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Boost your ecommerce sales by going back to basics

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 29 Jan, 2015
Essential Essential topic

8 areas for SMB retailers to focus on to increase retail sales

Where did 2014 go? The holiday season has come and gone, and now we’re facing a whole new year of marketing innovations and trends. To make sure you’re staying on top of your sales game, spring is the perfect time to try some new marketing and sales trends on for size. By the time fall rolls around, you’ll be pleased at the progress you’ve made improving your sales numbers and conversion rates.

By considering the following tips and tricks, you can better prepare for a great year of sales:

 1. Work on your website

If you have an ecommerce website, now is the time of year when you should consider some changes and think about making some enhancements. The trends in 2015 are all about user experience. Focus on making your mobile site easy to navigate and visually appealing. Consider investing in responsive web design so your user experience is consistent across multiple devices.

Streamline your site by getting rid of clunky and confusing navigational cues. Make your calls to action simple and vibrant with large fonts and easy-to-click buttons. Your online checkout process should be simple, too. Avoid forcing patrons to sign up or login to make a purchase. Many shoppers will opt for another online avenue if they have to create one more account. Instead, offer present and future discounts for joining your mailing list or creating an account.

Use visual cues to make your content pop. Pictures, videos, and infographics can be incorporated into retail sites. They’re informational and fun for shoppers. Don’t overload a page with pictures, but make it easy to find items on your site with keywords and strategic organization.

2. Advertise free shipping

One of the biggest detractors to online shopping is the shipping process. Not only does it cost more to buy online, but you usually have to wait a few days to receive your delivery. You can combat these disadvantages by offering free shipping and quicker delivery options.

3. Use online analytics

The only way you’re going to understand your conversion rates and what is and is not working is by consistently evaluating the numbers. Particularly when you implement a new strategy, you’ll want to see how your sales and conversion rates shift over the following months. Use analytics to measure your progress and as a cue to change your approach when something isn’t working.

4. Get seasonal

Whether it’s an e-commerce site or retail store, staying in tune with the season is a must. It’s a cheap investment that comes with an incredibly high ROI. For an online website, simply add a seasonal banner or change the colour scheme. For a brick and mortar store, decorate for the time of year. It’s the perfect opportunity to change out your stock in favor of spring and summer items while maintaining your inventory of high-selling winter items until the end of the season.

5. Make it easy to buy

If the shipping process is the biggest detractor to online sales, long lines are the most significant disadvantage for brick and mortar retail stores. In addition to re-evaluating your needs for on-the-floor retail personnel, it’s important to focus on maximizing your payment systems. Mobile card readers can be a great way to add additional checkout options and maximize revenues. According to Tobias Lutke, CEO of Shopify, 'Mobile card readers give you the ability to increase revenue wherever you are – something that’s very important during the holiday rush and during other large store events.' 

5. Go social

For small businesses with limited marketing and advertising budgets, social media is the way to go. Small and large businesses are leveraging social media to promote brand awareness and improve brand reputation in the marketplace. Focus on developing poignant content that can easily be shared and is directly tied to your brand. A small investment in social media content can go a long way.

6. Always accentuate the positive

What is your company’s best asset? Understanding what your target market needs and addressing it directly is a powerful selling technique. It’s simple and makes someone stop and say, “Hey, I need that.” Use your biggest asset to promote your brand online, in stores, and in themedia.

7. Recommend other (non-competing) brands

Online and in person, it never hurts to boost a non-competitor’s presence. Talking highly of other brands is the kind of marketing that can be paid forward. Recommending other products and services online in blogs is a good way to get your own brand noticed, even though it seems counterintuitive. Excellent products and services naturally encourage conversations, and adding in a little extra information (when natural) will make your customers feel like your store is interested in more than just sales numbers. In a small community, gather your businesses together to promote one another to residents and visitors.

8. Customer service matters

Good customer service trumps every other improvement and suggestion. Find ways to make your customer’s online and in-store experience personal. Use ad retargeting to encourage repeat visitors to your site and let internet users know you are focusing on them. Hire employees in your stores who are devoted to making personal connections and helping customers feel good about themselves rather than merely pushing sales. How you make a customer feel about his or her experience will be remembered every time your brand is encountered in the future. Make it count.

Here’s to a great year of sales!: Take these tips and focus on what works for your brand to get the most out of sales in 2015. It’s the perfect time to explore and revamp your image and style instead of trying to mimic competitors. Figure out which tips and techniques work for you and continually reimagine your model. Staying current and not being afraid of change is one of the greatest assets your company can have in this fluctuating sales environment.

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By Expert commentator

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