As the eCommerce industry continues on its upward trajectory, not all boats are rising with the tide. That’s because the industry’s growth is not distributed equally, leaving merchants wondering how to increase online sales.
According to eMarketer’s forecast in July 2018, Amazon was expected to account for 80 percent of all eCommerce growth in 2018.
So, whether you’re a new eCommerce business or you’ve been around for many years, one thing is for certain. You want to know how to increase online sales and capture your fair share of this multi-billion dollar industry.
However, in an industry that never stops evolving, the methods that worked in the past are probably stale. It’s essential that your business constantly keeps up with new consumer trends in order to compete and thrive online.
If you’re having trouble coming up with new ways to drive traffic to your site, increase conversions, and increase online sales, you’ve come to the right place.
Want to learn how to increase online sales?
Here are six ways to hit refresh on your eCommerce strategies and smash your online sales targets this year:
- Build your marketing and conversion levers
- Pull your marketing levers to increase site traffic
- Pull your conversion levers to drive action
- Optimize the checkout phase of the conversion funnel
- Focus on mobile conversions
- Be insights-driven
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1. Build your marketing and conversion levers
There are two types of levers you can pull to control the performance of your site:
- Marketing levers can increase traffic to your site (digital advertising, SEO, etc.)
- Conversion levers help drive results from that traffic
However, in order to control these levers you need to understand your data— otherwise you’re just shooting in the dark.
For example, we know we can up the ante in digital ad spend to increase the volume of traffic to our sites. However, if that traffic is not converting at an optimal rate, it’s a missed opportunity (and a lot of wasted time and ad spend).
Get a handle on your data using Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking and conversion optimization software. Data gleaned from these tools can help you decipher how to increase online sales. Whether that be through increased digital marketing spend or through conversion optimization.
2. Pull your marketing levers to increase site traffic
Paid traffic is the best way to quickly generate sales for your eCommerce store. Forrester forecasts that social media will remain the fastest growing digital advertising channel globally over the next five years and Google remains the largest digital ad seller in the world today.
That’s because the marketing ‘rule of seven’ is still relevant — a prospect will have seven interactions with your brand before a conversion takes place.
In the noisy online space, a cross-channel digital advertising strategy is critical for success. Target your potential customers with the most relevant content on the right channel, at the perfect stage of their buyer journey.
While paid traffic can be expensive — Facebook Ad prices have risen by 247% — spending small amounts on the platform can still teach you a lot. According to Wordstream, the average cost per click (CPC) for a Facebook ad changes across industries. But for traditional eCommerce industries like apparel, retail, and beauty, the cost is on the mid to low end of the spectrum.
Regardless of how much you have to spend, you’ll want to do lots of experimentation to get the best results. Bottom line: adopt a testing mindset.
If you’ve pulled your marketing levers as far as they’ll go but sales have plateaued, it might be time to look to your conversion levers.
3. Pull your conversion levers to drive action and increase online sales
To control your conversion levers, you should introduce tracking software to your site to monitor conversion behavior and start measuring things like Revenue per Visitor (RPV).
RPV is a particularly important conversion metric as it combines conversion rate (CR) and average order value (AOV) into a single metric. RPV helps you better understand how the metrics interact with one another to create lift in revenue — which is what matters most.
HOW TO CALCULATE RPV
To calculate RPV, simply divide the total revenue earned during a determined time period by the number of visitors during the same period.
Monitor your site for at least 2 to 3 weeks to establish a baseline of activity. This data will help you identify trends and opportunities for optimization and determine how to increase online sales. From there, start experimenting with different treatments in different areas of your conversion funnel. And don’t stop.
The key to controlling your conversion levers is to understand that there are no guaranteed best practices in eCommerce. What works for your competitors may not work for you. And what works wonderfully for you this week, may not work for you next week. The only best practice is to think critically and act proactively— continuously test.
4. Optimize the checkout phase of the conversion funnel to boost online sales
While it’s important to understand your entire conversion funnel, the checkout funnel is the most critical part of the eCommerce journey. This is the process that occurs after a visitor adds an item to the shopping cart.
It’s amazing the difference small changes can have on buyer behavior at this point in the journey. Something as simple as a collapsed coupon field or a security icon on the checkout button can have a huge impact on your conversion rate and Revenue per Visitor.
However, be wary of making any development changes to this critical part of the funnel without testing. And ensure testing is ongoing to keep up with constantly changing buyer behavior.
5. How to increase online sales? Focus on mobile conversions
Mobile eCommerce is on a steep growth curve so it’s a perfect focus area for merchants who want to know how to increase online sales. By 2021, 53.9% of all eCommerce is expected to be generated via mobile (also known as mCommerce).
Most eCommerce sites are mobile-friendly, but the buying experience remains largely the same as desktop.
Taking an experience designed for a desktop screen, keyboard, and mouse, and squeezing the content onto a much smaller screen creates a poor experience that turns buyers away. This is resulting in high cart abandonment rates, low conversions, and a huge gap in revenue between desktop and mobile.
By understanding the specific expectations of the mobile shopper, you can optimize your site for mobile and get more revenue from this growing source of traffic.
6. Be insights-driven
The success of the previous five tips are based on one major factor — harnessing your data. eCommerce is so much more intriguing than physical retail because of the wealth of data that we have about online visitors.
However, data is only valuable to merchants that can transform the signals they get from the data into actionable insights that will move the needle on eCommerce conversion rates.
Going back to basics, data is the raw numbers that we capture. Information is data presented in a way that we can understand something. And insight is gained by analyzing data and information to inform decisions about a particular situation or phenomena.
Data is the raw numbers we capture
Information helps us understand
Insights help to inform a decision
Gathering data and interpreting data are not the same
If you’re not interpreting your data yet, you’re not alone. One of the key challenges outlined by Forrester in a Total Economic Impact™ study of the Mobile Optimization Initiative (MOI) is the lack of meaningful customer experience insights that many merchants face. One merchant interviewed as part of the research explained:
“Without [the MOI] we would be working off unactionable data that we were logging. We wouldn’t know which data we should be logging. We would just be looking at if this year’s numbers were better than last year’s numbers and did that have anything to do with something different that we did versus being proactive about it and figuring out which things we should be changing or which things we should be adjusting.”
Still wondering how to increase online sales? Merchants can leverage programs like the Mobile Optimization Initiative to gain access to a large pool of anonymized aggregated data from participating eCommerce merchant sites.
Access to data accelerates learnings and offers a wealth of community insights, as well as actionable recommendations and guidelines for future eCommerce optimization.
By signing up, you can reach the next level of maturity that Forrester calls insights-driven business — customer-obsessed firms that systematically harness insights across their organization and implement them to create competitive advantage.
Join the Mobile Optimization Initiative today and gain insights to help your eCommerce sales grow!