The world of e-commerce is competitive. Very competitive. After all every company wants to increase its sales. The main challenge is putting this into action.
With countless sites selling so many overlapping products and services, how do you stand out from the crowd? How is it possible to boost your revenue? Here are 6 ideas which could take your business to the next level.
Sounds obvious, but many e-shops and online business think that setting up a website is the main piece of the work. It’s not true. Think like that and your audience may never find you.
No matter how great your SEO is, or how big your brand, you need to get it in front of your intended audience in as many ways as possible. And the quickest and most effective way to do this is to advertise.
Whether that’s on TV, in magazines, with banner ads or native ads, you need to be doing something. Furthermore, a mix of a number of different kinds of advertising is ideal.
2…then advertise some more via display ads
For e-commerce businesses, banner and native ads make most sense. These online displays ads bring traffic straight to your website. You can also measure how successful they have been via analytics, and then optimise individual ads or campaigns.
Banner ads are also great for increasing brand awareness. Even if your audience isn’t clicking through immediately, you’re still working your way into their thoughts. Online display advertising helps make it more likely a potential customer will return to make a purchase.
Businesses using display ads in conjunction with a programmatic platform, can go next level too. Brands that use programmatic are able to both target and retarget specific demographics. Businesses that do this tend to note a huge increase in both conversion and revenue. With some reports saying retargeted users are 70% more likely to convert.
3. Upsell and Cross-sell
Upselling and Cross-selling are crucial elements for any e-commerce business. A business that use these techniques have seen that it can account for over 30% of their revenue, which is massive! The reasoning behind this is simple.
If a user has committed to making a purchase, you’ve already done a fantastic job. You’ve attracted them, built a great level of trust, and taken them through a pleasurable buying journey. Why stop there?
If they’re at the point where the wallet is open and the card is out, it’s time for the next step. You need to think about ways you can provide your customer with more ideas on what to purchase. This is a straightforward, reliable way to increase your revenue.
It’s a win win. Your business makes more, and the customer is happy as they have ideas for products they want or need. Maybe without even realising they needed them!
Upselling is the simplest method out of the two, as you’re giving the user a suggestion for an improved version of what they already intend to buy. For example, if they’re about to buy a home cinema system, you can recommend an alternative. This suggestion could also cost more, but has reviewed better on your website, or on reputable review websites.
For you, it means an extra bit of revenue. For the customer, it means they’re getting an even better product, without much more of a financial commitment. As we said, win win.
Cross selling can be a little more complicated. You, are after all, asking the customer to buy extra products that complement their original choice. If you do it right though, it can again be a great source of additional income.
Amazon do a great job with this. Whenever you’re looking at an item, they show a few other products, and show how much it would cost to buy them together. The best part of this is that these aren’t the suggestions by Amazon! But rather them showing you that the customers who bought the product you’re looking at also bought these other products.
It is preferable to a predictive algorithm, or an Amazon employee (who may have different tastes to you) making suggestions! It shows your customers that many, many other people have made the same purchases – and there’s a certain feeling of security in that.
It’s easier to trust a group of people than it is to trust an individual that you don’t know, or a machine. Think about this when you try and cross-sell too. What have other customers done? Which products go together? Get it right, and you should once again see a boost in sales.
4. Optimise the buyer’s journey
Imagine shopping at a new store. It looks interesting, you walk in, and it lives up to your expectations! You pick the products off the shelves, filling up your basket, and make the short walk to the checkout.
But wait! There’s a hurdle right in front of you. And another one. And another! You clear the hurdles, and make it to the checkout. But what’s that? You can’t make a purchase until you fill out a huge form to become a member? This is asking too much! You drop the basket, and leave.
This wouldn’t happen in reality, so why is it so common in online shopping? There are hundreds, if not thousands of un-optimised e-commerce sites, where the number of steps to make a simple buy is huge. Then there are response times, where it takes an age to move from one page to the next. A required sign-up is so often a feature too, and it turns away 25% of customers…
Don’t be one of these websites. Make the buying journey as smooth as possible. Allow one time guests to make a purchase without signing up. Optimise performance of your site. Then make sure it works on all platforms, especially as now that more than 80% of smartphone users are happy to use them to shop.
It’s also a good idea to let the user know how far they are through the journey through a progress bar. If they know there are 4 steps, they’re far more likely to complete. Especially when faced with screen after screen, unsure as to when they’ll actually be able to buy what they want.
A well thought out, simple, optimised buying journey can be a great way to increase your revenues. Plus, massively reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts.
5. Talk to your e-commerce customers
What’s the best way to find out the wants and needs of your customers? The answer is simple: you ask them!
There are so many ways to communicate with your audience, and you need to try and utilise as many as possible. This is all part of providing great customer service, and a great customer experience.
Live chat is huge with users, and over 90% think it’s helpful! With a further 63% saying that it would play a major part in them returning to a site. Of course, it’s quite labour intensive, as you need someone available to chat but it’s worth it. It means if the customer has a burning question about a product, you are there to answer, and ease their uncertainties. If they can get an instant answer on your site, and it’s what they wanted to hear, they’re likely to convert there and then.
Live chat isn’t the only option that will benefit you either. It’s always a great idea to have a blog, and content that your audience will find interesting. You should have an effective email strategy in place too. This can be great for marketing to your existing customers. You can make offers based on their previous purchases or behaviours on your site.
Also give your users a space to give feedback. It’s a two-way relationship, so make sure there’s somewhere for them to let you know what they want from your site. A growing number of online retailers also use this data to customise and curate content. This, again, helps to build trust, which is so important when it comes to online shopping. These open channels of communication will ensure more customers use your site time and again. Plus give your sales a healthy boost!
6. Testing, testing, A/B testing
The only surefire way to know that you’re doing a good job with every aspect of your e-commerce website is to test. Specifically, A/B testing is a huge help here.
This applies to everything, from the ads you produce to the copy on the site, to the images. Test two versions at the same time, see which performs best over a set period, then move forward with that iteration. It is all about optimising your creative as you go along.
Of course, you should always test, and improve your work, but in practice this can be difficult. With your display ad campaigns ads, at least, Bannerflow makes the process easy. But why not try it on your actual website too?
This means that your customers are consistently seeing the best you have to offer. And you can rest assured that your website and ads are converting at the highest possible rate.
Running an e-commerce site is hard work, and it’s work that needs reward. Following our simple tips and you’re more likely to stand with your head above your competitors! All of which will bring more users to your site, and increase your revenues. You’ve already put the effort in to start the business, so now is the time to make it shine.
Want to know more about how Bannerflow can make a difference to your e-commerce business? Then download our free ebook on 11 awesome digital marketing strategies.