10 creative ways to get more turnover from your online store
Everyone looking to generate more turnover from their online store is seemingly limited to the same few channels. Social advertising? Check. SEO? Check. E-mail marketing? Check. The marketing mix of a modern online store feels a lot like a checklist, because your customers should be able to find you through all channels, right? Fortunately, there’s always room for some creativity. In this blog we gathered 10 creative ways and channels to get more turnover from your online store.
1. Be there for your customer early in the purchase process
The online product purchasing process can take weeks, sometimes months. Certainly for complex or expensive products such as bicycles, furniture, laptops or a handbag.
Modern consumers are doing more extensive research, comparing countless alternatives and delving deep into customer reviews. Successful online stores recognize this process and ensure that they respond to customer needs early in the first phase of a purchase: for example in the form of a decision aid, or tools for comparing multiple products. Longer blog posts in which products are objectively compared are also ideal, all the more because they do wonders for search engine findability.
2. Collect e-mail addresses pro-actively
For online retailers, e-mail remains one of the channels with the highest conversion and return-on-investment. Where you struggle with competitors on social media and in search engines to be shown at the top, e-mail provides more certainty for direct contact.
E-commerce marketers therefore have a lot to invest in a growing e-mail database. A popular means of achieving this is a pop-up on your online store. A few tips:
- Only show the pop-up to new visitors, and hide it (for a number of days) when customers click away.
- Adjust the pop-up to the page (“Be the first to know about our sale on garden furniture? Sign up for the newsletter!”).
- Display the pop-up after the visitor read a number of pages, or with a short delay. This way the visitor can first look around.
- You can also have pop-ups activated automatically if a visitor seems to be leaving a online store, based on scrolling or clicking behavior.
- Seduce visitors in the pop-up with a give-away with their first order (above a certain value).
3. Turn customers back to abandoned shopping baskets via e-mail
Another reason why collecting e-mail addresses (with opt-in) is so important: they pave the way for AVG-resistant e-mails about abandoned shopping baskets. Because no matter how well you organize your check-out process, there is always a majority of visitors who leave their shopping cart without paying – on average 75%.
This can have various causes such as dissatisfaction with shipping costs or the delivery date. But also technical problems or temporary distractions. With a series of short e-mail reminders you increase the chance that these shopping cart leavers will still make a purchase. Tip: test with dynamic discount codes. The feeling of personalization and urgency can sometimes make the difference.
4. Use User Generated Content
Standing out in a market with growing competition requires a strong, authentic brand. A “feeling” that distinguishes your brand from others.
To create this feeling, many brands now turn to user-generated content – photos and videos from real customers. Refreshing content in a time of sleek marketing images and stylized product shots. For example, integrate the user-generated photos of a “product in action” on a product page, or use the best content in your own social campaigns.
Nikon successfully uses user-generated content by photographers to build a community around its brand
The benefits of this content go beyond creating a good feeling. UGC makes a concrete contribution to conversion and brand preference. For example, 70% of consumers trust user-generated expressions more than professional messages. They show that “real customers” are hidden behind an online store. Campaigns with user-generated content result in a 29% higher conversion.
Hema encourages customers to share their product photos
Successful online retailers think beyond transactions. It’s all about returning customers. Subscriptions are the ultimate weapon in the battle for repeat customers. 15% of online consumers are already subscribers to one or more services, where they receive products on a recurring basis.
The subscriptions come in three categories:
- Consumables such as razor blades, socks or flowers.
- Specially selected products by “tastemakers” or stylists – think of clothing, specialty beers or cosmetics
- Premium service subscriptions – think of VIP access to a new collection, or unlimited free shipping.
Consider if one of these formats also fits your online store. For example, analyze which products generate the most repeat purchases, and ask yourself “does a subscription to this product make sense?” Maybe you have the next subscription hit.
6. Live-chat as a sales channel
A good salesperson does exactly that – sell. Translate the abstract customer needs to a concrete purchase. This mechanic works the same way for online. You can put this in practice with a live chat tool on your website, which is often only used for customer support. By engaging with your customer in a pro-active manner, tailored to the very page they are on right now, conversions can rise significantly. Compared to regular visitors, visitors that chatted are 82% more likely to convert, and will spend 13% more on average.
