What do you do if sales for your online store are slow or worse still non-existent? Is your store suffering from a real lack of repeat business? Do you find that many customers are simply visiting and then leaving - never to return? You can’t understand it, you have a great site, offer fabulous products and display excellent descriptions for your products – so what’s wrong? Don’t worry it’s nothing you can’t put right.
So how can you make efficient use of what you know about your customers and what they are doing online? You need to understand what your customer wants and make sure he gets it. Very often it’s simply not enough to make your store attractive and easy-to-use. As well as having an engaging storefront, there are other aspects to consider, that have nothing to do with the products or your website. Here are some tips that should help you improve your sales.
Offer a range of products at different prices
Be aware that each and every customer who visits your on-line store will have different requirements and different objectives, therefore it is worth offering both high-end products and low-end products to cater for a wide range of customers. While probably the majority of your sales will be at the low end, the highest margin items will also be your higher priced items. So it is possible to make 80% of your profit from 20% of your products – which is a very old and very sound rule of business.
It sometimes helps to play subtle mind games with pricing to encourage customers to purchase more expensive items from your store. For example if you were to price a more costly item, say a leather wallet, similarly with the rest of the items in the same category, the wallet would simply not stand out. However, if you were to price the rest of the items extremely high and place them next to the wallet - which was shown as a lot cheaper, the wallet would be perceived as an absolute bargain.
Have plenty of cheap products to draw buyers in
Although you will make very low profit margins on these products and you’ll always encounter customers who will buy your cheap sale item and leave, at the same time you’ll also find that most people will buy some additional items along the way. The aim is to entice customers into your store with a few ridiculously cheap products and then convince them to spend the extra money that they saved on something else in your store. This tactic seems to work most of the time.
Give away discount coupons
Give away discount coupons that are only active for a couple of weeks into the future, this will encourage customers to return to your store by a set time to buy additional goods. By setting the discount to a date in the future you automatically gain time to plan out your pricing strategies for your future sales.
Cross sell your products
You will find that most of your customers who visit your store will not take the time to browse your entire product range; but you can “browse” the store for them. Display related items alongside the ones that they are already purchasing, in other words display items that match or items that other customers in the past have purchased with a particular product. You can entice your customers to spend even more money by offering special discounts if certain items are purchased together.
Offer your customers free shipping when they spend a certain amount
If you offer your customers free shipping, at a certain level of spending, they will be encouraged to buy more than they were planning to buy. This is especially popular when they are purchasing heavier or awkward goods, where the shipping costs can be quite high. Aim to set this free shipping threshold at a price that is just above some multiple of the average price for your items. For example, if most of your items cost £10, set the free shipping threshold at £100, very often the customer will then raise the bar and add one more item to their shopping basket to save money on the shipping.
Have a proper returns policy
By adding a genuine returns policy you will make customers feel safe and more inclined to buy. They feel that you are taking all the risks – not them. OK, so some people will try it on, use stuff and then send it back. This is where you need to write your terms and conditions with great care and obviously if you are selling downloadable software etc. a returns policy is out of the question. On the whole though most people can’t be bothered to return goods they bought and found unsuitable, it’s just too much trouble - especially for low-priced items; but they still like to know they can if they want to.
Search bars are important
Customers do actually use the search bars on websites to find what they are looking for so put one on your site and MAKE SURE it works properly. There is nothing worse than a search that should have returned relevant products but doesn’t; incidentally this is a great way to lose potential customers!
Add a pull-in item facility
With this concept customers will be drawn in by one item and then you can cross sell them additional items on their way to checkout. This tactic seems to work because the customers feel as though they can buy more because often they are getting such a good deal on something else.
Remember it’s all in the mind
The best strategy to employ with every customer is to make them feel as if they got a great deal from your site. Bear in mind that nearly every visitor will give your site only a split second glance before clicking off and going somewhere else; this is exactly what you need to discourage. Therefore provide helpful information to your visitors so that you appear knowledgeable and trustworthy and promote customer participation with surveys and online polls.
Always provide a contact form on your site in case customers want to get in touch with you, but do make sure to respond to inquiries in a polite and timely manner. Put important information at the top of your site; you will quickly lose a visitor's attention if they have to take the time to scroll down to see what your site is about. Remember you have only seconds to make a good impression!
Analyze what works best for you and then apply it. The key to making your business hum is to experiment all the time, while working within a time and energy frame you can cope with on a day-to-day basis. Not every sales strategy will work for you and it may require a fair amount of trial and error before you get things right, but NEVER give up and say that you have failed. Every online store gets there in the end but sometimes it can take a bit longer than expected, so just keep trying!
This article was written by Web Copy Expert