25 Proven and Effective Ways to Increase your Online Sales
Do people love standing in lines to shop? Not unless it’s a new iPhone that Apple has launched or a Black Friday sale that tempts everyone with heavily discounted goodies. Other than these special situations, most shoppers prefer making their purchases online.
According to a report by Statista, global online sales are expected to reach $4.48 trillion by 2021. Does that signify happy times ahead for online sellers? Perhaps. However, given the amount of competition in this market, how do you ensure that consumers buy more from you?
Don’t worry though, help is at hand. In this post, we’ll take a look at 25 of the most effective tactics you can use to increase online sales.
How to Increase Online Sales: 25 Proven Strategies
1. Improve Website Navigation
The navigation of your website needs to make your customers’ lives easier. Visitors to your site want to browse, select the products they like, and complete their purchases without any hassle. So you need to make sure that your website is easily navigable.
Analyze your visitor flow patterns – the path that visitors take while navigating your site – and remove any elements that might confuse your customers. Google Analytics can help you check your visitor flow patterns so that you can make any improvements needed. Also, keep your navigation symbols as generic as possible.
Image via Eurofurniture
Eurofurniture has a very clean layout as shown in the example above. They’ve sorted all of their products neatly under different tabs such as “Room,” “Product,” and “Brand.” This makes it really easy for visitors to find what they are looking for.
2. Improve Readability
To increase your online sales, keep your copy and headlines on webpages crisp and clear. Before writing the copy or the headline, think about the message you are trying to convey to your customers. Your sentences should be simple yet effective at showcasing the value of your products.
Wilson HTM, an investment company, wanted to promote one of their funds for which a landing page was designed. Although they were getting decent conversions, they wanted to increase the traffic even more. So they experimented a little with the headline on this page.
The original headline read, “The Wilson HTM Priority Core Fund.” They felt that the headline was not clear enough for their customers. It did not convey value. So they changed it to a question as shown below.
Image viaWeb Profits
A simple change in headline did the trick, and their conversions improved by 52.8%.
3. Create Authentic Product Descriptions
It is very important to write clear and honest product descriptions for each of your products . If you exaggerate the benefits, your visitors are likely to roll their eyes and move on. If you want to increase your online sales, your descriptions need to be authentic and honest, like the example from Body Hero cream given below.
4. Add Breathing Spaces
If your site is too crowded, you need to declutter it if you’re keen on increasing your online sales. The most profitable ecommerce sites have a neat and professional look. Your website needs to be like that as well.
Every element you put on your website needs to serve a purpose. Make sure that each element justifies their presence on your online store. Keep only the most important ones and get rid of all of others.
Also, add breathing space to your homepage and landing pages creates a better customer experience. Cluttered websites can drive customers away just like an untidy brick-and-mortar shop would.
Big Leap, a full service online marketing agency, worked with Workfront, a software company focussing on project management to optimize their landing pages. They were able to get 104% increase in conversions and engagement.
MAKR exemplifies this approach with their optimal use of whitespace.
Image via MAKR
5. Display Necessary Product Information
Some ecommerce stores take absolute creative liberty and omit crucial information about their product features in their descriptions. Your customers want to know the specifics of the product. A good product description provides customers with the information they need to make their purchase decision.
Think about the buyer while writing your product descriptions. They need to have all of the information about what they can expect when they buy it. Good product descriptions have the potential to increase your online sales.
Check out the product description of Gillette Venus razor given above. It tells you everything a buyer needs to know.
6. Use Standard Icons and Buttons
If you want to increase your online sales, you need to follow several principles of website design. For example, use standard icons and buttons that people are familiar with. If you complicate things too much, they’ll just leave.
Fab, an online retail hub, experimented with their “Add to cart” button with the intention of increasing conversions. When they tested “Variation 1” – the standard text “Add To Cart” button, conversions increased by 49%. “Variation 2” increased conversions only by 15%.
So do not deviate much from standard icons and buttons on your website. Use buttons and icons with which people are already familiar.
