5 E-commerce Strategies to Increase Sales

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If you’re in the business of selling, it’s time to start thinking about e-commerce - if you haven’t already. Your customers are looking to buy your products online, and if you don’t have an online store by now, you’re leaving money on the table.

In a press conference on e-commerce, William Daley, former White House chief of staff, said, “For any business, large or small, not to have an e-commerce strategy is a big mistake.”

In fact, Forrester estimates online sales will reach $523 billion by 2020. Plus, with services like Oberlo, which allows you to easily run a dropshipping business, there has never been a better time to start thinking about e-commerce or to think about how you can grow your e-commerce business.

It’s not enough to simply set up your e-commerce store and wait for customers to find it. You need to have a plan in place to bring in those customers and drive sales. Here are five strategies to boost your e-commerce business:

1. Offer discounts

Everyone likes to get a deal. That’s why it seems like stores are constantly running sales and promotions. They’re trying to get you in the door and to the checkout counter, and you can do the same with your e-commerce store.

Especially when you’re first starting out and trying to develop a loyal customer base, being competitive on price is key to making sales. Consider offering a discount or running a promotion and displaying it clearly on your website. Even something as simple as 15% off could be the difference between someone deciding to buy or not.

Offering free shipping is another good way to drive more customers to purchase. A study by Compete found that 93% of online buyers are encouraged to buy more products if free shipping is offered.

Referral programs can also bring in more sales and help to build your customer base. Provide customers with a special discount, such as $20 off their next purchase if they refer a friend. You’ll get them to make a purchase, and you’ll discover a potential new customer as well.

Dropbox is one company that has found success with referrals. By offering extra storage space for those who referred a friend, they were able to increase their users more than 40 times over.

2. Use live chat

Online shopping is appealing to many shoppers because of its ease and convenience. But when those shoppers run into a problem, dealing with customer service online is anything but easy. That’s why many e-commerce businesses are turning to live chat to help turn disgruntled shoppers into happy customers.

According to an ATG Global Consumer Trend study, 90% of customers consider live chat helpful. And it’s not hard to see why. Live chat ensures customers get an answer to their questions quickly without ever having to leave the website.

By ensuring a positive customer experience with your e-commerce website, you build trust with your customer base. This will make them more likely to come back and in turn drive sales for your business.

3. Showcase reviews

Consumers generally won’t accept the claims of a brand right off the bat. They need those claims to be backed up by someone they already trust, such as a peer. This is where reviews come in.

According to Business.com, 77% of people consult online reviews before making a purchase. If you can provide those positive reviews directly on your website, you can bring customers closer to purchase.

On his blog, Neil Patel, founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, writes, “By displaying reviews, you will be able to provide some ‘Social Proof,’ in terms of how good the product actually is.”

Reviews reaffirm the credibility of your business, boost your reputation and help to build that trust that is essential to growing your customer base and increasing sales.

4. Use email marketing

You may have a beautifully designed, perfectly set up e-commerce store, but if no one knows about it, how will you make any sales? You need to promote your business, and one of the best ways to do that is through email marketing.

When writing an email to send to your prospect list, make sure you stress urgency. For example, if you’re promoting a sale, push the fact that it’s only available for a limited time or that it’s ending soon. The more urgency you create, the more your audience will feel pressure to make a purchase.

Keep in regular contact with your email list to stay top of mind. Statista finds that 86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly.

Not sure what kind of email to write? Besides announcing sales, you can also set up automated emails to send recommended products to your customers and to remind them if they’ve abandoned their cart. According to eMarketer, emails about abandoned carts have a 40.5% open rate.

5. Display security badges

The last thing a customer wants to worry about is the security of your website. They may want to buy your products, but if they feel like their information isn’t secure, they’ll leave.

This situation can easily be avoided by ensuring you have security badges and displaying them prominently on your website and within the checkout process. Neil Patel recommends using badges from PayPal, VeriSign and McAffee.

Whatever badge you choose, it will go a long way in helping to build trust with your consumers. And as Jack Ma, billionaire and founder of Alibaba, said in an interview with The Hindu, “For e-commerce the most important thing is trust.”

Do you have an e-commerce store? What strategies have you implemented to drive sales? Let me know in the comments below: