In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on businesses around the globe.
With many brick-and-mortar locations closed to the public, consumers were forced to transform how they shop.
Although the lockdowns and social restrictions of the pandemic now feel like a distant memory, the prevalence of online shopping remains.
In fact, its popularity has only continued to accelerate with global ecommerce sales set to reach $5 trillion or more by the end of 2022.
So how can businesses ensure that they benefit from this digital shift?
What steps can they take to boost conversions and get the most out of their ecommerce stores?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions by providing 15 key steps to increasing your online sales. We'll cover:
- Define your ecommerce sales goals
- Prioritize digital customer service channels
- Deliver an exceptional customer experience
- Take advantage of social media
- Optimize your website content
- Ensure website usability
- Simplify the buying journey
- Display product reviews & customer testimonials
- Showcase your products well
- Minimize shipping costs
- Offer personalized recommendations
- Refine your email marketing strategy
- Retarget customers with advertising
- Entice customers with discounts & promotional offers
- Create a sense of urgency
15 ways to increase online sales fast
According to the ONS, consumers are still spending substantially more online than they were before the pandemic.
However, due to inflation and the recent cost-of-living crisis, consumers have become less willing to splash out on online purchases.
As such, increasing online sales can be a challenging endeavor for businesses - which is why we’ve put together the essential strategies to help you succeed.
Let’s explore each of them in turn.
1. Define your ecommerce sales goals
The first step to increasing online sales is setting out a plan with clear, measurable goals.
Without quantifiable goals to focus on, it’s difficult to achieve results and track your progress.
Use the following steps to help you set out your online sales goals:
- Gather data - by examining your current and previous online sales figures, you can ascertain how well you’re performing and identify any fluctuations or patterns that may impact your progress. You’ll also be able to set goals that align with your overall revenue targets.
- Conduct market research - understanding your target market and assessing its potential for growth will allow you to set goals that are informed and realistic. You’ll also gain valuable insights into your customers’ priorities, pain points, and buying patterns. This information can then be utilized to shape your marketing strategy.
- Establish time frames - your plan should include specific time frames or deadlines for each target. This will allow you to measure your progress and work towards your goals more efficiently.
Once you’ve established your goals and put your plan into action, remember to monitor your progress and schedule regular reviews.
That way, you can ensure you’re heading in the right direction and make any necessary adjustments along the way.
2. Prioritize digital customer service channels
One of the most significant barriers to online sales is customers not getting the support they need.
If a customer encounters any issues or difficulties on your website, and there’s no way to get their questions answered, chances are they’ll get frustrated and abandon any purchases.
Digital customer service is the solution to this problem.
With the right communication channels, you’ll be able to provide a level of customer service that’s more akin to the in-store experience.
The following customer contact channels are crucial for any brand looking to boost online conversions and deliver exceptional customer support:
- Live chat - When it comes to digital customer service, live chat for ecommerce is one of the most essential channels to have at your disposal. It provides maximum convenience by giving customers customers access to real-time, chat support through your website. Live chat has been proven to increase conversions, generate leads, and boost average order values by 10%.
- Video chat - Sometimes a text-based interaction isn’t quite enough to give customers the humanized support they need. Video chat rectifies this issue by enabling face-to-face interactions in the virtual realm. It’s why video chat for customer service is such a powerful channel for online sales. In fact, customers who use Talkative’s live video chat are up to 4x more likely to make a purchase.
- Cobrowsing - Cobrowsing can be used alongside live chat or video chat to create a collaborative experience that takes digital customer support to the next level. It allows customers and advisors to browse your website or app together, in real time. This creates a shared digital space where customers can be given hands-on guidance. The use of cobrowsing has been found to increase online conversions by up to 45%.
- AI Virtual Agent - While the above channels are fantastic tools for in-depth customer conversations, they have one drawback – they require human agents and so are only available during your operating hours. Chatbots and Virtual Agents, on the other hand, are readily available to provide immediate answers to your customers 24/7. They can even escalate issues that are too complex for them to resolve so that a human agent can follow up when one becomes available. This ensures that you never miss a chance to convert.
By offering a variety of channels, you’ll be able to cater to all of your digital customers and their preferences - especially if you power them with an innovative digital engagement platform like Talkative.
That way, all your channels will be connected, allowing you to deliver consistent and superior customer service at every digital touchpoint.
3. Deliver an exceptional customer experience
In today’s increasingly competitive market, exceptional customer experiences are essential for business success and brand differentiation.
