Whether you are promoting affiliate links for products from your WordPress blog or selling mass amounts of physical goods from a Magento store, finding customers and keeping your sales numbers up is an important aspect to the success of your online business.
For many online retailers, finding your voice and bringing customers to your site is part of the challenge. Reducing the amount of casual browsers and increasing total actual sales once people do arrive at your site is another issue entirely.
How do you draw in more customers, and increase the percentage of orders from your site? In this article, we will take a look at five tips to help you increase sales on your online store.
Are you easy to find? If you sell toothbrush holders, and someone searched Google for "toothbrush holders," would they have a good chance of discovering you?
There is a lot of attention paid to a term called SEO (search engine optimization) which is a practice, or set of practices, that you can deploy on your site to improve how it appears to search engines. A good SEO strategy should result in your site becoming higher ranked in search results related to your business and its products.
There are a number of great extensions for WordPress and Joomla that promise to assist in making what you create more search engine friendly.
SEO by Yoast is a very popular solution utilized by thousands of WordPress sites to improve how posts appear to search engines.
MSemantic brings a similar functionality to Magento, allowing you to optimize your product page results on Google and Yahoo by creating snippets that are optimized for the search engine's user experience.
There are tons of extensions for Joomla, as well. One of the most popular and longest supported extensions being SH404SEF which gives you a lot of control over your SEO preferences.
You can also list your products in Google Shopping which makes them easier for Google to locate and bring up in relevant searches. If SEO-friendly site content is your way of telling Google who you are, then having your products listed on Google Shopping is another way of telling Google what you sell. It adds context to your relationship with Google, which can only be a good thing.
Cluttered websites don't sell. It is very easy to get carried away with listing as many products as possible on a single page to the detriment of your sales.
A study conducted by Columbia University revealed that offering people too many choices results in a greater likelihood that they won't choose anything at all.
In this study, two tables of jams were set up. One table had six flavor options and the other had 24. While more people sampled from the table with a wider selection, only 3% of those individuals actually made a purchase. In the table with only six options, the sale rate was 30%.
Make it easy for your customer to follow what's going on. If you bombard them with add-ons and related offers, you might lose their interest or make their experience more difficult.
Think about your customer's experience as a story. The introduction to that story takes place on your home page, and each page they go through to find and purchase the product is a chapter of that story. The easier it is to follow the plot and keep up with the characters, the better you have told the story, and the more likely that person is to come back again.
Keep to a simple, flowing design and limit the number of items that appear on a single page.
Everything from the product's image and headline to its description plays into the decision making process for your customers.
If you lead with a bland image that doesn't put your product in a good light, a title that fails to explain what it does, and a description that makes it appear anything less than a must-have item, you will likely lose sales.
Don't be afraid to add the biggest selling point of the item to the title. If you are selling a mug that displays the constellations when a hot beverage is added, then this should be the big feature listed in the title.
Your product's description should state what it is, any important details like its weight and measurements, any features of note, and what using it can do to improve your life. If you are selling a bib that makes cleanup easy, make it clear how it will make feeding time less frustrating.
Does your online store have a newsletter? Does it have a voice on Twitter? Facebook? Do you share beautiful images of your products on Instagram that make people want to rush to their computers and buy them?
Casual customers that find you by way of Google or Amazon are great, but long-term success comes with customer loyalty. This loyalty is hard to grab these days, but it's still possible through two-way communication and outreach on platforms that they use and spend time on.
If you make or sell products that appeal to new moms, you should have a presence on Pinterest. If you sell survival goods like storable foods or camping gear, your company should have a presence on related forums and in groups on Facebook about the topic.
You don't have to pitch your products with every interaction, either. Just build a rapport with your audience and establish yourself as a brand that not only cares about its customers, but has an active interest in providing value to the community.
BorrowLenses.com, a business that rents and sells photographic equipment, shares a lot more than its latest product offerings on Facebook. You can frequently find photos taken by its customers that inspire and bring conversation to its page.
This conversation leads to an active customer base, shares which expand reach, and ultimately a boost in sales.
How many pages do your customers have to go through to finalize their purchase? Do you have multiple confirmation pages? Is your cart integrated with your site, or does it send your customer to a third-party site to finish the transaction?
Every step in the checkout process is another chance for your customer to become confused and/or change their mind.
This is one of the primary reasons Amazon adopted its 1-Click checkout that enables you to find a product and buy it without having to go through the entire checkout process if you already have information on file.
PayPal offers a pro service that enables you to handle the entire transaction from your site, without having to send customers to PayPal to complete their payment.
Anything you can do to cut down on the hurdles between your customers and your products can result in a net win for your business.
There is no magic bullet to building a successful online business, but there are a few ways you can cut down on the obstacles that stand between you and your goals.
Please feel free to share your favorite tips and tricks in the comments area below.