With the pandemic still in full swing, a viable business that can be started from home is to sell online and launch your e-commerce store. You can sell a wide array of products online such as home furnishings, apparel, wine, information products such as eBooks and courses, and much more.
You can start by using a free ecommerce website as a platform for your ecommerce site, or build your own on your website.
Global retail e-commerce sales is projected to grow to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022, according to Statista.
However, getting a share of this pie is not easy, and starting an online store now is harder than ever. Competition is fierce, especially for high-demand product categories. And, the market for some product categories is saturated. Getting traffic and converting visitors into buyers is also not easy.
Here is a comprehensive guide on how you can increase the sales of your online store:
Find the right products to sell
Start by choosing the right products to sell. You can either find the hottest and trending products to sell, or sell niche products that have viable markets.
One of the best ways to increase your sales from your web store is to find products with huge demand that you can sell with good margins. This could be anything from food, clothes, electronics, kid’s toys, etc.
Given that high demand means tough competition, one other approach is to sell niche products instead. These are goods or services that serve a specific customer base and product category. For example, you can sell unique, one-of-a-kind, or handmade products.
Get the right visitors
Higher conversion and sales start with getting the right visitors to your website. It does not matter that you see spikes in traffic if no one’s buying. What you want to see is more people who buy into your website.
Make sure you attract qualified traffic or those genuinely interested in your products. Quality traffic means people who will do positive actions upon arrival on your site. They buy your products, sign up for your newsletter, contact you, watch your videos, or peruse several pages of your website. The challenge is finding these high-quality visitors and making them go to your site.
Design your website to sell
People who visit your store need to feel good about it. This means keeping in mind the design, navigation, and all the other elements and how they affect the visitors’ experiences. Your website must be easy to use and navigate, and convey trust and confidence to the visitors.
Make your ecommerce store easy to navigate to enable your visitors to easily move around and find the things they need. For you, a website that’s easily navigated means that at any given point of time you know where your customers are, and what options are presented to them at that point.
A well-organized website also sends signals to search engines that it provides good user experience. And search engines will look at it — when you submit a sitemap to search engines, they will map the organization of your website and evaluate it. The better the organization, the better ranking your website will have. This can improve your organic website traffic and bring more visitors — potential customers — to your website.
Use Clean and Simple Checkout
A long and complicated checkout process can turn a lot of customers away. Once the sale is finalized, you’ve got yourself a customer. Some of the things you can do to improve your checkout process include making payments easy, being upfront on shipping costs, making it easy to create an account, and maybe even experiment with a one-page checkout process.
Use your site search
Your site search can provide you with important information that can help increase your online sales. Get a list of the words or phrases that your visitors are putting in your site search. Then ask the following questions:
- Do you have these products?
- If so, how prominently are they placed on your site?
- Why are the visitors not finding these products?
Take note of the products that visitors are searching for that you do not carry. You may be missing out on sales opportunities given the demand for the product. Also, your users may be using different terms than what you have named your products. If so, consider adding those terms in your search dictionary or in the product description themselves.
Mobile represents the biggest shift in commerce in recent years. To succeed today, your business needs to be easily accessible on mobile devices. These include smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other Web-connected devices. Mobile commerce should be a key part of your strategy.
If your business is mobile, you allow your business to be accessible at all times from virtually anywhere. Smartphones are ‘always on’ devices, with users carrying them all the time wherever they go. Many consumers own smartphones and access the Internet through their devices. They research products to buy, play games, read, and yes, shop on mobile devices. Some shoppers also research products on their mobile devices and buy them on desktops or offline.
Implement Responsive Design
When mobile Internet traffic surpassed desktop Internet traffic in 2016, it was the final wakeup call to start taking mobile-friendliness seriously. With mobile devices becoming increasingly powerful, mobile Internet traffic and purchases made on mobile devices have nowhere to go but up. People look for deals on the go and if they can’t visit your site while on the go, well you can wave goodbye as they pass.
Among the several different design options you have for making your website mobile-friendly, responsive design is the one that is recommended as efficient and cost-effective. If you enable your website to resize and reorganize based on the size of the screen it’s displayed on, you’ll get a lot of goodwill for mobile visitors. More importantly, you’ll also get the money from their purchases.
Sharpen your landing pages
Visitors are not always arriving on your homepage. Many come to your site via your product or other interior pages, yet this fact is often one of the most neglected sales points. In fact, where you send your visitors can be key to increasing your conversion rate. Check your web statistics and find out your main landing pages, ensuring that they are able to engage visitors. Then, consider adding a graphic in these top landing pages that succinctly explain what your website is all about.
Use popups at key points
It is undeniable how well a good popup will convert. From simple content upgrades to special offers if you complete your purchase right now. They help build your email list as opt-ins and can help retain your customers when used as an exit intent popup. This step should be tested extensively to see where and how it works best for you.
