Online shopping has been on an uptrend as far back as 2014. A driving force was the increased use of mobile devices to access the Internet. It became easier and more convenient to visit an eCommerce website than the popular department store.
Then, the pandemic hit, and the need to shop online wasn’t just easy and convenient. It was safer and more practical. According to the United Nations, global eCommerce sales increased to US$26.7 trillion because of the pandemic.
If you have an eCommerce site, you’re definitely in the right business. And if you’re planning to open a retail store online, there’s still room for growth. However, just like a brick-and-mortar store, success isn’t a given. You have to do things right to turn your eCommerce website into a money-making machine.
In this 2-part series, we’ll share with you 10 tips you can use to keep the checkout counter of your eCommerce website busy. The first 5 will be in this article and we’ll discuss the final 5 in part 2.
The eCommerce Boom – Can You Handle The Competition?
As vaccines continue to be rolled out, more consumers will prefer to shop at an eCommerce website. If you have an online retail business, you won’t have to worry about demand. However, you have to be concerned about increased competition.
Presently, there are an estimated 12 to 24 million eCommerce websites on the Internet catering to the needs of approximately 2 billion shoppers. It might seem that there are enough customers for every online retailer but that’s not the case.
A shopper might have the patience to cope with the hour-long drive to the mall or the 30-minutes waiting time at the cashier’s checkout counter but he has less patience waiting for your eCommerce site to load.
If your website doesn’t load in 15 seconds or less, he’ll click out and just go to your competitor.
And the challenges don’t end there!
The challenges facing an eCommerce business are no different than those of a brick-and-mortar store owner. You have to keep your customers happy, stay ahead of the competition, and remain visible. If you can’t, the checkout counter of your eCommerce website won’t be ringing.
While demand is there, you can’t be assured of good sales if your eCommerce business isn’t creating new customers and maintaining existing ones at the same time.
We’re here to show you how it’s done!
1. Optimize Your eCommerce Website
Setting up an eCommerce website is definitely a smart move. Now, you can sell your products 24/7 and have a wider reach for your customers – if they can find you.
Imagine entering a huge supermarket and not knowing where to get toiletries. You’ll waste so much time going from aisle to aisle. The experience could be so unpleasant that you’d probably go back to your neighborhood grocery store.
Optimizing your eCommerce website will make it easier for your customers to find you. Going back to our example, optimizing the supermarket would be having a map of the layout so that it would be easier for you to find toiletries.
When someone makes a search inquiry about a product you carry, optimizing your eCommerce website will make it appear on the search results page, hopefully, on the first page.
Here are a few tips on how you can optimize your eCommerce website:
- Mobile-Responsiveness – According to Statista, mobile devices account for 54.8% of global online traffic. If your eCommerce website doesn’t set up well on mobile screens, potential buyers will click out.
- Utilize Keywords on High-Impact Pages – Keywords are the most-used words or phrases when people launch a search query. Having high-volume keywords embedded on your high-impact pages such as the Homepage, Products, and About Us will make your website easier for the web crawlers to find.
- Soup-Up Your Home Page – The Homepage is where potential customers land after they click on your URL. Entice visitors to stay longer and to explore your website by presenting a beautiful and functional homepage. Make sure it’s highly navigable, well organized, and uses unique images that are optimized with ALT tags.
- Highlight Top Products – Let your visitors know what your top products are. For example, you can tag them as “Best Seller”, “No.1 for Households”, “Buyer’s Choice”, or “2020 Award Best Consumer Product”.
- Conduct a Technical SEO Audit – A Technical SEO audit is performed by your web developer. A typical audit would include a check for duplicate content, broken links, a website speed test, a review of the backlinks, and a review and analysis of site metrics.
If you want a Technical SEO Audit done on your website, give us a call. We’ve done this with our clients and we can perform an audit on your eCommerce website as well.
2. Promote Your eCommerce Website via Social Media
4.48 million people are on social media and 56.8% are active on some social network on a daily basis. On average, a person spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media, and 40% use these platforms for work.
If those statistics aren’t enough to convince you to promote your eCommerce site on social media, this one will:
71% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by social media.
Marketing your eCommerce through social media is a cost-effective and efficient way to generate more awareness about your business. Opening an account won’t cost you a cent and your posts can reach your target audience faster than traditional marketing channels.
What are the best ways to harness the power and reach of social media?
- Blog! Blog! Blog!
First, you have to create content and one of the best forms of content marketing is blogging. However, blogging isn’t just about putting content on a word processor.
Your blogs have to be unique, useful, informative, engaging, and compelling. Likewise, it must be optimized with the right keywords and structure to be found on the Internet.
Blogging requires frequency. To produce the desired results, you have to blog 11 to 16 times per month. Once you have posted your blog on your website, share it on your social media accounts.
- Choose the Right Social Media Platforms
You don’t have to put up 10 social media accounts to get results. Social media platforms are communities and as such these communities attract particular market segments and have their unique culture and set of behaviors.
Choose social media platforms based on your business goals, type of industry, and target audience.
For example, if your products are highly visual, social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest might work for you.
