According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales accounted for nearly 15% of all retail sales in the second quarter of 2023. While customers still make purchases in-store, online shopping is a non-negotiable in today’s digital age. People value convenience and accessibility, as well as the luxury of having seemingly unlimited options when browsing and shopping online.
With all the competition in the online retail space, how do you separate your business from the bunch—and compete with big-name e-commerce sites like Amazon? In this article, we’ll outline a variety of ways you can attract new business, improve customer loyalty, and boost your e-commerce sales.
E-commerce business examples
E-commerce is a broad term that refers to an online marketplace where consumers can buy products and services. Using a digital platform, typically integrated into a brand’s website, businesses are able to offer their products for purchase and fully manage the checkout process.
Examples of e-commerce can businesses include a boutique hotel that lets guests book through their website, or an apparel and sneaker brand that sells in-store and online. E-commerce businesses can range in size and span across most industries, including B2C and B2B companies.
Some businesses may rely solely on e-commerce if they don’t have a physical storefront, while others rely on a combination of in-store shoppers and online business. Depending on the nature of your business, you may use a different strategy to market your products and services.
How to increase e-commerce sales
To reach your full potential as a business, it’s critical to have a strong online presence. Setting up an online store on your website is as simple as ever, and there are an overwhelming amount of free and affordable resources. In addition to your website and store, you’ll need to get the word out to reach the right customers—that’s where your marketing strategy comes into play.
Growing your business and increasing e-commerce sales should involve the following pillars:
- Attracting new customers
- Encouraging repeat business
- Increasing average purchase value
Let’s take a look at how your e-commerce business can improve sales and establish an effective online presence.
1. Make sure your website is up to date
The overall shopping experience should be as frictionless as possible. Make sure your website is intuitive and easy to navigate by using the latest UX tools, attractive design, fast image loading, and effortless checkout. Don’t forget to continuously re-evaluate your SEO strategy to make sure your online store is well-positioned in search results. Leveraging content marketing is a great way to step up your SEO game.
2. Optimize your mobile experience
Because so many people shop on their smartphones, make sure your website is mobile-friendly—or even mobile-first. Having an easy-to-use app can also help drive mobile sales.
3. Highlight your top products
Showcase your top-selling items on your home page or store landing page by adding an eye-catching badge or banner. Highlighting top products with customer testimonials can also act as social proof, getting more prospective customers to trust your items (see below).
4. Use customer testimonials
Prompt your customers to leave reviews after a purchase and use them as social proof. Having these testimonials makes your brand look more credible and encourages engagement.
5. Sell on other marketplaces
Don’t stick to just one e-comm website. You can reach a wider audience by selling your products on sites with heavy traffic such as Amazon, Google, Walmart, and Etsy. Social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram have also become great marketplaces.
6. Personalize your email journey
A well-thought-out email marketing strategy with segmented messaging is a must. Use it to promote specific offerings to audiences that are more likely to be interested in them. Emails are also great for sending friendly cart abandonment reminders or offering limited-time discounts.
7. Go big on social media
You can leverage social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube to reach your target audience with fun ads. Start out with an organic social presence by testing different campaigns along with retargeting ads for people who abandon their shopping carts.
8. Stand behind your products
Free returns and a money-back guarantee give a piece of mind and instill confidence in the product. In addition, offering free shipping (even with a minimum spend amount) can make or break the purchase decision, as it’s one of the top reasons customers complete a purchase.
9. Set pricing strategically
Think twice about your product pricing. Research your competitors, factor in inflation, and the overall image and level of luxury you want to convey. Don’t forget about offering seasonal discounts and promotions to help clear inventory.
10. Show, don’t tell
Using videos is a great way to demonstrate product features and show how they work. It can also help you stand out against competitors that only use photos. If you’re using YouTube to grow your marketing efforts, you can also leverage it for video testimonials from happy customers—videos are especially effective for B2B services.
11. Prioritize customer service
It should be easy for customers to contact you with product questions and concerns. Offer different ways to get in touch with your support team via phone, email, or live chat. Think about creating self-guided resources so your customers can resolve their own issues or find answers.
12. Create a loyalty program
Loyalty programs increase spending and encourage return customers. To create one, determine customer benefits and what’s required to offer them. Loyalty programs should be engaging and easy to understand.
13. Give product recommendations
Showing similar items based on past purchases or what shoppers have in their carts can encourage visitors to browse more and purchase additional items. Highlighting recommendations is a great way to upsell and cross-sell additional products to move inventory.
14. Test big changes
Use A/B testing before making any website, mobile site, or app modifications to determine which design, function, or content updates actually increase conversion before making the change.
15. Make it easy for customers to check out
The actual purchase process must be frictionless and done in as few clicks as possible. Make sure your website offers common payment options such as credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, and BNPL (buy now pay later) options.
Consider a business line of credit for your e-commerce business
Shopping online has completely transformed how customers engage with products and make purchase decisions. For online business owners, this has created exciting opportunities and its own set of challenges.
While setting up and running your e-commerce business is exciting, it can require additional funding to cover both expected and unexpected expenses. A business line of credit can provide you with a flexible solution to access the funds you need to not only cover your unexpected expenses but also scale your e-commerce business.