11 Actionable Strategies to Increase eCommerce Sales

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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According to data from Statista on the number of digital buyers worldwide, in 2019, there were 1.92 billion online shoppers. That is close to a quarter of the entire population of earth. By the time 2021 rolls around, that figure is expected to increase to 2.14 billion.

However, because of the impact the coronavirus has had on eCommerce, there is a chance that the 2021 projection may have already come to pass.

Nonetheless, what this ultimately means is that there are tons of openings available for online retailers to thrive and prosper, despite the challenges the year has presented.

The fact of the matter is that right now is the golden age of eCommerce, as online sellers have never had more tools, insights and opportunities to succeed in the digital realm. Given the current paradigm, those who have already mapped out their COVID-19 roadmap to recovery should also be looking at how to increase eCommerce sales.

With an exponential number of consumers moving their shopping habits online, retailers stand a tremendous chance of generating significantly more conversions than years gone by. That is if they know the right strategies to use.

To help sellers achieve this aim, today, we will be exploring 11 actionable strategies that online retailers can implement to increase eCommerce sales in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Supply (Kind of) Free Shipping

Because of massive online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, consumers have gotten used to the idea of receiving free shipping on their orders. As a result of this dynamic, many will forgo a purchase if free shipping is not included.

This assertion is borne out by cart abandonment data from the Baymard Institute, which shows that, of those who ditched their orders, 50 percent did so because the additional fees (such as shipping and taxes) were too high for their liking.

abandon cart rate additional fees graphic

Therefore, providing customers with free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount (e.g., free shipping on orders over $50), retailers can not only reduce cart abandonment rates and increase eCommerce sales, but they can also boost average order and customer lifetime values.

2. Include a Search Bar

When it comes to increasing eCommerce sales, the user experience is of paramount importance.

The bottom line here is that if shoppers cannot find what they are looking for, they cannot complete a purchase. Therefore, sellers must do everything in their power to streamline the product search process so that consumers can quickly find what they want and potentially browse other items as well.

red dress website search bar highlight

One of the best and easiest ways to achieve this aim is to implement a search bar so that customers can find precisely what they are seeking.

However, if merchants want to ensure that their website’s user experience is optimized, it is also necessary to enhance the performance of the internal search engine.

When customers search for products, they often misspell words. Therefore, including an autocomplete function could go a long way in increasing eCommerce sales.

At the same time, product searches should never return a page without any results. Instead, if there is no item match for the query, it is best to showcase recommended or related products that the visitor might be interested in as well.

3. Showcase Top-Selling Items on the Homepage

Product recommendations play a considerable role in increasing eCommerce sales. As McKinsey data from 2013 revealed, “35 percent of what consumers purchase on Amazon and 75 percent of what they watch on Netflix come from product recommendations.” 

Since algorithms and personalization technology have only become more sophisticated since then, this figure has likely increased.

Given this information, when looking for ways to increase eCommerce sales, it is wise for retailers to feature their store’s top-selling products on the homepage as a means of enticing visitors.

leonisa ecommerce site bestsellers

Alternatively, merchants can also showcase personalized product recommendations to returning visitors, based on their browsing and purchase histories.

Both of these strategies are equally viable methods for piquing a shopper’s interest and increasing eCommerce sales.

4. Elevate Email Campaigns

Email marketing, despite its age, is still an online sales powerhouse. Depending on the source one decides to cite, email marketing tends to generate between $38 and $42 per dollar spent.

Therefore, elevating the eCommerce email marketing campaigns that sellers send should be a top priority when it comes to strategies that increase eCommerce sales.

There are a multitude of email campaigns that merchants should send out as a means of boosting their conversion rates. Some of the most important of the bunch include:

  • Welcome email series
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • New and back-in-stock inventory notifications
  • Price drop emails
  • Review requests

While each of these serves a slightly different purpose, the end goal of each is to increase eCommerce sales–something they are all effective at achieving.

kalifano crystal jewelry email campaign

Additionally, retailers can send out seasonally-based email campaigns that help to remind shoppers of the importance of each season. For instance, those who are currently preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be putting together holiday-themed campaigns that promote the upcoming sales season.

