3 Unconventional Ways to Boost E-Commerce Traffic & Sales
Online marketing is a complex and ever-changing world. As new media platforms emerge and technology advances, people interact with the web in new and diverse ways.
And while this can make it a challenge to run an online e-commerce business, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
There are many ways to improve upon your strategies to bring more exposure and, more importantly, more conversions, for your brand. Check out these three strategies that are sure to boost e-commerce traffic and sales.
1. Take Advantage of Instagram
Social media is obviously an important component of online marketing today. However, many e-commerce marketing campaigns fail to take full advantage of the power of social platforms like Instagram.
With 100 million active users posting 40 million photos each day, that’s a lot of potential exposure for your brand. The key is to figure out exactly how to harness that power.
One great strategy is to launch a marketing campaign via Instagram. This means developing a theme and spreading the word to your fan base.
Create a Theme
Your specific theme will direct the focus of the campaign and help fans get on board.
Be sure to create a theme that is broad enough for a wide audience, without excluding anyone, but narrow enough to avoid an onslaught of non-cohesive photographs.
Once you have a theme, you can begin aggregating user-generated content and then use those photos to build your brand and market your products.
For example, if you run an e-commerce clothing website, you could run a campaign for favorite fall fashion moments, with a prize for winners (e.g. $100 gift card, shopping spree, etc.).
Then users could post their best fall fashion pictures, giving you free product promotion.
Link to Products
The key is to then make the next step—purchasing—easy for viewers.
Go through the collection of photos and identify your products, linking back to the specific product pages on your website. This way, when consumers are shuffling through photos and see an item they like, they don’t have to spend time searching through the website and product archives to find the item.
Instead, they can quickly click a button next to the photo that takes them to the product information page and gets them started on the checkout process.
There are multiple ways you can use Instagram (and other social media platforms) to promote your products and generate conversions. Study the tools and be creative. You don’t want to miss out on this great potential.
2. Simplify the Checkout Process
You’ve heard it a million times: Keep it simple. Why, then, do so many businesses make it difficult to buy from them?
With a cart abandonment rate hovering around 60 percent, it is worth your time to consider why people are dropping their purchases at checkout.
People appreciate simplicity and ease when conducting transactions online (and off). Ironically, few businesses put much thought into how easy (or difficult) it is to navigate their checkout process.
So believe it or not, the tips I’m going to share here, while obvious, are also a bit unconventional. Here are three important ways to simplify your checkout process and focus on usability and quality consumer experience:
Ask Customer to Create an Account after Checkout
Many businesses don’t realize that asking customers to register accounts can actually increase cart abandonment. Most people resent having to create another account online: It is one more username and one more password to keep track of and many perceive that an account will sign them up for spammy emails and newsletters.
According to study findings by Smashing Magazine, every study participant showed frustration when asked to register an account during checkout and 30 percent of them gave up and abandoned their cart altogether.
Instead of asking or requiring customers to register an account with your site, include it as an option only after they have completed the purchase and checkout process.
That way, they can opt in for an account, if they desire, without feeling pressured or hindered throughout the actual checkout.
Simply fill out the account registration fields with information from their checkout (including their email as the automatic username) and ask for a password. The process becomes less complicated and cumbersome, and you won’t badger them for “extra” information throughout their purchase.
Provide a Wider Variety of Payment Options
You don’t want to lose customers because you didn’t provide a payment option they preferred.
As much as possible, include a variety of payment options for your consumers. This will make the checkout process easier and help you avoid deterring or alienating customers who prefer to pay through PayPal or via online check.
Reduce the Steps to Checkout
Studies show that a lengthy checkout process can increase cart abandonment and decrease your conversion rates. The simpler and easier the process, the more likely your customers will be to complete the purchase.
Though you may need to include multiple options for your consumers during checkout, a great way to reduce your chances or driving away business is to provide two checkout options: a regular checkout process (with multiple steps) and an “express checkout” choice.
The express checkout will allow customers to quickly view the items in their cart and move forward in just a few steps to complete the purchase.
For those who don’t mind a few extra steps (with options for registration and other deals), they can opt for the longer checkout process. This way, you won’t lose as many conversions and can still offer extra options and services to those who are interested.
3. Ask for Customer Reviews
There are few things more valuable to your brand than positive customer reviews.
Moreover, that same percentage of people will also share those reviews with friends and colleagues, making the impact exponential.
In light of these staggering statistics, it makes sense for your e-commerce site to include reviews and positive testimonials.
People are generally distrusting of advertisements and salespeople. But by including testimonials on your homepage, and customer recommendations below specific products, you will automatically generate greater trust and confidence in consumers for your brand.
Unfortunately, not all reviews you receive will be positive, or even real. Many sites and companies, even marketing and SEO companies like Boostability, suffer from fake reviews and customer complaints.
While there is little you can do to combat fake reviews, you can focus on providing higher quality customer service, improving your customers’ user experiences, and correcting past mistakes.
As you do so, you will generate more positive feedback and your customer trust and loyalty will increase.
These are just a few things you can do to improve your site’s stats and conversion rates.
The key to e-commerce success is to continually stay updated on new technology, current trends, and potential avenues for profit. The better you understand your customer and the platforms you are using, the better able you will be to cater to their needs and find success in your business.
What would you add? Share your ideas below.
About the Author
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. He is also an avid business writer for Boostability who enjoys sharing his online marketing experience and expertise.