You decided to dip your toes into the e-commerce pond and open an online store. You’ve picked your logo, scrutinized your brand’s theme, and even set up a blog. Sadly, you’ve only made a few sales and those were from friends and family. Getting started in e-commerce isn’t always as simple as the online gurus make it seem. While some entrepreneurs do get lucky as soon as they open a shop, most others need to learn through trial and error. And if this is your first time venturing into e-commerce, the entire process can seem daunting.
Regardless of what you’re selling, increasing sales is the goal. After all, you opened a shop to make money. And even if it’s only a side hustle you’re doing to earn money for college, it can still be a downer when you aren’t turning even a small profit. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to boost your ROI, some of which you can make an immediate difference. Below are actionable tips and strategies you can implement to increase sales and your online store’s performance.
We’ve all stumbled upon a website that made claims that seemed just a bit outlandish. You might have made a purchase from them only to discover that your initial hunch was right. Being dishonest about your product is probably the fastest way to destroy your online reputation, aside from selling low-quality merchandise. The digital landscape is far different than before, so consumers can usually see right through a brand that’s making claims they can’t substantiate. You need to build trust and gain customer loyalty by being honest in your offerings. Whether it’s your sales copy or information on your website, make sure it’s 100 percent accurate for your customers.
Write Great Copy
Honesty in copy isn’t the only thing you need to focus on. When creating great content, albeit for marketing, your website, or email campaigns, it needs to resonate with your specified target audience. Far too often, even well-known brands send out mass emails containing nothing but fluff that can quickly be deleted. It’s not uncommon to also see grammatical errors on the website or create content that’s just okay.
The written word is still a powerful tool, so anything you create needs to stir emotion. Even if it’s on a subliminal level, you want people to take away a positive feeling when they interact with your brand. The best way to do this is by putting yourself in their shoes. Think about your favorite brands and what actions they take to make you want to buy. You can then use this as inspiration to create content that encourages consumers to buy from you.
Use Ad Extensions
If you’re serious about selling online, you need to use ad extensions. Found on Google and Bing, this amazing feature not only makes your ad larger but also allows you to diversify your ad without paying more. For example, if you’re selling sunglasses, you’re probably targeting both men and women. When you use ad extensions, you can set it up so that when someone searches for this online, your ad pops up with those two classifications. This allows the consumer to click on that specific link without having to search on your website.
Create a Feeling of Urgency
When someone actually lands on your website, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention before they’ve moved on. And even if they sought your brand out, you still need to create a sense of urgency, as if what they’re looking to buy might not be there if they abandon their cart. Most consumers respond to time-sensitive discounts and offers, especially ones that are too good to pass up. While you can go about this in a variety of ways, some methods are better than others. For instance, if your product offerings aren’t limited edition, you can still offer discount codes or free shipping. Even if they’re not on a budget, consumers want to save money any way they can, so small discounts can go a long way. If you’re using Ad Words, you can do a limited sale, seasonal sale, or a countdown timer to create a feeling of urgency.
Choose The Right Platform
Where you sell is just as important as what you sell. The platform you choose needs to be easy to navigate, especially for small business owners who are new to e-commerce. If you’re just starting out, like many younger entrepreneurs are, you might even be looking for a way to make money for college. That means you need a platform that makes running your business as easy as possible.
User-friendly platforms like WordPress make it easy to set up shop and create a basic, yet appealing shipping experience for your customers. There are a variety of tools and plug-ins you can use to enhance the shopping experience as well. If you’re planning on running your business while in college, you need to streamline your store as much as possible. Worrying about tuition, in addition to managing your business, usually ends poorly, so it’s better to cover all the bases with a loan.
Utilizing private student loans can cover the cost of your education, which gives you more time to focus on your studies and your business. If you choose to go this route, weigh all the options before making a final decision. Private lenders tend to be more flexible with repayment options and they can usually offer lower interest rates as well.
