Online sales have become a key part of modern business. With many businesses shifting to eCommerce and others being born from this new technology, online competition is hot. So how do you boost online sales and stay ahead of the competition?
Sales are the lifeblood of your company.
Without strong sales your business will flounder, you'll have less money to pump into marketing, and employees may begin looking for other lines of work.
To avoid slumping sales, or to even increase strong sales numbers, it is critical to take every advantage you can.
Here are 12 ways to boost online sales, no matter what kind of business you run or industry you're in by our friends at WeAreTop10.
1. Don't fluff the sales copy
Adding extra features or over-selling your product is one of the fastest ways to both drive down sales and generate negative reviews. Never write copy your products can't deliver on.
Online, word of mouth spreads quickly, so the first person who discovers you're over-selling your product will likely be the first to comment on your Facebook page, call you out on Twitter, and do enough damage to prevent dozens, if not hundreds, of other sales from happening.
Your copy needs to sell, but it needs to sell honestly. Focus on what your product does and how your product can make your customer's life better.
2. Include customer testimonials
While negative comments and reviews can hurt your sales, positive customer reviews help boost sales. Curious customers want to know if your product can deliver. Allowing previous customers to write reviews helps provide insights to both the buying and product using experience.
There is a reason why major retailers ranging from Amazon to Walmart, Target to Best Buy all allow user reviews right on the website (even if the reviews are negative). It demonstrates the company stands behind what it has to sell, and it knows customer comments help drive sales.
3. Offer a money back guarantee
Customers are more inclined to make a purchase if they know they can return it if it doesn't live up to their standards. So, offer a money-back guarantee and make sure this bulletproof offer is easily noticeable. It doesn't do any good if a potential customer doesn't see the guarantee.
4. Use good quality images
A picture is worth a thousand words. And a single image can do more to sell your product than an in-depth blog post. So, focus on exceptional product images. High-quality images will not only showcase the product but possibly address questions your customer has at the same time.
5. Answer all social media questions
While not on your website, social media plays an important role in driving traffic to your site (and turning potential leads into customers).
If someone posts a question or objects to anything you have to say, address these comments as quickly as possible (and in a positive manner).
The entire purpose of social media is to be social with your customers. Doing this shows you care and that each individual customer is important to you.
6. Create an irresistible pop-up offer
Nobody likes pop-ups. At least not until the pop-up helps save a customer money.
If a customer attempts to back out of the website, add a pop-up that offers a great sale (such as 20% off a purchase by signing up for your email newsletter).
You want to sweeten their buying bone, and this pop-up offer may do the trick.
7. Keep customers engaged with email marketing
Using an email marketing drip campaign can help bring back old customers, attract interested leads and boost your sales.
A drip campaign sends out different messages based on how a recipient has responded (or not responded) to previous emails. You can set up different customer pathways depending on their history and use this to guide them into making another purchase. It's an inexpensive marketing tool you should take advantage of.
8. Cut the load time of your website
The faster your website loads, the more sales you'll make. That's because, after three seconds of load-time, a website visitor becomes more likely to leave your site.
Cut load time by formatting your pictures correctly, cutting out unnecessary coding, and removing bad backlinks. You'll be amazed at how many more sales you generate from a one-second loading improvement.
9. Optimize for mobile
More Internet searches are performed on mobile devices than traditional desktops and laptops.
Search engines like Google push mobile-optimized websites to the top of search engine results, so if you don't have a mobile optimized website you've already handcuffed your potential.
10. Target the right demographic
Look into your analytical data. Who's buying your products, where are they coming from and who is coming back for seconds?
This will give you insights into who you should be marketing to. Targeting the wrong audience results in wasted marketing dollars and pulls down your possible sales.
11. Dedicate time to abandoned shopping carts
Depending on the analytical data you look at, abandoned shopping carts may range from 50 percent to 70 percent of all shopping cart check-outs. This means a customer is more likely to abandon their purchase instead of fulfilling it for one reason or another.
You can cut down the possibility of shopping cart abandonment by increasing the number of payments you accept, offering the money back guarantee, showcasing security icons, and not requiring a customer to sign up for an account to make a purchase.
12. Create a sense of urgency
If a customer believes a product will remain on your website indefinitely, they are less likely to act and make a purchase. After all, it's going to be available on your website in a month, in three months, or whenever they decide (should they decide) to make a purchase. This is where creating a sense of urgency helps.
There are several ways to do this. You can have a limited time sale. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has long been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States because it’s a one-day-only sale.
Customers have to shop that day to land the sale, otherwise, they miss out. You can do the same with your website. By offering special sales and discounts for a limited time, customers are more likely to shop now as they don't want to miss out on the sale.
Making it sound like there is a limited supply also helps push customers into buying a product. "While supplies last" is a common line used to indicate a product might be in short supply. If a customer has any desire to make a purchase, they won't want to miss out on buying the product, so they’ll be more likely to buy the product just to make sure the stock doesn't run out.
Author: Rachel Troutman is a PR & Community Manager at WeAreTop10.com. She has over 15 years of experience in product journalism.