An 8-Point Checklist for Increasing Your E-Commerce Sales, Part 3
Retailers and their marketing teams are forever trying to nudge shoppers to load up their shopping carts, and go on to click the “Buy” button. In parts one and two of this three-part series, I looked at how the base of e-commerce is built, all the way from setting the right goals to pushing customers down the sales funnel with the right content and copy.
This is the part where we discuss the culmination of all e-commerce actions — the transaction.
7. Quick Checkout
So you’ve worked incredibly hard with your website functionality and call to actions to get shoppers to checkout. This is where all the sales magic happens. Unfortunately, this can also be an area where consumers tend to be the most indecisive and develop cold feet. Therefore, you must minimize the impact and time spent at this stage as much as possible. Every distraction or extra step added is another chance for people to reconsider their purchase.
One of Amazon.com's best features is the one-click purchase option. While yours most likely won’t be that easy, there are plenty of ways you can simplify checkout. For starters, don’t require everyone to register for your website, as many equate signing up to agreeing to getting barraged with spam email. Better yet, you can make the process easy with an option to sign up via Facebook, like Best Buy does:
Second, provide multiple payment options for customers, such as PayPal and digital wallets, as opposed to making them manually enter their credit card information.
Another good strategy is to use a progress indicator. This tool shows the customer how close they are to completing their purchase, and helps them estimate the time and effort needed. See below for an example from Crate and Barrel:
Simply put, the more efficient and quicker you make the task of making a purchase, the more sales you'll get.
All along the checkout process, in your thank-you page and order confirmation emails, don’t forget to make the shipping process (and charges) crystal clear. You don’t have to be a large retailer to be in full control of logistics, inventory and shipping. Whether you’re an Amazon merchant or use a DIY e-commerce platform like Shopify, take advantage of simple drop-shipping practices to make sure your delivery is as transparent and quick as checkout.
8. Cart Abandonment Strategy
The harsh truth of operating an e-commerce business is that you'll constantly be dealing with the pain of seeing visitors fill up their shopping carts, only to abandon them. The Baymard Institute found the average cart abandonment rate as reported by 37 studies currently stands at nearly 70 percent.
There are many ways to combat cart abandonment, and one of the most effective is with email marketing automation. The primary objective is to send triggered emails to shoppers if they leave the site without buying their chosen items. Here's an example of an abandoned cart message from Kate Spade:
Studies have found the open rate for these types of emails range from 40 percent to 45 percent. That number is too big to overlook.
As previously stated, online shoppers can be very fickle. Therefore, having a timely plan for when people get second thoughts about buying from you can be momentous for your e-commerce sales.
And don’t forget to back it up with awesome customer service. In the formative years of e-commerce, customer service was one of the most difficult operational areas to master. In many cases, shoppers either had to call a toll-free number and wait to be connected to an agent, or send an email that was or wasn’t answered. This was a time when quality customer service was needed the most. Today, 53 percent of shoppers are likely to abandon a purchase if they can’t find quick answers to their questions. A Business Insider study even reported that over 65 percent of customers would pay more than the stated price in return for better support!
Customer service should NEVER take a backseat in retail.
Every business has different types of customers. There's no formula set in stone that promise sales increases every time. This checklist is based on the common threads found in successful operations. Do your best to include these methods in your own strategy and see if any of them raise your bottom line.
Rohan Ayyar is a project manager at E2M, a digital marketing firm specializing in creative content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups.
Rohan Ayyar is the regional marketing manager for India at SEMrush. His blog, The Marketing Mashup, covers digital marketing from the perspective of B2B, B2C, lead generation, mobile marketing, SEO, social media, content marketing, database marketing including predictive analytics, and conversion rate optimization. In addition, he'll look at emerging marketing technology and how marketers can use it. Reach Ayyar at email@example.com.