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15 Growth Ideas for Boosting Ecommerce Sales

Now that we’ve entered into Q2, it’s a good time to stop and briefly think about the specific actions you’ve taken to drive ecommerce sales so far this year, and what you’re going to do differently in the months ahead.

With only a little over 8 months left in the year, you don’t have a lot of time to waste—you have to start compiling and working through a list of growth ideas that you can implement to fuel real growth and profits for your ecommerce business.

So where to begin? Here are 15 quick growth ideas to consider:

1. Implement a Chatbot

Add a chat bot to your website to catch interested customers before they leave. Chatbots can help you keep your overhead down by acting as virtual salespeople or customer service team members for your ecommerce business. As opposed to actual human beings, chatbots can work 24 hours a day, and can answer questions while the rest of your team sleeps. Chatbots not only help you answer questions, they also help you qualify leads and understand who you should be following up with, what their interests or objections are, and what you need to do to convert them.

Recommended Tool: Driftbot

2. Launch a Physical Product Catalog

The jury may still be out on the effectiveness of this one, but I think it’s still worth trying. That’s the conclusion I came to after speaking with a few experts in the industry earlier this month. These days, online consumers are absolutely flooded with advertisements, emails, and offers from ecommerce companies all competing for their business. Physical catalogs can help you differentiate from competitors, cut through the noise, and get your customers thinking more about your products again.

Keep in mind: physical catalogs are not what they used to be. In order to be effective, you have to be willing to hire professional photographers, designers, and storytellers to help you craft a catalog that accurately and fully represents your brand, features your products, and compels your audience to act.

Recommended Reading: The Case for Using a Physical Catalog to Boost Ecommerce Sales

3. Create a Downloadable Resource

To be successful in the ecommerce space today, you can’t just sell products—you also have to provide value. Content marketing needs to be a piece of your overall marketing strategy. Content marketing helps you build brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website, and leverage yourself as an expert in your industry. But content marketing should also be used to qualify and nurture leads down your funnel.

That’s where the downloadable resource comes into play. Downloadable resources are ebooks, checklists, worksheets, guides, or any other form of helpful, original content that you create for your blog. These are rich, valuable resources that you offer to your audience in exchange for their email addresses.

Remember: there’s no sales strategy here—at least not immediately. Your goal is simply to create content that your audience will find valuable enough to want to download. Once you have their email address, your goal is to continue providing them with free value, build an ongoing relationship with them, and in time, start presenting them with enticing offers that drive them to your product pages.

Recommended Tool: Sumo List Builder 3

4. Run a Contest

Boost brand awareness, drive traffic, and connect with more potential customers by creating and launching a big giveaway on your blog. To get the most ROI from this idea, you need to be willing to spend money on a great prize. You shouldn’t have a lot of prizes to offer people who enter—instead, just promote one amazing reward that will give you the attention and list growth you’re ultimately looking for. Your prize should relate to your industry or products in some way.

For example, you could give away a year’s supply of one of your products, or you could incorporate your products into a themed gift box that also includes other products that you think your customers would love.

Use social media and email to promote your contest and drive traffic to the blog post where your contest entry form lives. Give yourself enough time to promote your contest before it actually goes live.

Recommended Tool: Gleam Competitions

5. Send Thank You Cards

Surprise your ecommerce customers by sending them actual handwritten thank you cards after they purchase products from you. You can either include these cards in the same package that your product comes in, or you could send it separately a few days later. Your goal is to illustrate to your customers how much you appreciate their business and value them as customers.

Again, this is a gesture that online consumers won’t expect from a company that they never actually interact with in person. It’s an easy way to differentiate from competition, and it often results in the recipient taking a photo and sharing about it on their social media channels.

To get even more ROI from this idea, include a unique promo code or special offer in your thank you card that drives your customer back to your shop to buy from you again.

Recommended Reading: 18 Inexpensive Customer Delight Ideas Worth Trying to Fuel Business Growth

6. A/B Test Your Homepage

If you’re not taking the time to launch A/B tests on your homepage, your missing out on learning valuable information about your visitors, and you’re also potentially missing out on sales. A/B tests don’t have to be overly-complicated—you can test something as simple as the placement, size, or color of your primary Shop Now button.

If you’re comfortable and capable, you can also do more advanced A/B testing that involves things like creating an entirely new layout for your homepage, cutting out or adding new sections, or personalizing content based on visitors.

Recommended Tool: Optimizely

Recommended Reading: The Beginner’s Guide to Simple A/B Testing

7. Hire a CRO Consultant

If you want to do more testing on your ecommerce website but you’re not quite sure where to start, hire a Conversion-Rate-Optimization (CRO) consultant or agency. A CRO consultant can evaluate your business and audience from an outsider’s point of view, and use their industry experience to make recommendations about what kind of tests to launch on your website.

The CRO consultant you ultimately hire should be obsessed with data, knowledgeable about your industry, comfortable with building tests using software like Optimizely, and capable of evaluating results and helping you make informed decisions based on the outcome of the tests you run.

Recommended CRO Influencer to Follow: Devesh Khanal (@deveshkhanal), founder at Growth Rock

8. Add Upsell Messaging to Your Confirmation Emails

Online consumers get a lot of emails. A lot of them get ignored or deleted, but there is one category of emails that has a fairly high open rate: order confirmation, shipping confirmation, and receipt emails. Why? Because shoppers want to confirm what they ordered, make sure they got all their information right, and find out when they can expect to see the products they ordered show up on their doorsteps.