Narrow Down Your Options
When it comes to selling, less is more. When given too many options, consumers can feel overwhelmed and not sure about their purchasing decisions. You need to narrow your focus and only offer a set number of products. If you’re selling more than one type of product, you can arrange your site so it narrows the consumer’s search. You can increase the number of categories and run specific ads for those products. In this way, people who click on the ad will go directly to that product, not your home page. You can also just offer fewer products at specific times of the year, like on Black Friday or at Christmas.
Offer a Guarantee
Nothing makes users bounce faster than a slow-loading website or a company that doesn’t offer their money back. Just like you, your target audience wants to know their purchase is protected if something goes wrong or if the merchandise is defective. Offering a money-back guarantee builds trust and makes your business seem more legitimate.
Effective marketing is now more important than ever before. With so many brands competing for attention, how you market is as important as where you focus your efforts. You need to drill down and find ways to reach your ideal customer for the least amount of ad spend. Take a look at your competition to see what they’re doing. You can sign up for their emails to get a better idea of their email sequences. Do online searches for products similar to yours and see what kind of ads are displayed.
It’s important to note that not all brands will market in the same way. Depending on your niche and age demographic, you could focus your energy on social media marketing. The Small Business Blog reports that younger demographics tend to hang out on TikTok and Instagram whereas older demographics still use Facebook.
If your target audience is primarily female, you should learn at least the basics of Pinterest marketing. Millions of people use the platform every day, so once you learn how to pin properly, you can drive traffic to your online store for free.
In addition, you can also use social media to run paid advertising campaigns that aren’t intrusive. On Instagram, you can choose between static ads that appear in the feed. Users then see the ad without feeling like they’re being targeted with intrusive marketing tactics. You should look into influencer marketing as well. It’s not uncommon for a brand to go viral after an influencer promotes the product.
Keep in mind that this usually isn’t free, so you might need to strike a deal for free products, pay per post or give them a certain percentage of sales. Smaller influencers are usually more receptive and are willing to work for less, sometimes even for free. The best way to go about this is to follow the people you want to work with.
Leave genuine comments on their posts. Over time, you can then send a personalized email or DM telling them how much you like their content and how you feel working together would benefit you both. You can also send them products and if they like them, reach out to you. This offer should always be a no strings attached interaction.
It’s estimated that trillions of dollars are lost each year simply due to cart abandonment. As a business owner, that equates to a massive amount of lost revenue. You can nip this in the bud by streamlining the check-out process. Just like you, people don’t want to jump through hoops to pay. They want to make their purchase quickly and efficiently, and since most purchases are performed on a mobile device, you need to make it as easy as possible. Optimizing the user experience doesn’t end once someone puts an item in their cart. It needs to be optimized all the way through until they receive confirmation of their purchase. Eliminating any unnecessary steps and pop-ups lets buyers complete the transaction as quickly as possible.
Image Quality is Important
When you’re on a budget, it can be tough finding someone to shoot your product photos. However, using low-quality photos, or ones that are from the manufacturer if you’re drop shipping is never a good idea. As an online business owner, you need to help your ideal buyer feel like they’re shopping in person. Make sure your photos are crystal clear and show as much detail as possible. You also need to show as many variations as possible. On a screen, viewers only see one aspect of your product. Taking photos from multiple angles can improve the buyer’s experience and increase sales.
Ditch The Landing Page
Even people with no marketing experience probably know what a landing page is. If not, it’s the page people land on from an ad, which usually asks for a piece of information. Businesses usually ask for your email, so they can market to you later. However, did you know what havoc landing page can work against you? When someone is searching for something and they land on your website, the last thing they want is to navigate a landing page asking for their contact information. While you should still utilize your landing page to collect emails for email campaigns, disable it when you are running ads for a specific purpose. It’s better to have people land directly on that page than have to enter their details. If they’re happy with your offerings, they’ll return on their own.
Keep Messaging Consistent
If you’ve ever clicked on an ad for an offering only to be directed to a company’s home page, you know how frustrating that can be. You may have even taken your business elsewhere. It’s important to keep brand messaging consistent in marketing efforts. When you run ads, always make sure you’re directing traffic to the appropriate webpage. In addition, you also need to keep your marketing messages similar on all social media platforms. This helps to build brand awareness and help viewers identify your brand.