A lot of sales and marketing experts claim to know the secret to increasing online retail sales. The truth is, there isn’t a single secret that will capture more online dollars. Every retailer is unique, and every customer base has its own preferences. Attempting to make exponential gains is a sure-fire way to come up short.
A more effective approach is to look at increasing online sales with a focused lens. What if, instead of shooting for large gains, the sales and marketing team focused their energy on something smaller? What would a single percentage point mean over the course of a year? For many retailers, that number could translate into six or even seven-figure gains.
How To Harness The Power of One Percent In Online Sales
By focusing on a single percentage point, the end goal suddenly becomes attainable. Small actions can lead to massive improvements in sales, and small gains are far more sustainable over time. Here are five ideas to help jump-start your online sales this year:
Offer Free Shipping
Offering free shipping works. Just ask Amazon and Zappos. If it will cost a customer $25 to have an item shipped, but they only need to add $10 to their shopping cart to hit a free shipping threshold, they will do it. If it doesn’t make sound financial sense to offer free shipping, there are alternatives. One effective alternative to free home shipping is ship-to-store. This option allows customers to order a product and pick up the item in the store the same day, without incurring shipping costs.
Make Personalized Recommendations
When retailers provide customers with recommendations, it strengthens trust, helps build relationships, and encourages additional purchases. Recommendations can come in two forms. Personalized recommendations are based upon past purchases and highlight products customers might like in the future. Product recommendations are shown on individual product pages, with headings like “Customers who bought this item also purchased these items.” Product recommendations can be simple, offering batteries to go with electronics or belts to go with pants, for example.
Keep Navigation Simple
Customer attention spans are waning—they want instant gratification. If they can’t find products quickly, or if they must click through a never-ending series of screens to get to the checkout page, they will give up and go elsewhere. Retail websites must load quickly, they must be easy to navigate, and the design should be crisp, clean, and well branded.
Mobile purchases are on the rise, with no signs of slowing down. In late 2014, Shopify reported that mobile accounted for more than 50 percent of all e-commerce traffic and significantly impacted online sales. In order to capture this growing segment, retailers must have a mobile-friendly website that gives customers an easy-to-consume platform with all of the capabilities of the standard site.
Offline feelings about a retailer can and do impact online sales. The way a retailer interacts with customers in-store, the communications it sends via email or direct mail, and the offers it provides can all determine whether a customer will make a purchase. Consistent messaging and a consistent customer experience will help strengthen loyalty, creating a positive uptick in sales.
It may seem counterintuitive to set a one percent goal, but just how much is one percent? Is it $100,000, $200,000? $750,000? Small gains can actually translate into serious increases in profits and revenue. This year, instead of setting lofty online sales goals, aim for a one-percent increase to discover just how powerful ‘one’ can be.