So, if you’re looking to improve online conversions, you must ensure you’re consistently providing positive experiences that keep customers coming back for more.
You should also endeavor to provide an experience that goes above and beyond your customers’ expectations.
Talkative customer Lululemon has enjoyed great success with this strategy.
They found that video chat consultations increase the likelihood of a sale and boost the average order value by as much as 30%.
This will significantly increase repeat purchases and improve your customer retention rates.
However you choose to elevate the customer experience, the key to more online sales is to set yourself apart by delivering memorable experiences that are a cut above your competitors.
4. Take advantage of social media
There’s no denying the power of social media in today’s market.
With billions of daily users around the globe, it allows businesses to expand their reach to a vast and diverse audience.
And, as 80% of consumers now use social media to connect with brands, there’s an opportunity to make this channel a lucrative tool - for digital marketing, customer service, and increasing online sales.
To take your social media sales game to the next level, you should aim to:
- Establish a presence across multiple platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.) so that you can reach as many consumers as possible.
- Utilize social media customer support tools, like messaging channels, so that you can engage and support customers via their favorite channels.
- Run targeted ads via Facebook and Instagram to help you reach a specific target audience that’ll be more likely to convert.
- Integrate your ecommerce store with your social channels so that you can be where your customers are, making it easier for them to purchase.
- Create engaging and interactive content that shows off your products and humanizes your brand.
- Use your social accounts to share new products, promotions, discounts, etc. with your followers.
- Collaborate with influencers to further advertise your brand and products.
By taking advantage of these strategies, you can ensure that your social media touchpoints are working hard for you as a driver of online sales.
5. Optimize your website content
Increasing your number of website visitors is critical if you want to boost online sales - and the best way to achieve this is by improving your SEO.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of crafting and producing website content that will rank highly on search engine result pages (SERPs).
This process is important because 95% of all search engine traffic goes to sites that appear on the first results page.
When working to improve your site’s SEO, make use of the following tips:
- Carry out keyword research to identify the topics that are of most interest and relevance to your target audience. You can build your content around these keywords and phrases.
- Set out a content plan and SEO strategy with your keyword findings.
- Produce fresh, engaging content that will intrigue your target audience and provide value. Instead of just writing about your products, dedicate time to blog articles that address common challenges or other topics of interest relevant to your industry.
- Utilize multimedia (images, videos, gifs, etc.) throughout your website - content with relevant images gets 94% more views than those without.
- Be sure to create new content regularly as search engines prioritize the sites that consistently produce content.
- Optimize as much of your website copy as you can, including landing pages and product news – not just your blog posts.
- Invest in SEO content editing software (e.g. Surfer) and a keyword research tool (e.g. Ahrefs) to aid your efforts.
- Consider working with a digital agency that can help grow your organic SEO results, craft new campaigns, and even build good backlinks.
With a successful SEO strategy, your website will attract more potential customers which boosts brand visibility and creates more opportunities for online sales.
6. Ensure website usability
Your ecommerce website is an integral part of the digital customer experience.
So, if you want to increase the number of successful online sales, it makes sense for you to ensure that your website is a dream to use.
After all, the majority of online sales will take place within your website.
In order to maximize website usability, you need to optimize page loading times and cater to a variety of devices and browsers.
It’s also worth examining how your website is designed and set out - it should be seamless to navigate so that customers can easily find what they need.
You can utilize tools like Google Analytics to find out which site pages have the highest drop-off rate - it’s likely that there are usability issues to be rectified there.
7. Simplify the buying journey
It’s vital that the buying journey on your ecommerce site is a streamlined and seamless customer experience.
Think about it - the more effortless it is for customers to find what they’re looking for and complete their purchases, the higher the chance of a successful sale.
Any roadblock or complication during the buying journey will frustrate customers and pose a risk to sale completion.
If you’re looking to simplify your brand’s online buying journey, try taking the following steps:
- Enlist representatives of your target demographic to test the process of finding and purchasing items via your website. Ask them to provide feedback and identify any pain points that might prevent a user from completing their purchase.
- Make sure your product search bar is easy to find and use. Let customers filter and organize search results pages by price, popularity, product style, etc.
- Minimize the number of steps required to complete the checkout process. You could also implement a checkout progress indicator so that customers know how many stages are left before the purchase is complete.
- Always have a guest checkout option - there’s nothing more irritating than being forced to make an account you don’t want. It’s why almost a quarter of consumers would rather abandon items in their cart than sign up for an account.