Because these emails tend to have fairly high open rates, it creates an opportunity for you as an ecommerce marketer to drive more sales. Your customers are excited when they order products from you—use it to your advantage by using your order confirmation emails as sales tools. The simplest way to do it is by including similar or recommended product advertisements with CTA messages and product page links at the top or bottom of the order receipts you send to customers.

Recommended Tool: Spently

9. Utilize FOMO

To drive more sales, make website visitors feel like they are missing out if they leave without buying from you. Or, better yet, make them feel like they will become part of an exclusive community if they buy products from you.

In ecommerce, Fear-of-Missing-Out (FOMO) can be an incredibly effective way to drive visitors to take action. FOMO is a psychology-backed concept that basically says that people will take action if they believe not taking action would either result in them missing out on a reward that other people around them are getting, or experiencing any sort of social anxiety as a result of not taking action.

To use FOMO to your advantage, add social proof statements to your website and other marketing material. Examples of social proof statements include customer reviews, amount of inventory sold, testimonials, frequency at which inventory is sold, or even when an item was last purchased by someone else.

Recommended Tool: Fomo

10. Leverage User-Generated Content

To convince new website visitors to buy from you, it’s not enough to have a functional website, compelling copy, and rich product imagery. To build trust, you need to show potential customers that there are other people out there who have purchased from your website in the past—and that these people love your products. You can build trust by placing testimonials and reviews in different areas throughout your website, but you might find that a effective way to convince people that yours is a company and shop they can trust is by featuring user-generated content on your website.

User-generated content is content that your customers create—in the form of videos, photos, and text. User-generated content should feature your products, but the purpose isn’t to sell. The purpose of featuring user-generated content on your website is to help prospective customers relate to the experiences that other people are getting to experience as a result of buying and using your products.

To get your customers to share or send you photos of themselves using your products, create a unique hashtag for your ecommerce shop, or incentivize participation by offering rewards and promo codes to anyone who shares a photo and tags your store on social media.

Recommended Reading: 4 Tactics to Drive Traffic and Sales With User-Generated Content 

11. Launch a Rewards/Referral Program

You can also drive more sales in the next few months by launching an official rewards/referral program for your ecommerce store. A rewards program offers buyers perks based on how often they buy from you or how much they spend. A referral program offers customers perks based on how many friends and family members they can get to successfully buy products from you. The key to making either of these types of programs successful is to make the rewards compelling enough, and to make using the program (spreading the word) incredibly easy and pain-free for anyone who wants to participate.

Recommended Tool: RewardStream

Recommended Reading: How To Fast Track Customer Growth With A Referral Program

12. Sell on More Channels

If you haven’t branched out to selling your products on other channels like eBay, Etsy, Amazon, or others, now is the time to start. In the past, the idea of keeping track of inventory across multiple platforms might have seemed like a nightmare to many, but thanks to delightfully simple multichannel management software solutions like Sellbrite, tracking  and syncing inventory across multiple channels is a piece of cake.

Recommended Tool: Sellbrite

13. Launch a Content-Focused Email Series

As mentioned earlier in this post, you need to be working to leverage yourself as a value-provider in order to connect with more people, build more trust, and sell more products. One easy way to do it is by launching a content-focused email series for any subscriber who chooses to sign up for your email list. These emails should ultimately focused on education and should relate to your products or industry category.

A typical education-focused email series might contain anywhere from 5 to 12 emails, all addressing a different topic. Alternatively, your email series could continue indefinitely—you could send a new email out to your subscribers each week with a focus on providing value and free education.

Remember: your goal with an eduation-based email series is not to sell. Your goal is to nurture relationships with your list, offer value to them, position yourself as a resource, and help them understand who you are, who your customers are, and why they should care.

Recommended Tool: ConvertKit

Recommended Example: Beardbrand (opt into their list and watch for the educational emails)

14. Test Facebook Live

As Facebook Live continues to grow in popularity, more brands and influencers are using it as a new way to connect with and sell to customers. If you want to sell more product in the next few months, give Facebook Live a try. You can use it to:

  • Give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your operation
  • Feature and unbox your most popular products
  • Launch new products
  • Tell stories about your employees, your customers, and yourself
  • Engage with customers that you will likely never meet in person

Recommended Tool: Mevo – a camera that allows you to edit video in real-time while the live stream is taking place. 

15. Incorporate Pop-Ups on Your Website

Finally, if you aren’t using them already, consider using pop-ups on your ecommerce website. Pop-ups can help you announce special offers, capture email addresses of new visitors, catch potential customers before they leave your website, and direct potential customers to products they would be most interested in. With most pop-up software tools, you can do a fair amount of advanced targeting and customization when building your pop-ups. This can ultimately help you ensure that you’re putting the right messages in front of the right people.

Recommended Tool: WisePops

Over to You

What other ideas have you been implementing or testing to boost sales? Tell me in the comments below.

William Harris William Harris is leading content at Sellbrite and is also the Founder & Growth Marketer of Elumynt, LLC., VP of Marketing and Growth for a top 700 online retailer and former head of Marketing for When I Work, a VC backed SaaS company. William is also a contributor to leading publications like The Next Web, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, and Sellbrite and a speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, search engine optimization, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding. Follow William on Twitter (@WmHarris101), LinkedIn, and Google+.