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How To Increase Your Online Sales Without a Massive Marketing Budget

Cristina Ferrandez
Cristina Ferrandez
July 13, 2017

Every Ecommerce business wants to find new ways to increase their online sales, but not every business has an endless marketing budget available to do so. So what are some ways to increase online sales without having to put in the additional dollar value?

In this article we sum up the most effective tips to increasing your sales, focusing on your existing customers and real estate. The key is to put special effort into using your existing site more efficiently, and encouraging your existing user base to spend more, rather than spending extra in trying to capture new customers. We hope you find our tips useful!

1. Make your product pages more attractive

Are your product pages as effective as they could be? Chances are there may be a lot you can do to optimize them.

To start off, look at your product descriptions. Do they make your products sound attractive? Do they break down essential information in a way that makes it easy to find and comprehend? Are you selling not just your products’ features, but also their benefits? The idea is that your customers should be able to quickly scan your product descriptions and feel compelled by them.

Secondly, is relevant purchase information readily available? You may have a Shipping page on your site with all shipping details, but customers will love you if this information is directly available on the product page. This will give them an instant idea of what the overall cost of the order will be and even how long it will take to ship, before they commit to going through the purchase process.

Finally, does the product page follow a format that is familiar to your customers? Do you include multiple product images of great quality? Does the page include product reviews? Is the “Add to cart” button clearly visible?

When optimizing product pages, a great way to try out different approaches and see which one works best is A/B testing. Through A/B testing you can create two product pages with slight differences between them and push it out so 50% of your customers see one page and the other 50% see the other. By looking at conversions, you can assess which page was more effective, optimize accordingly and, if desired, continue testing more elements. At the end, you’ll have the most effective product page you could possibly have!

2. Increase your average order size

Sometimes increasing conversions is not about gaining more customers, but about encouraging existing customers to buy more. A good way of doing this is encouraging your customers to increase their order size. There are many ways you can do this:

a) Upsell a product

I’m sure you’ve encountered a situation where you were ready to make a purchase and the option to buy a slightly more expensive but improved version came up. This is called upselling.

Upselling a product is a very successful tactic because at that point your customer is already committed to making a purchase. All you need to convince them about is spending slightly more money to gain additional benefits.

Of course, to do this you need to make the upgrade option sound attractive and like a step up from the current one. At the end of the day, customers want what’s best and many are willing to go that extra mile to get what they think they deserve.

The best place to position an upgrade option is the checkout process. Once customers have hit “Check out now”, an additional page that asks them whether they are interested in upgrading can do the trick. In contrast to the product page, at this stage the customer is already committed so their chances of taking the upgrade are higher.

b) Bundle up your products

A similar but slightly different approach is product bundling. Instead of offering a product upgrade, this entails offering an additional product that in some way complements what they are purchasing. Preferably for a cheaper price, so the customer feels they are getting a good deal.

An example would be offering batteries to a customer purchasing an alarm clock. Alarm clocks need batteries, so what better time to buy them (and for a premium price), so that the product can be used as soon as the customer receives it?

Product bundles can be positioned within the checkout process too, but the product page is also a good location. Unlike upgrades, bundles don’t require the customer to have made a commitment to the initial product and instead rely on being offers that “make sense” to the customer.

c) Adjust your free shipping

Don’t underestimate the power of free shipping. In fact, think about how many times you’ve made a small additional purchase in order to get free shipping for an order. Sounds familiar, right?

Customers will do a lot to get free shipping. For some reason, the words “free shipping” seem to hold a magical power that has long captivated the buyer’s imagination. And unlike what it may appear, this holds a great advantage for you.

Free shipping gives you a great opportunity to increase your order size by setting a minimum order size that is above the average order size. That is, if your analytics tell you that your customers’ average order size is $90, you could set free shipping on orders above $100 and thereby increase your customers’ average order size by at least $10. Exponentially, that small increase can significantly improve your sales numbers.

3. Indulge your existing customers

As mentioned earlier, increasing your sales on a low Marketing budget is often about encouraging your existing customers to buy more, rather than finding new ones. This means providing them with special offers and deals that will encourage them to return to your site and make additional purchases.

There are many ways you can do this:

a) Coupons

A great approach is to offer customers coupons upon completion of an order. Obviously a coupon may not be used for a while, until the customer needs to make a new purchase, but it will go a long way towards encouraging your customers to buy from your site instead of an alternative one.

A great location to offer a coupon is the “Thank you” email after completion of a purchase. This is a great way of showing your appreciation for customers, who will feel a sense of value and loyalty towards you.

Because coupons are unlikely to be used immediately, it’s a good idea to ensure they don’t have an expiry date, or that the expiry date is far in the future.

b) Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are another great way of showing appreciation for your customers and keeping them returning to your site again and again.

Some loyalty programs operate on a points basis, allowing customers to accumulate points upon purchase and to redeem them in a future order. These programs can be very successful and create a real sense of loyalty, to the point that some customers may make a purchase on your site even if the product is available cheaper on another site, because they perceive the value of points to be higher.

Other loyalty programs allow customers to get a sneak peek of new products or have access to special offers and sales. This normally operates as an email campaign and only requires customers to provide their email address. These programs can be quite successful when it comes to special sales, but perhaps have less of an impact in everyday purchases.

c) Competitions

Finally, running competitions is a good way of engaging your existing customer base, particularly on social media (although email can be effective too). If focusing on social media, the most effective networks are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ (although Pinterest and Tumblr may be appropriate too depending on your target audience).

Competitions often involve encouraging your followers to share a social media post. This will help you gain awareness and hopefully some new followers. Giving away a product in exchange for this could be a small price to pay!

4. Always provide a live chat

To conclude, a really really important but often overlooked element that will go a long way to increasing your online sales is a live chat. Most of the time, if a customer encounters an issue while trying to make a purchase, or if they have a question that they cannot find an answer to, the presence or absence of a live chat could be the difference between them making a purchase or not. This means great losses if you are unable to provide one.

Website glitches or unavailable information are, of course, quite decisive in making a customer leave your site, especially if there are plenty other sites offering the same products. Being able to directly address these issues on their browser and without having to pick up the phone is the only way customers will be willing not to go elsewhere. If a support team is available to immediately respond and solve these issues, your customers will feel like the wait was worth it, and their sense of loyalty towards you will increase.

 

If you’d like to find out how you can optimize your Ecommerce checkout process, click here.

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