Low Hanging Fruit - How To Massively Increase Your Sales
Since the beginning of The Great Recession, I've noticed something dramatic happening in the e-commerce space, especially for smaller merchants doing anywhere from $10,000 up to $1,000,000 per month in sales.
The merchants I work with are for the most part growing, and you may have seen in the news this week that during Q1 e-tailers grew on average by 10%, what I don't see being discussed very often, is How They're Growing?
This is the part I find most fascinating, the growth we see happening across our base is through improving the site experience for their shoppers, as opposed to getting tons of new traffic. I think this was a trend already in motion before the recession hit, but it accelerated the real time need to execute on a strategy like this.
Ok, so enough industry jibber jabber, what on earth do I mean by all of this?
Simple, if you improve the experience for the traffic you already have, you can likely increase your sales significantly, often times doubling them in the process. And ironically this is a much CHEAPER WAY TO GROW because your cost to grow in these cases is more fixed and generally not incremental the way PPC and other forms of more traditional click based advertising are.
For example, we have a great relationship with a company called Runa that has on average increased sales for the merchants they work with over 25%. Their product is dead simple to explain, but it's a killer in action. What they do is they track the behavioral analytics of customers as they shop on your site, and then based on parameters you as a merchant establish, they make special offers to your potential customers as they're in the process of abandoning your site. This incredibly simple concept is VERY POWERFUL and has consistently produced some of the most dramatic results I've seen in SMB e-commerce marketing.
Another great example is Strands Recommender in this case they bring a dynamic recommendation engine (what you see on Amazon when you go to the homepage and they have special offers just for you based on your buying and browsing history) down to the SMB merchant's price and integration points. They have a module that's point and click simple for our merchants to integrate with their online store and the early results are fantastic. We haven't been using them long enough to know consistent averages but for many of our testers this integration doubled their sales in a single shot.
And you don't even need to pay for a service like the two I've mentioned, often times basic homepage optimization will increase your sales for only the cost of your time and effort or that of a web developer to assist you.
The usual low hanging fruit for e-commerce site optimization are:
Make sure your page is optimized for the smallest screen size of your customer base. Normally this means making sure when someone using a 1024x768 (which ironically is also the screen size of the new iPad) and that people can see the product info and make their buying decision (including the buy button) without scrolling.
Does your site convey trust?
Does your site make it easy to contact you? And therefore imply easy customer service if there's any issues?
Are your shipping costs spelled out clearly so there's no surprises during checkout?
Does your site convey security? Will people feel comfortable putting their credit card in your site? On this same line of thinking do you offer PayPal, Google Checkout and/or Checkout by Amazon as a way to comfort the more untrusting buyers?
The gears have shifted and your future growth will depend more and more on properly using the resources (read traffic and customers) you already have coming to your site?
Are you currently throwing away more sales than you're actually generating? Surprisingly the answer in most cases is YES.
Tiffiny Lilley says:
I couldn't agree with you more!
Mitch Rezman says:
We’re deploying a new Miva site and it never ceases to amaze me how many of these small vendor’s sites are not ready for prime time. Fancy flash but you can’t find a product. Difficult to navigate and so forth. Also we’re certainly no experts but just spending time in Google analytics will yield remarkable amounts of useful information like most traveled landing pages and what sites your traffic and orders are coming from.
Lastly, never assume everything on your site is working. Place a test order now and then to see what the end user sees – make sure your merchant processor isn’t creating molasses during the checkout process causing customers to leave the funnel.
Recently we started implementing automatic trigger email campaigns to focus on upsell to our customerbase. Defently a low hanging fruit as well! We were able to achive a very good roi. Since we are running our business on oscommerce we chose the free add-on "mailbeez" which also supports zencart and creloaded.
For sure something to have a look at.