The main goal of any online store owner (and the key indicator of one’s success) is sales increase. When you don’t know where to start from and how to stand out among hundreds of other online stores you are very likely to make mistakes. In many cases, people decide that the best way to boost sales is to lower prices.
But it’s a dead end that will limit your growth and, in the long run, will inevitably lead to poor results.
Ecommerce is no longer an easy way to earn money. If you want to compete in the fast-growing market, it is important to pay attention to certain things that may seem unimportant at first sight. Yet these very things eventually influence the overall success of the business.
So what should you do? What techniques and methods could be used to increase sales? What strategies should be prioritized? This article will help you with these questions, as we decided to collect 15 trusted ways to boost online sales, improve traffic and effectiveness of business in general.
1. Get Rid of Technical Problems
If there are no visible problems on the online store website but you still don’t have sales, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the issue isn’t technical. Step into the shoes of your customer trying to place an order to make sure that everything works. Here are some subtle problems that can hinder sales increase:
- Registration or authorization error;
- Broken shopping cart button;
- Customers don’t receive order confirmation e-mails;
- A part of the orders for some reason is not visible in the admin dashboard;
- Some pages show 404 error and more.
For sure, if you are not a technical specialist it would be difficult to detect such problems on the website. Thus, in case you suspect that the online store is not working properly, the best way to solve this is to request a professional audit.
2. Review Prices
Prices can both be a tool to grow sales and a factor that leads to their decrease. Unlike an offline customer, an online one needs relatively a small amount of time to compare prices on the websites of different stores. And be sure, in the majority of cases, customers will use this opportunity.
An approach to pricing should be elaborate, based not only on the desired margin but also on the preliminary analysis of your main competitors’ prices for similar products and average market prices. It well may be that the loss of potential revenue due to a 10% lower price will be multiple times covered by the income from the increased sales.
3. Synchronize the Online Store With the Warehouse
With the growth of your online store, you will need to have a personal warehouse or at least rent a small premise to store products. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a warehouse of your main supplier in your city. Yet in any case you should take care of the two following issues:
- Firstly, products in your catalog must be available in the warehouse (and the number of available items should be also displayed).
- Secondly, you should monitor whether the prices are correct.
When the manager tells the customer that the product added to the shopping cart is out of stock or more expensive the risk of losing this order is quite high. Let alone should you hope that this customer will buy from you again.
4. Shipping and Payment Must be Convenient
Here is a simple example. You want to sell your goods countrywide but offer only a courier shipping. Even more, you ask for prepayment. You don’t take into account that in rural areas, on the contrary, people prefer to use mailing or shipping companies and pay after they receive the order. It is not surprising that many potential buyers can be repelled by that, which will inevitably affect sales.
It is recommended to have several shipping and payment options in the online store, so that the buyers could choose what is the most convenient to them. Even if you target a few big cities some people may want to order something as a gift, which means that they will need alternative shipping options that you just don’t have.
5. Have a Good Choice of Products
In some niches, this is a key to successful commerce and a good way to boost sales. For example, clothes, accessories or books. Many online store owners fail to understand that. When buyers go to a website and see quite a poor choice of products in the catalog, they can just close the tab losing interest and return to search.
So what should you do, if you understand that your customers need more options but you don’t have enough money to buy the necessary amount of goods? In such case, at least try to create the illusion of choice. For example, you can focus on 1-2 categories of products, and only after they are perfected, expand the assortment and add new ones. Or you can combine several related categories into one as this should also help to drive sales in the online store.
6. Consultants and Service
In some types of business, the human factor is of vital importance. Ecommerce is one of them. This has led to the appearance of a mystery shopping approach that is used to measure the quality of service. Even if customers need a product and are ready to order it right now the human factor and service issues can make them refuse from the purchase. For example, a manager doesn’t answer the calls, there is nobody in the chat and, moreover, a sales assistant has really bad knowledge of the niche and cannot help customers with their questions.
If you eliminate these problems this will help to increase sales volume. Yet to get rid of them you should understand their roots. Sometimes it’s enough to organize a necessary training for the sales assistant and more rigorously control one’s work. However, in other cases, you may be forced to look for more qualified and experienced employees to increase sales.
7. Niche and Product Play Important Role
The question of a picking products to sell online is absolutely crucial. Especially, if you don’t yet have enough experience in e-commerce. In this respect, there may be two reasons for low sales: you have chosen the wrong product for promotion or the niche of your online store is generally too narrow.
Online stores belonging to a specific niche have a better chance for success than an ordinary online supermarket with no clear theme. However, the chosen niche should have sufficient potential demand in your target region. Not all products profitable in offline are popular in online retail enough to bring good revenue.