5.  Publish Explainer Videos

Video content has become an integral part of the online experience. Additionally, this type of content is continually becoming a core component of the digital retail journey.

video content increases sales graphic

Therefore, creating product explainer videos can be a powerful means of increasing eCommerce sales. This affirmation is supported by an infographic from Social Media Today, which shows that:

  • Product pages that feature videos convert 80 percent better than those that do not
  • 74 percent of consumers who watch explainer videos go on to purchase the product
  • 60 percent of shoppers prefer watching product videos over reading descriptions

This same kind of trend is also exemplified with landing pages, emails and other critical on-site destinations.

The fact is that people love video content.

Now, it is essential to note that not all products will require explainer videos. For instance, if a merchant sells pants and t-shirts, they (hopefully) won’t need to explain these products to their audience.

tiege hanley youtube video marketing

However, for many other types of items, video content can be a massive boon when it comes to increasing eCommerce sales. Therefore, any product that requires a bit of explanation or has multiple features or benefits that can be discussed should get a video to accompany its stunning product photos.

6. Utilize Social Proof

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of social proof, Buffer does a pretty good job of summing it up, stating:

“According to Robert Cialdini, who studied the principle of social proof in-depth in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, ‘we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.’ So often in situations where we are uncertain about what to do, we would assume that the people around us (experts, celebrities, friends, etc.) have more knowledge about what’s going on and what should be done.”

Pretty simple.

Social proof is an essential component to increase eCommerce sales, particularly for new customers. By incorporating content from other shoppers that shows that a product is worthy of their hard-earned dollars, consumers are more likely to feel comfortable making a purchase.

gerber childrenswear social media feed on ecommerce site

Moreover, there are a multitude of ways that merchants can deploy social proof, with two of the most popular means coming by way of product reviews and user-generated content.

Through each of these types of content (which are both technically user-generated), previous buyers endorse a product and let others know that not only is it safe to buy, but that they love the item.

Therefore, product reviews and user-generated content, such as social media images published to the site (with the user’s consent), are both fantastic for increasing eCommerce sales.

7. Run Retargeting Ads

Here’s an uncomfortable truth: 98 percent of consumers won’t purchase on their first visit to a site. According to various sources, it can take anywhere between six and 10 touches before a brand successfully converts a consumer into a customer.

retargeting critical ecommerce sales graphic

It is for this exact reason that retargeting is critical for increasing eCommerce sales.

Through the use of retargeting adverts, retailers can essentially follow site visitors to popular websites and social media platforms to showcase items that they viewed or added to their cart but did not purchase.

Using this ad format, merchants can effectively pull shoppers back onto the site to convert.

However, if sellers decide that it is a good idea, they can also target these consumers with similar products to the ones that they viewed that might be more to their liking.

No matter which route a retailer opts to go, retargeting ads are a core strategy for increasing eCommerce sales.

8. Provide Live Chat Options

Sometimes, customers have questions about products, shipping, returns and the like. While some might reference the FAQ section of the website, this destination may not address their specific concern. As a result, folks will want to reach out to a customer service representative.

While phone and email have long been popular options, the most recent addition to the category of contact methods is live chat.

live chat message popup on site

A live chat system eliminates the requirement for customers to fill out lengthy contact forms and wait for answers to their questions. This is an important point given that, in the digital age where options abound, customers can simply go to another website if their needs cannot be met immediately.

By supplying shoppers with the opportunity to contact customer service teams through live chat, consumers can get their questions answered in real-time, thereby boosting the potential of earning a conversion.

Alternatively, if retailers are hesitant about bringing on new customer service representatives (which can become costly), then it is advisable to look into deploying a chatbot as these have also proven effective at increasing eCommerce sales.

As Forbes reported on the profitability of chatbots:

“The sales function is the most common use case for chatbots (41 percent), followed closely by support (37 percent) and marketing (17 percent); chatbots increased sales by an average of 67 percent, with 26 percent of all sales starting through a chatbot interaction; 35 percent of business leaders said chatbots helped them close sales deals.”

