This guide will show you 5 easy techniques to boost e-commerce sales and make the most out of your website.
By Nick Rojas
E-commerce is here to stay. The practice of buying and selling products online is integrated into our society. Because of how vital E-commerce is to a business, it is important to ensure it is done well. Bad practices in E-commerce will come back to bite you, so do your homework.
Instagram has over 500 million active daily users, making it one of the largest social media platforms. It connects customers, companies, and influencers through a photo sharing marketplace. The key to gathering followers is posting consistently captivating pictures and live content.
The process of gathering followers is not complicated, but it does take a considerable amount of work. It is imperative that you post regularly and stay in the newsfeed of your followers so they remember your brand. It is suggested that you post 3 times a day with daily stories and live content weekly. Comment and like posts from followers and do the same on competitors posts to try to steal engagement.
The true goal of Instagram is engagement. All those followers mean nothing if they don’t take the time to like or comment on your posts. There are a multitude of ways to engage your followers. Try giveaways, contests, or behind the scenes content. You can even add your products to your stories and posts. Add product tags to images so customers can easily find your items.
Another feature of Instagram and Facebook marketing is leveraging influencers. Influencer marketing is providing an influencer, an online personality with a large following, a product and asking them to feature or review that product. This could be anything from sponsored posts to full-blown reviews. Use influencers to gain new audiences and expand your brand.
Facebook ads are a great way to get more traffic and sales for an E-commerce store. The low cost per click ads allow companies to bring in leads and sales easily. Whole Design Studios has some tips for getting the most out of your Facebook ads:
- Use acquisition campaigns to drive cheap traffic to content and collection pages, cookie these visitors for remarketing
- Use dynamic product ads to retarget visitors who visit product pages, add products to cart and don’t check out.
- Use carousel ads to show different products from top-selling collections.
- Use emojis and video content to capture attention in the Facebook timeline feed.
- A/B test different ad placement for better ROI on campaign spends.
You can also launch an e-commerce store on Facebook. It is easy to set up a store and begin selling your products. You can even integrate directly with a Shopify store so that you won’t need a separate inventory.
User-generated content, UGC, is a great way to create proof socially. UGC is when a customer takes a picture using your product and posts it online. When customers see other people wearing or using your products, they are more likely to trust your brand. Customers feel more confident in purchasing something someone else has vouched for. User-generated content can take many forms. One of the most common and effective is Instagram, where you can repost the pictures of your customers using your products.
Cross-Selling and Up-Selling
A customer is looking at an item they want to purchase. They buy it and that is that, but this doesn’t have to be the end of the story. You can cross-sell or up-sell items. An example of cross-selling is suggesting a pair of socks to someone who bought jeans. Up-selling is asking a customer if they would like to supersize their order. This means buying something similar but more expensive and better than what they were originally looking at. For example, up-selling would be getting this customer to buy the more expensive components in the laptop.
Do be careful when cross or up-selling. Going overboard here can turn away some customers if they feel they are being pushed to buy things they don’t want. Stay mindful of the original price of the item they were looking at and don’t go too far above that price with up-selling. If the new item is too expensive they will go with the original item, but if it is reasonably priced they will likely upgrade.
Also, be sure to keep in mind the purpose of the items you are trying to cross-sell. If someone buys a gardening shovel they likely don’t want a WiFi router at the same time. Make sure the two products connected to the purchase make sense in the customer’s mind.
With the rise of mobile shopping, shopping is no longer limited to desktops. It is expected that half of all online shopping will take place on mobile by the year 2021 according to Statista. Customers can shop from their phones and tablets anywhere they have a connection. Mobile shopping is gaining popularity and companies need to keep up with mobile optimization.
If a website is not optimized for mobile, the shopping experience is not going to be a good one. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to navigate a desktop version of a site on mobile. To combat this, optimize your website to work on smaller devices. Mobile optimization makes the shopping process easier and will lead to more sales, but a poor experience will drive customers away. Consider adding a larger add to cart button so customers don’t need to zoom in or scroll back to the top.
Adding a personalized flair or style to your website helps you stand out among the millions of other websites. You can even change how the site looks depending on the data of the person viewing it. Someone in California might want to see different items from someone in New York. Using customer data to influence what you show them is another way to demonstrate that you put effort into your site.
A customer will only trust a company so much, but people are more likely to trust other people. This is where customer reviews come in. One of the first things people do when looking at a product is to see how many other people have bought and liked it. Positive reviews vouch for your item, so it is important to cultivate them. Ask for a customer review after an order has been placed or after a customer has been loyal for awhile. Don’t directly ask for a review. Instead, ask an open-ended question that naturally prompts the customer to write a review. By collecting positive reviews, any negative reviews will be pushed down by the overwhelming positive majority, making your product even more trustworthy.
Security online is never a given. Protecting your site takes work and there are many steps to take. One of the simplest and easiest is to add “Secure” to your HTTP bar. This lets customers know you are going the extra step to ensure their information will be safe. You can find many online tutorials on how to add the “Secure” to your website.
You can also integrate APIs (Application Programming Interface). Connecting other websites and apps to your own makes the whole process easier on the customer. An API is designed to help, as FreeCodeCamp.org’s example shows:
“Example scenario: Your small business’s website has a form used to sign clients up for appointments. You want to give your clients the ability to automatically create a Google calendar event with the details for that appointment.
API use: The idea is to have your website’s server talk directly to Google’s server with a request to create an event with the given details. Your server would then receive Google’s response, process it, and send back relevant information to the browser, such as a confirmation message to the user.”
Another way to add security to your website and checkout area in particular is to partner with a security company. This takes the form of software and a badge telling customers you use that software.
Don’t use the security badges unless you have a legitimate partnership with a company. Advertising that you have a more secure site when you don’t is dishonest. Someone will discover your fraud and that customer trust will be broken. Reaching out to the security companies and becoming a partner is simple to do and brings great benefits to your company.
Checkout is the final step before a customer converts to a paying customer. However, this can also be the final barrier that makes the customer leave their cart in limbo. According to a Baymard Institute study, 37% of customers leave because the site wanted them to make an account before proceeding and 28% leave because the checkout process was too complicated. You want as few obstacles as possible when setting up checkout. It can be tempting to collect as much data as possible during checkout, but limit it to the essentials to keep the process simple.
Once a customer has bought from you, keep them loyal. Focusing on customer retention is never a bad idea and it is a cost-effective way to increase sales. Return customers generally account for 22% of a retailer’s revenue. According to Stitch Labs, return customers spend 15% more than new customers on any given order.
A big way to reward your longtime customers is a loyalty program. There are many ways this can work. REI has a robust and successful rewards program. Customers pay a one-time fee of $20 to join the program, but then receive access to exclusive online sales and events. They are also sent coupon codes and a portion of what they spend over a year back in store dividends. Other programs can feature gift cards, rewards points, or free shipping.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for e-commerce. Emails can cover a wide range of uses, from newsletters to advertising and abandoned cart recovery. It all starts with the same step: collecting the customer’s email address. This is generally done at checkout when a customer enters their information or when a customer signs up for a newsletter.
Once you have your list of customer emails, it is time to use them. Create email marketing campaigns by sending a newsletter or offering special discount codes through email. The possibilities are endless. Email marketing is also a great place to cross-sell items. If a customer has purchased a computer recently, try to sell them a printer or a mouse.
One of the best uses for email is a shopping cart recovery email. E-commerce abandonment is when a customer has left their shopping cart with items in it. Maybe they had no intention of buying. Maybe they forgot or became distracted. Whatever the reason, send an email to remind them. Try to use memorable subject lines to increase your odds of the customer reading the email. Don’t be afraid to get creative by making a joke or telling a story. The more personal the email appears, the more it will mean to the customer. Customize an email to contain the specific items the customer left behind like Lush does here:
Remind the customer why they were interested in the item in the first place.
E-commerce is how business is done in the modern world. Customers can shop from anywhere in the world and buy all sorts of products. The very least companies can do is make the shopping experience as painless as possible. Hopefully, this list has provided you with ways to improve your site to make it the very best it can be!
Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. When Nick is not sharing his expertise, he can be found spending time at the beach with his dog Presto. Twitter:@NickARojas.