The days leading up to the launch of an eCommerce store are often exploding with palpable excitement.
For most small eCommerce store owners, this initial enthusiasm gradually gives way to confusion, frustration, and disappointment. While some sales might be, the volume and value can fall way short of expectations.
If you think about it, small eCommerce stores face formidable odds. Irrespective of what they sell, they will likely come up against giants like Amazon and eBay, stocking the same thing.
To make matters worse, they don’t have the deep pockets to drive an aggressive marketing campaign at scale.
Small eCommerce stores can grow and thrive. Even giants like Amazon have been unable to monopolize the eCommerce marketplace.
That means you can do something to get your sales growth and return on investment (ROI) rising.
Here’s a look at five ways to improve your sales and ROI.
1. Invest in Your Brand Building
Becoming a brand is a tedious process, and many business owners fail to recognise the necessity of it.
After all, can’t we just utilise clicks from ads and organic searches without making a big deal of our name?
The thing is, being a brand means building trust with both customers and search engines. Customers are growing increasingly wary of buying from someone they don’t know.
Besides, being a brand your customers know means winning their hearts: That’s the only reason they may choose you over bigger competitors because they know and love you.
Psychology of color in marketing
Brand Building starts with the name, so make sure to find a business name that represents your niche, creates positive associations and is easy to remember.
Feel free to run your main keyword through Text Optimizer, which will use semantic analysis to identify your niche-associated concepts. This will give you more ideas for positive and associative branding.
2. Showcase Your Top Selling and Highest Margin Items
Not everyone who lands on your website will be sure about what they are looking to find. Some may be browsing your store out of boredom, while others have a hazy idea of what they want.
The sheer diversity of your store’s products may be overwhelming, and many prospects won’t have the time or patience to explore.
Your customer is king, but a king isn’t omniscient—sometimes, they need someone to guide them in the right direction. You can do that by having a ‘best seller’ section on your store’s homepage.
See some retail website examples where the company highlights their best selling items or special deals here.
Make the most of the bandwagon effect. There’s a perception that many customers have repeatedly tested a popular product, most of whom have found it a good match for their needs.
No one wants to be a guinea pig, especially for a store that doesn’t have the reputation and long history of a giant established eCommerce business.
Ideally, your best-selling products should also be the ones that give you the highest profit margin.
You could, of course, place one of your low-margin products under the best-seller category. That’s not always the case.
That may work, but it is a risky proposition and a danger to your reputation. It would be prudent to include a ‘best recommended’ or ‘best value’ section next to the ‘bestseller’ category. This would contain the highest ROI items.
That way, you’ll ride on the attention the best-seller products draw to push your high-margin items.
Make sure your featured product pages provide an excellent user experience. You don’t want your hard-earned customers to wait for those landing pages to load. And you should also make sure these pages are accessible and usable from mobile devices.
3. Show Your Site is Trustworthy
Ecommerce has been around for a while now. With soaring smartphone availability and Internet access, one would expect that eCommerce sales should have surpassed brick-and-mortar store sales by now. That hasn’t happened.
A significant reason for this relative underperformance is that many people don’t trust the Internet enough to be willing to purchase anything online.
It’s a double whammy for small eCommerce stores because they also don’t have the brand recognition that large stores do. You can do something about it, though.
Incorporate markers that demonstrate trustworthiness and reliability. This can take various forms, such as showing publications where your store has been mentioned (in good light), listing awards you’ve received, installing SSL, showing web security badges and listing the big-name partners that work with you. It costs little to incorporate these signs, but it will encourage more people to buy from you.
Nevertheless, do it in moderation—too many badges can make the store look cluttered and chaotic.
Also, liaise with your attorney to ensure that using other organisations’ names and brands won’t land you in legal trouble.
4. Sell to Existing Customers
Whenever small eCommerce store owners contemplate business growth, their thoughts will center on increasing the number of customers.
Customer acquisition is fundamental, but customer retention is more important. Bringing in new customers is essential but can sometimes take focus away from the tremendous value stores can realize from addressing existing customers.
Your customer is more likely to have higher-order value than new customers and is more readily persuaded.
Current customers are familiar with your brand and don’t have to endure a learning curve in navigating your store and making a purchase.
They’ve already run through the purchase process and confirmed you sell products of acceptable quality. You’ll spend much fewer ad dollars convincing an existing customer to buy a product.
Create incentives for future purchases by developing some form of customer loyalty scheme.
Every purchase a customer makes would come with a commensurate gain in loyalty points. The customer can then redeem the points for promotions and discounts whether at your store or partner businesses.
5. Accept Multiple Payment Methods
Your eCommerce store may target a particular market segment, but that doesn’t mean your customers will all have the same preferences.
One area you want to ensure diversity is in the methods they can use to pay. If you stick to accepting MasterCard and Visa cards only, you’ll lose out on revenue by alienating a large proportion of your potential customers.
Seek to accept as many payment options as necessary. Not only should you allow cards from all of the world’s main card networks (Visa, MasterCard, UnionPay, American Express and Discover), but make sure that includes both debit and credit cards.
Beyond that, give customers the option of using other online payment platforms such as PayPal and Google Pay.
Keep an eye on evolving changes in the market. Mobile money is, for instance, a commonly used means of payment in some parts of the world, so an eCommerce store serving such segments must include it if it wants to stay competitive. To help make sense of your payment processing, as well as your business’ general ledger management and invoicing needs, it is best to have the support of the best accounting tools.
There’s no shortcut to eCommerce success. While a minuscule minority will achieve spectacular almost-overnight success, it’s a long, difficult and gradual climb for the majority of victors.
These tips won’t necessarily lead to a surge in ROI in weeks. However, they can get your store’s ROI steadily moving along a positive trajectory. As a small business, that will usually be more than enough.