If your goals are to generate leads, create awareness, enhance industry reputation, and improve customer engagement, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit would be the best choices.
- Stay Active
There are so many opinions and recommendations out there about the activity level you need to maintain on social media to achieve your goals. We’ll simplify it with only 2 rules:
Rule #1 – Post at least once a day.
Rule #2 – Restrict your posting activity only from Monday to Friday.
The exception to Rule #1 would be Twitter and Pinterest where studies have shown posting up to 20 times per day produces better results.
Likewise, the exception to Rule #2 is if your product or service is patronized even on the weekends such as food, personal training, and fashion apparel.
Tip: When posting or sharing content on social media, make sure your content has these 2 components:
One, the lead-in to your post must include your website URL. And two, make sure there’s a powerful Call-to-Action (CTA).
For example, if you’re selling supplements, end your lead-in post with:
“Go to www.supplementmania.com/shop/protein-powder and buy your whey protein stock NOW.”
3. Write Highly-Detailed Product Descriptions
We’re used to recommending to our readers that web copy needs to be kept short, concise, and of course, optimized to be effective because site visitors tend to have short attention spans.
The case is different when you have a potential shopper who’s looking for a specific item to buy from a website. Like most shoppers, the eCommerce visitor wants to get more information about a product in order to validate his decision to purchase or not.
Your eCommerce visitor will also use the available product information to compare your item with your competitors’. If your product doesn’t provide the same information as your competitor, you’ll lose the sale.
When it comes to product descriptions, quality and quantity go hand-in-hand. Focus on giving the potential buyer as much detail as possible but make sure these details are relevant! Provide “stuff” and not “fluff”.
To know for sure, look at how your competitors or the main players in the industry are writing their product descriptions. Take note of the information included in the descriptions – then do better!
4. Diversify Your Product Mix
So you’re selling what you believe to be the world’s best disinfectant? No matter how many studies you cite to back your claims up, it’s not realistic to expect everyone to be interested.
Similarly, people might be looking for other types of sanitizing solutions other than a disinfectant sprayer.
Going back to our example, in addition to the disinfectant, you can add the following items to diversify your product mix:
- Copper Face Mask
- Hand Sanitizing Lotion
- Disinfectant Hand Wipes
- Portable Cold Fogging Machine
- Face Shield
- Protective Gloves
- Polymer-based Surface Disinfectant
It’s always a good idea to offer your potential customers choices in your eCommerce portal. Not only will you cater to a larger market but it will be easier to upsell.
5. Engage Your Audience
The “social” aspect of social media marketing comes to play whenever you engage your audience. Interacting with your audience gives your business a sense of “humanness”.
You’re not just a company out to profit but an actual entity that’s accessible to people. Social media allows you to make a connection with your potential buyers. Engaging them helps build trust and create an impression that you care about your customers.
Here are a few ways you can engage your audience:
- Respond to Comments and Messages
As the saying goes, “All comments are good comments”.
Even if you receive a negative comment about your product, the silver lining is that the customer took the time to share his experience. Don’t take it personally. Change your perspective and view the criticism as an opportunity to win back a customer.
Assure the complainant you’ve taken note of his situation and that you’ll get back to him with a course of action. Comments can be harsh but remain respectful at all times. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner.
- Offer Discounted Promotions
If sales are only trickling in, offer your eCommerce visitors limited-time discounted promotions.
For example, offer 25% off your flagship product or a buy one/take one promo on slow-moving items. Customers will view discounts as proof that you’re willing to take a hit on your profit margins just to get them to try your product. It’s a sign that you’re confident your product will deliver the desired results.
- Come Up with Contests
Contests are a great way to generate more fun and engagement. Posting about a contest changes the dynamic of your business. It shows you’re not just selling products but you’re selling the experience of transacting with your company.
If you own a chain of burger restaurants, you can post a contest that invites followers to post a video of themselves eating your spiciest burger. The person who clocks in the fastest time gets a t-shirt.
- Make Recommendations
Oftentimes, your eCommerce website will receive visitors who are unsure of what they are looking for. They are no different than customers who enter a coffee shop, look at the menu board, and decide on which type of coffee they’ll order.
You can help them by making recommendations:
- Have a chat support agent available during working hours.
- In your product descriptions, include recommendations on “who this product is for”.
- Categorize your products based on Buyer or User Profile.
Make the shopping experience as easy and convenient as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer.
- Would you be happy with the experience of visiting your website?
- Can you find what you’re looking for right away?
- Do you feel confident knowing that someone is ready to assist you?
- Did you spend less time making decisions because there’s enough information available to make an educated purchase?
When conceptualizing your eCommerce website, always have your buyer in mind.
We hope we’ve helped you find clarity on how to generate regular business with your online store. If your eCommerce site is struggling, please know that it’s not the end of your online career!
This is just part 1. We’ll discuss 5 more tips on how to boost the sales of your eCommerce website.
If you can’t wait for part 2, give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll have your eCommerce store rolling out and making money right away!
And if you know someone who has an online store or is planning to put one up, please feel free to share this article with that person.