3 Unconventional Ways to Boost E-Commerce Traffic & Sales

by 9 11/28/2013

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.

Aggregate Content

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

screenshot of checkout form

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.

According to Nielsen, 70 percent of online consumers trust recommendations from unknown users; and Econsultancy found that 88 percent also consult reviews and ratings before making a purchase.

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.

screenshot of Amazon reviews
That’s obvious, right? So here’s the unconventional tip: Don’t simply wait for people to write a review. Ask for them.

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.

Your turn

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.

About 

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves blogging about his experiences and learning all about the online industry. He has written extensively about online marketing, ecommerce, and business.

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9 COMMENTS

James A

Hi Drew,

An interesting article and I agree with points 2 & 3. I think point 1 about Instagram is an interesting one because dependent on your target customers, harnessing the power of Instagram can be difficult but I do believe that social will play a major part of helping your increase sales. One useful elelment can be the social share being utilised upon completion of an order. In the right marketplace this can work really well.

The simplicity of the checkout process is critical but so is the loading speed of the pages. Having worked on a few checkout process updates this year one that we noticed was that if moving to a single page checkout design, whilst potentially very simple, clean and effective for the user to complete the transaction on, it can create loading speed issues which, in their own right, cause headaches.

The other element that I think can work really well is to target those that added to the basket and then left the site or clicked the payment button and experienced an issue (e.g. mobile devices or sites with redirects to payment partners). This way, you can target them as part of a cart abandonement/revenue recovery system. Such a system would be very useful for sites yesterday and today given the Natwest and RBS card transaction problems as you would be able to target customers that had experienced an issue.

December 3, 2013 Reply

Bharat Rawat

Nice article i am using all these features in my e commerce website. good job

December 8, 2013 Reply

Reshu

Nice read Drew! All of these points are extremely essential to boost ecommerce traffic and conversions. But “Take advantage of Instagram” is a great insight that you have shared. And, I wanted to ask if Pinterest too would be a good option for ecommerce sales as well?

Some other important points worth considering are:
1) Retarget visitors: Most of the people don’t buy anything in first time by retargeting them you increase the chances of conversion.
2) Encourage your existing customers to come back and purchase again by remarketing to them through newsletters with special deals & offers.
3) Implement a feedback widget: People while purchasing online gets confused whether they are doing everything correctly and it’s one of the reasons of shopping cart abandonment. All Internet users are not savvy when it comes to completing online transaction. So, engage in a pro-active conversation with them. Ask them if they are facing any issues throughout the process. There are a lot of free feedback widgets, which are free and can be installed in just few seconds like AmplifyConnect (http://getamplify.com/).
4) With the content to commerce making a winning impact in pushing ecommerce sales, you can easily attract people who are already searching for your product or services.
5) Give them an option to pick up from your store if you have one in their city.

December 10, 2013 Reply

Jonathan Charles

User wants an easy navigation from a website and especially from an ecommerce store, to increase the web traffic on E commerce site, many things can be done like adding special feature of price comparison on a website, offering juicy offers to user, but the main thing that should be done is to make a website more visible to search engines, by optimizing every product page and handling dynamic URL by changing in to static one.

December 12, 2013 Reply

bharathi.b

thanks for your valuable posting,it was very informative.

March 12, 2014 Reply

Dallas

I will walk away the minute they ask me to create an account.

April 20, 2014 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Dallas, a lot of people feel that way. That’s why it’s so important to test. Demanding account creation may or may not help conversions. :)

    April 20, 2014 Reply

    neil

    Dallas, that’s why it’s important to keep things simple :)

    April 20, 2014 Reply


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