7. Showcase Your Company Info
Selling online is very much a game of trust. Your customers will buy from you only if they trust you. They expect you to keep your end of the bargain and provide them with the quality products for which they have paid.
Detailed address and phone numbers in your “Contact Us” section can greatly increase your credibility. People feel safe dealing with businesses which have a physical location. If you don’t put your physical address and phone number on your website, people might find it difficult to trust you. They might consider you a fly-by-night operator.
Look at the Glossier contact information given above. It includes their physical address as well as several email addresses. If there is any other information about your company that might benefit customers, mention it clearly on your website.
8. Optimize Your Site for Mobile
You are losing your customers and a lot of sales if your website is not optimized for mobile phones and tablets. There are 5 billion of us with mobiles now. Mobile search eclipsed desktop search ages ago. You should optimize your entire purchase process – right from your homepage to your check-out page – for mobile users.
Check out the example of the mobile optimized website from Skinny Ties below.
Image viaSkinny Ties
You need to pay attention to navigation and the user experience to increase online sales. Make shopping an enjoyable experience for your customers. Don’t force them to fill out forms. Give them an option to shop as guests. Your customers should also be able to continue their shopping session on different devices if they so choose.
9. Identify Different Buyer Personas and Target Them
You can also increase sales by making consumers believe that the offer they see on your site is specifically for them. Suppose you are a 60 year old man who needs running shoes. Now, would you search an entire website for the type of shoes you want ? Of course no. You would just leave.
The website should be able to identify you as a 60 year old man. This can be done by gathering data by using previous interactions as reference. The website could then show you shoes appropriate for 60 year old men.
Selling on the basis of personas is difficult but not impossible. You need to invest in data gathering and data segmentation.
Image via Amazon
Amazon, for example, works on the buyer’s persona. In the above example a Mom’s persona has been created.
10. State Your Value Proposition Clearly
There is a lot of competition for ecommerce brands. You must provide your customers with good reasons to buy the products they need from you. What is your value proposition? What value do you add to buyers’ lives?
You have to convince consumers about the benefits they will get from buying from you. You will have to explain how your product will solve their problem(s). To increase your online sales, tell consumers how their situation will improve after using your product.
Buyers need to understand how you are better than your competitors. Once you are able to explain that to them, they will be more likely to buy from you. Your value proposition could include other elements as well such as quicker deliveries, quality products, free shipping, etc.
Image viaTimothy Sykes
Timothy Sykes, for example, claims to turn his $12,415 into $4,748,000 by trading penny stocks. That is his value proposition. He can help people make money with penny stocks.
11. Recommend Popular Products
Buying is also an emotional decision. You need to understand the psychology of consumers and the way peer pressure or influence works on their purchase decisions. Consumers often research and gather information about a product before making a purchase decision.
Show consumers the most popular products in the category they are interested in. This is one important tip to know when you are trying to increase your online sales. The example above from MAC shows their most popular lipsticks.
Indecisive customers will sometimes rely on the opinions of others. In that case, they will likely pay attention to the most popular products section. So make sure consumers see the most popular products relevant to what they’re searching for.
Popular products are the most popular because they are good and have benefited others. And, in turn, products labelled as the “most popular products” sell more, because of their popularity and visibility. You can showcase your best selling products on the top of your pages in a premium space like in the example shown above with popular video games.
12. Use Testimonials and Reviews
To increase your online sales, you should showcase reviews and testimonials from your customers prominently. You can approach your customers after they complete a purchase and request that they post a review about your product.
You can also use social proof from social media and add it to your product pages. Reviews from social media influencers, for example, can definitely add value to your product pages. You can find influencers with influencer marketing tools like Grin.
Using testimonials and reviews can drastically increase your sales as they work as social proof which helps convince people to make a purchase.
13. Use Influencer Marketing
Online sellers can also collaborate with influencers to create a buzz about their products and to increase sales. Influencer marketing is a very productive strategy to boost online sales. Influencers have dedicated followers who trust them. You can approach these influencers and pitch them your products or services.
