10 Ways to Generate More Sales Online

Following the recent Retail Week Guide on Turning Browsers into Buyers, we've compiled a list of the top ten tips for retail success to help ecommerce site owners maximise revenue from online sales.

Top 10 Tips to Turn Browsers Into Buyers

1. Engage your Customers

Create creating unique, useful and interesting content to get customers engaged. By posting share-worthy content that is correctly targeted your visibility can increase massively. Don't forget to engage in conversation with those interested in your product or service. Importantly for all retailers, customer experience is key. Never leave a message, tweet or post unanswered! Furthermore, going beyond the call of duty and providing proactive service can do wonders for your revenue and reputation.

2. Be mobile friendly

Everyone and their dog are taking to their phones or tablets to browse the internet rather than a conventional desktop or laptop pc. Ensure your website (and checkout process) is user friendly across all devices or risk losing customers before the buyer journey process has gathered any momentum.

3. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket

It's important not to discount any potential platforms for business. Don't restrict yourself to just a an online store. Ensure you are operating across all forms of social media, online marketplaces and offline marketplaces too. Depending on your industry and customers, trial it and reap the rewards!

4. Know your customer

Knowing your customer and their online traits can help you target them effectively. Conduct some research into their online activity and use it to your advantage. Do your customers mainly shop online? Do they use Facebook regularly? If so, prioritise Facebook as a platform for online targeting.

5. Remove barriers for site abandonment

Getting a user to your website is just the first step in convincing them to go ahead and purchase your offering. For every one reason to go ahead and complete a purchase, there are hundreds of reasons for them to go elsewhere or abandon checkout, many of which are out of your control. There are a number of small steps you can take though to remove any barriers which create site abandonment. Research shows the following to be of most concern;

[caption id="attachment_3597" align="alignnone" width="521"]Credit - Retail Week Guide Credit - Retail Week Guide[/caption]

Top 3 Reasons for Site Abandonment

1. Left to research on other sites

2. Not ready to buy yet

3. Product out-of-stock

Many of the top reasons for site abandonment are out of your control. Consumers use websites as a form of research beforehand, and your website is no different. Often they will leave to research other websites because they're not ready to commit to a purchase or they will check for better prices elsewhere. However, you should still consider how to best capture their details at this early to mid-funnel stage. One reason which is within your control is stock levels. Once a product is out of stock you can temporarily remove it from your site to avoid wasting a potential customers time browsing and redirect the page, or ideally optimise the experience with recommended similar products and offering an email notification for when the product is back in stock.

Other Site Abandonment Barriers

1. Registration Woes

[caption id="attachment_3602" align="alignnone" width="521"] Credit - Retail Week Guide[/caption]

Less than half of shoppers (45%) are prepared to enter their details to proceed searching on a website. A further 36% would not register an account to continue browsing. The rest were left undecided.

A simple step to eliminate this barrier would be to allow customers to check-out as a guest rather than requiring an account registration. Guest registrants can always be followed up with a data completion workflow once they are successfully converted.

2. Security Concerns

More than 40% of those asked said that an SSL certificate would put their security concerns at ease and therefore encourage them to continue with a purchase. SSL certificates are affordable - ensure you have one.

Security is a top priority for Google. Not only do users feel more confident making a purchase on a secure website, but Google favours websites taking extra security measures, such as implementing an SSL certificate, in their rankings.

Onto the rest of the tips..

6. Utilise your mailing lists

Emailing your opted-in mailing lists can be a highly successful way to re-ignite interest from those that have already signalled an interest in your offering.  Emails should always be sent to segmented groups and targeted with personalised and useful messaging to each audience for maximum return.

[caption id="attachment_3606" align="alignnone" width="521"] Credit - Retail Week Guide[/caption]

47% of consumers would likely to return to a website if offered a discount.

Without a doubt promotions prove the most effective form of email marketing messaging. Having a sale? Inform your subscribers! Looking to convert those who showed interest by either browsing or adding a product to their basket? Trial browser or abandoned cart emails (or ads).

7. Increase your visibility

Similarly to tip 3 above, in order to increase your visibility, increase your exposure and develop content worth searching for. The key here is to help customers find you by putting yourself out there in areas your ideal customer are searching for. A great technique is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), though this is a gradual process. Things you can do today to see quicker results include expanding your social media presence and advertising.

8. Remain competitive

The rise of e-commerce has reduced overheads, and because of this online retailers are able to be more competitive than ever against their high street counterparts. Where you might be able to compete on price against a high street giant, competition between online sellers is rife. Look to add value to your products and services and find other ways to differentiate your product or service offering. Some considerations could include:

In B2C
  • After sales helpline
  • Free installation
  • Free consultation
  • Extended returns period
  • Free next day delivery
In B2B
  • Packages including proactive account management
  • Discounts for retained clients and contracts or the inclusion of certain services
  • Enhanced support services
  • Key account management benefits
  • Guest invitation to events and training sessions
  • Exclusive partnership or affiliate arrangements

As you can see, price is never the only determining factor. Set yourself apart from the rest in other ways where it's not financially viable to be the absolute cheapest. Developing overall brand loyalty through other means will also go a long way here.

9. Up-sell

Up-selling can be the difference between a marginally profitable sale and a worth while sale. Some examples of up-selling include:

  • Similar and complementary products
  • Batteries
  • Gift-wrapping
  • After sales service
  • Installation
  • Additional warranty

Upselling links back to remaining competitive. You can use some ideas to 'add value' while others can be up-sold at a cost. Choose wisely between the two.

10. Thank your customers!

This one might sound obvious but you would be surprised as to how many businesses forget to thank their customers! An appreciated customer is a repeat customer. Discount on next purchase can work well, especially to convert new customers to a second purchase, or incentivise them to share with friends. Drop them an email after their purchase and thank them. Ask them how everything went and how it could be improved for future planning.

Follow these ten steps and continually optimise your online business to make sure you see maximum conversion rates.

Do you have any other top tips for turning browsers to buyers? Let us know on Twitter!

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