8. Choose Proper Promotion Channels
To choose a channel that will help you to attract visitors you should clearly understand where is your audience. Internet marketing specialists can determine that relying on their personal experience or perform a data analysis using a web analytics service installed on the pages of your website.
A simple example: If you sell industrial equipment and almost all your customers come from organic search or contextual advertising, but you are trying to promote your product on Facebook it’s obvious why you have no sales. Whereas social media may bring you some traffic, the conversion of such visitors into customers will be minimal. That’s why the review of your marketing strategies and their detailed analytics can become one of the ways to boost sales in the online store.
9. Don’t Stop Halfway
If you have opened the online store just two weeks ago or only started promoting it there is no point in drawing conclusions with 10 visitors/day. You have to continue developing your website increasing and improving the traffic and the law of large numbers will take its effect.
Even if the conversion rate remains the same the doubled amount of visitors will almost drive sales. And what if you also make some efforts to improve the conversion? The results will become better and better. One of the main tasks of any SEO specialist is to increase traffic.
10. Improve Usability
We have already written what usability is and why it is important for commercial projects. In a nutshell, it is how convenient a website is to use. You may wonder: how is it connected with sales increase? Yet the truth is that website usability directly impacts conversion. Therefore, a online store with good usability will generate high income, even if the traffic is low, and vice versa.
A Confusing structure, a small font, low-quality images, slow page loading, and complicated registration forms – all these are usability problems. So, if you have such flaws on your website, you have to correct them as soon as possible.
11. Make Your Design Responsible
If the majority of your online store visitors browse it on mobile devices this can greatly increase sales. Yet you should take care of its design and make the website responsive. Currently, mobile users comprise already 30% of traffic. Whereas websites of certain topics crossed the threshold of 50%. Just imagine the amount of potential income you are losing, if your website is inconvenient on mobile devices.
12. Traffic Must be Targeted
There is a poor chance that a BMW showroom owner will notice some real benefits, if one’s website is regularly visited by students from the nearest primary school. Maybe this analogy isn’t that precise but one thing is clear – in case of ecommerce traffic quality should be prioritized over quantity, and not vice versa.
This can be achieved with a proper keywords research, the usage of the most effective marketing channels and others methods that help to increase sales. Naturally, all these steps should be based on a clear understanding of the target audience and the ways it can be attracted.
13. Seasonality of Demand
One way or another, almost all types of business are susceptible to seasonality. At first glance, it may seem a drawback yet, on the other side, a proper approach to such market changes can turn them into an advantage. You just have to be well prepared to seasonal growth of demand both in terms of website promotion and the organization of online store work.
If at the start of the hot selling season you will manage to get top search results for target search queries and at the same time smoothly process all incoming orders good income is guaranteed.
In this case, the New Year is a good example. Online store owners should prepare for this holiday already from the beginning of September-October, using SEO and other strategies such as content marketing.
14. Product Page is the Main Element
When users search a certain product usually the search system includes the very product page in its results. That’s why it’s so important for an online store owner to make this page as good as possible. It should fully cover the questions your customers may come up with.
Take a look at the example in the picture below:
This product page has all information a customer may need: the price and the availability status, the big Buy button, the option to choose among several types of the product, the number of items, several large photos, information about the manufacturer, the phone number of the manager, delivery and payment options, the detailed description and characteristics, reviews, advantages of the online store itself, social media buttons, the compare feature, and many other elements.
Here a lot depends on every individual case, and very often a type of a product is directly related to what information should be mentioned. Anyway, don’t limit yourself to the description you have received from the manufacturer. You must also add professional photos and give your customers the opportunity to leave a review or share their opinion.
15. Make Users Trust You
Even with wonderful prices, informative product pages, and good usability, you can have no sales if generally customers don’t believe your online store is really credible. Especially in case you sell medium or high price products.
It is necessary to take into account several factors that in most cases affect the level of customer’s trust to an ecommerce store:
- Detailed information on exchange and refund guarantees, conditions of payment and delivery;
- Several contact options: phone, email, online assistant, etc;
- Informative product pages with customer reviews;
- No blank pages and categories in the product catalog;
- If the design isn’t unique at least it must be of high-quality;
- About Us/ About the Company page with a detailed description of the brand, or, even better, with photos of your office and employees;
- No spelling or other mistakes in the content and more.
At first glance, it may seem that these are just trifles but the combination of such details forms the image of your company among potential customers.
To increase sales in the online store you shouldn’t necessarily invest huge budget and completely change your website. Even a seemingly small improvement of business processes and technical part, if combined, can greatly increase revenue.
By the way, here is an idea to note: Try implementing one of the aforementioned tips every week. And when you finish, after a week or two, check the result. Be sure, it will pleasantly surprise you.