WHY READ THIS BLOG POST?
In this post, I’m going to share with you 40 tasty ecommerce sales strategies to help you to capture more sales without spending a penny. OK, maybe a small ‘white lie’. There are a couple of ideas at the end where you may need to invest a few dollars for software but the rest are 100% FREE and fully actionable (so there are no excuses).
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Vinent Van Gogh, Artist
There are plenty of smart ways to convert more sales
I’ve lost count of the number of times that I hear people say they are at a lost for sales ideas.
I get it. You’ve had a long week, sales are down and, like a tired, wobbly-legged marathon runner, you’ve hit a proverbial brick wall. You’re knackered and frustrated.
Other excuses I hear people saying is that they have no money to invest in Facebook ads or Google PPC.
Well, fear not my pedigree chums! I have 40 awesome ecommerce sales strategies lined up that will inject a bit of life back into your online store and get more people buying. There are loads of quick wins and each one can be implemented fair quickly. And, you don’t need to spend any cash to do it (well, maybe a few dollars on software for a couple of them).
Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Just take your time and work on these one-by-one and you will see things start to happen. In the ecommerce world, it’s the small tweaks and additions you make that will all add up to make an almighty difference.
So let’s stop the dilly-dallying around and crack on with the meaty stuff.
1. Market your products to your customer’s pain points
A basic one that many online stores miss. You will sell more products if you focus on what keeps your customers up all night. Every customer has a pain that you can remove. You just need to find it and take it away with your product or server. Do that and they will love you for a long time.
2. Make sure your site works on each platform
Do me a favour. Check that your bloody site works! Surprisingly, very few store owners check their site regularly to ensure it works on Mobile, Desktop & Tablet and different web browsers for each. Ask 10 friends to test a complete purchase on their devices to iron out any bugs.
Technology changes so don’t ever assume it will work forever just because it did last month. Gremlins play havoc when we’re not looking. Browser Stack and Cross Browser Testing are two great tools for this. They both have a free trial too.
3. Offer Free Shipping over your AOV
The objective of free shipping should not just be to convert orders but to drive your Average Order Value upwards. If your average order value is £50 then you should set your free shipping at £70 to encourage people to spend more. Use it wisely not out of desperation just to get a sale.
4. Be Creative With Discount Codes
Discount codes should be used strategically. Yes, they help to convert sales but don’t allow too many codes in circulation and always place an end date on them to prevent abuse.
Whilst they are great for converting new customers, they also work to re-activate lapsed ones (the ones that have gone AWOL). Those people have bought from you in the past so they know you and probably just need a bit of love to come back on board.
5. Add Product Explainer Videos To Your Products
Regardless of the product you sell, an explainer video is a great tool to engage a visitor and then sell the benefits of the product. Nothing engages better than a video and it doesn’t need to be a CGI-filled Michael Bay blockbuster either.
If you can’t get your product into the hands of your customer then a video is the next best thing. Product reviews and tutorials boost sales conversion dramatically. If you’re not confident in doing it then ask a friend or a professional reviewer in return for free product.
Tip: Using your smartphone with Gorilla pod (or some books holding it in place will work fine.) For lighting, just shoot it with a window behind the camera for natural light.
6. Upgrade Customers With Up-sells
If a customer is viewing a lower priced product then why not try to upgrade them to the better model?
Featuring more expensive items on the product page will enable the customer to compare the two and they may choose the higher-priced one. If you don’t offer, you’ll never know if they were happy to splash more cash.
7. Add product offers to your ‘thank you’ page
When a customer completes an order they will always view the ‘thank you’ page to confirm their order has been received and to see their order number. With a 100% eyeball rate and their undivided attention, this is your opportunity to present your customers with another offer for a complimentary product.
Make sure the offer is not too good other they will contacting you to ask for a refund or exchange for the items they’ve just bought.
You can also use this page to ask for social shares and follows, website feedback and also just an opportunity to saying thank you, with a video. It’s a great opportunity, so use it.
8. Set up a Welcome Funnel for email sign-ups
When you collect email addresses you need to put them to work as soon as you can. A welcome funnel is a series of automated emails that introduce your ‘newbie’ to your brand, to your products and to you, the people behind the scenes. It should also contain a couple of sales emails to convert them once you’ve established the relationship.
Once set-up, it runs on autopilot and the sales will come in automatically too. This is the best strategy to grow an engaged audience instead of throwing everyone into a single list and spamming the crap out of them like most businesses do.
9. Set up a Lapse Customer Funnel
Another clever automation you can set up is a lapse customer funnel. This is a series of 2-3 emails that target customers who haven’t purchased in the last 6 months or more. Rather than lose these customers you will find you can reactivate quite a few with the right offer.
The funnel side of things will run on autopilot and kick in once somebody on your list reaches 6 months with no purchase mark. Think of these sales as bonuses. A worthwhile strategy for any ecommerce store.
10. Basket Abandonment Emails
Customers can leave your checkout pages for a number of reasons. Their phone rings, their baby cries or maybe the dinner is burning. These people were committed to buying so it’s vital you give them ‘a second bite of the cherry’.
