The shift from brick-and-mortar retail to online commerce – known as e-commerce, is a worldwide sea change that few industries have experienced in such a significant way (newspapers, we hear you).
Though some retailers and their customers may lament this shift, the reality is that it’s here to stay. With that in mind, optimizing your website for driving e-commerce sales has never been more important than it is today.
In this article, I’ll go over __ optimizations you can make that can help drive traffic to your site and increase your online sales numbers.
1. Advertise Where Your Audience is Spending Time Online
I know, I know – this is obvious. Or is it?
Many online retailers believe that simply throwing money at any and every ad platform is enough to generate a positive ROI. That might be true, but you’ll probably be overspending on marketing and underdelivering on results.
Determine which platforms your target demographic prefers, and focus your attention in those areas.
2. Compile An Email List, then Put it Into Action
As much utility as social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have when it comes to moving product, good ol’ fashioned email is still a major key to success.
With a sizeable email list in hand, not only can you utilize email marketing campaigns, but you can also use the list to build audiences on Facebook’s ad network, which includes Instagram. The platform’s option to create ‘Lookalike’ audiences, which finds users with similar online profiles to your exisitng customers, is one of the most important tools in your e-commerce marketing belt.
Finally, an email list allows you to stay top-of-mind with the people who could become loyal customers for years. Rule number one of digital marketing is to never let good data go to waste – when it comes to “good data,” in email list is hard to beat.
3. Streamline Your Checkout Process
Here’s your fact of the day: approximately $4 trillion (yes, with a ‘t’) worth of merchandise will be abandoned after being added to an online cart this year.
Of course, there are reasons besides just a difficult checkout process that contribute to that massive number, but the point remains the same – reducing friction during the final steps of the purchase process is hugely beneficial. But how exactly do you do grease the wheels, so to speak?
Go through the process yourself and see if there are any steps that are unnecessary and could be eliminated. The fewer clicks it takes to get from cart to purchase, the better. Removing one tiny step might not seem all that significant, but if your checkout process is five steps, you’ve essentially reduced friction by 20%.
Let’s be honest, a great deal of e-commerce can be categorized as an impulse-buy. If you’re able to simplify the process between “ooh I like that” and “Thank you for your purchase,” you’ll be rewarded in the long run.
4. Invest In Your Imagery
You’ve only got a few seconds to capture someone’s attention before they scroll right on by. The best way to accomplish this feat is by using the absolute best visual imagery possible.
Simply put, you can do everything in your power to get your product in front of the right audience, but you still need to generate interest once they’ve seen what you have to offer. Although it can be a bit pricey (especially for newer companies who have expenses everywhere), investing in professional product photography is worth it.
As they say, we’re visual creatures. The best way to get someone to stop scrolling is by showing them a beautiful image that can’t help but capture their attention. Unless you have a background in photography, it pays to go with the pros.
5. Everyone Loves Free
Let me start with a quick story that illustrates the power of “free.” Each year (except 2020…of course), Chick-Fil-A has a day where they offer a free chicken sandwich to anyone dressed up as a cow. Without fail, tens of thousands (if not more) customers show up and wait in an hour-long line to receive their sandwich – which would normally cost about $4 – free of charge.
The point is that the word “free” has a seemingly-mystical power over consumers. It doesn’t matter if it’s inconvenient or unnecessary, if it’s free, people will do whatever it takes (including dressing up like a cow and standing in line for an hour) to get it.
Obviously, nobody is suggesting you should be handing your products away, but if you can sneak in a “free” item along with a purchase, you’ll make the customer feel as if they’re getting a good deal. This positive impression of your brand could lead to future sales down the road and encourages word-of-mouth advertising which is worth its weight in gold.
6. A.B.T. (Always Be Testing)
The beauty of digital marketing and e-commerce platforms is that you can change things quickly and efficiently. That means if something isn’t working, there’s no excuse for not making the necessary adjustments and optimizations.
One way to ensure that you’re giving your strategy the best chance to be successful? Test it out!
Facebook, for example, offers a simple split-test (or A/B test) feature that allows you to compare your ad’s performance among the same audience across Facebook and Instagram’s platforms. Sometimes there won’t be a winner between the two ads you’re testing, but other times the results are clear and the audience’s feedback should be taken to heart.
The bottom line is that if you aren’t constantly making optimizations based on customer behavior, you’re missing out on potential sales. Testing out different ad creative or different ad strategies altogether is a great way to make sure you’re constantly looking for what works.
With e-commerce becoming the rule instead of the exception when it comes to retail, space has become more competitive than ever. The good news? Just about everyone has a path to success, it just needs to be identified.
If your business needs assistance in optimizing your website or digital strategy to increase sales, get in touch today.