- Offer multiple payment options (e.g. Apple Pay, Paypal, Google Pay, etc.) so that customers can pay using the method that’s most convenient to them without having to enter all their card details. A one-click purchase option is also a useful addition for signed-in customers.
A simplified buying journey is profitable because consumers place a high value on ease and convenience. In fact, 70% of customers are willing to pay more for a convenient experience.
By providing the simplicity that customers crave, you’ll enjoy both an increase in online sales and a decrease in abandoned carts.
8. Display product reviews & customer testimonials
Customer reviews and testimonials help increase online sales by demonstrating brand credibility.
It’s why around 9 out of 10 consumers read online reviews before making a purchase.
Positive reviews highlight the benefits of your brand and show potential customers that other consumers have had great experiences with your products.
This will increase their trust and confidence in your business which, in turn, increases the likelihood of them making a purchase.
Of course, there’s also a risk of negative reviews - but these can be useful too.
A product that consistently gets poor reviews clearly indicates that you should address the issues or discontinue the product.
Plus, if customers witness you responding to negative online reviews and working to resolve the issues, they’ll see that you care about your customers and will respect your brand even more.
If you want to reap the rewards of customer testimonials and reviews, you need to ensure that they’re strategically displayed throughout your website.
They’ll have the strongest impact on product pages and landing pages - but they can also be a beneficial addition to your returns policy page if you want to further strengthen trust in your brand.
Make sure that you’re actively prompting customers to post testimonials and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
If you’re struggling to collect reviews, consider offering customers a reward in exchange for writing one - perhaps a discount code for their next order, for example.
9. Showcase your products well
Showcasing products on your website is crucial because consumers need to be convinced that your product is worth buying.
Exceptional showcasing will capture interest and give potential customers a better idea about whether or not the product is suitable for them.
It can also make or break a sale - 67% of consumers report that the quality of product visuals is very influential in their decision to purchase online.
In order to do your products justice, take note of these showcasing tips:
- Use a number of high-quality images that represent the product accurately, from all angles, in various contexts.
- Consider using videos as well as images. For example, if you’re a fashion retailer, you might include videos of people actively modeling your clothes.
- Don’t neglect the text that goes alongside the visuals. Be sure to include all the information that a potential customer might need (e.g. description, measurements, materials, delivery & returns, etc.) plus answers to any FAQs about the product.
- Allow customers who have bought the product to upload reviews with images attached so that other potential buyers can see what it looks like in reality.
The key is to make your products look appealing without also over-selling them.
If a customer receives a product that looks nothing like the pictures, they’ll likely return it and leave a negative review.
You’ll also run the risk of developing a poor public image and losing brand credibility - both of which will hinder your efforts to increase online sales.
10. Minimize shipping costs
It’s no secret that consumers resent paying extra for shipping costs.
Case in point, 49% of consumers will simply abandon their shopping cart at the checkout when faced with extra fees for delivery or other hidden costs.
There are a number of possible solutions for this predicament:
- Offer free shipping - Not only can this increase online sales, but it can also give you an edge over your competitors. You can do this by factoring delivery costs into your product pricing or by setting a minimum order value (e.g. free shipping for orders of £30 or more).
- Provide multiple delivery options - If free shipping isn’t a viable option for your business, perhaps you could provide a more affordable option. For example, some brands offer an “economy delivery” that takes longer than standard shipping but costs significantly less.
- Allow free returns - It’s undeniable that returns are a necessary evil for online businesses - but they can be used to your advantage. If customers know they can easily return an unwanted item for free, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase and less likely to be unwilling to pay for delivery.
- Run a membership scheme - Some brands have the option of a membership or subscription where customers can enjoy unlimited free delivery and other benefits for a yearly or monthly fee (e.g. ASOS Premier). There are even brands that offer this service with a free membership (e.g. H&M). These schemes are a great strategy for mitigating the cons of delivery costs. Not only that, but they also improve customer retention, strengthen brand loyalty, and increase the chance of repeat purchases.
By removing, minimizing, or mitigating shipping costs, you’ll create an extra incentive for customers to buy from you - another win for increasing online sales.
11. Offer personalized recommendations
Today’s consumers don’t just want personalized experiences - they expect them.
Especially when shopping online.
That’s why 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides personalized recommendations.
Amazon is a classic example of a business that has enjoyed significant success from this strategy, with personalized product recommendations accounting for 35% of all their online sales.
Personalized product recommendations can be achieved with the use of algorithms.