Basket abandonment emails capture an email at some point through the customer journey and then sends them an email once they’ve left your site, asking them to complete their purchase.
You can use an incentive to help them complete the purchase but sometimes, you just need to
tell them, they have items waiting in their basket.
11. Add products and codes to your 404 pages
404 pages are the error pages you ecommerce platform spits out when a link is broken. Whilst these are errors, a 404 is the correct way to tell Google the page is no longer there.
Now, rather than showing a standard 404 error sign on the page, there’s no reason why you can’t use it to sell more products. To do this you can design your error pages to direct people to your bestsellers, to your mailing list or even to a discount code. Be creative and make it memorable! Hell, why not make it fun?
12. Exit Intent Pop-ups
Exit intent pop-ups target those people who are just about to leave your site with a last-minute offer. As their mouse moves to close the browser a small box appears to say ‘Hey, we’re sorry we didn’t have anything you wanted but maybe we can help further?’.
The pop-up can then offer a call-back or even a discount code to complete an order. There’s nothing wrong with being helpful and it could be a great opportunity to help them find something they struggled with.
13. Security Logos & SSL Padlock
Security is a BIG deal when shopping online. Your customers want to know their details are safe and secure. You should promote your security at every chance you get using the logos provided by your SSL provider as well as the good old padlock icon. Nothing promotes security better than a heavy-duty padlock!
14. Display your shipping fees on your product pages
You’d be surprised how many sales can be lost by not showing your shipping fees until the checkout. When stores do this it really pisses people off.
Your shipping charge should be clearly visible on your product page so your customer can clearly see it. Don’t make them add something to their basket to find out or have to go hunting around to find a delivery page. Make it clear so they have one less obstacle to the sale.
15. Display shipping timescales on product pages
Shipping timescales are as important as shipping charges. When a customer orders a product they want to know when they will receive it. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow but you need to make it clear.
Shipping timescales are important if they need their item for a particular day like a birthday. You also want to tell them if they need to place the order before a certain time and whether they will receive a tracking number. Place their mind at ease!
16. Display your Returns Policy on your product pages
A customer will be more confident in buying from you if they know they can return it if it’s not what they expected or there is a fault. If you openly promote your returns policy then you will convert more orders than if you hide it away.
A hidden return policy shouts ‘risk’ in the eyes of your customers. And, just because you show it, it doesn’t mean your returns rate will go through the roof.
17. Promote PayPal payments
If your online store accepts PayPal as a payment method then you want to scream it from the rooftops. Research by PayPal has shown that it can improve your conversion rate by up to 7%. That’s a big uplift.
There’s no doubting that people see PayPal as a safer way to pay. Plus, you’ve also got the added bonus that customers may use PayPal as their ‘rainy day fund’ from items they’ve sold on eBay (I know I do). Make it count.
18. Offer free returns
Free returns may sound a little bit scary but it doesn’t have to be. Just because you offer it, it doesn’t mean a customer will use it. If you are confident in your product and the information you provide on your website then free returns shouldn’t be a problem.
After all, a customer may return it to order another higher priced problem. It’s all part of the customer service jigsaw and it will help you to convert more orders.
19. Sell with benefits not features
A very common mistake when selling products is to sell the features and not the benefits. Features are irrelevant if the customer doesn’t understand what your product can do for them.
You should always lead with the benefits by focusing on how your product can remove your customer’s ‘pain points’. This will help you to convert more visitors into sales.
20. Utilise negative customer reviews on Amazon
Amazon reviews are a goldmine of intelligence, especially the negative reviews. The unhappy customers give you the exact reason why they don’t like a product which means you can use that ‘golden intelligence’ to tweak your own products to make them better. You can also use the information to highlight features you think addresses their pain points.
21. Offer an Extended Warranty
Extending a product’s warranty beyond the standard timescale is a sign of confidence. It signifies that your product is high-quality and that customers can sleep easy knowing they are able to return it, should a problem arise. In reality, very few customers bother claiming on a warranty, especially if the product is low value.
22. Offer FREE express delivery as standard
Amazon has made shoppers impatient. They want everything yesterday. Offering FREE Express Shipping is a sure-fire way to convert more sales because it’s an added bonus for the customer.
23. Increase spend using Cross-sells on product pages (a.k.a Customers also bought)
You know what it’s like when you get a new toy, you want the accessories to go with it. That’s where cross-sells come into play.
Most ecommerce platforms allow you to add cross-sells that will complement the product on that page. For example, if I was about to purchase a winter coat then I might like to see a pair of gloves, a scarf and a bag to complete the look. You could increase your basket values by 30%+.
24. Include cross-sells or add-ons in the basket
Once the customer hits your basket they are in ‘the buying mood’. This means you can present some extra add-ons to the product they are about to buy.
Try adding some low-cost items to complement the product they are about to purchase. It’s a bit like adding Haribo when queuing at the till – yes, we’ve all fallen for that one!
25. Excite with Exclusive Launches
Every customer loves to feel important. A good strategy to reward your high spenders is to add them to a VIP list where they will be notified when there is a forthcoming sale. VIPs spend more because they know a brand appreciates them.
