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Rules to Sell By: 40 Ways to Increase eCommerce Sales – 2020 Edition

Rules to Sell By: 40 Ways to Increase eCommerce Sales – 2020 Edition

Chances are if you are reading this, you already have an eCommerce business and just want specific tactics to increase eCommerce revenue. What you will hear here will not be earth-shattering information, as we need to be reminded of what needs to be done more often than told something we did not already know.

So, here are 40 practical ideas that will undoubtedly help you grow your eCommerce sales and “How to improve my online business” will not be a question for you anymore.

But, before we jump into the tactics, it is important to recall the fundamentals and rules of the eCommerce game:

There Are 3 Ways to Increase Online Sales

Distilled to its essence, there are actually just three primary ways to increase eCommerce sales:

  1. Get more customers
  2. Get customers to spend more
  3. Get customers to buy more often

How to boost your eCommerce sales and how you should go about achieving those three primary goals is expanded on below.

Follow Three Core Rules

#1 Be where your customers are looking for products you sell

Whether they search for products and services on Google, Amazon, Walmart, or any other channel, you must show up with your product pages, listings, ads, and content. If they don’t see your products front and center, it’s like you don’t exist and your business will not grow. SEO for Ecommerce is the right way to be near your customers.

#2 Give them what they want so they want to give you what you want

In a nutshell, make it easy for your prospects to make a buying decision. Put yourself in their shoes and proactively and preemptively answer every possible question they may have, and remove every possible barrier that could impede the buying decision (ask yourself, “why wouldn’t I buy this product?” and address these reasons).

#3 Make a sale to get a customer

Most eCommerce stores get a customer to make a sale: there is no follow-up of any kind and most customers never come back to make another purchase. This is very short-sighted thinking.

Start businesses adopt a reverse approach, knowing that year over year, the same customers will buy from you again and again if you do things right.

And, in comparison to customer acquisition costs, it barely costs anything to provide customers with better-than-expected service and continue to engage them in meaningful ways, so as to keep them coming back.

Three Core Rules

Now, here are the 40 tactics to help you get more customers, get customers to spend more, and get customers to spend more often:

Get More Customers

1. Optimize your eCommerce website for search and get more customers

Not a shocker, but if I were to search Google right now for, let’s say, a dozen of the products you carry, would your listings pop up high up in search, or would I find your competitors’?

While eCommerce SEO is not easy, you must keep in perspective that, according to RetailWire, 31% of all shoppers start looking for specific products on Google.

So, if you leave SEO up to chance, or contract an inexpensive agency that will do the bare minimum, the millions of sales that could be going to you, will be going to your competitors. Remember that organic search is the most powerful tool to attract more customers.

Learn more about effective eCommerce SEO from this SEO guide.

2. Sell through  Google Shopping

There is no reason why an e-commerce business should not be leveraging this powerful platform given that tens of millions of people use Google to shop for products monthly.

Signing up for Google Merchant Center is easy and free, and the only direct cost incurred is through clicks on Google ads. Of course, running a successful advertising campaign requires substantial skills and ongoing oversight and optimization. Here is a great guide of Google Shopping ADS.

3. Sell on Bing  

Bing may not dominate the search engine market like Google, but nearly half of the US population searches on Bing. And, for most categories, Bing has lower cost per click and higher click-through rates. So, if your store has a good fit for Bing user demographics, you can sell a lot of products at a lower customer acquisition cost.

Of course, the flip side is that there is less overall search volume. But, you can be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, as, chances are, your competitors may be missing out on this opportunity. 

4. Sell or have product listings on Amazon (even if you don’t want to sell there)

The data won’t come as a shock: with $.49 of every shopping dollar spent online is spent on Amazon. And it is a very crowded market. But you should be there if you:

  1. Want to increase online sales volume, or 
  2. Don’t want to miss out on sales on your own website. Here is why:

9 out of 10 shoppers always price-check on Amazon before making purchases. In other words, Amazon serves as a second search engine when it comes to consumer products.  Even if you don’t want to sell on Amazon, you should list your products there, but at a premium price over what you charge on your website. After checking out your products on Amazon, they will come back to your site to make a purchase.

5. Sell on Facebook

Facebook Marketplace is an option for sellers that are seeking a highly targeted audience.

Some examples of eCommerce platforms Facebook Marketplace is partnered with include:

    • BigCommerce
    • ChannelAdvisor
    • ShipStation
    • Shopify
    • Zentail
    • Quipt
    • CommerceHub

Product categories best suited to Facebook Marketplace include: 

Facebook Marketplace

6. Market via Instagram 

    If you are a B2B business, you can skip over this point. But if you are e-commerce that sells in the fashion, food, health, beauty, or wellness space, you must be promoting through Instagram. According to HootSuite, 130 million Instagram users click on shopping ads every month. While we don’t have any reliable data on how much sales that translates into, it must convert to a lot of revenue for the advertisers.

