More and more people are turning to the internet to find the products and services they need. Because of this, e-commerce is more important than ever before, even for small businesses.
It’s not just enough to have an online store. You need to take steps to optimize your website and marketing to get the most out of your e-commerce sales. Otherwise, your business will never reach its full potential.
Here’s what you need to know about selling online, as well as six marketing tips to help you increase your e-commerce sales.
Why E-Commerce is So Important
While there is still a place for stores with physical locations, most people expect to be able to find what they need online if they so choose. In fact, many people are ready to shop exclusively online. So, if you don’t have an e-commerce store you’re missing out on a lot of potential sales.
Here are a few more reasons why you should consider moving into e-commerce:
- Grow Your Customer Base: Creating an online store can allow your products to be found by a whole new group of customers. It also breaks down geographic barriers and lets you do business with people outside of your immediate area.
- It’s Easier Than Ever: Platforms like Shopify make starting your own online store extremely easy. You can also list your products on established platforms like Amazon and eBay, allowing you to take advantage of the massive amounts of traffic they receive.
- Generate More Sales: By reaching more customers, and allowing people to buy from you 24/7, you’ll be able to quickly boost your sales and increase your revenue.
As you can see, there’s really no excuse not to be selling online. Now, let’s go over some tactics you can use to maximize your e-commerce sales.
How to Generate More E-Commerce Sales
Opening an online store is the same as opening a brick and mortar location. You can’t just put up a new website and expect traffic to roll in. You need to spread the word about your brand and ensure the shopping experience is enjoyable for customers.
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can achieve this. Here are six e-commerce marketing tips to get you started.
1. Utilize Multiple Communication Channels
Trying to reach your customers strictly through your website isn’t enough. If you want to succeed online you need to be in as many places as possible. That gives you a much better chance of being found and discovered by new prospects.
Here are some ideas:
- Start a blog where you can post articles about your products, services, and industry. Blogs are great for SEO and give you a better chance of getting found in online searches.
- Choose a few social media channels that suit your brand and start posting content there as well. Keep your content casual and make sure you’re not just pushing your products and services. Mix in posts that are entertaining and engaging as well.
- Start an email list and send regular newsletters to your customers that let them know about company news and promotions. This is a great way to ensure you stay top-of-mind with your most loyal customers.
2. Build Brand Awareness
Brand awareness has always been important, but it’s especially true when it comes to e-commerce. When you sell to someone in person, you have a chance to talk to them and build trust. Unfortunately, you don’t have that opportunity when you sell online.
So, you need to work on building brand awareness with your customers. That way, when they land on your website they’ll already know and trust your brand, making them more likely to buy from you.
Here are a few ways you can improve your brand awareness:
- Run Online Ad Campaigns: Utilizing online advertising, such as Google Ads or Facebook ads, will allow you to be seen by more potential customers. Even if someone doesn’t click on your ads you’ll start to become familiar to them, which is the first step in building your brand recognition.
- Create Quality Content: Great brands aren’t just looking to sell their products. They also inform and educate their customers. By producing content (either on social media or your blog) that genuinely helps people you’ll be able to build trust and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
- Engage with Your Customers: Reply to comments on social media and your blog, or see if people are discussing your products on forums and get involved in the conversations. If people can actually talk to you they’ll realize they’re speaking with a real human, rather than just a faceless business.
3. Analyze Your Competitors
There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. There are likely plenty of competitors in your industry that are already selling online and finding success. So, it’s a good idea to have a look at what they’re doing to see if you can replicate any of their strategies.
Do a Google search to find similar e-commerce stores and have a look at their websites. Go through the buying process to see what the experience is like. Are they doing anything differently than you? Do they offer any features that you’d like to add to your own site?
Better yet, if you have access to a competitor intelligence tool like Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Buzzsumo, you can look up exactly who your closest competitors are.
You can also analyze sellers on Amazon who are selling products similar to yours. The great thing about this is there are a number of Amazon product research tools available that will allow you to see what tactics sellers are using to promote their products on the platform.
If you find something that’s working for someone else, feel free to tweak it to fit your strategy and incorporate it into your business.
4. Customer Research
Do you know who your ideal customer is? Do you know what demographics are most likely to buy your product? If not, you’re at a significant disadvantage when it comes to marketing and promotion.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to track this information online and pinpoint which groups are generating the most sales. This allows you to optimize your tactics and target those who are most likely to buy from you.
Here are a few tools to help you with customer research:
- Google Analytics: By connecting your e-commerce site to Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see how people are finding your site. You’ll also be able to see where your visitors are located, along with a host of other information about your website traffic.
- Google Webmaster Tools: This is another important tool you should set up, as it lets you see what keywords people are using to find your store.
- Google Trends: Type your products and services into this tool to see who is searching for these items. You’ll also find related terms that you can add to your marketing.
- Facebook Ads: Do you want to make sure you’re always targeting your ideal customer with ads? Use Facebook’s lookalike audience feature when creating your ads to target people with the same characteristics as your Facebook followers.
5. Create a Good Shopping Experience
Increasing your e-commerce sales isn’t just about getting customers to your website. You also need to make sure you can generate conversions once they get there. To do this it’s important that you provide your customers with a seamless shopping experience.
Make sure you have a good navigation system in place. Customers should be able to quickly find what they’re looking for. To make things even easier, include a search feature so customers can type in the products they want.
Once someone is ready to buy, the process needs to be simple. Offer as many forms of payment as possible (credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.) and ensure your instructions are easy to follow.
If possible, let customers check out as guests rather than registered users to make the process even quicker. The easier it is to buy from you the better the chances are that your customers will complete their transactions.
6. Test and Analyze Your Strategies
No one gets it completely right the first time. Even if your initial e-commerce strategies are successful there will still be room for improvement. This is why it’s so important to keep testing to ensure you’re getting the most out of your online store.
Here are some things to look at:
- The Conversion Rates of Your Ad Campaigns: Identify which campaigns are working and which ones aren’t. You can then make adjustments to campaigns that are underperforming or simply abandon them and focus on the ones that are driving sales.
- The Conversion Rates of Your Landing Pages: Are people that land on your website actually buying anything, or are they clicking away? Look at the numbers and see if there pages that could be improved to generate more sales.
- Cart Abandonment: How many people add items to their cart only to leave before making a purchase? If this number is high it may indicate there’s a problem with your checkout process.
A good strategy is to run multiple ads with relevant landing pages at once, then A/B test them to see which ones generate the most conversions. This takes the guesswork out of the equation and allows you to quickly see what’s working.
E-Commerce is an important part of being a successful retailer in today’s world. Online selling can help you reach new customers and discover markets you didn’t even know were available to you.
It may seem intimidating at first, but if you follow the tips above you’ll be generating plenty of online sales in no time.