Summer months can be a slow time for eCommerce businesses. However, there can still be easy and effective ways to boost and even maintain your sales.
Most people just can’t resist a great deal. There’s a reason ‘Limited Time Discounts’ are still around: they are effective. A simple 10% off for the next 48 hours can draw people in. Of course, the deal is worth nothing if people don’t know about it, so make sure it is all over your landing page, social media, and sent out to your email list. While deals usually translate into higher volume, review the economics to be sure that it doesn’t hurt profitability.
Another spin on the discount sale is to publish a special discount code to your social media and email list that is only good for a few hours. Since it’s on social media, your followers will be the first to see it. This way, you will be rewarding the loyalty of those who have taking the time to follow you; your followers will appreciate the exclusive deal and attention.
Even if it’s only limited by time, item, or area, some free shipping is better than none. If you do have restrictions, be transparent with it: few things are more annoying than expecting a nice discount, only to find out after registering that you don’t qualify.
If you can’t provide free shipping on all items, consider explaining why (This is an excellent chance to humanize yourself). Perhaps something along the lines of:
“I’m afraid that item is too big to ship for free. [Item] needs to be delivered in perfect condition to [function of item], so we don’t want to cut corners when getting it safely to you.”
A transparent explanation like this establishes a connection with your customers, separates you from the impersonal brands, and encourages a little understanding. It won’t change the price, but it may help customers tolerate it.
Make Shopping Easy
You can help your customers help you with search. No, this is not about improving your SEO, although that’s an ongoing task for everyone. This is about internal search for your website; customers being able to search your database for a specific item, or browse by type. This is convenient for customers and a great way to improve the shopping experience. If you have a large assortment of items for sale, it can also be the difference between someone finding the right product, and leaving the site in frustration.
According to WorldPlay, 25% of customers abandon carts because the website was too complicated to navigate, so why not make buying as easy as possible? Making your website neater can also be a big help, but perhaps the easiest way to buy is with a simple click. Many social sites now allow you to embed ‘BUY’ buttons in your posts, which is definitely worth investigating.
Build Trust with your Customers
There are, of course, the obvious tools everyone should be using: allow customer reviews, likes, a ratings system, and sharing. These create social proof and make customers more comfortable. If these aren’t already in your website, some simple plugins can quickly fix that.
Another form of social proof can be to ask for customer feedback. This can be for them to send you pictures of themselves and a comment with the products they bought. You can offer coupons, discount codes, gift cards, or some other special gift to some, say the top ten pictures. Or you could couple this with the exclusive discount plan. Then you should have plenty of pictures and quotes to use as social proof.
Of course the best way to build trust is to get your delivery right. As an eCommerce retailer, your customers demand that the right product be delivered in the right quantity quickly and accurately, 100% of the time. If there are any mistakes, they will not hesitate to take to social media and bash your service and tarnish your brand. The best way to avoid damaging reviews and encourage repeat customers is to deliver what you promise in a convenient way.
Be Easy to Contact
Going further, however, you could add FAQ and Contact pages. You should link to these at the bottom of every page on your site, so that customers have easy access from wherever they have an issue. FAQ pages can help educate customers about which product they want, or answer miscellaneous questions. All this benefits customers, and reduces the calls your customer service gets. A simple way to build your FAQ page is to add the answer to any question you get repeatedly.
Contact pages are also a must; the ability to connect with a human can make the difference between a sale and someone shopping elsewhere. For this reason, Contact pages should have at least one phone number, in addition to an email address for when you aren’t available via phone. Another tool can be help forms for specific problems, like a user not being able to login. For something like this, your sales team would have to pass it along to IT, so you might as well encourage the customer to fill out a form that goes straight to IT and save your team some effort.
Another way to provide convenience to customers is a live chat option, which can easily be added with WordPress plugins. If your customer is just on their smartphone, rather than call and look away from their screen, it may be easier to text a representative from within your app or website.
Also, have a transparent returns policy that is easy to find. Despite all your efforts, mistakes will happen. Make sure your customer is well informed on what they can do to help you correct the problem. This will give your customers some recourse and can stop some from spreading negative reviews.
An uncommon technique that can be extremely effective is partnering with different companies. This can take the form of cross promotion, featuring each others’ products, or pooling add dollars. Cooperative advertising programs, as the last one is known, can reach more people and help businesses leverage their marketing budgets. Because of the success of these programs, Rakuten Super Logistics is now offering a Cooperative Advertising Program in partnership with Rakuten Marketing to its clients. In this program, RSL and Rakuten Marketing will each pool advertising dollars with our merchants. Last year one merchant received $7 of business for every dollar spent! The only restriction is that the advertising campaigns must promote products that we fulfill, so this is an excellent opportunity to boost your marketing efforts. Contact us for details.