Some thoughts and ideas about increasing the sales from your online store.
If you have an online shop, you probably want to sell more, either to make more money or to have a greater impact with your products.
In this post, I will list a number of ways in which you could increase your sales. Not all of these methods will be appropriate for all online shops but I hope you will find at least one idea which you can investigate further and implement on your site.
However, before we launch into this, there are some fundamental ecommerce features that you need to have sorted first (or at least, have them well in-hand.
Firstly, you need to get good numbers of people visiting your shop. You can do this though search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, digital advertising etc. It's worth bearing in mind that SEO work is a medium-term strategy but that its benefits continue even after you've stopped investing in it. Advertising, on the other hand, is a short-term strategy whose benefits cease as soon as you stop investing in it.
One important aspect of SEO is making sure that the pages of your shop load as quickly as possible. It's an important factor in SEO simply because it's an important factors for site visitors. No one likes a slow website.
The other ecommerce fundamental is making sure that checkout is as easy as possible. Keep the number of fields you ask for to a minimum, allow multiple payment methods etc. There is also much more you can do to optimise checkout.
Ways to sell more online
These are in no particular order. Just see which ones could work in your circumstances.
These 2 terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Upselling is encouraging a customer to purchase a more expensive product than the one they have selected or to subsequently upgrade the product they purchased. This could be a larger size, have more features, be more powerful, be more robust etc.
Cross selling, however, is convincing a customer to purchase one of more additional products in addition to the one(s) they have selected.
Both can increase Average Order Value (AOV) but in different ways.
In your online shop you can present cross selling opportunities at the basket/cart stage so customers can easily add complementary products to their order. Upselling is best offered on product pages so potential purchasers can see what other products might better suit their needs.
If you sell B2B, could you also sell to the public? If you're already selling to the public could you also sell to wholesalers?
Clearly, this depends strongly on what you sell but if you can expand the reach of your online shop, you could sell more.
A client of mine started off selling to the public but was approached by the owner of a physical shop asking if he could buy in bulk. We implemented a wholesale selling side to the online shop offering discounted prices but with minimum order quantities and minimum order values. This lead to an increase in sales particularly in the lead up to Christmas.
Could this work in your case?
Everyone loves a discount, so why not offer one? Coupons are a common way of increasing sales and can be offered as a fixed monetary amount or a percentage of the cart value etc.
Coupons can be offered in many circumstances.
- Commonly, a discount is offered to first time customers to encourage them to return
- Coupons are offered to customers who have abandoned their cart
- Coupons are offered around Christmas and other holidays. These can be coupled with time limited offers
- You could offer a discount coupon for new product launches
- A discount coupon could be offered to customers how have not purchased for a while.
- Loyalty coupons. Consider offering loyal customers a discount coupon. You could select all customers who have spent more than a certain amount in the last year/6 months/3 months and give them a discount coupon as a reward.
Coupon functionality is usually easy to implement and is built into all the ecommerce platforms I have seen.
It costs a lot less to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one, so rewarding loyal customers can be a very successful way of increasing sales. Just like those reward cards you get at a coffee shop that encourage you to go back an ecommerce loyalty card can do the same.
For each purchase, a customer would gain a number of points (usually based on sale amount, although you could vary this). You can determine what to give for a certain level of points - £30 off next purchase, a free product etc.
Having a sensible rewards programme for loyalty cards needs some thinking about initially but the set up and running of this should then be straightforward.
If your running a retail store, could you offer gift cards? So many people don't know what to get someone as a present so a gift card could be an ideal solution. I have certainly bought more than one Amazon gift card before now!
All you need to do is decide the denominations of the gift cards you're going to sell and start selling them! Clearly, you also need to manage the security of the cards and allow people to pay using a card but that's not too difficult these days.
Refer a friend/colleague
Encouraging your customers to refer friends a colleagues to your online shop can be productive as we tend to trust the recommendations of our friends and others we know.
The encouragement needs to be carefully thought through. It's usually a coupon for the referrer once the friend or colleague has actually made a purchase. You could vary the value of the coupon depending on how much the friend/colleague spends.
Could you offer products on subscription - something you send out every month or quarter. Clearly, magazines do this, coffee roasters do this (a different coffee every month), is this something you could do too?
Having customers commit to spending a certain amount every month is a good way to build a steady income.
Email follow ups
Last in this list, but certainly not least, keep in regular touch with your customers via email. Let them know what's happening with your shop, keep them informed about new products, offers, loyalty programmes etc. Read more about emails to keep customers engaged.
As you look around other online shops, I'm sure you will have seen some of all of these techniques being used. Whether your own shop is large or small, you may find some of these approaches worthwhile. Some are not going to be appropriate but some will be.
If you'd like any assistance in researching or implementing any of these means of increasing sales in your ecommerce store, please do get in touch. We'd be happy to help.