As we welcome the New Year, most of us are filing away resolutions we’d like to accomplish…or at least make an attempt to, until mid-February (no judgement). Though personal resolutions are honorable, business goals are essential. To continue growing and become successful in an increasingly competitive market, ecommerce business owners should have a firm set of resolutions to help them reach better sales in the coming months. Do you want to make 2016 the year of your best ecommerce sales yet? You can. Here are 5 cost effective ways to jumpstart your sales today.
1. New product photos
Fresh, new product photos can help increase conversion and encourage sales. Good photos will be clear, well-lit and taken from multiple angles. Better ones will have soft shadows, be set up with a light box and possibly shot with a macro setting. Once you upgrade the quality of your product photos, think about what you can do next – could you add a 360 degree rotating image of your items? Online retailer for pregnant women and new moms DueMaternity.com implemented 360 degree rotating images on their site. As a result, conversions increased by 27%. Not sure rotating images make sense for your products? Consider adding product images to your drop down search menu instead. This retailer did, and conversions increased by 15%.
2. Better email marketing
Properly executed email marketing strategy is a fantastic way to steward repeat customers and keep shoppers coming back – which is essential to keeping your business headed towards success. Do repeat customers really make that big of an impact? Take a look at these quick facts.
- Repeat shoppers account for about 40% of all online sales
- Online businesses with 40% repeat customers generate 50% more revenue than similar sellers with a 10% repeat customer base.
- The conversion rates of loyal customers are 5 – 9 times greater than first-time buyers
- Businesses that boost customer retention by 5% saw an increase of profits between 5 and 95%
To really master email marketing, you need to accomplish two things first: one, you need to know how to segment your email lists for maximum clicks and conversions, and two, you’ve got to bulk these lists up. Building your subscriber list can be a done a variety of ways – some popular techniques are offering incentives, out of stock notices, pop ups and more (here’s a complete list of our favorite tips). The success rate of email subscriber segments varies business to business, but here are a few suggestions to get your started.
3. New sales channels
The more marketplaces and websites, or “virtual shelves,” you sell on, the greater your opportunity to win sales. This is really just down to odds – more shelves mean more people looking at your items, simple as that. If you don’t have your own website yet, building a site with a reputable shopping cart is an effective way to grow sales, and gives you the opportunity to really build your brand. Take a look at marketplaces, too – is there a new one that is getting a lot of buzz, or a niche site that is loaded with buyers looking for items similar to yours?
Don’t be afraid to take your business offline, either. Pop-up shops and trade shows are a fun, creative way to grow your audience and customer base, not to mention a good way to really steward repeat customers. Selling in person gives you the opportunity to talk with shoppers one-on-one – something you very rarely get to do when selling online. If you can make a great in-person impression (we know you will), then that shopper will remember your brand, and will likely check you out online next time they are looking to buy more of the items you sell.
4. Improved customer service
Exceptional customer service should always, always be at the top of your priority list. Great customer service will help you steward repeat customers, earn consistently positive feedback and win sales again and again. Your efforts will help you establish an emotional bond with customers, which will allow you to charge 20 to 200% more than competitors, and get away with it.
Conversely, if your customer service is subpar, a reported 68% of buyers will stop supporting a brand if they feel that business is indifferent toward them. Moral of the story – keep your customer service standards high, and sales will follow. Check out our recent article on the best tips for better ecommerce customer service.
5. Branded buyer experience
To stand out against competitors and win better sales, you need to create a unique shopping experience that represents what your brand is about. This can be done a variety of ways – custom packing slips with a thoughtful “thank you” message to buyers, branded packaging and shipping materials, friendly order confirmation pages and web copy that is unique to your business “voice” are all great options. Though we think you should try to incorporate as many of these into your business as you grow, make it your goal to start with just one.
An easy one with a low effort/maximum results is a creative order confirmation page and/or email. Instead of landing buyers on a page with just their order details after the purchase was processed, add in some fun copy to differentiate your business and make customers eager to buy from you again. Here’s an example: the founder of CDBaby.com wanted to jazz up his company’s order confirmation emails. He wanted to create a fun buying experience, and didn’t think the standard, bare bones emails were cutting it. He wrote a couple of email options with clever text, one of which contained the quirky phrase “private CD baby jet” (see more from the image below).
As a result, if you google that exact phrase, you get 60,000 results – all of which, in one way or another, direct back to CDBaby.com, the source for that keyword. That’s a lot of people going to a website, simply because of a goofy order confirmation email. Find areas where you can get creative with your branding, and give it a go.
Make these adjustments to your business strategy today, and you can expect to see an increase in sales throughout 2016.