Find the right influencers and create content that aligns with your brand strategy to increase online sales. Convey your expectations and then set up different campaigns.
Daniel Wellington, a Swedish watch startup, collaborated with different influencers and became a $230 million company in 5 years. That’s the power of influencer marketing.
14. Create a Sense of Urgency
The last thing online sellers need is a hesitant customer. When a customer hesitates, they don’t complete the sales journey. They abandon the thought of buying a product or service midway.
Once they leave your website, there are many other distractions that could lure them. Your competitors, some sale somewhere else, or a change of heart are some of the examples.
Ideally, as an online seller, you want conversions as soon as possible. For that, you need to create a state of urgency. Urgency can be created in several ways such as “Only 2 T-shirts remain,” and “Free shipping ends soon.” Urgency help encourage people to make decisions faster.
Look at the screenshot above. The “time left to download” creates a sense of urgency. The fact that the product can only be downloaded at reduced price for only a limited time can help increase online sales.
15. Answer Potential Questions on Your Product Pages
When your customers are interested in a product, and they start researching it, they may have questions they need answered. You are the person who can answer each and every question about the product.
Think of consumers, and what questions they may have. Then try to include as much information as you can on your landing pages and product pages to answer those potential questions.
Like in the example shown above, if you can answer customer’s questions related to the functioning of the product on the landing page, do that.
16. Do Contextual Cross-Selling and Upselling
Cross-selling and upselling are established ways of enticing consumers. When you invite a customer to buy a complimentary or related item, it is contextual cross-selling. When you encourage a customer to buy a higher end product, that is upselling.
Both of these marketing tactics generate a significant amount of conversions. People are often interested in buying complementary goods. Some of them will also be interested in buying a higher end product. For those customers, cross-selling and upselling help them discover more useful products.
17. Personalize Web Pages and Communication
Personalization is a very common tactic for online stores. Once you log in, they show you the list of items you generally buy. They personalize the web page for you, and help you find products you normally use and purchase. This makes routine shopping easier for customers. Customers can simply browse the personalized page and pick up the things they need without browsing the whole store.
There is personalization software which can help you do that for your customers. Personalized suggestions can also be sent in customized emails to the users who haven’t been to your site for a set period of time to remind them of products they may want to order again.
Your emails could say something like, “You bought these products last month. We are waiting for your visit this month.” Showing them the products they usually buy is a great way of personalization which can prompt them to come to your online store and shop again.
Some subscription based services, like Moz, provide free trials of their products. They may customize the product for you and encourage you to buy the product once the free trial ends.
18. Have Festive Sales
Holidays and festivals can increase online sales opportunities. You must plan ahead for them to increase your online sales. Most holiday shoppers prefer to shop online to avoid the offline hassles such as traffic and long checkout lines.
You can take advantage of these opportunities in a number of different ways. You can, for example, offer special discounts to shoppers who use your app during a holiday season.
You can also optimize your landing pages. One way to do so is to promote best selling items at the top of the page – in the most visible section.
You can also offer seasonal or holiday discounts, like the Christmas sales shown in the screenshot above. You can offer limited time promotional offers to attract hesitant holiday shoppers. .
19. Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
A money-back guarantee is an important tactic to keep your customers coming back to you. If a customer is unsatisfied with any of the purchases they’ve purchased from your site, give them their money back. This helps establish trust.
Of course, you can include some conditions to your refund policy.
Generally when a customer makes a purchase from a website, they expects the goods to be in perfect condition. In case they are not satisfied with the quality of the goods or their experience, you should make it easy for them to get their money back.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Zyppah snoring eliminator offers a money-back guarantee.
20. Use Live Chat
It may not be possible to answer every question a customer may have in your product descriptions and on your landing pages.
Image via Kayako
According to Kayako, 52% of customers are more likely to repurchase from a company which offers live chat support. And 79% of businesses have benefited from live chat.
