conversations are digital, they:
- Shape the customers’ perception of your product.
- Equip you with tools to gather personal data.
- Create the atmosphere and helps build trust.
- Provide means to assist, support, and guide buyers.
If you fail to enunciate the benefits of shopping with you or resolve difficulties visitors’ might encounter along the way, then the blame for the insufficient profits is on you. The e-commerce market is large enough to find a store that offers both quality and a friendly attitude.
4. You Have not Proved That You Are Trustworthy
Honestly, this one does not require an explanation. Chances are, you are familiar with online shopping and can relate to the fear of being scammed or getting a pig in a poke. Even if your bank supports a chargeback procedure, it is a huge risk.
With this in mind, you should revise your platform and see if it checks these boxes:
- You encourage clients to post reviews and testimonials.
- Your platform offers multiple means to contact you.
- You publish enough information about essential things, including product’s characteristics & materials, payment methods, delivery process, refund or return procedures, etc.
- Your site uses secure channels for processing people’s data (e.g., get an SSL certificate).
- You are not afraid to show your real team and the actual product, instead of displaying stock images.
5. Your Service is Overly Complicated & Inconvenient
Baymard Institute studied 46 various statistics on cart abandonment. It concluded that a concerning number of visitors drop out because vendors are incapable of taking a walk in customers’ shoes to see the fatal flaws that impede the shopping process, such as:
- excruciatingly long checkout process;
- obscure, complicated, and bureaucratic refund/return policy;
- lack of convenient payment/shipping options (expensive or slow delivery);
- extra/hidden costs or inability to calculate the total cost before the checkout.
Fixing these troubles calls for time and resources. But even if you start with small steps like form optimization, it will be rewarding for your sales with a potential 35.26% increase in conversion rate.
Retrieved from Baymard Institute.
A Few Rearrangements Away: 9 Steps to Increase Ecommerce Sales
Being a successful entrepreneur is not an easy role to take, especially now when the standards are higher than ever. Be original, but not too much. Customers are always right, except sometimes they are not. Advertise and offer support, yet stop being too pushy. Be traditional and innovative simultaneously.
Sometimes it seems that you just cannot win. Still, do not be crestfallen. Certain tactics can become a first-aid kit for refining your action plan and facilitating your online sales.
1. Prioritize Quality in All Aspects
Naturally, the quality of your work is a determinant of your success, and you should not overlook any side of it. Recent statistics provided by Marketing Charts prove that your shipping deals affect your visitors’ decisions almost as much as your products’ pricing. Hence, make sure that shoppers enjoy:
- products made of quality materials;
- services that solve their problems and comply with their demands;
- adequate cost to delivery speed ratio;
- on-time delivery with an estimated/guaranteed delivery date;
- ability to track the package;
- simple, explicit, and coherent refund/return procedures;
- secure & easy-to-use payment methods (e.g., if you accept cryptocurrency, provide a guide on how to stay safe)
- competent and compassionate customer service.
Retrieved from Marketing Charts
Of course, being impeccable is an overly ambitious goal. Mistakes and accidents are bound to happen. You have to make peace with that and build your strategy on realistic scenarios. However, taking small steps towards improvement is always better than letting your shortcomings slide.
2. Offer a Fair Price
Coming up with a competitive yet affordable price is one of the most trying tasks for business owners. There are three main factors you have to keep in mind while making necessary calculations:
- The price should match the intended niche. Whether you are selling economy or luxurious products, browse the competition to ensure that you are not charging too much or too little.
- It needs to be reasonable. On the one hand, your target audience should be able to purchase the product. But on the other hand, an excessively low price can be detrimental to your profits. To solve this dilemma, you can choose the suppliers, with whom you do not need to overpay while still receiving quality goods and materials.
3. Diversify Available Options
If you examine the research published by Marketing Charts, you might conclude that contemporary online retailers lack variety in every service they provide. Indeed, customers are frustrated with the available selection of brands/products, shipping methods, and refund/return options. Turns out, diversity is in demand this season. So, if you want to capitalize on the situation, you need to offer:
- a broader catalog of brands and collections;
- free/economy shipping alongside an express/fast delivery;
- flat rate shipping;
- return labels that you can print or find inside the package;
- exchange option;
- automatic refund;
- not only credit card payments but also PayPal, gift cards, direct invoices, and even cryptocurrency (with proper precautions).
4. Scout for Your Audience’s Preferences
Wired gave us true fodder for the brains when reported that 80% of people would be charmed enough to buy your product or accept your proposal if encountered a personalized approach. Luckily, modern technologies allow you to compose the ultimate toolbox for gathering, processing, and using people’s data:
- Build contact forms in Claspo to get users’ personal details and transfer them to your CRM & CDP.
