9 actionable tips for growing your e-commerce sales 10x

Whether you’re thinking of starting up a new online store or you’re fairly established as an e-commerce business, one major hurdle you face is increasing your business reach. You have to keep thinking up innovative ways to get more sales for your business in a highly competitive market. Unless you’re an exclusive brand, you most likely have a lot of competition out there.

How can you ensure that your e-commerce store continually remains in your audience eyes? How do you acquire newer customers while retaining the ones you currently have?

Find below 9 actionable tips to help you grow your e-commerce sales and get the best ROI for your business.

  1. Streamline your customer’s options
  2. Increase the search stress for a highly discounted product or service
  3. Use the magic power of the number 9
  4. Optimise your checkout process
  5. Provide a secure shopping platform.
  6. Create the fear of missing out (FOMO)
  7. Start a content marketing campaign.
  8. Automate your SMS marketing campaigns
  9. Promote your e-commerce site via paid and organic optimisation

Actionable tips to help you grow your e-commerce business

Streamline your customer’s options

While offering up several opportunities to your customers may seem like the best way to get them to choose at least one option, this tactic may prove counterproductive.

When customers are left with an overwhelming number of decisions to take, they would more often than not choose the least tasking decision. This could mean not buying any product in a lot of cases.

In her study on the process of choosing, Psychologist Shenna Iyengar highlights why having fewer options are usually better than more. She conducted a simple experiment and found out that customers who were offered various brands of a particular product were more likely to sample all and less likely to decide on purchasing one.

The conversion to customers for those offered fewer options was 30% as compared to those who had more opportunities to pick from; a mere 3%.

The moral of the story: to get your customers to buy a product, give them fewer choices to choose from.

Promote your e-commerce site via paid promotions and organic search optimisation

Just like any other business platform, you need to advertise your e-commerce site to create awareness about your brand and what makes your business unique. You should also do this whenever you have new products or special offers.

If you’re running an e-commerce store, Facebook page and Instagram offers you the best platforms to showcase your products. Pinterest is another underutilised platform that you can use to draw attention to your brands.

You can find more tips for advertising your online business in this article on online advertising. A more sustainable way to promote your brand online is to optimise your e-commerce store for organic rankings on search engine result pages.

You can do this by targeting longtailed niche queries that customers type in when looking for your services. For instance, if your store deals with baby wear; you can target keywords like baby clothes online in Nigeria, cheap baby wears online, shop baby clothes online, etc. Optimising your website content for these search queries would help your business show up on the first page for such queries.

Shop con Pk picture
A good example is one of my clients’ business( shown in the screenshot above), an e-commerce store in Pakistan. He currently ranks among the top three for mini fan stores in Pakistan, and his website has been on the first page for more than a few months now.
Apart from optimising for user search queries, you need to start a content marketing campaign, on a scale that suits your budget, to sell more value to your subscribed customers.
Content marketing

Harness the magic power of the number 9:

Have you ever wondered why so many products displayed in big online e-commerce stores are never rounded up to the nearest whole number? You see a lot of 1.99, 2: 95, 99 prices and you may wonder – what’s the difference between 99 and 100.

A study done by MIT shows that price-sensitive customers most times do not make rational decisions when it comes to making a purchase. A mere one cent or one Naira difference could make a massive difference to the perceived cost of your product.

By reducing your prices by that negligible fraction, you can increase your e-commerce sales by 24 %. This study also showed that the number 9 in particular, has a magical effect of pulling in customers.

In the study, several customers were offered three price ranges for the same product, with the middle pricing ending in 9and surprisingly they all went with the price that had a 9 in them, even though this was not the cheapest alternative!

Lesson learned: if you want to improve sales for your e-commerce products, include the magic number 9 in your pricing. This only works, though, when you’re introducing a new product and hardly ever works for existing products.

Power of the number 9

Optimise your check out process

  • One way to do this is to offer your customers more options to pay for your services. Rather than sticking to credit or debit cards alone, try to integrate other payment options. You should include payment options like PayPal, stripe, Google pay, WePay etc.
  • Most e-commerce hosting sites like Magento and Shopify allow you to integrate up to 100 payment plans on your e-commerce site. 5% of users have been known to abandon their shopping carts because their credit cards were declined. While this may seem like a small number of your market potential, if you’re just starting up an e-commerce store, 5% of the customers you currently do not have is a significant number to lose. Try to integrate more than one payment option on your site to reduce the risk of abandoned carts.
  • Provide a seamless checkout experience: Make your navigation easy for your users by creating a simple check out process from your shopping point to the final waypoint. Only ask for necessary information for the transaction. Requesting your users to fill in a long form detailing so many specifics may not be the best way to make a sale.
  • In a study done on several consumers to find out why they abandoned their shopping carts, 27% of the respondents said that the checkout process was either too long or too complicated. 61% said they didn’t want to create an account. What this means is that as much as 60% of customers may not buy from your e-commerce store because the checkout process is not consumer friendly.
  • Declutter your e-commerce site. Make your store user-friendly and easy on the eyes. You don’t have to place all the items you have on display on one page. You could create multiple display pages and provide a navigation bar that allows your users to move from one display interface to the next.
  • Ensure a smooth navigation process on your e-commerce site by Creating category pages. This allow your users to browse stock based on different available categories.
  • Optimise your sites mobile speed.This is important because a lot of customers shop on their mobile devices. A few seconds delay in site loading may cause them to move on to the next shopping platform.