7. Sell via platforms
The e-commerce landscape now has dozens of platforms where third parties sell their products in exchange for commission. Perfect if you want to reach a huge target group without too many marketing costs. In the Netherlands, 16% of online buyers are already starting their search on such platforms today. If we follow the United States, this percentage can rise to more than 50% (Wunderman Thompson Commerce, 2018). In addition, a third of Dutch consumers end up on marketplaces via search engines when buying online.
- Bol.com – the Netherlands’ largest marketplace. Lots of competition, but huge reach.
- Amazon – A huge marketplace that is market leader in, among others, the US, Germany, France and England. It seems that Amazon will also focus on the Netherlands in the coming years.
- Blokker – One of the Netherlands’ longest-running retail formulas is also transforming into a platform.
- VidaXL – online department store specialized in living & garden. Active in 27 European countries, Australia and the US.
Stay aware of possible disadvantages. The platforms do not leave a lot of room to build on your own brand and provide little data about the online behavior before purchasing. There is also little to prevent platforms from copying your successful product range. So primarily consider the platforms as an extra (marketing) channel, while you continue to invest in your other channels and brand.
8. Don’t force customer to create an account
Bron: Baymard Institute, 2018
If we look at the most important reasons for consumers to leave their shopping cart, we find that after high additional costs (which you as an online store can do little about), comes being obliged to create an account to pay. A wake-up call for all online stores that require customers to register: nothing is more annoying than coming up with a password that must meet all kinds of strict requirements, or worse, forgetting your password when you return next time. The simple advice: increase your conversion by always offering customers the option of paying as a guest.
9. Social media: from inspiration to sales channel
For a long time, social media were mainly seen as a channel to work on a brand or to inspire customers. Directly identifiable sales from social channels remained a rarity.
This image changed when sellers achieved success with product retargeting on Facebook, where doubting customers were reminded of previously viewed products.
Now the next evolution in social e-commerce is about to begin. From this year on, virtually every social platform will use its reach for direct commercial opportunities. A buy button next to the like button.
A few examples of social commerce:
- Facebook has already become a fully-fledged sales channel for many online stores, aided by the strong Facebook Messenger functionality.
- Inspiration platform Pinterest has allowed Dutch companies to advertise since the beginning of 2019, with advertorials that merge seamlessly with the other “pins” on a mood board.
- Since 2018, Instagram has had Dutch accounts directly linked their product pages to images, so that the chance of selling from Instagram increases considerably.
- Snapchat is now testing with influencers who sell directly via the app.
- Google will also allow advertisers to advertise in Google Images, whereby products can be directly linked to images.
This creates plenty of opportunities, but stay sharp when using this. Don’t fall for the temptation to turn your social channels into a second online store, at the expense of your brand experience.
10. Convince your customers with the rights tactics
Psychologist Cialdini describes six tactics to convince people to perform certain behavior:
- Reciprocity – give people something (free), and they give something back
- Social proof – we trust the opinion of others.
- Consistency – we like to behave consistently with earlier behavior
- Sympathy – we fall for people and brands that we find sympathetic
- Authority – we believe authorities faster
- Scarcity – scarcity makes products or services even more desirable
These principles are still very valid today and can be perfectly applied to e-commerce. Certainly with the current options for segmentation and personalization. More and more online stores are therefore dividing their customer database into their sensitivity to every tactic. Who do I persuade with temporary promotions? Who do I convince with reviews from other buyers? Tools like Datatrics give marketers real-time insight into the best tactics for every customer – the basis for better mailings and smart personalization of a website.
If you browse through a large webshop with the tactics of Cialdini in mind, you will find them everywhere. For example, Amazon is full of texts about products that are “almost sold out” (scarcity), receive many product reviews (social proof) or are “Amazon’s choice” (authority).
Be creative, choose your channels wisely, increase your turnover
The options for e-commerce marketers are overwhelming. The number of channels is growing by the day. Optimization never comes to an end. So: keep a close eye on the sales and marketing channels that you invest in, and only choose the channels that you can really fill in properly. Live chat only works if you respond at lightning speed. User-generated images are nice for home décor items but less for office items or electronics.
The fact remains that there are always new and surprising ways to stand out in a crowded market. Online stores that used mobile commerce years ago are now reaping the benefits. Start-ups with razor subscriptions have gained 20% market share in a market dominated by multinationals. There are always ways to get more sales from an online store, even today. How do you innovate?