Ecommerce is one of the most effective ways to generate revenue for your business. But in a fast-paced, ever-changing, and competitive web of businesses online, it can be difficult to sell. Here are 10 foundational strategies for selling more online.
1. Responsive Website
This is old news (Google recommended responsive design in 2012), but it's shocking how many website still aren't responsive. If you’re going to drive traffic to your website, it must work well on all devices. For the sites we manage, mobile traffic makes up approximately 60-70% of all users right now, and even higher percentages from social media. If you’re promoting on Facebook or Instagram, mobile traffic is more like 90%. Google is not likely to rank your site for mobile searchers if your site is not mobile optimized. Here’s a free tool to test your site’s mobile friendliness.
2. Site Speed
Every 1 second delay in page load time can reduce your conversion rate by 7% (according to Hubspot). Here's a simple way to make a big difference:
Optimizing images for the web can significantly reduce page load time. Poorly optimized images may be larger than necessary, saved at too high a resolution and can carry extra unnecessary meta data. Using an image optimizer like Kraken.io or JPEGmini can drastically reduce file sizes.
3. Meet Online Shopper Expectations / Minimize Resistance
Amazon and other giant online retailers have set a standard and now online shoppers have high expectations that can be tough for small businesses to meet. Here are a few ways to step up and meet your customers' needs.
If you offer free shipping, be sure that’s called out clearly on your site, ideally with a prominent callout in the site header that's viewable from all pages. Also make it known if you offer free or reduced priority or expedited shipping.
Show appropriate images and details
Make the pixels large enough for shoppers to see the product up close, and keep in mind the importance of this from product to product. Show them everything they need to see about a particular product. For example, a shirt should be shown from front, back, and ideally on a model. A wall hanging might need a shot of it on a wall to show size and also an up close shot to show detail. Maybe even show a video where appropriate. And don’t underestimate the power of a good size chart.
This is an easy one. Don’t mess up the basics or they could haunt you. Make sure your business contact information is easy to find and if you offer a contact form or live chat service, be sure to respond to every single message in a timely manner. Bad ratings and reviews are public and there is nothing you can do to get rid of them. But, if you can show that you make up for your mistakes and offer impeccable customer service, it can result in repeat, loyal customers.
4. Ask for Ratings/Reviews
Once someone has purchased from you, ask them to rate and review the product/service on your website. Some sites have a rating/review tool built in, along with an auto email that gets sent out requesting product reviews after a purchase. If not, talk to your developer about integrating a ratings and reviews system. And as mentioned above, don’t be afraid of bad reviews. Use those bad reviews to showcase your customer service and turn that frown upside down.
5. Increase Average Order Value
Make sure customers know about things you sell that they might be interested in. Simple things like “you might also like” or “pairs well with” or “customers who bought this also purchased.” It’s classic upsell. Some sites have these sections built in that will automatically pull in products based on user purchase patterns, or a manual setup, where you can pick the products shown. You can also incentivize customers by offering things like free shipping on orders over $50, or buy this and get another item 20% off. Reward them for buying more.
6. Get Repeat Customers
Capture your customers’ emails and market to them on a regular basis. Once someone has purchased from you, they are low-hanging fruit. Take advantage of that contact info you now have (assuming they have opted in) and make sure they stay in the know about new products/services you offer, special promotions and deals, giveaways and contests, etc. In your auto emails that are sent once they order, encourage them to follow you on social media. Keep them engaged.
7. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
In the most basic sense, you’ve got to make sure you use the terms on your site that people would be searching when trying to find a product or service like yours. For example, if you call your product “ribbed cutoff sleeveless shirt” but people are searching for “womens crop tank” they will not be able to find your business because Google doesn’t realize you carry a womens crop tank. Also, be sure to check your site search analytics to see what users may be searching for directly on your site. If you have a lot of users on your site searching for the same thing and you have poorly-worded product names, that’s the tell-tale sign you need to rename your products. The best advice we can give you is to be literal with your product and service names and descriptions and don’t get overly cutesy. That’s what we call marketing “fluff.”
8. Link Building & Content Marketing
This is a huge one. Get individuals, brands, media and influencers to link to your site. What partnerships do you have? Who already supports your brand? Who already loves your product? Ask them to link to your site. Get them talking about your product/service in their own channels. You can even do your own media and influencer outreach. Can you get an editor to cover your product/business? Can you send your products to bloggers and get them to produce content about it? You can increase likelihood of getting links to your site by offering really great content. For example, if you sell shirts, you can blog about fashion trends. This gives people a reason to want to read what you offer on your site besides always just pushing product to them. Educate them, entertain them, and enrich them. Then sell to them. Your own social media tactics are huge for driving traffic.
9. Buy Ads
If you are new or in an extremely competitive space, you can boost your success by purchasing digital advertising. On the web, this is done in various forms but a few of the most successful for ecommerce are:
This is where all of your products are put into a feed within Google or another paid service and your relevant products are automatically shown when users search for certain keywords. Shopping feeds can be tricky to set up initially, but are definitely worth it as it makes it super easy for relevant users to find your products.
You know those ads that seem to haunt you no matter what site you visit? Those are called retargeting ads. They may seem pushy, but they’re effective. Once users visit your site and click on products, that interaction is recorded. Then once they click off of your site and go to another site that is within the Google, or another paid service, network, an ad will show them the products from your site that they on. This tactic not only keeps your business name and products on the user’s mind, it might be just enough to entice them to click back to your site and complete their purchase.
Pay per click ads are exactly what their name implies - an ad that you pay per user click you generate. Typically, these are your basic search ads, where your business is displayed first in a search engine result page (SERP). The ads are generated from keyword lists you create that you want to pay to rank higher for. If you’re a new business or new to advertising your business, and looking to direct more traffic to your site, this is a great way to start.
Social media ads
The more that social media grows, the more important it is to have a social presence. An easy way to reach more users on social media is to utilize social ads. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest all offer the option to advertise your products and services, and all offer a very easy setup process.
10. Measure Everything, Adjust Accordingly
Google Analytics is free and requires just one snippet of code. Make sure your web developer has this added to your site and that you have access to the reports. You can use these analytics to find the weaknesses and strengths of your site. Warning: There is a lot of data available and it can be overwhelming. Take full advantage of their free training.
The list doesn’t end here - there are many more ways to get more out of your online store and increase revenue and conversions. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to us, we’d love to hear from you!