When the pandemic started, all businesses were terrified, and rightfully so. A huge chunk of sales numbers around the world have gone down in the past two years or so, and a lot of traditional businesses have gone bankrupt. But amid all this chaos, there was one number that was going up. That number was online sales.
Of course, the pandemic wasn’t the only factor in this increase. E-commerce sites are, generally speaking, more accessible and customer-friendly than physical stores. Because of this (and many other factors), businesses are going online. Why set up a shop and sell clothes to the people in your neighbourhood when you can build a website and sell clothes to everyone in the country?
But obviously, seeing those online sales go up is not as easy as building a website and dedicating an insignificant part of your budget towards lacklustre marketing. If you want your e-commerce website to be successful, you need to consider (or reconsider) the ways through which you and your customers react to your platform. Today, we are covering three of those ways. So, without further ado, here are three ways for boosting online sales.
1. Understand The Needs Of Customers
This step is one of the most disregarded processes among startup business owners. So many beginners underestimate the importance of learning about the needs of customers. It doesn’t matter how great your e-commerce store is or how unique and one-of-a-kind your latest innovations are, as long as people don’t need/want it, you aren’t going to see any sales improvements. It’s true that you may need to tone down on the new and extreme business ideas in order to match your customers’ needs, but it’s not entirely progressive and innovative to be just another name with another set of basic products that will all fall into obscurity in the future. The best way to balance innovation and cautiousness is to ask “what might my customers need in the near future?” instead of “what do my customers need right now?”.
How To Learn About Your Customers’ Needs:
With that philosophy in mind, here are some basic steps that will help you understand the needs of your customers better:
- Know who they are: If you’ve had the privilege of meeting your customers, use that opportunity to create a general idea of who they are. If you are strictly an online business, get in touch with them through Google reviews, comments, and social media.
- Know how much they are willing to pay: It’s important to know if you are dealing with average Joes from the middle class or rich trust fund kids from the upper class. If you know how much they are willing to pay, you are one step closer to learning about their needs.
- Know what they need right now (or what they might need in the future): This requires a dedicated team of R&D and some time. Take this part seriously. It could be the defining factor of your online business’ success.
2. Optimise Your Website As Much As You Can
Your website is essentially your store and if your business is strictly e-commerce, then the site is the only store you own. So, it’s natural to decorate it in a way that will attract more customers to your brand. But it’s not all about decoration. There are so many factors to have in mind when it comes to website optimisation that it might be overwhelming for newcomers. But I’ll try to mention a few important aspects of it in this blog, starting with web design.
Simply put, web design refers to the looks of a website and how the user interacts with it. If you are serious about creating a website and optimising it to the best of your abilities, you should consider hiring a professional web design company (or an eligible freelancer if your budget is limited). That’s because the first thing the user interacts with is your website. You would want it to look good and professional, load fast, and be user-friendly. Here are a few extra notes for an optimised website design:
- Navigation: It should be easy for users to navigate the site and go wherever they want without facing any obstacles.
- Content: Whatever you upload on the site should be worth the viewer’s time and attention.
- Branding: As the only representation of your brand on the web, your website must convey the message of your brand. Make sure to implement that in the design
Search engine optimisation is essentially the most important aspect of website building if your want the website to be found by users. This topic deserves its own article, but as always, I’ll try to summarise the most important aspects of it. Here are a few important notes about a website’s SEO:
- On-page and off-page: All the content that is within your reach to edit and control must be worked on and optimised in order for them to be found by search engines. On the other hand, external factors such as link building and marketing must also be considered.
- Keywords: The words used frequently by users. You must know what kind of content you are going to post on the site and use appropriate keywords for them.
3. Engage With Customers On A Deeper Level
One of the advantages that a small business has over giant corporations is the ability to engage with the customers on a deeper level. We are all familiar with the corporate I-only-want-to-drain-money-out-of-you kind of customer relationship. We all know how dishonest and unsuccessful this kind of communication is. Hopefully, you can avoid it. By building customer loyalty and providing good customer support, a great and healthy relationship can be formed between the business and the customer. Those online sales numbers are sure to go up when the customer trusts you. But how can this be accomplished?
In the beginning stages of a startup, customers can prove to be valuable business partners. Through constant communication and feedback, they can help you improve several aspects of your products and services. If you want to get into details, here are a few ways you can engage with your customers on a deeper level.
- Ask for feedback and respond to them: One of the pillars of SEO (especially local SEO) is setting up a Google My Business account and optimising it. Through this platform, users can express their opinions about the business and rank it on a score of five. You must read these reviews carefully and respond to them professionally. It is also a good idea to encourage your customers to write reviews and reward them afterwards.
- Social media: If there is any place where establishing communication is rewarded, It’s social media. These platforms are built with the intent of making connections. You would be wise to take advantage of that.
- Participate in/create events: You can take advantage of special occasions, holidays, and important times of the year. Try to have fun with your customers, offer them discounts, and do anything that might bring you closer to them.
At the end of the day, there are numerous ways to improve online sales, but none of them are exactly quick solutions. If you have just started an e-commerce store, don’t be hasty if you don’t see sales improvements. It all takes time.
My name is Jacob Braun, a writer and a fan of most things online. I write about web design and
development, digital and traditional marketing, and small businesses. Currently working for a
company to provide quality local SEO services Melbourne.