Furthering the case for chatbot technology and its ability to boost a brand’s bottom line, Entrepreneur notes that:

“Chatbots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions by the year 2020… In fact, chatbots will be responsible for saving over $8 billion annually by 2022, up from $20 million in 2017.”

Given this information, utilizing live chat or chatbot technologies within a seller’s sales strategy is a prime means for increasing eCommerce revenue.

9. Optimize Sites for Search

Search engine optimization is a critical component for increasing sales and scaling an eCommerce business.

The fact of the matter is that SEO is the primary means of generating visibility and traffic online, given that a substantial number of online transactions begin on search engines like Google.

Therefore, optimizing a site to rank within the top results is critical for increasing eCommerce sales and engendering business growth. That said, there is a lot that goes into optimizing a site to outrank competitors.

While content plays a central role in SEO performance, retailers must take a multitude of factors into consideration, such as technical SEO components, on-site and off-site optimization efforts, link building, product reviews, page load times, user experience and tons of other elements.

While SEO might sound simple when spoken about in conceptual terms, the implementation of an effective SEO strategy requires a fair amount of knowledge, skill and dedication to produce the intended results.

10. Proudly Display Security Badges

In the age of constant cybersecurity threats and stolen personal information galore, a website’s safety is a primary concern for many shoppers. If a site cannot guarantee that a customer’s information will be safe and secure, increasing eCommerce sales will be extremely difficult.

Given the often insecure nature of the internet, retailers must go above and beyond to protect themselves and their customers’ information. Once a merchant has put such measures in place, they shouldn’t be afraid of letting their customers know.

Displaying security badges is a great way to increase eCommerce sales as these trust signals give customers the peace of mind that their data will be safeguarded from online threats.

When a seller showcases various security badges throughout a website, and within the checkout process, new customers are much more likely to trust the website and complete their purchase.

However, this begs the question: Which trust badges are most effective?

Looking at data from the Baymard Institute on the perceived security of eCommerce checkout flows, the research firm notes that:

“Generally, we see during testing that adding any visual icon will help increase the user’s general level of perceived security… The 2020 test results tell largely the same story as our 2019, 2016, and 2013 results. The SSL seal from Norton dominates as the seal that establishes the best sense of trust, followed by three trust seals, with several of the SSL seals performing rather low. Looking at the results, it’s very interesting to note that the seals from well-known consumer-facing brands, like Norton and Google, perform very well (even though Google no longer uses the ‘Trusted Store’ seal). This suggests that it’s at least to some extent possible for e-commerce sites to leverage the recognizability of these brands.”

Given this information, trust signals and security badges are a necessity when aiming to increase eCommerce sales.

11. Offer Multiple Payment Methods

The final tactic for helping to boost online retail conversions is to simply offer a variety of payment options for customers to leverage.

As it stands, consumers are increasingly wary about entering their credit and debit card details online (for reasons explained in the previous section). As a result of this phenomenon, other payment forms such as PayPal and digital wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay are becoming increasingly popular.

spanx shopping cart order summary

As Forbes notes about consumer comfort using mobile payments:

“In the U.S. market, there will be tremendous growth of mobile payments; eMarketer projects mobile payments will rise to $130.3 billion in 2020.”

Additionally, as of this writing, there are currently 286 million active PayPal users.

Given this information, it only makes sense for merchants to offer their customers a multitude of different payment options if they wish to increase eCommerce sales.

Final Thoughts

Online retail has experienced exponential growth over the past several years. With the advent of COVID-19, eCommerce adoption has surged dramatically, thus providing merchants with unparalleled opportunities to increase eCommerce sales.

That said, just looking at this simple list, there is a staggering amount of work to be done for merchants to boost their bottom lines and compete with the largest retail platforms that the internet has to offer.

Given the enormity of the task ahead, and the significant trend toward online shopping becoming a dominating force in the near future, it is wise for sellers to invest in a complete commerce transformation, thereby optimizing their business for the road ahead.

If your company is interested in readying itself for the upcoming paradigm shift in online retail (and retail in general, for that matter), then reach out to Visiture for a free consultation. We can show you how to develop a roadmap for digital success.

 

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