Whether your online business is big or small, we're pretty sure that your primary goal is to increase sales and soar high above your bottom line so you can continue charting your course to success. But in the world of eCommerce, driving online sales can be a complicated beast — there are so many different online sales and marketing tactics to experiment with! That's where we can help, with 20 proven, effective tips for how to increase online sales.
1. Evaluate Your Value Proposition
Every business should be able to quickly and clearly explain the value of their product or service to potential customers. If not, what reason do they have to choose you over the competition?
To boost online sales, you need to step back, look at your product or service and ask yourself these questions:
- Is it relevant to my customers' problems?
- Does it offer quantifiable benefits to those who use it?
- How does my product/service stand out from the competition? Does it stand out?
- Does it go above and beyond solving a functional problem to aid with the emotional and social jobs of my customers?
- Does it fill a gap that nothing else can — or fill the gap way more effectively?
The answers you generate will give you a much clearer view of your value proposition, aka the reason customers should choose your product or service — and stand by your brand as returning users. Oftentimes, if sales are stagnating, it's because you haven't communicated these messages clearly across platforms (like your website and social media accounts) or marketing materials (like ads or even physical brochures). Once you tweak your website, ads and sales collateral to point directly back to how the customer will benefit, you're sure to increase online sales in no time.
2. Try Out Paid Campaigns (PPC)
A little monetary incentive can go a long way. Pay Per Click (PPC) ad campaigns offer a direct and easy way to reach your target audience and boost online sales. In fact, a recent study from Search Engine Land stated that 75% of online shoppers reported being able to find information about products and services much more easily through paid ads in SERPs and on social. Ads can help users quickly get results that are ultra-relevant to their needs, which can translate to more sales for you. And did we mention that, according to Google, businesses can make an average of $2 of income for every $1 they spend in Google Ads?
PPC strategies can also include paid social media campaigns, which keep your products and services at the forefront of customers' minds even when they're not directly searching for them. For example, social remarketing strategies can serve as reminders to customers who added something to their cart but haven't completed their purchase yet. The modern buyer's journey often takes place in multiple stages rather than a single event, especially in the world of eCommerce. With remarketing, you can nudge customers into completing conversions on their time, from any device. In other words, PPC can be the perfect answer to the question of how to increase online sales fast!
3. Get Social
Simply having social media accounts isn't enough. You need to have an active presence in order to make the best impression with your potential customers. Many people reach out to brands on social media because the platforms feel more accessible, or because they might have a quick, simple question they need help resolving.
On the other side of the equation, customers may message you because they are dissatisfied with your product or service. In this case, you need to respond quickly and do your best to resolve the problem. Hopefully, you'll be able to restore their confidence. If nothing else, you've shown other potential customers that you're listening and ready to help. By making your business approachable, you can secure more repeat customers and even encourage new ones to take the plunge, driving online sales.
All this being said, you don't need to be active on every social media platform in existence — just choose the ones that would make sense for your business. For example, if you are a creative business with photogenic products and services, you might choose Instagram, a platform where people go to be inspired. On the other hand, if you want to focus heavily on paid social campaigns, you might want to use Facebook. And for professional connections, use LinkedIn. Simple!
4. Check Out Your Checkout Process
While it's important to gather all the needed payment and shipment information from your customers (or scheduling details, if you're providing a service), a checkout process that takes forever to complete can be a major turnoff. According to a study from the Baymard Institute, 27% of customers who abandoned their carts during checkout did so because the checkout process was too long or complicated.
Take a look at your checkout process: do customers have to go through multiple pages of information before they can actually see how much they owe and make their purchase? Are you trying to push them into making an account before they buy, another major deterrent for customers? If so, consider removing these requirements and unnecessary steps. Put all the needed forms on one or two pages and keep their order total visible throughout the process so they can move forward quickly and confidently with their purchase. You could also offer to save their information for an even speedier experience next time!
But simplifying isn't the only thing you can do to improve your checkout process — you should also diversify the ways that people can pay for your product or service. Plenty of folks still use debit or credit, of course, but there are many others who prefer to use Google Wallet or ApplyPay, not to mention PayPal, Venmo or any of the other third party payment platforms out there. Make sure that, on top of accepting all the major debit and credit card types, you accommodate these alternate methods of payment as well.
A simple, accommodating checkout process will play a big part in helping increase online sales!
