Growing an e-commerce business is different from growing a brick-and-mortar. For one thing, you don’t have as many direct interactions with the customers, which can make it more difficult to develop a relationship with them. So how do you increase sales if you never see your customer face to face, and rarely speak with them directly unless they have a problem?
It all depends on what kind of customers you’re focusing on. Are you attracting new customers? Trying to increase conversion rates of customers who have visited your website? Or seeking repeat purchases? Ideally, you’re working on all three, though tactics will vary depending on the customer’s level of previous interaction. The following are a few tips on how to be successful on all three fronts.
Find New Customers By:
Venturing into New Territory
If you’ve done things right, you have a solid understanding of your core customer base and what they need. That said, there may be avenues for accessing related markets. For example, have you considered selling products for expecting mothers? What can you offer fathers-to-be? Exploring adjacent markets like this can open up a world of possibilities, and help you find the new customers you’re looking for.
Increase Conversion Rates By:
Offering Free Shipping
There’s nothing worse than putting things in a digital shopping cart, going to checkout, and finding out that the total cost has jumped by 25% or more because of shipping costs. It’s a fact that’s making a difference in how people shop online. A whopping 96% of users are more willing to shop at a site that offers free shipping, and 62% of consumers “would not have made their most recent online purchase if they had not received free shipping.”
Customers clearly don’t like having to deal with shipping fees as a surprise cost, and are even willing to shell out money in advance to avoid, such as with Amazon Prime. So if you’re looking to boost conversion rates, don’t give your customers a reason not to hit the “confirm purchase” button when they reach the last step.
If you’re worried about recouping the costs you’ll incur by shipping the product, there’s a pretty easy fix. Customers overvalue “free” things, and are thus potentially willing to pay a higher price on a product, so long as the price they see is the price they get. So if you need to bump up your prices to accommodate for “free” shipping, don’t sweat it too much. Even if they leave your site to shop around, they’ll come back when they see the shipping costs the others require.
Sending Abandoned Shopping Cart Reminders
Over two-thirds of online shopping carts become abandoned with items still in them. A significant portion of those customers can be reclaimed through appropriate outreach methods. Sending an email to remind customers of what they left behind causes them to reconsider, and in some cases, decide to buy after all. Test out different strategies to see what works—some businesses even offer a discount on items left in the cart to encourage the sale. Just don’t let them walk away without a word.
Create Repeat Customers By:
Sending Personalized Retargeting Emails
Similar to emailing users about abandoned shopping carts, you can get a lot of mileage out of emails that retarget, upsell, and provide personalized offers. Recent statistics show that personalized emails can increase conversion rates by at least 10%, and in some cases far more than that. Emails that suggest related products, offer a repeat purchase of a consumable, or that make shoppers aware of promotions and deals on products they have purchased in the past will point their attention back at your site, increasing the odds that they will purchase again.
Creating Authoritative Content
It seems less direct, but setting yourself up as an authority on the subject of the products you sell can do wonders for your image, and in turn, your sales. One of the things customers don’t get from companies like Target, Walmart, or Amazon, is the specialized knowledge that comes with working in a niche market. You have expertise to share, advice on what products to get and when, how to use them, how to troubleshoot problems, etc. Sharing that knowledge in content form makes you more valuable as a brand, and builds trust with your customers.