10 most effective strategies to sell online
Do you sell online and struggling with low sales even though you’ve already got a pretty nice traffic flow? Two possible reasons: your traffic is not qualified and your user experience flow does not convert potential customers to buying.
In this article, we will solve this challenge how to increase online sales, by discussing 10 strategies that:
- Encourage customers to start adding items to cart
- Sell more to each customer, increase average order value (AOV)
- Re-engage and bring customers back to your store for repeat purchases
Let’s deep dive into these 10 strategies (and suggested tools) that work to increase online sales for online stores.
#1 Upsell & Cross-sell relevant products
Upsells & Cross-sells are accountable for an average of 10-30% of ecommerce revenue.
Familiar with the famous examples of McDonald’s, Pepsi, KFC, upselling and cross-selling is the art of selling more to one customer by introducing complementary or upgrades.
Upselling & Cross-selling are different though the terms are interchangeable these days. Below is an example of an eCommerce store using Boost Sales app to run upsell and cross-sell offers:
Upsell = Offer higher upgrade alternatives:
Cross-sell = Offer a package of complementary items that go well together:
Upselling & Cross-selling are great tactics to increase unplanned purchases and boost average order value for online stores.
#2 Use personalized product recommendation to unveil product discovery
A couple of years ago, the giant Amazon revealed that 35% of their revenue was from product recommendations.
Till now, 70% of Amazon’s homepage is covered with product suggestion blocks.
The technology has become the norm in ecommerce: product recommendation is generated and tailored to each shopper’s behavior and interests right on store. By suggesting products that are relevant to what customers are looking for, this strategy not only prevent customers from leaving empty-handed but also motivates them to add more items to cart, thus increases average order value of the store. It works the same as word of mouth marketing.
Inspired by Amazon’s success, Home Music Tool store appliesdthe same strategy on their website: on Homepage only, they place 4 types of product recommendation to target different criteria customers might use to browse products.
The 3 horizontal blocks are created by Personalized Recommendation app, which use built-in algorithms to collect and analyze shoppers’ data to generate tailored suggestions each shopper most likely wants to buy.
Besides homepage, you can place relevant recommendations on category, product, cart page to keep selling until customers reach checkout. Amazon even suggests more items after checkout to motivate repeat purchases.
#3 Increase social proof with product reviews or recent-sales notifications
Social proof is your key to magnetic marketing: taking advantage of the crowd effect to attract more customers.
How, in details?
When visiting your website for the first time, many shoppers are skeptical. Although shopping online is nothing unfamiliar, there are risks to some extent as customers cannot see or touch the physical products before paying. What if the products do not look like what they are pictured on the website? What if they do not function the way they are described?
Social proof can do wonders for you here. By showing to customers that many others shopped and had a happy experience with your store, you can build trust on your brand and encourage new customers to start shopping with you.
Get product reviews from previous buyers:
Importance of Online Product Reviews from a Consumer’s Perspective report finds out that “85.57% of the participants stated that they read reviews often or very often before they purchase online. Of the participants who read reviews, 83.65% compare positive and negative reviews with each other.”
Getting insightful reviews for products is critical to convincing shoppers that they are making the right buying decision. Yotpo is a helpful application for online stores to generate reviews via email marketing or on-site popups.
Here is an example of Thin Blue Line Store USA store using Yotpo to get honest reviews for their products:
Notify recent successful orders:
Another great idea to leverage social proof to increase online sales is displaying recent-sales notification right on store when customers are browsing around.
You can set up a small slide-in popup on the corner notifying that someone (or even Mike) from Colorado has just bought an item on your store, as Inspigo store does by using the free Sales Pop tool:
These Sales Pop notifications can be synced from your real sales data, or created on the purpose of promoting some specific items.
#4 Run affiliate marketing with influencers in your niche
Influencers have great power on social media. When they talk positively about something, it can become a trend blown up by their followers. You can reach out to social influencers in your niche to have them promote your products and drive visitors to your website. Actually, you can even have them drive sales for you by combining with affiliate marketing.
