What’s the fastest, easiest and least risky way to increase online sales in your ecommerce store? Hint: It’s not what you think.
Most people think that the only way to increase online sales is to invest in marketing: SEO, social media, paid ads, blogging, and video. All of these marketing activities are extremely important and should not be overlooked. But, also in the rush to gain exposure and traffic, many web businesses overlook opportunities for sales that are right under their noses.
It’s all about making more sales out of the leads you already have.
This article will explore three simple ways to do just that. I’ll even reveal actual results of sky-rocketing sales when we’ve implemented these tips on a range of ecommerce sites.
3 Ways to Increase Online Sales
1. Feeling Abandoned?
Many ecommerce sites suffer from too much shopping cart abandonment, where visitors begin the checkout process but do not complete it. A store may have good traffic but low sales due to high shopping cart abandonment rates.
There are many possible causes and solutions for this problem. In fact we just wrote a huge list of ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment. But in this post I’m just going to focus on that one step we took to help one particular ecommerce store reduce abandonment – with astonishing results!
This relatively new web-store sells customized sports gear and it’s sales were growing. However, we noticed that close to 300 carts, totaling almost $50,000, were being abandoned each month. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table.
In May 2012, we began addressing this trend by using triggered email software. This software allows you to capture the email addresses of people who started the checkout process but failed to complete. It instantly emails them, inviting them back to the store, using incentives and offers of assistance to entice them. As a result, we were able to recover 12% of the lost carts – equaling almost $8,000 of sales per month.
Not bad, right?
So what’s your shopping cart abandonment rate right now? And what can you do to lower it?
2. The Money’s in the List
This is a favorite saying of Web marketing gurus, who use all sorts of giveaways and promos to grow their email subscriber base. But what about ecommerce stores? Are they effectively cashing in on their lists?
Any online store that’s been around a little while has a history of past customers. These names and emails are much more valuable than a regular mailing list, since these people have already bought from you. They are your potential future “best customers.”
Failing to stay in touch with past customers is throwing revenue down the drain because it’s much easier to make a repeat sale than a first time sale. For example, we have a client in the business supplies industry who had thousands of emails buried in their files, gathered over a few years. But they had never sent out an email campaign.
(Note: Always be careful using an email list of people who did not opt-in. Ask their permission and give them the option to opt-out.)
We arranged their first ever email blast, announcing the launch of their redesigned web-store, and enticing people to click with a limited-time coupon code. Despite staleness of the list, the impact on sales was dramatic. Not only did it lead to a 121% increase in online sales, but the average order size for that month was $126.66. compared to $74.40 in previous months. That’s an increase of over 70%!
We have learned from experience that repeat customers tend to spend more than first-time customers, plus it is significantly easier to sell to them. Add the fact that email marketing remains one of the most powerful ways to communicate with customers, and you’ve got a powerful recipe to increase online sales.
So start planning your email campaigns!
3. Would You Like Fries with That?
McDonald’s innovated the art of increasing order size, with gimmicks such as Happy Meals and the famous “Would you like fries with that?” offer.
Smart ecommerce businesses can learn from them by integrating up selling and product bundling into their sales funnel. The idea is that when someone already has their wallet out it’s the absolute best time to make another sale – to the same customer!
One proven way to increase order size is to offer a discount or “free gift” if the customer spends a minimum amount. Another way is to offer a free desirable feature or accessory bundled with high-profit products that you want to promote. When we implemented this technique, it lead to a dramatic increase in online sales (even without an increase in traffic).
The store in question is in the super-competitive mobile device space, and it was having trouble pushing customers over the finish line, until we implemented product bundling. We bundled higher-end phones together with a phone case, ear-piece, anti-bacterial cleaning cloth, and screen protector, while only slightly raising the cost of the phones. These accessories, when sold individually, were priced $10-$20 each, so the perceived value was high, though the cost to our client was much less.
Product bundling had an immediate and significant impact on sales for this company – a 48% increase! The customers loved it! Product bundling works particularly well if you have sell brand-name products that often involve accessories. Since customers usually price-compare when making such purchases, you can stand out from the crowd through product bundles that differ from your competition.
So how can you use creative product bundling and incentives to increase order size on your site? Depending on the nature of your site, there are many possible ways to increase online sales, even without increasing traffic. The real secret is to find those relatively small steps that can have a big impact on your bottom line!