    7. Sell on eBay

    eBay is no longer for used stuff or private sellers only. The platform averages 164 million active buyers who move billions of dollars worth of merchandise. If you have a good product fit, sell here to boost your revenue.

    8. Sell on Walmart Marketplace

    Walmart attracts up to over 460 million unique visitors per month and does not charge its marketplace members any monthly or initial set-up fees. And, given that it has fewer marketplace sellers than Amazon, you can be competitive on the site. 

    Cons are that this marketplace garners low-profit margins and little to no back-up support in the sales or return process. Sellers are prohibited from using FBA for fulfillment. 

    Should you choose to participate in Walmart Marketplace, instructions for signing up, as well information on referral fees can be found here

    9. For higher ticket items: sell through an affiliate network

    Affiliate marketing is a good addition to your sales and marketing portfolio as it costs you practically nothing unless someone else helps you make sales (it’s a win-win really).

    Below are some resources to help you find the affiliate partner(s) that are right for your business, browsable by niche. 

    10. Offer fast, free shipping

      You may already be leveraging the simple power of free-shipping, and if so, this section does not apply to you. But if you are a hold-out in this department you are costing your business substantially. The key here, again, is to remove any and all potential barriers a shopper might have. 

      Stats compiled by WordStream note that 79% of shoppers say free shipping would make them more likely to make a purchase online.

      Another factor: make sure that your customers know when their order will arrive, because, according to the same study, 53% will NOT make a purchase if they don’t know when it will arrive.

      11. Have a clear and frictionless return policy

      It’s a hassle, and it’s part of operation costs, but they are necessary. If you do not offer a simplified, robust return policy, your prospects will simply make their purchases elsewhere (like Amazon or your competitor’s store). Simply put, offering a transparent, easy return policy eliminates uncertainty.

      Mitigate the potential for more returns by offering accurate product descriptions (bolstered by video demonstrations as noted later in this post) and proper packaging.

      Some powerful stat to consider: 63% of shoppers said they would not make a purchase if they could not find the online store’s return policy easily on its website.

      12. Reduce shopping cart abandonment

      The shopping cart abandonment rate at 69.57%, which is inevitable and goes with the territory. Carts are often abandoned because shoppers were either just browsing and/or the checkout process was too complicated (this is especially true for mobile users who have an even higher abandonment rate of 85.65%). 

      A way to mitigate the opportunity cost of abandonment is by making sure the checkout process is hassle-free and by sending follow up emails to shoppers who’ve abandoned their carts in the preceding three months; AddShoppers and BouncePilot offer great tools for that. 

      13. Product demo videos

      Zappos is a prime example of product demo videos done right. Sure, you think that Zappos is a massive retailer with money and manpower to make these videos a reality, but you should be looking at it in a reverse way: maybe Zappos, in part, became as big as it did because it took the time and effort to produce quality demo videos that enhance the shopping experience. Whenever applicable, you need to as well. 

      According to HubSpot, a leading authority on all things marketing, video is the number-one medium for marketing products and 73% more shoppers who view those videos, will make a purchase. 

      What’s more, 43% of shoppers will “showroom” or go to the nearest retailer to see products in real time, if a video is not available. In most of those cases, you will lose that sale permanently. As well, 58% of online shoppers believe that retailers that feature videos can be trusted. Building customer trust is key, of course, to a long-lasting revenue stream.  

      14. Offer a phenomenal customer experience 

      “The Customer Is Always Right” used to be the mantra all businesses lived by. But it’s amazing how many e-commerce websites are simply transactional and don’t go the extra step to offer truly phenomenal customer service. 

      Follow up with customers who’ve made larger purchases to see how satisfied they are. Offer special promotions to loyal customers and even downsell on very high ticket items when the occasion is warranted. Building long term customer loyalty takes building trust. And trust is built by showing them you have their back. 

      15. Deploy retargeting ads to increase conversion rate

      According to AdRoll, only 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to any online store. The goal of retargeting is to convert the remaining 98%. 

      This is especially important for B2B companies as they outperform B2C in retargeting campaigns by over 400% on conversions per impression, according to data compiled by 99Firms.

      Some other compelling stats that show why retargeting is so important: 

        • The average CTR for retargeting ads is 10 times higher than display ads.
        • 99Firms notes that retargeting can increase conversions by up to 150%.
        • Retargeting ads have an average CPC of about half of search ads.

