If you’re in the game of e-commerce, then you’re always looking for ways to improve your online store. The hustle never stops, whether it’s learning about marketing email best practices, finding where to best advertise your niche, or better understanding your target market, there’s always something you can improve.
That’s why we’ve rounded up 5 little-known tactics that will have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.
1) Eliminate Abandoned Carts
41 separate studies on online cart abandonment show that, on average, 69.57% of carts are abandoned before the sale. That means you could be doing over 3x the sales you’re doing now (in a perfect world). So, how do you recoup some of that loss?
Well, look at the top 3 reasons for those cart abandonments:
- Extra costs (including shipping, tax, and fees)
- Mandatory account creation
- Long/Complicated checkout process
This all boils down to trust. First, all prices on your product list need to already reflect included fees. When you surprise a potential customer, there’s an implicit sense of betrayal (whether they consciously realize it or not). Don’t blind-side customers’. Be upfront with all costs.
Similarly, don’t make account creation mandatory for purchase. Of course, you want them to create an account. This builds loyalty with your store and gives them more of a reason to come back. But making them have to make an account just puts another hurdle before checkout, and it makes them think you’re going to bombard them with emails.
This goes hand-in-hand with the third way to reduce cart abandonment: simplify your checkout process as much as possible. Customers want to glide through the checkout process quickly and painlessly. Try to remove all the extra hurdles, such as too many pages, complicated information forms, and asking for unnecessary information. Making the signup process easy is one of many great welcome email best practices to follow.
2) Upsell and Cross-Sell Products
The power of upselling and cross-selling should not be ignored. But it often is, as many store owners focus all their efforts on customer acquisition, with the logic being “if I have more customers, they’ll buy more products.” True, but that’s like living in black and white while willfully ignoring color.
“The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.” – Paul W. Farris & Neil T. Bendle, Marketing Metrics
That means it is to 14x more likely to sell a product to an existing customer than a new one. And upselling and cross-selling is the way to do it.
For a quick overview, upselling is selling a more expensive, upgraded product that’s similar to the one the customer’s looking at. Cross-selling is selling a product that the customer may also like, which may happen to work in tandem with the current product.
While upselling is straightforward, there are a bunch of methods for cross-selling.
- Show your highest-selling products at checkout
- Show similar items, or ones that work well with the current product, at the shopping cart step
- After waiting a period of time after purchase, send the customer a follow-up email with suggestions for similar items (If you can, add a coupon code for an extra incentive)
When you cross-sell, it’s important to offer a select few relevant items, rather than bombarding the customer. Overchoice is a real psychological phenomenon, one that could cost you sales.
Upselling and cross-selling pay dividends, upping the number of product purchases across your pool of customers. Do it, and reap the rewards.
3) Facebook Remarketing
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, you already know what remarketing is. It’s when you visit a site or look at a product, and then start seeing that product everywhere for the next few weeks.
Don’t you want your customers to see your products everywhere they go?
There are tons of benefits to using social media to attract customers. Well, Facebook remarketing is an easy and relatively cheap way to do it. Here’s a simple guide on how to “retarget” (remarket) using Facebook.
In fact, this infographic by Wishpond tells you pretty much everything you need to know about remarketing.
4) Increase Purchase Frequency
Of course, increasing purchase frequency is a surefire way to increase sales. That’s simple enough. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.
So, let’s start with the obvious. If you want to increase purchase frequency, you should sell products that expire and/or get used up. Better yet, if you can get your customers on a subscription plan in which products are automatically purchased at certain intervals, you’re onto something special.
But say you’re like most e-commerce stores, and you sell things that are a little more… permanent. Well, for these types of stores, it all comes down to discounts, sales, and interaction frequency.
If your products are at all seasonal, you need to be emphasizing the importance of buying them at the right time. This means you have to stay ahead of the game by implementing sales.
For example, if you’re a clothing store, you’ll want to implement a summer sale for all your warm-weather clothing. Anticipate the upcoming season, and offer these clothes to your customers before they’ve already purchased their summer wardrobe.
Additionally, offering coupons and discounts to returning customers is a great way to show you appreciate them, as well as bringing them back for more purchases.
Interaction frequency follows a similar mindset. By increasing your interaction time with your customers through consistent emails, blogs, ads, and all-important SEO, you’ll increase exposure to your brand, and sales in the process.
5) Work with Affiliates
What could be better than having a prominent speaker tell thousands of their loyal fans about your specific product?
That’s the idea behind affiliate marketing, where you pay a fee (or sometimes a commission) to tell their audience why they love your product. When done well, it can mean a major boom to your sales. If done poorly, it can be a huge bust.
So how do you choose the right affiliate? You do your research.
First and foremost, the product has to be something your affiliate would logically use. (Getting Kylie Jenner to promote your new hunting accessories wouldn’t be the best idea. But then again, that woman seems bulletproof so maybe that wasn’t the best example.)
You also must make sure your affiliate’s audience is the demographic you want. Sure, they may be in your niche, but are they the right age range? Gender? Marital status? Do they have the right income? These things must be considered.
On top of that, your affiliate must be able to SELL your product. The product might be right for them, but are they right for the product? Will they get excited about it, and will they get others excited about it too? These are important questions to ask.
The easiest place to start is within your inner group. You probably already have a passion for the products you’re selling, so you may have a good idea of who speaks to the public about these types of products. Start there. If the people you’re already following may not be the best, you can always follow a trail of breadcrumbs through recommendations, that will take you in the direction you need to go.
And once you find that perfect person, you’re off to the races.
Ramon den Hartog is Head of Marketing at Floship and an expert on ecommerce, marketing and logistics related topics.