There are almost an infinite amount of ways you can use popups. You can trigger specific rules for specific popups, you can use the ever-loved exit intent popups to reduce cart abandonment, you can even configure the popups to appear one way for mobile visitors and another way for those behind a PC. A little time and effort to test all your options will go a very long way.
Creatively use email marketing
Email is a powerful and must-have tool for e-commerce. You can use email to generate sales, to build awareness, to keep customers coming back to your site, and to engage and strengthen your relationship with your customers. You can use it to send out newsletters containing your new products, or to give them special offers for being loyal customers.
An email is an effective tool for generating immediate action, whether you want sales, registrations, downloads, inquiries, and others. You can use it to keep your business at the top of your customers’ minds, which is essential in generating long-term sales. It also allows targeting and segmentation of your customer list, enabling you to send information about products your customers really want. Plus, it offers you loads of data that you can use to increase your sales.
How you build your email list can also determine how well you do. Building a list from scratch can be an arduous task, but it’s the payoff at the end that will matter most. You can incorporate opt-ins, content upgrades, and exit-intent popups to offer even more access to your content to your visitors by asking for and receiving an email address.
Invite your customers to become part of a mailing list. You can provide incentives such as discounts for providing their email address. Lastly, remember to make the emails mobile-friendly! This is key if you want this strategy to have a shot at being effective.
Use social media to your benefit
You want to be where your customers are, and that means being on social media platforms where your target audiences most likely congregate. Social media has become an important source of ecommerce customers. You can integrate your store with social media platforms for social selling and listening. Besides, you can run advertising while directing traffic to your website or store.
Facebook is a great medium for you to connect with people and other businesses who could also help you propel your sales. Twitter is a great place to connect with people on a more personal level as you can respond to queries or comments, and your social following is always prominently displayed. But, the best place you could possibly be for physical products are the visual mediums such as Pinterest and Instagram, where its complete reliance on visual aids is the perfect way to showcase your products.
Once you have decided on your social media platform of choice, stay consistent with your habits and publish new content as often as you can. Follow the unwritten rule of 80/20. While pushing someone else’s content seems counterproductive, it gets that persons’ attention and they can become someone who pushes your content.
Remember to use hashtags as a lot of people go to social media with the sole purpose of looking for stores like yours or similar to yours. By using hashtags, you increase the probability of your feed being found by a potential customer.
Lastly, you can use the analytics provided to better understand your demographic, the perfect times to post, and even some of the things you might be doing wrong.
Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, have also been adapting e-commerce architecture. This means that you’ll have access to the best features to aid the selling of your products and services.
Send out free samples to influencers
Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing channel for customer acquisition. Influencers are those who already have millions of followers on social media platforms. They are not necessarily celebrities. Some of them are content creators whose pieces attract a very segmented demographic. Other influencers are professionals and experts in their respective fields.
Around 63% of consumers trust influencers’ opinions more than what is promoted by the brand. About 58% of people have bought a new product based on influencer recommendations. People no longer trust ads, but they do trust people. It is a very common trend that people believe recommendations from family and friends while making a purchase. So, you can imagine the impact of influencer marketing on revenue, brand value, and brand promotion.
While those key influencers are making up their mind about your product, you can be helping them out with great posts explaining the best uses for your product. It may seem a bit redundant, but it will start getting you noticed by people who haven’t heard from the key influencers yet.
For almost every online business, blogging has become a must. But there are a lot of extra benefits if you are looking for an organic growth. Things like long tail keywords, excellent SEO practices, and the ever required great content will get your product noticed by people looking for something along your products lines.
There is a reason why platforms like YouTube are so popular, and it isn’t because of them being first either. Videos are a lot easier to digest than just images and words because you can showcase your product and all of its uses. People can be influenced just by seeing the product in action, because; remember, seeing is believing.
Sell in other marketplaces
If you want to earn more, expand your product distribution and sell your products in other places and not just in your own store. In fact, selling in online marketplaces, particularly Amazon.com and eBay, where consumers can purchase from many retailers, are a must for small online entrepreneurs.
Amazon.com is the leading e-commerce store and online marketplace today. If you’re not selling there, you are missing a significant part of the online buying population. More U.S. online shoppers look to Amazon.com first than any other e-commerce site. Amazon.com’s massive customer base can give your business huge exposure to buying customers than you could ever hope to attract on your own.
Use comparison and review sites
Consider establishing a strong presence in shopping comparison and review websites. Shopping comparison and review sites can help you get good visibility and exposure to a high quality targeted traffic without the prohibitively expensive offline brand advertising.
People will look for the best possible deal that they can get. That may mean looking at your site and several others for the exact same product, and then they will tend to go with the guy that has the best price. They may even go as far into these sites to see who has the cheapest shipping. If you can offer them your price and shipping costs alongside your competitors, you have gained a definite advantage over your competitor and giving your visitors a value the other guys didn’t. Small things can go a long way.