      16. Optimize product pages

        User Experience (abbreviated as UX) is an integral part of the digital experience and has to do with how well your website and mobile applications are built. Do they upload fast? Are they easy for users to navigate? Is the content-flow presented in a concise, easy to use manner? 

        Proper UX is critical in facilitating sales and good overall customer experience. 80% of Americans are online shoppers and half make their purchases on mobile devices, according to a Pew Research Center poll. 

        Google analysis reveals that a staggering 62% of shoppers who had a bad mobile experience with your business are less likely to ever return as a customer, 69% are more likely to buy from businesses with mobile sites that properly address their questions and 59% will make purchases only on sites that facilitate quick and easy mobile checkout processes. 

        Optimize Product Pages

        17. Make communication as convenient as it can be for your customers not you.

        When your customer has a question about your product or service or policy, make it your priority to answer it via a channel that your customers prefer, including, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, chatbots, phone, email and through social media portals. 

        18. Have as many store reviews as you can get 

        The volume of reviews counts as much as the quality of each review, sometimes even more. So encourage as many reviews as possible. 

        Respond to every review you receive, including negative ones. Share positive reviews that may be hidden, or post them as testimonials on your site. 

        19. Ask customers to post product reviews in return for another product 

        According to Fan and Fuel study, 97% of shoppers said that product reviews play a major role in their buying decisions, with 94% reading written reviews and 35% saying that even one negative review can make them decide not to buy. 

        B2B — this applies to you too. G2.com reports that 92% of B2B buyers are influenced to make a purchase after reading a trusted review. 
        People are busy and even if they mean to leave a positive review, they will often forget, but 68% of consumers will leave a review if asked, and, don’t forget to address every negative review, if the platform permits. 

        20. Create product comparison content

        You want to keep people on your website and make the buying process for them as easy as possible. If a potential customer has to go scouring the Internet for the information he/she is looking for (i.e. product comparisons), you could well lose them. 

        Fortunately, a variety of plugins are available to implement on your e-commerce platform to make product comparisons absolutely pain-free. 

        21. Create best products in the category review posts

        People always want to find the best item for the money. Capitalize on the fact that prospects are searching online for this information and be the one that provides them the answer. Create blog posts ranking products in their respective categories that are relevant to your business. Examples include:   

          • The Best 65-Inch TVs
          • The Best Smart Phones of 2020
          • The Best Midsize Cars Under $25,000

        22. Reduce returns by showing customers how to use products

          Email customers who bought products that may require some knowledge on how to operate, videos on how to do that after they buy the products. Here are some ideas for successful email campaigns.

          23. Show that shopping on your site is secure 

          Use trusted secure tools to ensure the safety of your shoppers and ensure your customers can clearly see that their transactions and personal information will be secure. 

          24. Optimize your website speed

          Speed is a major factor in customer user experience. What’s more, it is a major factor in how Google and other search engines rank your website. The faster your site uploads on all devices, including mobile, the higher the ranking. You can test your upload speed using this Google analytics tool. 

          According to Google, a score of 90 or above is considered fast and therefore, will rank favorably.  A score of 50 to 90 is considered moderate and scores below 50 are deemed to be slow.

          Your web development agency can help you optimize your website speed if it is not performing as it should. 

          Ask Customers to Spend More (Increase AOV)

          25. Cross-sell complimentary items

          Cross-selling accounts for up to 35% of Amazon’s revenue, so these powerful strategies should, without reservation, be implemented on your own e-commerce site.

          26. Upsell 

            There’s an art to upselling the right way and it entails ensuring that you’re not just trying to get customers to spend more, but actually add genuine value to their overall purchase and customer experience. 
            In addition to having your web developer build in an upselling function to your e-commerce site, you can also use the following plugins, depending on your e-commerce platform:
            Shopify 

            BigCommerce

            Magento

            WooCommerce

            27. Point of sale promotions 

              Think outside the box. Free shipping isn’t the only type of promotion you can offer at this stage: a cap for someone buying a hoodie, a filter and oil for a B2B buyer of a commercial air compressor,  volume discounts, BOGO, free gifts and so on are all great incentives for shoppers. 

              By ensuring that you are head and shoulders above your competition in terms of user experience, the benefits of using promotions will outweigh potential negatives. 

              28. Set a bar for free shipping

              Offer discounts on orders over a certain value and encourage increasing the per-transaction spend by offering free shipping on purchases over a certain dollar amount. 

              Free Shipping Bar

              29. Use scarcity like Amazon does

              It’s human psychology. The perceived scarcity of an item or commodity engenders more desire for that item or commodity. Inform your customers that a deal is only available for a limited/set amount of time, or that there is only a limited amount — let’s say “4 left” — in stock. Scarcity will encourage them to take action now. 

