How to Take Your Online Sales to the Next Level in Time for Christmas

How to Take Your Online Sales to the Next Level in Time for Christmas

There’s no such thing as too many sales for an ecommerce company. Whichever market a business is operating in, there should always be a focus on increasing the number of products ringing through those virtual registers.

However, it can sometimes be confusing to establish where improvements can be made. Any changes put in place are unlikely to yield positive results instantaneously – yet business owners need to know their efforts aren’t being wasted.

With the Christmas shopping period now looming large, there has never been a better time to look at your own online stores, and put improvements into place. To break through the confusion, this process can be broken down into three distinct categories.

#1 How to Increase the Number of Customers.

This is an obvious point, and is the one where businesses tend to focus most of their attention. After all, the more people who come through those shop “doors”, the more sales that will be made, and the more revenue the business will enjoy. It’s a simple formula which works.

People queuing for sales

(Image source: businessinsider.com)

This is where inbound marketing comes in. Businesses looking to drive more traffic to their website need to be taking advantage of all the techniques professional marketers employ daily.

Publishing regular and high-quality content is still the best way to drive traffic to your website. Google loves sites which are constantly uploading content of this nature and will give them search ranking priority. Also, by publishing content on topics people are likely to be searching for, it will increase the chances of them finding your website when they do.

This means writing – or commissioning – content which is relevant not only to your business, but also the time of year. Customers right now are thinking about Christmas presents, so article titles such as “X Great Christmas Gift Ideas” are going to be big traffic drivers.

Social media is also your friend when it comes to bringing new customers to your website. Share regular posts which people will want to engage with. Run polls and competitions which are relevant to the season, ask questions, and get people talking. And, of course, share your content far and wide.

While Facebook and Twitter are no-brainers, don’t forget to also consider some of the more niche social networks which may be directly relevant to you market.

#2 How to Increase Per-Customer Spend

This is a big one which is often overlooked. One of the biggest factors to a successful business can be found in convincing the customers who have come to your store to spend more money on the visit than they originally intended to. In fact, for most successful businesses just 8% of their customer base accounts for 40% of their revenue.

40% of revenue sales come from 8% of customers

(Image source: smile.io)

This practice – commonly known as upselling – is why fast food servers will nearly always ask if you want the large meal when taking your order. They don’t normally offer the choice between medium and large, they will simply offer the larger version. This is because it’s much easier for a customer to simply say “Yes” than it is to then ask for the smaller option.

McDonald's Waste record book

(Image source: imgur.com)

The above scan was taken from a real McDonald’s waste record book in December 2016. While the restaurant in question is in Canada, the same principle applies worldwide. If you note the cost of the ingredients for McDonald’s to make a burger – and once you factor in wages, running costs etc. – you’ll see the fast food chain does not make a massive profit on main menu items.

However, the restaurant makes a huge profit on its drinks and French fries. Now, bear in mind that when you “Go Large” at McDonald’s, the sandwich doesn’t change at all. Whether you order the item on its own, or as part of a medium or large meal, you get the exact same lovingly-crafted and highly-nutritious sandwich. The only items which increase in size are the drink and the fries.

This means every time McDonald’s sells a large meal instead of a medium one, the company is increasing the profit margin on the food by a great deal – the proportion of the price increase far outweighs the extra drink and fries the customer receives.

Therefore, when looking at upselling to your customers, look at the items which give you the best margins – but aren’t the ones customers automatically head for. Offer these products as suggestions during the checkout process.

Bundles are another great way to upsell to your customers. Games Workshop does this whenever they offer up a new product line for pre-order.

Games workshop sales bundles

(Image source: gamesworkshop.com)

When Games Workshop bundles its pre-orders into a single product there is no discount offered at all. The bundled price equals the amount it would cost to purchase the items separately. However, by removing a barrier to purchasing everything, by allowing customers to add it all to their cart with a single click, Games Workshop increases the chances of selling the extra items.

Amazon uses the same tactic with its “frequently bought together” suggestions – offering items of a similar theme on the same page as an item being viewed, and allowing them all to be added to the customer’s basket with a single click.

Amazon sales frequently bought together

(Image source: amazon.com)

Upgrades can also provide an elegant way of upselling to customers. Printing company Vistaprint makes a big deal in its television adverts regarding how cheaply customers can purchase business cards. However, once a potential customer visits the website, they are immediately tempted with upgrades to the basic card, such as custom images, or higher quality finishes and cardstock.

Vistaprint

(Image source: vistaprint.com)

People tend to take their businesses seriously, so, once at the website and going through the creation process, they are extremely likely to upgrade their cards to something a little more premium – especially once they see how limited the basic options are.

Other businesses can use this technique as well. Draw customers in with a cheaper basic offering, and then tempt them with incrementally more expensive premium upgrades.

#3 How to Keep Them Coming Back for More

Once you have drawn in more customers and convinced them to spend more than they initially intended to, the next step is making sure their first visit isn’t their last. And this is where inbound marketing comes to the rescue again, and your best friend in this case is that good old workhorse of digital communication – email.

A great way to stay in touch with a customer after they’ve made a purchase is by asking them for a product review. Give it enough time for them to have tried it out fully, and then send an email asking what they though of it. Not only will product reviews give you free content for your website, it will also provide the perfect opportunity to tempt them back with related products.

The Body shop upselling

The Body Shop does this perfectly. Not only does the company request reviews from its customers, but combines it with both a special offer and a reminder of its free shipping policy. This serves to both tempt customers with a new product and promotes upselling to take advantage of the free shipping.

Rewards schemes are also a great idea. Think how coffee shops or book shops such as Waterstone’s foster repeat business with their stamp cards. Offer a similar scheme where customers can accrue credits towards special offers or even free products with a set number of purchases or financial spend.

Waterston's repeat purchase bonus

(Image source: pinterest.com)

Don’t forget to send your customers an email when they have hit their target – with an upsell or two thrown in for good measure, of course.

Rinse and Repeat

If you need help driving customers to your website with a rock solid inbound marketing strategy, complete with fantastic content, effective social media management, and authentic lead generation, then markITwrite has a package to suit all businesses and all budgets.

Please get in touch today.

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