An excellent example of a robust and well-optimised check out platform is the SME market hub checkout platform. Apart from offering various payment options, this platform also provides several options for checking out. This includes the opportunity to check out as a guest, i.e. no registration required.

Some market hub checkout point

Offer your customers a secure shopping platform.

Merely encrypting your website with an SSL certificate increases the credibility and trustworthiness of your store. Display your trust signals thought-out the checkout process. Show your secure payment platform badge, secure SSL encryption. This tells your customers that any information they provide you( their names, addresses and phone numbers) are safe and secure.

Create the fear of missing out ( FOMO)

The fear of missing out is what spurs us into taking action when we see that there are limited amounts of a particular product or service we want. Nobody wants to be left out, and this is also true for shoppers on your e-commerce platforms. There are several ways you can leverage FOMO to drive more sales on your e-commerce websites.

  • Create artificial scarcity. You can tweak your display counter to show a limited availability of that product even if you have zillions of it still in stock( after all, all’s fair in love, war and e-commerce selling!). Display this limited number of products when a customer clicks on that particular item. When a customer sees that a specific product is running out, they are more likely to make a purchase there and then.
  • Display the number of a particular product you have sold recently to show customers that others are buying. The fear of missing out on something other people are getting could spur some of your customers into taking action.
  • Display a countdown timer on a discounted product. Amazon is very good at doing this and Jumia also inculcates this practice on their e-commerce website. Once customer see that the discount is only available for a limited period it would gear them into placing an order. They could even end up buying more of the product than they planned to initially.
  • Show customers people that have just ordered a particular product from you. This real-time purchase displays can help your customer gain confidence to buy that same product.
Cyber Monday sales

Automate your SMS marketing campaign

You can send useful information, deals, price discount offers and even curated news via mail or text messages to your customers. Text messaging is a great way to post valuable content to both potential customers and established customers on e-commerce sites; almost as good as sending emails. There are a lot of things you can do with an automated SMS process.

  • Follow up on abandoned shopping carts with integration tool like the one SMS bump offers. This tool provides an easy way to send automated shopping cart abandonment messages.
  • Send special offers and price discounts to subscribed customers.
  • Notify your subscribers on new arrivals.
  • Send holiday messages too, a great way to cement your bond with your existing customers. A more innovative approach to building a stable connection with your customers would be to send them customised messages on their special days; birthdays, wedding anniversaries. To do that you’ll need these dates, and you can customise your sign up form to include these options. Make sure you let them know why you want those details. You can label this as an optional form field they can choose to ignore if they wish.

Start a targeted content marketing campaign

Providing more value for your services may require that you go beyond simple text messaging. You could start by creating a newsletter to provide valuable and relevant information to your business subscribers.

If you sell baby products, your information could be regular tips that pertain to baby care. If you sell fashion products, I’m sure your subscribers would be interested in information that could improve their fashion savviness. This will help cement your relationship with your existing customers and strengthen their loyalty to your brand.

The articles depot team can help you plan and execute your content marketing strategies on a simple platform. Our content strategy platform provides you with the right outline for your content marketing activities.

Promote your content

Increase the search stress on highly discounted products

Now I know this last part sounds counterintuitive to what you’re trying to achieve, which is creating a better user experience that will lead to more sales. But a recent study ( I’m talking as recent as March this year), proves that increasing the search stress reasonably on moderate to heavily discounted products could increase your sales for that product. This sales technique could even improve sales for your store as a whole.

What do I mean by a reasonable level of search friction? While increasing search stress, you have to be careful to do it in such a way that you don’t send customers running off your site, which means there has to be a great incentive to make your customer, ( especially your price sensitive customers ) want to continue to search for the product.

In this study on search friction, the researchers from Havard did a preliminary test to explore the best methods for increasing search friction that would have the least negative effect on user experience.

They explored different ways to increase search friction. Removing a direct link to the discounted product, increasing the number of pages a user would have to browse, removing any visual price indicators on the discounted products.

They postulated that under certain conditions, increasing the search stress on the highly discounted product would yield more sales for an online store. The terms being:

  • Price sensitive customers would have to browse through several undiscounted products before finally getting to the discounted product they initially set out to buy. Doing so would expose them potentially to other products they probably had no prior intention of buying, but which they could also find useful and include in their shopping cart as well.
  • Price-insensitive customers would not bother searching intensively for the discounted products and would probably remove the search friction by choosing from the undiscounted product section.
  • Price sensitive customers would continue to search for the discounted product until they can locate it.

The results?

The customers were randomly assigned to a treatment group ( those who experienced the search friction), and a control group and the sales results from both groups were assessed.

At the end of the research, they found that the number of discounted items purchased in the treatment group was less than in the control group, while the total number of items purchased overall was significantly higher in the treatment group( the group exposed to search friction). You can download the full details on this study here

What does this mean for growing your e-commerce business? If you have a highly discounted product, you could leverage this product to improve your sales overall and even deals on non- discounted brands by moderately increasing the search stress for that discounted product.

A fourth condition that would possibly make this work in a price sensitive environment would be that on locating the highly discounted products, the price sensitive customer would most likely buy more than they set out to buy initially. This is probably, so they don’t have to go through the process again anytime soon.

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