Retail is a tough game.
The big retailers always seem to be on sale. Consumers are learning that they can get practically everything they want, online. Even more traditional shoppers are doing extensive research online before making a purchasing decision. On average, Australians spend 1.2 hours researching before making a purchase (KPMG, 2017
If you own or manage an online store, the challenge to stand out against the 'big boys' of retail can be daunting.
But there are fast things that you could and should be doing right now to increase your sales online.
In a crowded marketplace, making sure your site can be found by the right people is imperative.
Many people are terrified and daunted by SEO. While there is a technical side to SEO, the basics are quick and easy to implement.
Start with product names. Are your product names unique? Do they use the words that your customers would use to describe the product?
Do you have meaningful descriptions that actually explain the product? Not only will the right words in the description aid SEO, it will provide a better shopping experience for your customers. Did you know shoppers are more likely to purchase an item in a physical store if they touch it? You need to replicate the 'touch and feel' and descriptions are the way to do that.
Do your product images have alternate text? Be descriptive and include the product name to help Google find your store.
At the end of the day, SEO is just about making sure you provide the right information to your customers. It's about humans connecting with humans. So think about how humans ask questions, and how your content will answer those questions.
Who does this well? ASOS. These guys give you a list of features, a full description of the brand, complete sizing and fit details, care instructions and materials details (e.g. the clothing specifies 'the kind of fabric that stretches' versus 'the kind of fabric that doesn't stretch').
Get your categories in order
Poor categorisation impedes the shopping experience.
Your categories need to be based on the way your customer shops. Too often, categorisation is driven by business need: how product inventory is managed, how the manufacturing process happens, how items are received by suppliers.
These have no relevance to your shopper.
Making your categories customer focused not only makes products more discoverable, it also means that customers can - very quickly - get a good overview of your store when they first land on your site. Just looking at the categories, without diving in and out of category or product pages, can tell a story about a store.
What are your categories telling shoppers?
Get people on your email list
Social media is great. Your email list is even better.
Never forget that you don't own social media. Algorithms change and visibility is variable. But your email list is something you control.
A great way to generate more sign-ups is through a modal popup on your site. These can be controversial - a lot of people hate them - but they work. And, a lot of people want to know more about them. Our post from all the way back in 2015 on the benefits and drawbacks of modal popups drives more organic search traffic to our website each month (on average) than any other!
Also, please remember that just because someone has purchased from you, they have not signed up to your email list. You need to get explicit consent for marketing. Consider having a newsletter signup option at checkout, or include subscription as a Call to Action in your post-sales emails. Watch our privacy video and read the run-down here.
Use your email list
People are so used to having full inboxes, they get afraid to actually send emails. Your competitors are not thinking like this, neither should you.
Your email campaigns are your opportunity to refresh your storefront.
In brick and mortar land, we refresh our visual merchandising and windows in the hope that it will entice shoppers that walk past every day into our store.
Email is like forcing them to walk past our windows. Some days, the shopper will have their head down, headphones on, and will walk past. Other days, they’ll be more open to taking the suggestion to browse around.
And have a great welcome series. People are more likely to open future emails if they've read a great welcome from you on signup. Tell your story, introduce your brand and create more loyalty from day one.
Show your products in-situ
Lifestyle shots of your products will do much better in newsletters and social media.
Stark, clear background images are perfect for the product page on your store, so people can really check out the product. But before that, when you're generating interest at the top of the sales funnel, you're not just selling a product, you're selling how it's used and what it's used for. You're selling lifestyle or ease or style. Show that through your images.
Build upselling opportunities
One easy way to do this is to integrate your products directly into your social media feeds. The ability for shoppers to buy direct from their Instagram or Facebook feed is incredibly powerful.
It's about creating a frictionless experience. At the moment, many ecommerce platforms do this straight out of the box (BigCommerce
for example). This is a relatively new way to shop, so it's excellent to see tech platforms coming to the party and offering these features in an easy way for store owners to implement.
If you don't have an ecommerce platform that is dedicated to making life easier for your customer and creating a frictionless experience, then it's time to move to a better ecommerce platform.
Competition is so fierce, you want something that will let you scale quickly and easily, without hidden cost - that will help you grow and be moving with consumer trends as quickly as possible.
You need a platform that is focused on helping you move product - not where selling is a plugin or afterthought. You need a platform that is right for you as a seller and your customer as the real end user.
While we are a BigCommerce partner
, we are also platform agnostic. If you'd like advice on quick wins to grow sales within your business, we'd invite you to connect with us