It would be an understatement to say that the growth of the e-commerce industry over the past few years has been exponential. But this year, the temporary closure of brick-and-mortar stores has only amplified online retail sales, with consumers scouring the internet for products they need and want. This has opened up an opportunity for businesses to move or start their retail operations online.
That said, growing an e-commerce business even in a target-rich environment is not an effortless journey. Keeping these strategies in mind can help you increase your sales and thrive in the new normal:
Use word-of-mouth marketing
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Two of the most effective strategies under this are affiliate marketing and referral programs. In affiliate marketing, Forbes explains that a vendor relies on affiliates to advertise their products on their own channels. Affiliates can be other businesses or influencers who earn a commission on every sale made from their advertisement.
Referral marketing, on the other hand, relies on customers to introduce other people to the business. You can incentivise referrals with discounts or rewards for clients who successfully bring in more customers.
Improve your SEO
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the process of driving more traffic to your website — an important endeavour given that more page visitors means more opportunities to generate sales. As your website ranks higher on search engines like Google, there is a greater likelihood that people will click on your page and actually see what you’re selling. To improve SEO, you can start by publishing strong content relevant to the interests of your target audience. For instance, if your business offers household products, you can write blog posts on home cleaning and maintenance, which your target market will find useful.
A slow and confusing checkout process with limited payment solutions can result in customers abandoning their online shopping carts — cancelling out all your hard work getting them to your site. FIS Global highlights that the payment process shouldn’t be complicated: It should be intuitive, simple, and relevant to the consumer to maximise their experience. Your e-commerce platform can optimise your checkout process by providing a detailed order review, reducing the number of form fields, and offering a guest checkout option. You should also add more payment methods, given that today’s online customers are extremely varied and have different preferences in terms of payment for goods and services.
Expand your target market
Most e-commerce businesses stop at their main target market, but if you truly want to grow your business, you should consider expanding your reach. Advertise on social media channels like Facebook, as these have community pages with like-minded individuals as members. Don’t just focus on a specific audience; look for groups that are relevant to your intended market as well. For bigger retailers, expanding your target market can also mean crossing county or country lines.
Reward your customers
Rewarding your customers for patronising your products is a simple yet effective way to ensure they come back for more. Crucially, The Balance points out that over 50% of a business’ sales usually come from repeat customers, who represent around 20% of their overall customer base. By offering discounts, rewards, and complementary products and services, you can ensure that this huge chunk of your customer base remains loyal to your business. Loyal patrons are also more likely to refer your products to their immediate network, which can help you gain more customers with similar purchasing preferences.