Live chat can be a game changer. Most of the customers who have questions will leave your site if they cannot find a satisfactory answer. When they have questions or concerns, they likely won’t take the time to call you or email you. Live chat is a quick and easy way for them to get the answers they need.
If you have a live chat application on your site, shoppers can get answers in real-time. And when you’re able to answer their questions quickly, it can encourage them to complete their purchases.
21. Make Checkout Process Easy
Baymard Institute’s study of Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics found that 27% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts because of complicated checkout processes. Most of them abandon their carts because they are suddenly made aware of additional costs and taxes at checkout.
So to increase your online sales, it’s important that you be as transparent as possible from the beginning.
Make prices and the payment process as clear and easy as possible as shown in the Walmart’s check out page above. There shouldn’t be any hidden or unexpected costs. If shipping is not free, tell your users that upfront.
Image viaBeauty Bridge
You can also offer a guest login option. Many consumers want to be able to quickly buy and pay for their purchases. They are not interested in filling out long forms. When you make them fill out long forms, you’ll be testing their patience. If you do use forms, make them as short and simple as possible.
Also make sure your checkout process is mobile friendly. Once the checkout process is complete, send them a notification.
22. Show Trust Icons at Checkout
Building trust is of utmost importance when you are trying to gain online customers. Trust icons or trust badges are logos and badges you may see during the checkout process. These trust badges can be acquired from payment processors, hosting companies, and other third parties.
Payment badges show the accepted methods of payment. To show that your site is safe and secure, you can use trust badges from VeriSign, McAfee Secure, Trust Wave, etc. by partnering with them. SSLC certificates are provided by sites that use its encryption services for safe ecommerce. When the certificate expires, the badges disappear.
People are worried about the security of their credit card data. As shown in the screenshot above, the checkout page of Walmart has the seal of Norton.
Customers want to interact with secure sites. These trust icons instill a sense of security, so they are very important. In a test case, the presence of a Verisign seal on a webpage resulted in a 42% increase in sales.
23. Provide as Many Payment Options as Possible
Do you accept Google Wallet as a payment method on your site? What about Apple Pay? Or WePay?
Image via Amazon
Today, customers have many choices in terms of how they pay for goods and services. Look at the payment options provided by Amazon in the screenshot above. They accept a variety of payment options..
To increase your online sales, offer more payment options to your customers if possible.
24. Use Remarketing Strategies
It happens to all of us. You go to Amazon to buy something. Perhaps a parka. You look at some options and decide to complete your purchase some other time. What happens next?
Those parkas from Amazon follow you everywhere. You can see parka ads from Amazon on most of the sites you visit later. Amazon may even try to nudge you to complete your purchase by showing reduced prices or limited time discounts on parkas.
This is one type of remarketing.
Image via Facebook
You can remarket to a customer in several ways. There is search remarketing, in which you track the keywords a customer types and you reach out to them with your brand’s advertisements. You can use email and social media remarketing methods for remarketing as well.
25. Offer Free Shipping if You Can
Offer free shipping to your customers if possible. People hate to pay for shipping. As mentioned above, consumers often abandon their shopping carts once they learn of the shipping costs. In fact in a Barilliance study, the top reason for abandoning shopping carts was unexpected shipping costs.
Consumers love sites that offer free shipping. It is important to provide free shipping whenever possible. If you’re unable to offer free shipping on all purchases, you could offer free shipping for purchases that meet a minimum item or price threshold.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Sephora offers free shipping. You may be able to discreetly absorb the shipping cost in the cost of the product in order to give your customers free shipping.
As we have seen, you can use a variety of strategies to increase your online sales. And don’t forget to keep experimenting with new ideas. You have to understand what your customers’ expectations are. What do they really look for when they come to shop on your site? Make adjustments as needed to ensure you’re always giving consumers the best possible user experience.
If you have successfully used any other techniques to increase online sales, please share them with us in the comments below. We’re all ears!