5. Reviews, Testimonials & Case Studies
On the internet, it's difficult to gauge the true quality of a product or service since you can't actually see it in action. For that reason, most customers rely heavily on reviews, testimonials and case studies from other real people to help inform their decision. Feature your favorite or highest-ranking reviews on your homepage and consider including a page on your website for showcasing other testimonials and case studies from happy customers.
If you already have testimonials or reviews on your site but want to get more mileage out of them, add photos! Having a face to go with a review can give it more social proof in a world where reviews are sometimes faked for a boost in sales or rankings. You could even provide additional contact information if the folks in your testimonials or case studies approve of it, giving your prospects the ability to reach out and verify the reviews. Having easy access to legitimate testimonials is a surefire way to build trust and boost online sales.
6. Turn Up the Trust Signals
While reviews, testimonials and case studies are a great way to grow trust, customers may still choose to forgo a purchase if they don't feel safe giving you their payment information. The internet is a dangerous world where it's all too easy to have card and identity information stolen — it's no surprise that people are leery of unfamiliar websites, no matter how much they want to buy a product or service. In fact, according to Acquisio, 61% of online shoppers didn't make purchases because there were no trust icons on the site they were visiting.
You can easily assuage these fears by adding trust seals to your site, such as Norton Secured, VeriSign or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Along with these seals, include a brief description of how each security measure helps protect the customer's information. If you would like to take security a step further, you can get fully verified by a third-party vendor; some require these extra measures to let you display their badge, showing your customers that you go the extra mile to keep their information safe.
Giving customers a taste of your product or service with free trials or samples is perfect for sealing the deal and driving online sales. Product samples are ideal for tempting customers to buy more of the real thing while no-obligations free trials are the prime opportunity to show customers that they really can't live without your service.
Another surefire way to boost online sales? Offer free shipping. Having free shipping on any and every order is best, but even if you give a price limit (say $25), people will still be more likely to make additional purchases to reach that limit than pay for shipping. At the very least, try to offer a flat rate on shipping so customers can easily figure out what their final bill will be.
8. Honesty is the Best Policy
Should be obvious, but being honest about your products and services (and about who you are as a brand) is critical for gaining customer trust and driving online sales. It might feel easy to stretch the truth, but it's even easier for people to see through tricks with even a small amount of digging. Instead, be straightforward about who you are and what you offer while also taking on an approachable tone that invites people to ask questions and explore your products and services more. Be yourself and the rest will follow!
9. Nail Your Email Marketing
Even in a world where social media dominates our attention, email marketing is still the leading generator of ROI, with 59% of marketers receiving the most ROI from email, according to Campaign Monitor. If you don't have an email list, generating one can be a surefire way to increase online sales fast. Try out a mix of personalized emails and automated campaigns, and be sure to always split test important emails before sending them for real to test out their effectiveness.
Another email trick that works well for establishing repeat customers is the follow-up. Don't let your interactions with the customer end once they check out! Instead, try sending an instructional guide or other collection of helpful tips for how they can use their product once they receive it. Set-up guides are always welcome, especially if it's a complicated product to build or install. Following up can help create brand evangelists who spread the word about your awesome company — word of mouth can be just as important for driving online sales as your online efforts!
10. Rock at Customer Service
As we touched on in the social media section, interacting with customers is critical for ensuring that everyone's questions are answered and problems are solved. The better your user support rankings are among users, the more likely new customers are to trust you, which can go a long way toward driving online sales. Search for your business and "reviews" on Google to get an idea of what people are saying about your brand, or check out sites like TrustPilot or HostAdvice.
Incorporating a live chat function on your site will also help build your reputation as a helpful business. Sure, customers could just fill out your contact form, but they can never be completely certain about when you'll get back to them. Live chats, or even chat bots, tell them "we're here to listen at your convenience," and reassures them that if they have questions, they'll get answers in a matter of minutes. Great for establishing trust!
11. Unbury Your Contact Forms
Another part of having great customer service is making contact and inquiry forms easy to find. If a potential customer is uncertain about your product, it should be no hassle for them to reach out and find answers that can convince them to convert. Clearly display your "Contact Us" page in navigation, include quote request forms on relevant product and service pages and make sure you call out the fact that customers can contact you often in your website copy.
12. (Low) Risky Business
Another way to establish trust and increase online sales is to offer some form of satisfaction guarantee that lowers the risk-factor of trying something new. Money-back guarantees are best, but price matching and even results-based agreements will assure the customer that they're getting the best deal — and if they don't, they'll be refunded in some way. .
