7 Strategies to Help Grow Your E-Commerce SalesMarch 2012 By the Retail Online Integration Staff
It’s no secret that consumers’ shopping behaviors are changing. A reliance on shopping in brick-and-mortar stores has given way to a cross-channel approach, with consumers increasingly turning to e-commerce sites to ultimately make purchases. Consider the following research from comScore: E-commerce sales in 2011 reached a record high of $161.5 billion, a 13 percent increase from 2010. The fourth quarter of 2011 alone generated $49.7 billion in online sales, compared to $43.4 billion in the same quarter in the previous year.
Armed with the knowledge that consumers are more comfortable and willing to make purchases online than ever before, retailers must take the next step and take advantage of this trend. Here are seven tips to help you get on the right track:
1. Keep customers on the hook. Consumers have gotten familiar with the retail game and will use their skills to get the lowest price possible. Make sure consumers who have searched and browsed your site keep you top of mind by using site or search retargeting. If they’ve abandoned a shopping cart on your website, there’s probably a good reason why. An email program with a customized promotion can help get them back.
2. Add interactive videos to your website. Giving consumers the ability to buy a product, shop related products, read ratings and reviews, and click on interactive links and hotspots all within a video player creates an interactive shopping experience that will increase conversions.
3. Give your customers deferred delivery choices. Consider adding deferred residential ground shipping alternatives to your website — UPS SurePost, FedEx SmartPost, Newgistics and EquaShip. These delivery methods may add days in transit, but at significantly lower pricing than FedEx and UPS air and ground services. While the goods being purchased often dictate the shipping method, when presented with a choice, many online shoppers choose the low cost or free delivery option, even if it means a longer wait.
4. Prioritize buttons on landing pages. Ideally you should have a single, clear call-to-action button on your page. If you have secondary buttons, change their color or size to something visually less interesting by making them smaller and duller. If you have two side-by-side buttons, remember that the one on the right is considered the default one (i.e., the one most likely to be clicked on). You may also consider demoting some of your secondary buttons to text links.
5. Redesign your navigation around low click counts. Site redesign projects should target the number of clicks it takes for a visitor to complete a transaction. High click counts create unnecessary obstacles that discourage consumers and, in some cases, discourage mobile channel conversions. As a rule of thumb, an exceptional customer experience means that users have the ability to convert in four clicks or less.
6. Increase your site speed. If it takes more than two seconds for your site to load, the bounce rate will increase. The majority of consumers won’t wait more than six seconds for a landing page to load. They don’t care why a website is slow, even during high-traffic times such as the holidays. Regardless of the day or time of year, websites need to load quickly; research shows slow websites lose money. Amazon reported that a 100 millisecond delay in page load time resulted in a 1 percent loss in revenue. Conversely, online retailers that increase their site speed see a considerable uptick in their conversion rates and revenues. For example, when shopping comparison site Shopzilla reduced its load time from seven seconds to two seconds, its conversion rate increased between 7 percent to 12 percent.
7. Sell your products on Amazon. There’s no real downside to selling your products on Amazon. The additional shelf space and brand recognition offers a great avenue for growth — not to mention sales profits. With proper management of an account, retailers can quickly grow within the Amazon community, building a strong portfolio and earning some coveted “Buy Boxes.”