3 Tips to Increase Online Sales Without Spending a Fortune on Marketing
Any small business working with a limited budget or staff knows the challenges that come with gaining traffic, traction and sales. Unlike retail giants that can drop millions on advertising and marketing initiatives, smaller e-tailers need to be crafty and use inexpensive (or even free) tools to connect with consumers. Here are three tips on how to accomplish that:
1. Establish a presence in other marketplaces. Setting up shop in marketplaces such as Amazon.com and eBay can increase visibility and sales.
"Some customers prefer marketplaces like eBay," says Mai Wong, founder of home and giftware store Carrot Tomato. In addition to selling through a Shopify storefront, the retailer also has a number of accounts on eBay, where it markets and sells its merchandise. This, according to Wong, generates additional sales, and since they enclose Carrot Tomato's business card in each order shipment, it also helps drive traffic to the company's Shopify store.
Selling through other online marketplaces can certainly help increase sales, but it also comes with some challenges. Staying on top of sales, customers and inventory from multiple channels can get confusing and eat up your time, so see to it that you've figured out a system to efficiently sync data across all storefronts. Consider using multichannel selling tools such as Bizelo or Stitch, which enable you to manage orders and inventory from one program.
2. Don't neglect social channels. In addition to using online marketplaces, make sure you're taking advantage of social channels as well. Wong says that updating Carrot Tomato's social accounts has helped increase sales. Furthermore, many of its customers end up placing orders after reading about Carrot Tomato's latest offers or new products on Facebook.
Emma Paisey, owner of Daisy Park, a retailer of gifts, furniture and accessories, does the same thing with her business and urges other retailers to up their social media strategies. "Utilize all available social media for your marketing. It's free … well, apart from your time. There are some fantastic platforms available and also some great tools to join these platforms together, making it less work for you," Paisey says.
You can connect your various social accounts yourself or use software to manage them. Daisy Park does a little of both.
"We use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, and we link them to each other," Paisey says. "Also, we use Hootsuite, which helps us stay on top of all our social accounts via a mobile app all in one location. We can schedule social messages to post automatically."
3. Leverage video. Video has proven to be a powerful online selling tool. A recent survey of Liveclicker's customers — including Best Buy, Newegg and Under Armour — found that 57 percent of respondents "reported average order value increases of at least 50 percent for customers that watch video on a product page."
Consider adding videos to your e-commerce site. Why not produce videos that demonstrate how your products work, or ones that serve as educational resources? Doing so will enrich your customers’ browsing experiences and help you rank better on Google (more high-quality content is great for search engine optimization), both of which can translate to more sales.
Hopefully the pointers above gave you some ideas on how you can boost sales without breaking the bank. Remember, while there's some truth in the saying, "You have to spend money to make money," it doesn't mean you have to spend a whole lot to increase your revenues.
Francesca Nicasio is a retail expert and author for Vend, a cloud-based point-of-sale provider.