              If you’re running low on ideas, some other great examples can be found here.

              30. Deploy product recommendations

              Again, this is about providing value to your customers. Don’t recommend products simply to generate a transaction, but do so because those products or services are truly what your customers would reap benefit from. 

              Ask Customers to Buy More Often

              31. Offer loyalty programs

              According to research, Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the amount of their first purchase and 83% of customers believe loyalty programs engender their continued spending. 

              To craft your customer loyalty program determine: 

                • Volume and ticket-size of purchases
                • Willingness to purchase more
                • How quickly they pay
                • How long they have been a customer

              32. Engage in “shoppertainment”

                For e-businesses, this can be an online fashion show, a class, a demo, or Facebook Live. Whatever the case, engaging your audience in this low-cost manner not only attracts potential new customers but also encourages them to spend then and there.

                33. Send seasonal promotions

                Throughout the year, in all seasons and all climates, opportunities abound. Holidays, weather-related changes, school and sports-related events and seasons offering such potential. 

                Think creatively and make a seasonal promotional calendar that maps out your ideas. Ideally, you should have at least one promotion for each month, with specialized promotions are major holidays and events. 

                Market your promotions properly and ensure you factor in any increases in operating costs or shipping times over holiday periods. 

                34. Include promo flyers in every delivered package

                It’s low-cost, fast, and there is still something to be said for a tangible “leave behind” that customers can hold on to long after they’ve logged offline. Best, promotional fliers still work.

                  • EnvatoMarket sells customizable e-commerce promotional flyers 
                  • Canva features templates for you to create your own

                35. Coupons 

                  The traditional coupon code works as it makes shoppers feel as if they are getting a discount in addition to any other sales or promotions your online store may be offering at a given time.  They’re also trackable, serving as a great way to measure your marketing ROI. 

                  There are multiple types of coupon codes you can offer: 

                  Types of coupon codes

                  36. Tiering 

                    Tiering is a form of discount that encourages higher spending. Many department stores use tiering models. The more a customer spends, the more of a discount the seller can reasonably afford to offer while maintaining the right profit margins. Here’s an example of tiering: 

                      • Spend $100, get 10% off.
                      • Spend $150 get, 20% off.
                      • Spend $200, get a $50 gift card
                      • Buy 2 pairs of sunglasses, get $20 off.
                      • Buy 3 settings, get $30 off.
                      • Buy 4 hair care products, get $15 off.

                    37. Scaling 

                      Another method for increasing sales is to offer a scaling incentive. For instance: 

                        • Buy 1 or more pairs of jeans and get $20 off a branded blouse.

                      38. Grow account sales

                        This is important and applies to B2B businesses.  After a buyer places an order for a high-ticket item (particularly one of a large category), follow up with a phone call, thank them for the order and ask a few questions to make sure they bought the best product for their needs (example: HVAC equipment). If they did not, then upsell or downsell them to the right product for them. 

                        Learn as much as you can about their business and how else you can serve them. Sometimes, using this method, a $700 order can turn into hundreds of thousands of dollars and a multi-year long relationship. 

                        Follow with appropriate offers.

                        39. Build a customer list and make their lives easier

                        If you sell items that are purchased with any frequency, launch a subscription so that they won’t need to rush out to buy stuff. 

                        If you sell products that are gifts, ask buyers who they shop for, occasion, and offer to send ideas a month before the next anniversary or birthday. 

                        40. Care

                        When the economy experiences turbulence, reach out to your customers with some ideas on how you can help them and actually do. Nothing builds loyalty as much as reciprocity people feel toward companies and people who helped them in a difficult situation. And loyalty leads to customers buying more often in the long term. It is key to build your brand.

                        Conclusion

                        Now, as you are aware of how to increase online sales, you can use some or all of these tactics and see how your online business grows. We created a checklist to help you implement some or all of these strategies in your eCommerce business and track their efficiency. Always remember: there are many options to boost your revenue. And if you need a great partner that knows how to increase eCommerce sales, Catapult Revenue will be happy to help you!

                        About the Author
                        Sasha Berson

                        Sasha Berson

                        Sasha serves as Managing Partner and VP of Client Solutions for Catapult Revenue, ensuring that all client’s revenue goals are met via Catapult’s marketing strategies.

                        Expert in: Marketing Strategy
                        40 Ways to Increase <br>eCommerce Sales Checklist

                        40 Ways to Increase
                        eCommerce Sales Checklist

                        40 practical ideas that will undoubtedly help you grow your eCommerce by at least 25%

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