Mind The Store – Your eCommerce Store
Get More Sales at Your Favorite Store: Yours.
Even when you have significant placements with brick-and-mortar retailers and online marketplaces, your own eCommerce store offers incredible potential. Even better, you get to set the prices, the margins, the policies — it’s all in your control. Since companies like Shopify and Magento making it easy to set up online stores, the real question is learning how to drive traffic and get sales from them. In the online space, you don’t fling open the doors of your store and wait for people to walk by and decide to stop in. While there is no street or window signage that people will notice as they walk or drive past, there are millions of customers on the web and you want some of them to find their way to your store.
How Will You Get Traffic?
You can’t have a giant inflatable gorilla emerge from your computer to let people know you’re having a blowout sale. Guy in a sandwich board? It’s probably never been particularly effective, but that option is not available online either. But somehow you need to create traffic, get eyeballs looking at the products you sell in your eCommerce store, and translate that activity into sales. We’re just scratching the surface here — we’ll revisit this topic in the future — but let’s look at six ways to increase traffic and make more sales on your eCommerce store.
Six Ways to Sell More on Your eCommerce Store
1. Make sure your product descriptions and photos are appealing. Too many eCommerce stores have copy that is focused on product features rather than benefits. Remember that as excited as you are about everything you built into your latest product — after all, you had to jump through hoops to make it happen — customers want to know how it will help them in their daily lives.
Write copy that tells them how it will make something easier, faster, or tastier, and avoid production jargon that will throw them off track. Photos need to be, if not professionally done, at least clear and clean. If you’re taking photos yourself, a white background and good natural lighting will serve you well. Keep it simple and choose pictures that make your products look their very best. Don’t forget about using video either — a short clip can do wonders to illustrate the benefits of your product or products.
2. Build trust throughout the buying process. There is a lot of talk about the sales funnel — it’s the series of steps someone takes on their way to making a purchase. Don’t let yourself get caught up in making it more complicated. Just remember that at every stage of the online process, it’s very easy for someone to walk away and not make the purchase.
Chief among the reason this happens is a loss of trust. Hardly surprising, since there is a steady stream of news about online fraud. People are naturally wary of purchasing from a brand-new brick-and-mortar store — they are even more tentative when it comes to an eCommerce store without an actual physical location. You can create trust in your online store by adding features like product reviews, online chat, and trust badges that make people feel confident about the security of their payment information. PayPal is highly trusted, but others like VeriSign and McAfee can help push a customer across the finish line and buy from you.
3. Use Paid Media strategically. While some may think they can’t use online ads without sinking a bunch of money into it, the right plan can make Paid Media an effective way to generate traffic on your eCommerce store. The key is experimentation and testing. Spend small amounts — typically no more than $50 at a time — to see which ads are most effective. Abandon ads that don’t work and invest more heavily in approaches that do.
What’s vital is a clear understanding of your target audience so you can avoid scattering ads with little impact. Facebook, even while its advertising prices and scrutiny of its practices have increased, offers very specific and valuable ways to find the people most likely to be interested in your products. Fact is, all the social media channels can help you reach just the people you want without paying for anyone who won’t be attracted to your eCommerce store.
4. Create a sense of urgency. When you’re running online campaigns, use time-sensitive promotions (codes, coupons, free shipping, etc.) that will prompt action. A lot of online advertising creates brand recognition but if you’re trying to use your marketing budget as effectively as possible, you’ll want to generate a purchase, too.
5. Deploy email marketing. If you have an established eCommerce store, use permissions that allow you to capture customer information. If you deliver a good product and experience, past customers have the greatest potential to be future customers.
Don’t overdo it when it comes to email campaigns — being relentless will cause people to ignore them or, even worse, unsubscribe from your mailing list. If you send email messages on a regular, but not overwhelming, schedule, you’ll prompt people to return to your site and make a purchase. And don’t be afraid to offer a promotional code exclusive to repeat customers that makes this group feel special and positive about shopping at your eCommerce store.
6. Make the order process seamless. Once you get a sale, don’t botch the order! Effective, efficient order management is crucial to the success of your eCommerce store, and working with a provider who helps you manage all your orders – EDI, online marketplaces, eCommerce — will ensure that you have accurate inventory numbers, timely shipping, and fewer mistakes.
Keep at it.
If there is one constant in eCommerce, it’s change. So don’t stop trying to improve how you market your store and improve the customer experience for everyone who buys from you.
Do you have some great ideas you’re willing to share? Share them with us at [email protected] — we’d love to hear from you.