26. Product Bundles (Better value for money)
Bundling products together is a good way to increase your overall basket value. If a customer can save money by buying extras to go with their main product then it’s likely they will take the bait.
Be creative and try to bundle products that work together. For example, if you are selling a phone, then why not include a case, screen protector, selfie stick, lens cleaner and upgraded earphones?
27. Offer A Freebie
Everyone loves a freebie which is why ‘buy x, get y’ offers work so well. This is a great strategy to grow the sales of your higher priced products, especially if the perceived value of the freebie is high.
A low-cost example could be to include a free fashion trends guide if you sell clothing, an expert manual if you sell cameras or a recipe book if you sell cooking equipment. It can be free to create but have a ton of value for your customer.
28. B-Grade products / Ex-Demo
If you have some products that have been returned without packaging or they are ex-demo then it’s unlikely you will be able to sell them and they’ll be clogging up your office space. That is, unless you sell them as b-grade.
There will always be the group of customers that don’t mind a product with a few marks and no packaging if they can save some money. Taking advantage of this means you can maximise all the old stock you have available which means there’s no wasted cash.
29. Add press logos to homepage and product pages
Press logos are impactful and a great form of social proof that gives greater kudos to your products. If you’ve appeared in the local or national press or have been reviewed by a blogger then use the logo to build your credibility. It works because it instills greater trust with your customers.
30. Personal Shopping Service
What do the high-end department stores do for important customers? They offer a personal shopper experience that helps them to pick, choose and select products that best suit their needs.
You could offer the same to ensure your customers get a better experience and it also helps to improve the relationship with them. Use your own expertise as a selling tool.
31. Launch a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs not only encourage people to return to buy more but they also make customers feel special. By adding extra bonuses to customers who purchase regularly you will find they become advocates and tell their friends and family too.!
There are various apps and plugins available which make launching a loyalty program a cinch. Sweet!
32. Gift Free Samples
If you sell products like curtains, carpets, blinds, wedding invitations or seeds then a good strategy might be to offer free samples. Once a customer has your product in their hands, they have removed risk in their mind, and they are more likely to convert into a full-priced customer.
When you have their details you can then nurture them for more revenue further down the line. Getting them warm is the hardest part. The rest is about building a relationship with them and offering them valuable content.
33. Service Up-sells
Most businesses totally forget about their customers once they have their money. It’s a typical short-sighted view. So why don’t you be different?
You could offer your customers post-purchase training and support to help them get the best from your products. A happy customer is a loyal one who will return. Show them you care and value their business.
34. Prize Draws
Monthly prize draws are a great way to grow your email database from the people that land on your site. Keep the prize relevant to your audience (not win an iPad) and nurture the leads through your funnel until they buy.
Take the time to build the relationship. Don’t hit them with offers right away. Give them something of value, like a free download, so they stay engaged. Do that and many will buy further down the line.
35. Cause Marketing
This strategy is the process of donating a percentage of your profits of a particular campaign to a good cause you believe in. This works best if the charity or organisation you are helping is something that your customers care about.
36. A/B Test Everything
There is no such thing as the perfect ecommerce store which is why you must continually test, tweak and improve. Try change you buy buttons, images and product copy to make your conversion rate better.
You can also test your email subject lines, content and graphics. Measure, tweak and test. There’s always room for improvement.
37. FOMO (Paid App)
‘Fear Of Missing Out’ is a concept where you use a countdown to persuade your customer to checkout with an offer before it ends. There are apps that offer this functionality which you can switch on during your quieter days (maybe Saturdays). Check out UseFOMO.
38. Add Independent Customer Reviews (Paid)
People often buy based on the feedback of others. Hey, Amazon’s business has been built on them. There are plenty of customer review apps you can use for your store. Some examples are Feefo, Trusted Reviews, Trust Pilot and Yotpo. Most offer a free trial.
39. Swag Bombs
Swag bombs are not as painful as they sound. This is an idea from Mark Ecko (founder of Ecko Unlimitecd clothing – you know, with the Rhino logo). The term SWAG Bomb is basically a cool name for ‘surprise & delight’ where you send your customers a small gift and handwritten note in the post, just to say thanks. You will be surprised at the impact such a small gesture can have on sales.
When was the last time a company cared about you and said thanks? Exactly. Do it.
40. Welcome them with a personal video
I recently came across a brilliant app called Bonjoro. The app links to your ecommerce store and notifies you when you get a new sign-up or sale so you can send them a quick, personalised welcome video. Just imagine how cool it would be if you bought something and the company owner thanked you personally?
Now that is serious customer care and would make your customers feel amazing. It a brilliant idea and one which will set you apart form every other company and also help to create customer loyalty. Check it out at Bonjoro.com
That’s a ton of ideas – so what are you waiting for?
You don’t have to implement those strategies all in one go. Pick out your top 5 and then work on them one-by-one. Most of them are very quick to get up and running.
I’ve used all of these in one form or another and every single one of them has moved the needle in terms of sales. Some may take some work to optimise in terms of the right copy but you’ll cover more bases than most of your competition. You will also find that your customers become more loyal and your sales grow day-by-day.