These algorithms gather customer data, such as their search queries and online shopping history, which can then be utilized to provide a personalized shopping experience.
Here are some best practices to help you get the most out of personalized recommendations:
- Experiment with the placing of recommendations and use A/B testing to measure their success.
- Tactfully incorporate recommendations into your home page, product pages, and cart/checkout page.
- Offer personalized recommendations in your marketing emails as well as on your website.
- Make sure your algorithm system is providing recommendations that are actually useful and relevant to the customer.
Tailoring the buying journey with valuable recommendations is a simple and effective way to both increase online sales and enhance the customer experience.
12. Refine your email marketing strategy
Email marketing may sound old-fashioned - but this tried and tested tactic is a surefire way to increase your online sales.
In fact, statistics indicate that marketing emails influence the buying decisions of 59% of consumers.
When you’re trying to create sales with an email marketing campaign, it’s best to take a respectful approach over a sequence of emails.
You can also send reminder emails to customers who left your site with items in their baskets.
This can prompt customers to complete their purchase and so works as a cart abandonment solution as well as a way to increase sales.
You can also use email to gather customer feedback via surveys while offering a discount incentive in conjunction.
This not only encourages recipients to make a purchase - it also increases customer engagement.
Whatever email strategy you decide on, ensure your approach is personalized and don’t be afraid to experiment with different campaigns.
13. Retarget customers with advertising
Although retargeting ads can be costly, they’re a worthy investment if you have the funds.
After all, they can be extremely lucrative. In fact, the average click-through rate for retargeting ads is ten times higher than a regular display ad.
Retargeting ads work by utilizing web browser data (a.k.a. “cookies”) to promote products customers have previously viewed on your website.
These ads can appear as Pay Per Click links on the customer’s search results pages or as multimedia adverts on their social media feeds.
A retargeting campaign can fuel online sales because the ads bring your brand back to the forefront of the customer’s mind.
This subtle reminder of the product they liked can be all it takes to trigger a conversion.
Retargeting also enables you to track your website visitors. You can then provide opportunities for them to connect with your brand beyond their visit to your site.
This will increase digital engagement which, in turn, will also increase online sales - it’s a win-win.
14. Entice customers with discounts & promotional offers
There’s no denying that price is an important factor for customers.
It doesn’t really matter who your target audience are - everyone loves a bargain.
That’s why discounts and promotional offers are such powerful incentives. They’re essential tools to have in your arsenal when it comes to increasing online sales.
Discounts are a fantastic way to entice customers who may be teetering on the fence about purchasing a product.
You can offer discount codes via your website, social media channels, or run email marketing campaigns with highly targeted prospect lists.
To achieve the latter example with email marketing, you can use a tool like Wiza.
It leverages LinkedIn data to enhance the campaigns by extracting accurate information from LinkedIn profiles, enabling personalized and effective outreach to relevant prospects..
But whichever tactic you decide, promotional offers are a useful upsell tactic as they encourage customers to buy more from you.
For example, say your business provides shower and bath products. When a customer adds a bottle of shampoo to their basket, you could set a pop-up to ask if they’re interested in a promotional package deal including shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel.
However you decide to offer discounts and promotions, make sure you advertise them online and include them in your marketing campaigns to get the best results.
15. Create a sense of urgency
Urgency is a powerful motivator and, when done well, this classic tactic can be a successful driver of online sales.
You can create a sense of urgency by informing customers that an item is low in stock or that a particular sale or offer is coming to an end.
If a customer feels like they have a limited amount of time to make their desired purchase, it can be the final push that motivates them to complete the sale.
To get the best results out of this strategy, be sure to prominently advertise time-restricted promotions on your website homepage, social media accounts, and in your marketing emails.
In regards to low stock warnings, they should be clearly displayed on the relevant product pages and in any advertisements for those products.
Converting digital customers can be challenging for many businesses.
The steps detailed in this article provide a solid foundation to build upon in your efforts to increase online sales and optimize your ecommerce website.
But, if you want to get the most out of these strategies, you also need to invest in the right customer engagement technology.
And that’s where Talkative comes in.
Our platform was specifically designed to power superior customer service and personalized experiences at every digital touchpoint.
We provide a complete suite of engagement channels that’ll empower you to connect instantly, and effortlessly, with all your digital customers.
As a result, you and your customer-facing teams will be fully equipped to engage and convert more customers than ever before.
Want to learn more? Book a demo today and discover how you can supercharge online sales with Talkative.