Increasing online sales is your ticket to achieving your goal—whether that’s turning your e-commerce store into a full-time job, hitting an ambitious earnings goal or having more time to dedicate to your family and hobbies.
Fortunately, a couple of decades of experience have taught us strategies that increase online sales fast. Whether you decide to implement one or all of the strategies that we list here, these tips for how to increase online sales will help you improve your metrics and reach your sales goals.
1. Know Who You’re Selling To
This might sound obvious, but knowing who your potential customers are is central to increasing sales. Before you even create a website, conduct market research to find out:
- Who is most likely to use your products or services?
- What are their goals and frustrations (pain points)?
- How can your product or service benefit them?
- How much are they willing and able to spend?
With this information in hand, you can hone in on your business’s unique value proposition—the specific (unique) value that you can offer your customers—and feature this proposition prominently on your website, in your marketing emails and on social media.
2. Make Your Website Easy to Find and Use
The next step when you want to boost online sales is to optimise your website so that it’s easy to find and seamless to navigate.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) refers to the art of making your website easy for search engines (like Google and Bing) to find, index and display high on the search results page listings. Usually, SEO involves:
- Writing keyword-optimised content for every page of your site
- Creating keyword-optimised meta-data, image tags and video tags
- Matching the length of your content to similar content written by your competitors
- Creating links within your store and links on other websites to direct potential customers to your store
To increase the chance of being listed on search results pages, many e-commerce businesses create a blog to educate their customers and bring in potential leads. This can include everything from “how to” guides to product comparisons and answers to questions that your target audience frequently asks.
When writing content for your website, make sure that your representation of your products is honest and that you can substantiate every claim you make. Customers can see through hype very quickly and will be more satisfied with a product that works as advertised rather than one that fails to live up to overblown expectations.
High-Quality Product Photography
Just as a nicely displayed meal seems to taste better, you’ll be more likely to increase sales if your website features beautiful photographs of your products. Product photographs should:
- Be consistent in size and shape
- Be well-lit
- Show the product by itself against a plain background
- Show each product from multiple angles
Provide Simple Choices
Once your products are beautifully displayed, make it easy for customers to find the product they’re looking for quickly and without becoming overwhelmed. For example, you can group products into very specific subcategories and provide only a few choices within each subcategory.
Ensure A Seamless Checkout Process
A study published in Business Insider revealed that around €4 trillion was left in shopping carts in 2013, of which 63% could have been recovered. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent and resolve this kind of issue and increase online sales:
- Integrate a global payment gateway on your e-commerce site with an API module from a merchant services provider. Keeping customers on your website makes the checkout process much smoother and easier to complete.
- Provide as many different payment methods as you can, including credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, mobile wallets, bank transfers, cheques and buy-now-pay-later. Comprehensive merchant services can help you see and manage these payments from wherever you are.
- Eliminate all unnecessary fields in your checkout process and allow customers to “check out as guest” to make the process quicker and less of a hassle.
- Add a plugin that sends a reminder email to encourage customers to complete their purchases. According to a study by Rejoiner, sending a cart recovery email one hour after cart abandonment can recover up to 16% of sales.
Integrating software that sends out a receipt automatically after a customer makes a purchase, updates inventory databases and offers shipping notifications keeps everything running smoothly. Automating these processes also increases customers’ confidence because they receive confirmation of their purchases straight away (and aren’t left doubting).
3. Make Your Advertising More Effective
You probably have a marketing budget to increase brand awareness and bring new customers to your online store. If you don’t, you need one. Then, turn those Euros into more online sales with strategies that work:
- Create an opt-in pop-up when customers visit your site to encourage them to sign up for your e-newsletter.
- Create email marketing campaigns with a mix of customer education, summaries of your achievements and special offers and discounts. Email marketing has a staggering 42:1 return on investment(ROI), making this a must-try strategy for online stores.
- When using paid ads, link the click button directly to the relevant page (not a related page) and use ad extensions to increase click-throughs and make more sales.
- Use remarketing to target online shoppers who are already interested in your brand.
- Create social media accounts to increase brand awareness, reach potential customers who might like your products or services and make sales online with click buttons on ads. Your social media accounts should connect to your online store and provide a good mix of regularly published, value-adding content.
4. Make It Easy for Customers to Trust You
When new customers visit your website, provide every assurance—clearly and obviously—that your ecommerce store is legitimate. In addition to an SSL certificate for site security, display these trust signs prominently to make more sales:
- Antivirus and firewall badges
- Secure checkout badges
- Your membership with your local chamber of commerce
- Professional accreditations and awards
The other trust sign that you MUST display prominently in your online store is social proof in the form of customer testimonials and ratings from independent websites like Google reviews and Yelp. No matter how much you wax lyrical about your products and services (and even if every word you say is true), nothing builds trust and motivation to buy than thousands of independent five-star reviews from satisfied customers.
5. Make Your Customers Feel Good
It’s much easier and more cost-effective to sell to existing customers than to attract new customers and investing in your most loyal customers really does pay off in the form of increased online sales.
Improve Customer Service
To ensure repeat sales, your e-commerce business needs to have great customer service. This applies from the time a potential customer makes an initial enquiry to the time an existing customer seeks resolution for shipping problems or makes a suggestion or complaint. To cater to the widest audience possible, provide a wide range of contact methods, reply quickly and resolve any issues promptly with a smile.
Everyone likes a freebie. Free products show your customers that you care about them, drive sales ahead of the festive season and motivate customers to buy.
- Free shipping. 66% of American online shoppers expect free shipping with every online order, and the trend holds true in Europe as well. This is something you need to consider if you want to compete with giants like Amazon. Shop around to find the best shipping provider and build free shipping into your pricing.
- Threshold bonus gifts. Increase your average order value by offering a free gift when customers spend more than a certain amount. The gift is typically a small item like a sample-sized product or accessory to make the gift affordable for you.
- Discounts, specials and sales. Everyone loves to feel like they’re getting a good deal, and periodic discounts, specials and sales WORK. Offer discounts ahead of key shopping periods (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, New Year and the back-to-school rush).
- Create a loyalty program with discounts or coupons for a certain number of points. Millennials are 2.2 times more likely to pay a premium for goods and services if they can earn points and rewards, helping you make more sales (plus increasing your average order value at the same time).
- Send out a one-time discount code to your newsletter subscribers or in a pop-up before someone leaves the page. These strategies encourage customers to buy, particularly those who are on the fence about making a purchase.
6. Work with—Not against—Psychology
The final way to increase online sales is to apply a few simple tricks based on human psychology to close a potential sale.
- Offer three price points with the middle price being the one you want to sell.
- Offer easy returns and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee for complete customer reassurance.
- Create a sense of urgency with time-sensitive offers and deals.
- Use “ad customisation” in Google Ads to show how much time is left until the sale or special offer ends.
- Consider adopting a subscription business model alongside traditional sales to turn one-time customers into repeat customers and generate monthly recurring revenue.
Start Increasing Sales Today
Whether you’re still in the market research phase or want to increase sales in an established e-commerce business, the most important thing is to begin. Make a list of actionable tips for how to increase online sales that are relevant to your business and easy to implement, then choose one and put it into practice.
As you implement your strategies one at a time—observing their effects on your key metrics—you’ll be able to make a strategic plan for keeping your sales figures healthy over time.