- Import collected info from CRM or CDP to your popups, emails, and other messages.
- Check Google Analytics reports to observe users’ activity (visits, checkouts, orders, cart abandonment, etc.) and reveal the most or the least popular pages.
- Obtain information via surveys. Yet, most traditional surveys make people yawn after the first three questions. Whereas hardly anyone can resist the temptation to find out what kind of pizza they are or where they should go on the next vacation. Hence, popup quizzes are incredibly effective when you need to get insights into visitors' behavior patterns. Construct your surveys with Claspo if you want to transform dreary forms into fun popup quizzes.
- You can also utilize Claspo to construct popups that propose customers comment on their satisfaction with your service and willingness to recommend your brand. This is an informative, quick, and efficient way to evaluate your CSI and NPS indicators. Plus, it enables you to express gratitude to the participants by granting them a nice discount.
- Enrich leads’ and clients’ profiles by accessing publicly available data. With the power of modern technology, simple knowledge of people’s emails or IP addresses can get you their age, location, company info, interests, and more. You can search and add new information by stating Claspo Rules in your popup, consequently, integrating your website with 3-party data APIs like Clearbit or FullContact.
5. Form a Bond with Your Customers
Many companies fail to admit it, but their potential clients are their greatest allies. Shoppers bring you inspiration, point out the defects of your products, services, or policies, and advertise you to their friends. That is why every wise entrepreneur should be eager to go the extra mile to build long-term relations with leads and clients.
First, you have to let the customers know that you are approachable and trustworthy. As a successful start to your journey to establish your reputation as an amicable and reliable vendor, you can:
- Greet new visitors with a welcome popup that contains a small discount as a token of appreciation. Claspo has plenty of templates for these messages. Just choose the one that you find the most appropriate for the occasion.
- Publish clients’ reviews, testimonials, photos & videos of your product.
- Do not shy away from telling more about your company, team, and products.
- Do not withhold important information, such as refund/return policy, additional costs, or shipping options.
- Be active on social media and use such platforms as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to increase brand awareness. Post news, updates, stories about your team, company, or product to show that you are open, relatable, and deserve appreciation. Share and comment on posts that mention you. Respond to criticism, and thank people for kind words about you.
- Create an FAQ section with comprehensive answers.
- Install multiple customer support tools. Permit people to contact you via chatbot, live chat, email, or call center. It might be a nice gesture to add a popup message that unobtrusively invites people to participate in a conversation and demonstrates your readiness to assist.
- Use conversational AI in case visitors prefer to talk. These chatbots and assistants are already advanced enough to maintain a meaningful interaction. Moreover, Deloitte Digital reports that they are fast learners. That is why their popularity will continue to grow at a CAGR of 30.2% during 2019-2024.
Retrieved from Deloitte Digital
Naturally, consumer empathy provides you with insights and an understanding of customers’ needs. As a result, you can take better care of your buyers, inducing them to become your loyal clients. You can start by envisaging visitors’ behavior or reminiscing your own shopping experience. Yet, you should remember that there are more productive measures and techniques you can utilize to form a genuine connection with your customers.
When someone says, “intuitive design”, at least one UX designer gets upset somewhere. Truth be told, this term is so overused and misinterpreted, it needs an urgent reinvention. People do not use intuition to navigate the site: they recognize the paths and algorithms they have seen before.
Different demographics have different experiences and expertise. Therefore, if you strive to construct the website with visitors’ best interests in mind, you have to:
- Apply the most common patterns (e.g., form defaults or navigation tabs).
- Do not overwhelm users with elements.
- Make the important information, such as price, availability, shipping & payment options, or refund policy, visible and accessible.
- Do not block or hide your call-to-action (CTA) buttons, make them a centerpiece of your page or message.
- Keep your form short and sweet, with one stage per page and 12-14 elements in total.
The necessity to stick to familiar schemes should not prevent you from adding innovative technologies. For instance, 3D models or VR can provide a more authentic user experience. Still, you should not incorporate them blindly, conduct a reconnaissance of the customers’ preferences first. You can execute A/B testing to determine the modifications and new features that correspond well with the public perception.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most effective examples of advanced technologies. Pinterest used it to upgrade its search engine and make it more customer-oriented. Let’s say you were searching for something “cozy”. The results of this inquiry may correlate with a variety of topics and subjects, including fireplace, breakfast, or sweater, and you can see all of them displayed as tags at the top of the page.
Retrieved from Pinterest
Of course, you cannot replace personal communication with automated responses and algorithms, regardless of how sophisticated they are. Therefore, you have to confirm that members of your sales, marketing, customer service, any other team that interacts with visitors are not only knowledgeable in their area of expertise but also can show support, friendliness, and sympathy.
