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While it is true that a good portion of eCommerce sales is generated by driving traffic with stellar SEO and effective AdWords campaigns, these can take time and money to show true effectiveness. There are a few immediate tasks you can implement on your website to see growth in a shorter time period. With the holiday season fast approaching, it is more important than ever to prepare now, ensuring your website is ready to handle the annual uptick in eCommerce purchases.
While retail holidays sales have seen a decrease in growth since 2014, online eCommerce sales have remained high, and are projected to do so throughout the 2016 holiday season. In 2015, eCommerce sales saw a growth of 13.4% (compared to traditional retail sales, which only saw a growth of 1.8%). In 2015 alone, this was a growth of over $9.3 billion dollars. As experts expect this number to only increase for 2016, you cannot afford not to take advantage.
Keeping this in mind, here are a few goals that will help you achieve your best holiday season ever:
1. Increase Your Average Order Size
Look at past years’ sales to determine your average order size and create ways to increase that number, whether by upselling, cross-selling, or bundling products where possible.
A great example of upselling is found on the Dollar Shave Club’s website. They bring a potential customer in with their advertised $1 razors, but also provide upgraded $6 razors and $9 razors that can be selected instead of the basic $1 model. For your own website, look for ways to offer an upgraded or enhanced version of your product that can be purchased at a slightly increased cost.
Cross-selling involves showing customers other great items that compliment what they are buying.
So if you sell televisions, offer special speakers, wall mounting units, or all-in-one remote controls as possible add-on items. The best example of product bundling is the value meal. Instead of purchasing only a sandwich, a customer gets a meal which includes fries and a drink because it seems like a better value, even if they may not have ordered all three items individually. Online sales operate similarly, bundling products like one or two free video games with the purchase of a console. It appeals to customers, who feel they are getting a better deal.
2. Email Your Existing Customer Base
Research the buying patterns of your past customers and appeal to those patterns. Who bought what last year, and when? Do you have items to complement past purchases or upgrade them? This is incredibly easy and cost-effective but is usually overlooked by many online sellers. It is simple to integrate your website with an email marketing tool (such as MailChimp) that enables you to capture your customers’ purchasing information and transfer it into the email tool. Send out that email promoting your new products that appeal to customers who have purchased similar products in previous years.
3. Reach Out to Existing Customers with Social Media Ads
There’s an old saying that says it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new one, and it’s true. It’s also cheaper! New customers cost nearly five times the amount in marketing costs than does an existing or old customer. This is no different in the world of social media.
Facebook will allow you to export your customer list and create a Custom Audience. With this feature, you can then post targeted ads specifically to this custom audience list. You can even create a lookalike audience, based on users’ browsing history and interests if your own customer list is not large enough. They will compare the information you enter against their own database to find potential customers. You can filter based on things like location, age, gender, and users’ interests.
Additionally, it is easy to set a budget you want to stick to, and then let Facebook’s automated process handle the rest.
4. Replace Product Photos
If you’re selling cashmere socks, make sure those socks look like a million bucks; they shouldn’t look like they’re ready for the Goodwill bin. Customers should be able to see and feel the quality. Updating product photos that are old or lackluster will contribute directly to an increase in sales. And it is a simple and easy thing that you can do yourself. Here are some helpful tips for better product photos:
- Update your mastheads so so they’re fresh and vibrant
- Use a white background instead of a colored one
- Take advantage of natural lighting (it’s easier to manage than professional lighting unless you have the equipment and know-how to make the most use of it)
- Use a tripod or other secure mount
- Avoid too much editing (don’t be heavy-handed with filters or coloring options, as they can dramatically change the appearance and make customers feel cheated)
- Be consistent with your image sizes for a more uniform look across the website
- Keep the file size small for optimal page loading times
- Capture the product from multiple angles
5. Implement an Abandoned Cart Feature
An effective abandoned cart feature will automatically email a customer who has placed an item in their shopping cart but then did not go through all the steps necessary to complete the purchase. The big upside to this is that their cart items are saved, making it easy for them to pick up where they left off and complete the purchase when it is more convenient for them.
Having a feature that will do this is an effective boon to sales, as reportedly over 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned. That’s a huge number of sales that you are missing out on. There are a variety of reasons why a customer may abandon their shopping cart–here are a few of the biggest:
- 56% of buyers were presented with an unexpected cost during their purchase
- 37% of buyers claimed to only be browsing
- 36% found a better price somewhere else
These customers may not return even if presented with an email reminder about their abandoned cart. However:
- 25% found the website navigation to be too complicated
- 24% reported a website crash
- 21% thought the buying process took too long
- 15% experienced website timeout issues
These people could be reached through an abandoned cart feature and could be induced to proceed with their original purchase. Implement an abandoned cart feature that makes the purchasing process as easy as possible and customers will use it.
Implementing these five basic tasks into your eCommerce plan will not only make the shopping experience more convenient for your customers, it will also help your business see an increase in their holiday sales.
We know first hand, we’ve implemented all of these strategies for our clients, and they are Experiencing Remarkable Results.