17 Feb 2022

Increasing Online Sales

Increasing Online Sales

5 top tips to clinch more online retail sales

With online retail sales up by 37.2% in 2020, the pandemic has set new records across the board. The challenge for retailers now is to maintain this momentum. By comparison, figures fell by 4.9% in 2021 – likely because of lockdowns ending.

Now that retailers have invested so much in the ‘hybrid’ shopping experience, they need to see a return on investment. Both UK market data and insights from Amy Hobson offer online retailers five top tips.

1. Create an omnichannel experience

Speaking at Autumn Fair 2021, digital marketing strategist Amy Hobson discussed the benefits of an omni-channel or cross-channel experience. “The first step in the Google model is awareness. People are likely to go to your social media profiles first because they think they will be more up-to-date. Likewise, a newsletter can keep them informed. Use both to push users to your website.”

2. Experiment with new tools

Going omni-channel is good, but it’s better to focus on those you can do well. If you have room to experiment, you could also set the trend. Livestream shopping, for example, has taken off in China – wherein shoppers buy ‘live’ while interacting through chat on a feed. Tools such as Amazon Live or Bambuser are early adopters over in the West. Live streaming shopping can also leverage influencer marketing to encourage more sales.

3. Embrace newsjacking

Another one for the ‘awareness’ phase, newsjacking has proven instrumental in driving sales. While viral campaigns may be short-term, they can help to bring up averages and boost sales during quieter seasonal periods.

Naturally, the newsjacking needs to tie in with your product. One notable example of this is the media frenzy around the sale of Vans shoes. After the sneakers were spotted in the enduringly popular Netflix series, Squid Game, sales shot up by 7,800%.

It may even influence product design. The latter has seen more manufacturers producing Squid Game themed Halloween costumes, while a Queen’s Gambit board game is now available for sale – chess, anyone?

4. Banish the abandoned cart

Abandoned carts are the bane of online retailers. While some may try abandoned cart emails, prevention is better than the cure. According to CRO experts Optimizely, the top reasons for abandoned shopping baskets are:

  • Hidden fees (such as high shipping costs)
  • Complex checkout flows
  • Lack of trust
  • Technical problems
  • Lack of payment options.

Some of these can be remedied more easily than others, so be transparent. Show your customers what payment options you accept in the footer of every page. Have clear signposts to delivery fees so they know what to expect. If it’s a technical issue, heatmap software can identify where users are dropping off. And perhaps the simplest fix is to get an SSL certificate – showing your users they are browsing securely.

5. Make your website easy to use

Perhaps the most overlooked conversion rate tip is the most obvious. Amy Hobson tells us that, in an online shopping experiment, 40% of users did not spend their allocated budgets because they couldn’t find what they needed.

She suggests tools such as product finders. For example, a garden centre retailer may use a ‘plant finder’ tool to identify a plant based on its attributes.

Today’s buyers have short attention spans, so you should always adhere to the ‘don’t make me think’ principle. Keep it brief, fix technical issues and be honest with your customers. These will complement your awareness efforts and drive those online sales.

See Amy Hobson’s e-commerce talks on the Autumn Fair recap channel here.

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