Try to get positive reviews on these sites. Start by encouraging your existing customers (especially your loyal customers) to write positive reviews on these sites. You can also ask for help from your friends and family, as they are likely to be your most ardent supporters. When sending order confirmation or thank-you-for-the-purchase emails, you can add a little note requesting your customer to review your site. You can also send stand-alone emails to customers requesting for their help in getting more reviews in shopping comparison and review sites.
This sounds like a very traditional way to do things. However, word-of-mouth marketing or referral marketing is very efficient because of human nature. People naturally love to share the things they enjoy with others. This is especially true when there’s also an incentive to do so.
Therefore, the best way to include referral marketing programs in your marketing strategy is by offering an incentive that will depend on the service you’re providing. Let’s take the example of food delivery companies. Most of them offer free credits or a discount on a client’s next purchase if they refer the service to someone else.
A genius strategy is to also add an incentive for the person receiving the referral. Following the food delivery example, the person who has been invited to use the delivery service would also receive a number of credits after using the referral code. This is a great way to start your interaction with this potential new client.
Also, they will be more likely to refer to the service themselves as they will remember the benefits of doing so.
Success stories work. That’s why infomercials always use illustrations of the success of their products. When selling online, you need to convince visitors that your products work. Potential buyers want real-life proof that your products are what you say they are. And the best way to show that is to let happy customers do the talking through testimonials!
Testimonials tell your visitors that you deliver what you promise. They are powerful word-of-mouth tools to show others that customers love your products. In fact, they’re singing your praises! Buyers are more likely to believe what others have to say than the blurb in your product descriptions. Your customers are more persuasive than you in convincing others to buy your products.
If you want to sell more, you need to know what’s working and what’s not. Sometimes you may have a hunch that something on your site is not right, or you may just want to try something new. The only way you can do this is to test. You need to test everything on your site to help you determine what you can improve and remove anything that is impacting you negatively.
Testing can give you insights that can drive sales. Before launching your site, be sure to conduct usability tests. You need to evaluate the features and functionalities of your site. Check if your site is user-friendly and intuitive. You need to test for its responsiveness, cross browser compatibility and navigation. Your goal is to find any stumbling blocks that prevent you from retaining your visitors and hindering them from buying.
The truth about e-commerce websites is that there’s always room for improvement. And because a website is relatively easy to manipulate and change, you can always be testing a different way to do things. You can test different versions of copy to see which performs better, different button placements, and many other things.
A/B testing is when you test two different versions of the same web page simultaneously in order to determine which performed better. You can test everything from landing pages to different functions on your website, as long as you remember that the best way to do it is to test one change at a time. Set one metric that will help you determine the success, and pair the results to see which one comes on top.
While it’s great to be online and selling well, but you can actually increase your visibility by grabbing a kiosk at a mall or a stall at the trader’s markets. These places can be flooded with people just browsing so take advantage of having your product just being put in front of random people. You will be there to demonstrate your product in action and you can answer any questions that arise on the spot. You can always hand out business cards that have your website and email address so that they can visit it later.
Offer top-notch customer service
The way you talk to your customers, how you handle their problems, questions, and other inquiries may determine whether your business will succeed.
Unfortunately, many business people still undermine the importance of great customer service. They are just focused on selling the product and think that is the end of everything. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The relationship needs to continue even after you get a person to buy something from you. You should contact your customers every now and then to check in and see how they are doing. Find out whether they are satisfied with your products and show them how much you respect and appreciate them.
In addition, whenever a problem occurs, do your best to resolve it. Even if that requires you to send them a substitute product for free.
If a bad word gets out about your business, you could suffer terrible losses. Nowadays, people love to leave and read reviews and comments online. These can make or break your business.
Also, it would be beneficial to ask your customers to occasionally do surveys. For example, you could introduce an NPS survey just to see how likely your customers are to recommend your store on a scale from 0 to 10.
This way you can see what and when you are doing right. And, if you see that people aren’t happy with your service, you will know that it’s time for a change.
Don’t Forget Retargeting
For many people, the first visit on a certain website is not enough to convert them. If you want to capitalize and get sales, you will most certainly need to have an effective retargeting strategy.
There are a few ways you can retarget customers so they come back and buy from your store. One way to do this is by running retargeting ads on other websites. Social platforms are good for targeting and retargeting audiences based on interests, locations, gender, etc.
So, if a customer visits your website and leaves without making a purchase, use other web pages they visit to showcase your products.
This strategy can also be implemented via email. Retargeting through email campaigns is effective as well. When a person adds something to a cart but doesn’t complete the purchase, they receive an email a few days later to remind them of that product.
Boosting your e-commerce sales is crucial for the success of your online store. With a little effort and by implementing the strategies discussed above, we’re positive you’ll start seeing results soon enough!
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