The rise of the internet and the ongoing digitization of modern society has changed the world in almost every possible way. The spectacular rise of eCommerce is one of them. However, many small businesses still haven’t realized just how large a growth spurt they can achieve by deploying the right tactics when it comes to selling their goods and services online. In this article, we will show you 12 smart tactics that will increase online sales for your small business. The good news? You can deploy them instantly without having to break the bank. So don’t hesitate to take advantage of the tips and tricks this article provides!
1. Build an email and contact list
Building an extensive list of email addresses may seem a daunting task. However, there are several ways to get this job done successfully. Email often works so well because your customers purposely choose to hear more from you instead of being targeted by paid promotions. This increases your chances of building a loyal customer base.
Good email building strategies are the well-dosed use of non-annoying popups or the less intrusive tactic of employing an opt-in checkbox during the checkout process. The big advantage of the second strategy? The customer who’s checking out is already engaged and on the verge of buying from you. Adding an interesting opt-in incentive, like a 10% discount or an extra goodie, will encourage him or her even more to complete the purchase, while you gain a new subscriber.
2. Personalize your services
Personalizing customer journeys, services, channels (communication and marketing) and content is an important key to commercial success in the twenty-first century. Personalization means that you treat every prospect like an exclusive customer by creating personalized homepages, offering personalized guides, displaying recently viewed items and creating special campaigns based on shopping and searching behavior.
A more recent report shows that nowadays 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that remember them and provide relevant offers. Furthermore, 83% of the respondents are also willing to share their data in exchange for a highly personalized customer experience.
3. Optimize your store for mobile shopping
We all love our smartphones these days. We no longer exclusively use our digital, multi-tasking pocket friends for calling and apping, but also for shopping. Still, mobile conversion rates are generally not as high as desktop or laptop conversion rates. The reason: a lot of online stores aren’t yet providing a frictionless mobile shopping experience. Optimizing your online store for mobile shopping opens a window to an exciting array of new opportunities, such as new and bigger target audiences, increasing conversion rates and higher revenues.
4. Use live chat services to engage with visitors
We all know how annoying it is to be put on hold for fifteen minutes or more when we have a problem with one of the versatile solutions for modern living that we rely on. Using live chat experiences to engage with visitors is a great way to prevent frustration and enhance customer experience.
Live chat software and chatbots offer many benefits that help you build customer relations, boost your sales conversion rates and accelerate the growth of your business.
- According to many customers, having issues resolved quickly is one of the main factors that lead to a great customer service experience. Live chat software allows you to deliver real-time responses to customers, limit the number of steps in the Q&A process and drastically reduce queue times. Live chat also empowers your team to have proactive conversations with customers and help them in their journey.
- Chatbots offer 24/7 support and streamline the collection of customer information.
- Live chat makes it easier to collect valuable customer feedback. You can use this information to identify the gaps between customers and services and further improve all the areas of your customer service.
- Live chat is the number one support channel amongst millennials and thus a great way to reach and engage this specific segment of your customer base.
- Resolving problems and issues becomes a lot easier if you use live chat services to engage with visitors. The combination of efficient troubleshooting and high-quality product support greatly enhances customer experience.
5. Use feed optimization software
Data feed optimization is of great importance when it comes to building enticing and successful shopping campaigns. Successful feed optimization partially determines if and where Google is going to show your ads. The secret to success? Ensure that the following data fields are populated.
- You have to get the title right. The structure of your title should display the most important information about the advertised product. For example, if you are a camera vendor, your product title should include: brand, type (DSLR, compact or system camera), sensor size, color and the number of megapixels.
- The product description should complement the title. Pay the necessary attention to SEO if you want to climb the ranks of Google’s organic search results as well.
- Just like biological taxonomy categorizes the beings that make up the natural world, Google Taxonomy uses a list of categories to departmentalize products in a shopping feed. Placing your product into the most relevant category will help your customers navigate from their search to your product in a quick, easy and comfortable fashion.
- A picture often says more than a thousand words, so don’t hesitate to use crisp and attractive product images to optimize your feeds. Keep the resolution within reasonable limits, though, if you don’t want your store to turn into an online slouch or get Google to reject your product images.
- A competitive pricing strategy gives your feeds an extra competitive edge. Exclude products that are out of stock and/or those that cost more to advertise than they generate. Now you can allocate a part of your budget to your better performing products to increase your sales.
The right data feed tool simplifies and automates your feed tasks and functions like a double-edged sword. You can grow your presence and sales on online channels, but you are also able to remain fully focused on your core business.