Even for small and insignificant, at the first glance, details, such as success messages, choose the manner that resonates with your target demographic. For instance, you can be official and respectful with, “Thank you! We’ve sent you a confirmation email”, or more informal and friendly with, “Thanks, we promise fun stuff is on the way”.
IMB states that 44% of shoppers claim to be purpose-driven now. Hence, they expect their favorite brands to share their values. This implies that for almost half of the consumers you need to support a social, ecological, or other important cause to be worthy of their loyalty and commitment.
Naturally, many companies started to incorporate sustainable practices. Seekrtech that developed the Forest application is one of them, and it illustrates the benefits of this approach perfectly. The app is based on the concept of resisting procrastination by planting virtual trees and refraining from distractions long enough to let them grow. Yet, it goes further and backs up this idea with the ability to donate and plant a real tree, leaving you with the satisfying feeling of contributing to solving one of the global problems.
Being a business owner does not automatically invoke an obligation to pursue an agenda. But if you are genuinely passionate about something and want to experience the synergistic effect of changing the world together, this tactic will suit your intentions well.
6. Combine Old-fashioned and Modern Advertising
Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of believing that advertising is the part that should be the last on their priority list. Others claim to be “old souls”, which, frankly, is not a viable option in e-commerce, the sphere that was invented as a result of technological progress. Of course, flyers, brochures, and radio/TV commercials are still effective, yet you can also accomplish a lot by using contemporary technology:
- Come to Facebook Ads Manager or Google Ads if you long for generating a substantial amount of traffic.
- Ask famous influencers or even your followers to promote and tell others about your product.
- With Claspo, you can gamify your popups to make your proposals more entertaining.
- Create an email list of your leads, prospects, and clients to quickly approach any segment of your target demographic.
- Use Claspo to add a timer to your popup and stimulate the fear of missing out.
- Neutralize the deteriorating effect of cart abandonment with exit-intent popups, follow-up emails, and remarketing.
- Fill your website SEO-optimized with content to make search engines work in your favor.
- Popup quizzes can also increase your social recognition because people will be excited to share their results on social media.
7. Embrace Technological Progress
According to IMB, at least 27% of buyers got accustomed to new technologies during the pandemic and now perceive them as an inherent part of their shopping routine. Thus, if you strive to keep up with your audience, you should make a closer acquaintance with new technologies:
- Use advanced & up-to-date software.
- Maintain acceptable page-load time and execution speed.
- Perform systematic scans for bugs or glitches.
- Install means for hybrid shopping and include buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) option.
Retrieved from IMB
8. Respect Mobile Users
Neither should you neglect mobile shoppers nor segregate them. Smartphone and tablet users are a substantial part of your audience. They contribute to your revenue considerably. Hence, they deserve to be treated with an equal amount of obeisance as other visitors.
So, your primary task is to pay attention to these two parameters:
- Usability. Opt for mobile-friendly formats of the elements on this version of your website. Check the pages and run tests to confirm that everything is displayed correctly.
- Cross-platform availability. Make sure that whether it is macOS, Windows or Linux, Google Play or App Store, every function of your application works as intended.
9. Be a Bit of an Artist
Naturally, the human brain prefers to be fed with visual data, e.g., its images’ processing speed exceeds texts’ by 60 000 times, as stated by Thermopylae Sciences + Technology portal. However, now, when we literally risk drowning in the flood of information (producing 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily is not a joke), photos, videos, infographics, and other visual materials are a lifeline for our tired eyes and minds. Moreover, with the absence of tangible experience, “dress to impress” is not a fancy phrase but a practical manual for the online store’s design. So, you can make your platform more appealing when you:
- Choose the color palette and layout that suit your purpose and vision. Some campaigns call for a soothing atmosphere, while others need an edgy attention-getter. However, regardless of whether your front page is bright and bold, elegant and classic, colorful and daring, luxurious and exquisite, it should always be eye candy.
- Create and use all kinds of high-quality visual content. It stimulates the imagination and allows buyers to picture themselves using or trying on your products. Let people feel the vibe of going down the street in a new dress, having a tasty breakfast, or enjoying the sweet escape of a camping trip.
Sometimes it feels like when it rains, it pours. After complicated forms and disorganized layout comes barren advertising and incompetent customer support. Even a minor flaw can have a snowball effect and turn into an avalanche that hinders your customer flow. Yet, you must not relinquish hope. As long as you are ready to adapt, embrace new technology, and actively listen to what shoppers want to say, your arsenal of tools to increase e-commerce sales shall never be empty.