Many small and medium sized businesses are ready to open an online retail business to secure a valuable and sustainable source of revenue. But Online retailing may be a challenging environment to master due to low barriers of entry for new competitors and robust competition from bigger players. For companies taking their first tentative steps into the e-commerce space sustaining and maintaining long-term profitability may seem an ambitious task.
To develop a thriving online business, retailers need to adopt successful e-commerce strategies that generate increased traffic to their website with the objective of converting visitors into paying customers from the start. By using the latest technology, compelling product images and engaging with potential customers throughout the sales cycle, retailers can improve their sales performance while expanding their online presence.
Actinic, the leading European e-commerce solutions provider for small and medium businesses, proposes four smart, money-saving tips to help nascent online retailers meet and exceed their sales targets.
1. Improve customers’ experiences by using visuals geared towards sales creation
Use free visuals, royalty-free image libraries, and a consistent, solid image format. Aesthetic appeal can be a deciding factor in attracting interest from potential customers. With a wealth of free imagery, readily available from sites such as Pixabay, Freepik, and Gratisography, retailers can add any combination of images to their eCommerce sites, emailing campaigns and social media posts. Attaining and maintaining visual consistency is another very important point with regard to a retailer’s aesthetic appeal. Cover and newsfeed images on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter should be updated regularly. These images should be in line with the social networks’ rules and regulations for better engagement during the sales period. A proper command of website imagery and visuals can go a long way in ensuring sales, as customers appreciate the effort that retailers put into their sites in order to make them look better. Ultimately, the process facilitates buying.
2. Increase turnover by up to 30% through up and cross-selling techniques
With the extra traffic generated during the sales period, retailers have a key chance to offer new features and secure customer loyalty by optimising the buying experience.
Install the 'suggestive sales' feature to double conversion odds, along with the 'dynamic basket' during the sales period and experience an up to 30% increase in sales revenue.
According to a Statista report, average per capita spending for online shopping in the United Kingdom for 2016 is expected to reach 1,108 EUR, the highest figure in Europe. It is an ideal time, therefore, to take advantage of the sales period to boost spending. Installing the 'suggestive sales' app can offer access to higher-range products. The recommendations may be displayed directly in consumers’ carts, in order to increase average basket value. When combined with the suggestive sales App, the 'dynamic basket' helps to yield immediate results during the sales period. Product recommendations are displayed both in the order confirmation pop-up and in the order summary, directly influencing purchasing behaviour. These features are available on the Actinic MarketPlace, along with a range of other sales based apps, which can also be employed to similar effect. Repeat purchasing encouragement strategies such as setting up loyalty programs and referral schemes are known to be useful tools in ensuring further sales.
3. Increase site traffic and test 3 channels which are readily adapted to all sales budgets
Budgets can be reduced by communicating on social media, reaching users via Gmail and incorporating YouTube into communications strategies.
Retailers are encouraged to make proper use of all social media communication features at their disposal, tools such as the Facebook slideshow, carousel and sponsored link broadcast features, along with live-streaming tools such as Snapchat and Periscope. An effective utilisation of social media can go a long way in promoting sales operations. Through the use of pre-formatted Google templates which have effective subject lines, retailers can direct users more effectively towards their sites. With over 500 million active users, YouTube is another excellent way for retailers to gain visibility and sales. By providing high-quality, original video content for the public or by using YouTube ads, further buzz can be created around retailing campaigns, and can assure further sales. Social media is a very powerful tool for encouraging buying habits, and eCommerce sites should not underestimate the effect it can have on consumers. With the proper use of social media platforms, such as the aforementioned, along with other mediums such as Instagram and Pinterest, retailers can influence and create buzz around their products, which will lead to more sales.
4. Increase campaign click-rate through an optimised emailing strategy
Tailor campaigns to suit different consumers, stand out, and make use of video content.
Using tools such as MailJet in order to segment emailing messages, bespoke emails based on individual consumers’ purchasing histories and promoting upcoming sales via emailing campaigns are all examples of optimised emailing strategies which are tailored towards boosting sales. Retailers have the chance to stand out from the competition, by customising each of their email templates in order to promote sales, discounts and newsletters. Each email must suit the retailer’s needs during the sales period. By incorporating video content within emails, online retailers can generate more interest in their offers and services. By incorporating links to YouTube videos along with screenshots, emails can be used as multimedia sales tools. Sending out regular emails to specifically targeted customers is a reliable marketing tool within the sales process, and although it is one of the more traditional methods of leads creation, it is highly effective if utilised correctly.
The steps outlined above are non-exhaustive, but a hint of what all online retailers can do to achieve more consistent online sales throughout the year.
Marc Schillaci CEO & Founder of Actinic
Image source: Shutterstock/Maxx-Studio