Online shopping is more popular than ever. According to Statistica, worldwide retail sales in e-commerce are forecasted to nearly double by 2020.
In an April 2017 survey, a whopping 40% of internet users in the United States said they make several online purchases every month. Beyond that, 20% reported that they purchased online services or items on a weekly basis.
Whether you’re new to e-commerce and just starting your first endeavor, or you’ve been open for online shopping for years, the key to long-term success is bringing in new buyers and keeping the established ones coming back.
Here, we’ll discuss 5 sure-fire ways to succeed in your e-commerce venture and how to keep sales flowing in day after day.
Let’s dive in.
An Attractive, Inviting Website Is a Must
What is the first impression your customers get when they land on your site? Do your graphics, layout and overall feel to the site make customers want to stick around and explore? The design of your site is one of the most crucial elements of e-commerce success. Studies show that you have about 3 seconds to capture the attention of a new customer.
Make the best of it.
Buyers have thousands of sites at their fingertips when shopping online. If yours doesn’t stack up aesthetically with the competition, they’ll never discover the quality of the product or service you’re selling.
The fact of the matter is, a well-designed e-commerce store looks more trustworthy and reliable than one that’s thrown together without considering all design details.
Stay Active on Social Media
Social media promotion is completely free (unless you opt to pay for advertising). It’s the perfect way to drive new buyers to your site.
To succeed, you must actively post engaging content that users interact with. Set a daily schedule for your social media activity and stick with it. Consistency is key.
In addition to remaining consistent:
Make sure you’re focused on the channels that make the most sense for your business
Engage users by asking questions and replying to them
Use interesting/informative graphics to grab attention
Respond to negative feedback in a constructive way
Do these things every day and your social media following will start producing sales.
Provide Top-Notch Customer Service
The best promoter of your business is a satisfied customer. Therefore, make sure the buying experience is smooth and easy. If a customer has pre-sale questions, answer them quickly and thoroughly. There’s nothing that’ll drive a customer away faster than filling out an online question form and being told: “somebody will respond within 48 – 72 hours.” Buyers are largely impatient. There’s too much competition out there and you’ll lose the sale to a competitor.
After a sale is made, follow up with the customer via email in a “non-salesy” way (although it’s good practice to drop a hot promo somewhere in the email). Your main concern is that their buying experience was a positive one and that they know you care about their satisfaction.
Run (But Don’t Overuse) Promos
Be strategic with the promos you run. Businesses that run too many promos start to get the “white noise” treatment from potential buyers – they just don’t hear what you’re saying anymore.
Instead, use promos sparingly but powerfully. It’s well-known that the word “free” triggers all kinds of positive emotions in buyers. Is there something of value that you could offer for free with the purchase of another item? If so, run with it. Focus on the free and give the purchase details later in the promo.
Other sure-fire promo ideas to run include:
Substantial coupons for new buyers
Loyalty rewards for established buyers
Ways to earn free product through long-term purchases
“Insider” deals available only to your top customers
Any of these promo ideas will make your customers feel special and will bring them to your store to do what you want them to do – shop!
Don’t Forget Email Marketing
Effective email marketing didn’t end in the early 2000s. It’s still one of the most effective, and cheapest, ways to reach your customers with new products, promotions and hot sales.
Think about it from a personal perspective: when was the last time you responded to a promotion in your inbox and what drove you to take action?
When crafting your email marketing campaigns, think of simple ways to grab a customer’s attention and ways to get them to click through to your offer.
Consider sending emails about:
New product offerings
Flash sales and 1-day promos
Post-sale communication that may lead to another purchase