13. Social Proof
Yes, there are ways to provide even more social proof than reviews, testimonials and case studies! Social proof comes in many different forms, from pointing out the products and services that are most popular to installing widgets that continuously live-stream recent purchases. Seeing what other people are enjoying and purchasing can help push undecided buyers to conversion and boost online sales.
14. Put What's Popular in the Spotlight
If you provide software or another kind of service that has multiple pricing packages, highlight the one that's most popular. In terms of design, this could include using a different color or increased column size for the most popular option to make it stand out from the rest in a pricing chart. Banners and other callouts could also be used throughout your site's design to draw attention to the plan on multiple fronts. And, of course, you can always include an easy-to-navigate bestsellers page or category for your most popular products.
15. Optimize for Mobile
In a highly connected world like ours, customers can visit your site and make purchases whenever they want. That's why it's extremely important to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile, as well as desktops and tablets, if you want to increase online sales.
To ensure your site is totally mobile user-friendly:
- Simplify your checkout process.
- Include plenty of mobile payment options like Google Wallet and ApplePay.
- Decrease page load times.
- Make navigation as simple and intuitive as possible.
- Ensure that users can easily return to their carts, even if they do so on a different device.
Remember that mobile users often don't convert in a single session — they may come back to your site multiple times across different devices before actually making a purchase (which is why remarketing campaigns can be so helpful for generating complete conversions). Make it as simple as possible for them to come and go without losing track of their items or forgetting how to get needed information on your site.
16. Wow with Your Web Design
We cannot overstate how important your website's design is for customer experience and making a great first impression. Here are some statistics from Acquisio that do it for us:
- 93% of consumers use website appearance as a key deciding factor in whether or not they purchase a product or service.
- 42% of consumers judge a site's overall quality based on design alone.
That's a pretty big deal — your outdated, non-user-friendly or just plain ugly website design could be working in direct opposition to your online sales and marketing efforts. If you want to build more trust with your customers, decrease bounce rate and increase online sales in one fell swoop, you'll want to invest in web design and development services to help bring your site up to par with the rest — and, ideally, soar above and beyond.
17. Photo & Video
As part of your efforts to improve your web design, you should also invest in high-quality product photos and videos to give consumers the best possible idea of how your product works before they convert. Take pictures of your products from multiple angles to give users a 360° view and, if your product requires some setup on the buyer's part, include an instructional video on how to get it up and running.
Even if you mainly provide a service, video can still be helpful for driving online sales. Include infographic videos breaking down the value proposition of your product or service, or upload some user testimonials for social proof. Videos are viewed as more trustworthy than strictly images, which can encourage conversions when customers are on the fence.
18. Split Test New Materials
Whether you have an idea for a new email campaign or homepage header, it's always a good idea to test multiple versions before implementing. Split testing can include things like testing the click-through-rate (CTR) of emails when there are emojis in the headline versus no emojis, or seeing if a website header with images versus no images generates more conversions or opt-ins. Even the smallest or simplest tweaks can have a big impact on the success of your online sales and marketing efforts.
19. Stress the Urgency of Conversion
Nobody likes feeling like they're missing out — especially on a great deal. Creating a sense of urgency is your bread and butter when figuring out how to increase online sales.
To encourage customers to buy now, you could try:
- Implementing limited time sales on popular items.
- Offering free shipping on all orders or orders of a certain price limit for a short period of time.
- Including a free gift with orders for a limited time.
- Emphasizing the limited amount of products available.
- Including a time limit for customers to complete their purchase.
- Including the number of products left in stock to emphasize scarcity.
- Sending emails to subscribers to remind them of sale periods.
The opportunity to save a little extra cash can be the final push many users need to complete a conversion. Even if you choose a tactic aside from a sale, giving your customers an even more compelling reason to invest in your product or service will become the rocket fuel that will boost online sales to a brand new level.
20. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Organic search results can be equally as powerful for driving online sales as paid campaigns and the other online sales and marketing tactics we've discussed. After all, how can you expect your target audience to find your site if you don't use the right words to bring them there? With eCommerce search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, you can pinpoint the most important and relevant keywords that rank in Google and cater directly to the people you want to convert. The better you target these terms, the higher you can rank in the SERPs, which gives you both greater visibility and increases the trustworthiness of your brand in the eyes of customers.
There are so many other online sales and marketing tactics that can be used to boost online sales to the highest levels you've seen yet. Seem like a tall order to tackle them all yourself? That's where OuterBox can help with our award winning eCommerce web design, SEO & PPC services and more. Talk with us today or request an estimate to see how we can help your business.