There’s no doubt about the importance of the Internet for retailers. Brick-and-mortar businesses can keep selling even when their stores are closed, and ecommerce businesses can generate more profits by avoiding massive inventory and capital costs.
This doesn’t eliminate the need for effective marketing plans, though. If anything, the increased competition makes it even more important.
Before the Internet, businesses only had to compete with other local retailers. Now, they have to compete with retailers around the world, all of whom only have to visit a website in order to scope out one another’s prices, selection, quality, and branding.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of revenue to be made online—as long as you can reach the right customers. And if you want to increase your online retail store’s revenue, the following strategies can help you get started. Keep reading to learn more, and contact us at 888-601-5359.
1. Include product reviews
Consumers want to know what a product offers, but they also want to know that it lives up to the promise made in the product copy. You can talk up the product all you want, but the real measure of usefulness and quality comes from past buyers.
Ask them to share their thoughts and opinions—even the bad ones—right on the product page.
In one study, 88 percent of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. Reviews from past buyers will increase the chances of future sales of those products.
Encourage buyers to post their own reviews, and if this is a new feature on your site, consider offering rewards points or another incentive for sharing their opinions. However, don’t attempt to incentivize positive reviews—simply encourage them to share honest opinions.
2. Optimize your site
Although some online shoppers have favorite stores that visit directly, many prefer to use search engines like Google to find specific products. With search engine optimization (SEO), you can help your pages rank higher in search results, and reach more of these shoppers as a result.
You’ll need to do keyword research in order to determine how your potential customers are searching for your products, as well as how competitive each of these keywords are. Then, place appropriate keywords in your pages’ title tags, URLs, headers, image alt tags, and body copy.
3. Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Depending on how competitive your industry is, it can be difficult to rank well organically for certain keywords—especially in the first few months of your strategy. However, you can use PPC platforms like Google AdWords to place advertisements beside or above the results for specific keywords.
Placing ads for these keywords can be a great way to reach customers while you build your SEO strategy, and even after you rank organically. You can also use AdWords to advertise on other sites within Google’s Display network.
In addition to Google, most social media sites also have PPC advertising platforms in place. Consider using them on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites that are relevant to your target audience to widen your reach.
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4. Focus on benefits, not features
Product descriptions tell visitors what the product is designed to do, but typically in terms of materials, specifications, and features. And while these are important, more of those visitors will end up buying the product if they know what it will do for them. When describing your products, focus on the features and the benefits.
The benefit will vary from one product to another. The purpose of any winter coat is to keep you warm. However, some coats will be appealing because the fabric enable easy cleaning and care. Another coat may be designed for multiple occasions, both formal and casual. Think about what will attract people to the product and make that benefit a selling point in your copy.
5. Enable mobile shopping
More and more everyday activities are getting done using mobile devices, including shopping. According to one study, 40 percent of online sales are now made on mobile devices. If your retail site isn’t optimized for smartphones and tablets, you could lose out on valuable sales and revenue.
This means that if your site isn’t already responsive, now’s the time to change that. Responsive design ensures that your site displays and functions properly on all browsers and screen sizes.
In addition to that, you may also choose to run mobile-specific ads on certain platforms. Facebook, in particular, offers the option to only show ads to mobile users, which can be helpful in directing them to apps and product pages.
6. Upsell and cross-sell on purchasing pages
Most online shoppers go to a site because they need a particular item or because they’re trying to take advantage of a special deal. Neither group can actually browse every item on your site, so they may miss out on items they’d like.
Use product pages and purchasing pages to highlight some of these items and, in the process, entice them to add more items to the shopping cart and increase your online revenue.
If they’re a first-time buyer, promote products closely related to the items already in the shopping cart or items viewed previously. Returning customers should learn about products that match the current purchase but also past purchases and product views.
Make sure the mix includes add-ons and accessories for the items in the cart, as well as warranties and other service options for products that are eligible for them.
7. Be active on social media
Few channels are as effective for strengthening existing customer relationships as social media. In addition to staying in contact with current buyers, you can place ads that reach the hundreds of millions of users that aren’t already following or buying from you. Both benefits make social media a great way to generate sales and increase online revenue for retailers.
When you advertise on social media, you have the advantage of being able to target based on location, job title, age, gender, and interests. Not only that, but you can target different audiences with different ads, making it possible to reach exactly who you want with each campaign.
8. Build an email strategy
The Internet provides a variety of ways to reach out to new and existing customers. One of the reasons people start following you on social media, sign up for your email newsletter or join your loyalty program is to get access to exclusive deals that reward them for their loyalty. Offer these exclusive deals to followers on each channel and watch your revenues go up.
Set up exclusive discounts from time to time so your business stays top of mind among buyers, and be sure to let them know whenever you’re running a special or sale. You can also use email to let subscribers know about new blog posts and other site content they might be interested in.
9. Send reminders about abandoned shopping carts
Some purchases don’t happen because the buyer clicks away before completing the order. Unfortunately, more often than not, they never return to make the purchase. A friendly email reminder about the full shopping cart will bring at least some visitors back to make an order.
A subject line like “You forgot something!” will remind them of their intent to purchase and will either bring them back to complete the order or clear the shopping cart. Either way, you remind them of the items they considered purchasing—and sometimes, that’s all it takes.
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10. Thank buyers for their business
Consumers choose retailers not just based on selection of merchandise, but also on the level of service. Retailers that offer superior customer service experiences perform better than those that don’t. One simple way to show your customers that you care is by thanking them for ordering from your business.
Follow up each purchase with an order summary, including items bought, total price, and billing and shipping address. This is a good time to send another email thanking the customer for his or her purchase. It can be as simple as a thank you and contact information for your customer service team, but it can go a long way to bringing the customer back next time they want to buy something you offer.
11. Follow up with discounts
With many retail stores, loyal customers are eligible for a wide range of benefits, including exclusive offers and special discounts. These incentives can also encourage casual or first-time buyers to become loyal customers.
Reward customers with coupons or discount codes they can use during their next purchase. Send the coupon within a day or two of the first order, and give it a time limit. This keeps your site in their minds after the sale and increases the chance of a second purchase.
Want to increase your online retail store’s revenue?
Whether you’re an ecommerce business or a brick-and-mortar store with an online component, Internet marketing can be extremely effective in generating sales and revenue. If you’re ready to start using SEO, PPC, social media, and other strategies to grow your business, WebFX can help.
Our experienced team of Internet marketers can use all of the above strategies and more to help your business reach more customers. Contact us today to speak with a strategist!