Below is an example of JollyChic store who did affiliate marketing with Daniel Belle – a fitness model influencer on Instagram whose account has 665K followers who mainly are target customers of JollyChic:
The influencer introduced a 10% discount code for her followers. Sales made with this code would be her affiliate sales and she could earn commission from them. Instead of merely promoting a brand, influencers have a higher initiative to persuade followers to purchase because of the affiliate commission earned.
#5 Add a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency
Online shopping is ideal for impulse buying; which is becoming a common behavior nowadays since enabled by our fast goods consumption culture.
Products placed at the right position, with the right promotions, triggered at best timing, can highly promote impulse buying. One of the factors that have a high impact on this behavior is urgency.
While customers are considering making a purchase, you can show a time-limited offer (could be coupons, free shipping, freebies) and add a countdown timer to motivate them to seal the deal.
#6 Limit stock availability to create a sense of scarcity
Another trick you can apply to promote impulse buys behavior is adding a sense of scarcity.
Many online shoppers abandon their cart because they think that they can come back and buy anytime after comparing with other retailers. They will act differently if they are informed that their favorite items will be soon out of stock.
You can set your inventory number lower than actual quantity in order to create an impression of high demand items. Design obvious badge, text or any kind of signs to let customers know that, as below:
#7 Start a Loyalty Program That Keeps Customers Coming Back
Since it costs more to acquire a new customer than to sell more to a current one, it’s important to focus on retaining existing customers. You can curate a loyalty program to motivate customers spend more or make repeat purchase to earn reward points.
By offering your customers a loyalty program, you can promote impulse purchases and turn them into loyal customers. Customers are more motivated to buy from you because they can earn points to redeem later.
#8 Use gamification to increase AOV
Gamification really changes the ecommerce game.
Ecommerce gamification not only makes the online shopping process more exciting and interactive, but it also embeds hidden motivators for customers to visit the store more often and spend more. The underlying theory is simple: it is like a game, they act more to unlock achievements.
Curls & Potions store applies a simple yet killing gamification technique to increase average order value: when customers add an item to cart, they hint a 15% discount code which will be rewarded if customers spend more to reach a minimum order value of $55:
This awesome trick is also powered by the Boost Sales tool.
#9 Send personalized re-engagement newsletters
Not only you can increase online sales but you can also sell more even when customers already left your site.
Email marketing accounts for approximately 23% of online sales, making it one of the most cost-effective marketing channels in ecommerce.
Long gone was the time of mass promotional emails. Brands now execute personalized email automation to follow up with customers based on their behaviors with tailored content.
For example, customers who browse but don’t buy anything will receive browse abandonment emails that reminds them of items they saw and similar options. Those who abandon carts will receive cart recovering emails which direct them back to finish their cart. Customers who buy more than 3 orders can receive a coupon reward email for the next purchase…. You can keep in touch with customers at many points, as long as content is relevant and engaging.
#10 Optimize mobile web for better mobile conversion
Don’t forget that ecommerce traffic is coming more and more from mobile (though sales conversion is far behind desktop).
To get prepared for the very soon future when mobile takes over desktop in generating the majority of online sales, you should pay attention to optimizing your mobile web.
Mobile users scroll up and down so often to view content that they might miss where the CTA button is. Add a sticky Buy button with convenient options at the top so customers can buy anytime.
Mobile users also have a common habit of swipe left and right to view images. Instead of putting product images in vertical order, add a gallery so they can swipe just like on Instagram:
Source: Demo from Mobile Web Boost app
Conclusion to sell online…
There could be a million of creative ways of how to increase online sales.
Here we are suggesting strategies applied by many big and small brands and are actually proven to bring results. You can use the suggested tools in each strategy to test if it works for your business. (most tools are free or have free trial so you can start at no cost).
This post is courtesy of Daisy Ng the Marketing Manager & Growth Hacker for Beeketing Solutions, a marketing automation platform for small and medium online stores all over the world.
Beeketing brings a comprehensive package of applications that help online stores sell better with the superior assistance of smart recommendation system and big data technology.
Click here to see the rest of their free online e-book entitled How to Sell Online, a definitive guide for e-commerce.
The e-book is a ten chapter guide with tips and tricks for e-commerce owners. Read about topics such as choosing which products to sell, creating an online store, customer retention and understanding analytics.