6. Upsell and cross-sell!
Has one of your customers added an item to his or her cart? Then you could celebrate this happy fact and dance around the office in utter joy. But you could also upsell (offering the customer a slightly more expensive version of a product) or cross-sell (suggesting additional accessories or products that complement their purchase) your customers to even further increase your selling potential.
Selling an extra product to existing customers is about five times easier than attracting new buyers. Furthermore, the numbers show that online stores can generate 70 to 95 percent of their total revenue from upsells and renewals. It would be very unwise to let such a golden opportunity pass.
7. Use the socials
Social media platforms can be extremely valuable when it comes to building strong customer relations and increasing sales for small businesses. They allow you to reach out to loyal customers, but also to get in contact with new people. You can ask customers to write a review or testimonial, which is a great way to build trust in your brand as a whole and recommend the overall shopping experience that you offer.
Every social media platform has its specific strengths. Facebook is a good place to advertise and interact with your customers, whilst a rapidly expanding platform (over 500 million daily users worldwide) like Instagram is perfectly suited for visual branding. Instagram also allows you to generate Shoppable Posts. Is your business located in one of Instagram’s supported markets? And does your store comply with Instagram’s commerce policies? In that case, you can use your profile on Instagram Business to link directly to your online store. Social media are also surprisingly effective retargeting tools.
8. Reap the benefits of affiliate sales
The ability to cooperate flexibly and in very large numbers has defined the success of mankind throughout the centuries. This is also true in the dynamic universe of eCommerce. Affiliate programs can be an effective way for small businesses to build stronger customer relations and increase sales. Affiliate marketing is a sales tactic that allows customers, retail partners, marketers, online marketplaces or bloggers to promote your products and services in exchange for a commission.
Many eCommerce platforms (Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, and several others) already offer affiliate sales options. The principle of affiliate marketing works in perfect synergy with content creation strategies like blogging, vlogging and podcasting.
9. Produce good content
High-quality content rules the land of eCommerce. Releasing in-depth blog posts, informative newsletters, enticing podcasts, well-written whitepapers and e-books and engaging, interactive webinars are all great ways to entertain and educate your target audience and spice up your eCommerce services with extra value.
Well-targeted content marketing can help small businesses achieve growth in many ways.
- Producing knowledgeable content that is shared by your customers and social media followers creates brand awareness.
- Content marketing is cheaper than many traditional marketing tactics but generates more leads if you do it well.
- People want to buy from—and deal with—trustworthy brands that know what they are doing. Content marketing allows you to cement your reputation as a reliable and knowledgeable partner.
- Content marketing is a great tool to build customer relations and provide your target audience with additional value. It also gives them the opportunity to learn more about your specific industry.
10. Minimize cart abandonment
It’s a familiar scenario to many online businesses: a customer has filled up his or her shopping cart with goodies from your store but fails to take that final step. The lucrative sale that you thought was coming your way suddenly vanishes into thin air. Ouch…
The good news is that there are inexpensive and effortless ways to minimize online cart abandonment. A seamless checkout experience, a slight discount or extra information about payment security and your return policy can remove any final doubts that customers might have about their upcoming transaction.
11. Identify and utilise your buyer persona
If you have a specific business niche, which most companies do, it is highly likely that you also have a specific buyer persona. A buyer persona is essentially the type of person that is most likely to buy your product. By identifying your buyer persona, you can work out the best ways to market your product to those who would be most interested.
To identify your buyer persona, you can ask yourself questions such as:
- What is the demographic of my most frequent buyers?
- Where are my frequent buyers from?
- What is the occupation of my frequent buyers?
- Are they mostly male/female/a mix of the two?
- What is their average likely earnings?
- Are they regular internet users?
- Are they regular social media users?
From there on, you can utilise the persona to get more from your marketing, by focusing on the traits and quirks of your customers.
12. Use analytics and spot where you can improve
Regardless of your level of business experience, analytics tools can help you understand where your business and marketing tactics can be improved. There are various analytics tools on the market, many of which are free. So there is no harm in trying them out, and then deciphering where you can adjust things using A/B testing. Google analytics is just one example of the many free tools that can help you discover ways to improve your marketing.
Start growing your online business!
The aforementioned tactics will increase sales and help you to take your business build better customer relations, especially if you combine them. And you don’t have to strain yourself too much or keep the money pump running at full power. Just give it a try and measure the difference in leads, prospects and sales over time. You’ll be positively surprised!
About the author:
Marvin Flores is the Global Regional Manager at DataFeedWatch, the easiest solution to create, optimise, and manage product feeds for more than 1000+ shopping channels and marketplaces in over 50 countries. He has helped countless agencies and merchants to build robust and profitable feeds so they get the most out of their online advertising efforts.