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Increase E-Commerce Sales with These 9 Actionable Strategies

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

There are 1.92 billion digital buyers in 2019. That means about a quarter of the world’s population now shops online.

And according to Statista, that number will rise steadily in upcoming years. They predict there will be 2.14 billion digital buyers by 2021.

This means there’s plenty of opportunity for e-commerce brands to thrive and prosper.

It’s just a matter of:

  • Offering products and services people love;
  • Running a successful marketing campaign; and
  • Creating an amazing on-site experience.

And it’s the last part that I want to focus on here—improving the on-site experience.

Of course, there are your givens like making your e-commerce site lightning fast, catering to mobile users, following navigation best practices, and so on.

But for this post, I want to focus on actionable strategies—strategies that are specific and that cover all aspects of the e-commerce experience.

So let’s get right down to it.

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1. Provide Free or Discounted Shipping

Now I want to discuss the final phase of the digital shopping process—the checkout.

There are a few common reasons why people abandon their shopping carts.

But hands down, the biggest is shipping costs.

In fact, that’s the primary reason why 63 percent of digital shoppers abandoned their carts in 2018.

Offering free or discounted shipping is a simple yet effective way to boost your conversions and increase e-commerce sales.

And if you use the right promotion—like offering free shipping once customers reach a certain threshold—you can really crank up your sales.

For instance, apparel and shoe company, 6 pm offers free shipping on orders of $50 or more.

They also let shoppers know about it by placing the offer above the fold.

And to ensure there are no misunderstandings, you should create a page where shoppers can find instant answers to shipping-related questions.

Like this.

That way they’ll feel more comfortable completing their purchase, and you should end up with fewer customer complaints.

Editor’s Note

One of my favorite (albeit little-known) cart recovery strategies is offering free shipping on orders above a certain value.

Here’s an example of an exit-intent campaign I made using our SiteData condition.

Sleeknote SiteData

2. Add a Search Bar

The first thing I feel I should touch on is navigation.

If a shopper can’t find what they’re looking for, they can’t buy it. It’s really that simple.

So you need to do everything possible to streamline the product search process so shoppers can find what they want in a snap.

One of the best ways to do that is to incorporate a search bar where visitors can type in exactly what they’re looking for.

That’s something Australians women’s online fashion boutique Amaroso does.

It’s positioned in an easy to find location which no doubt saves their shoppers a lot of time.

Simply enter your search criteria, and you instantly get relevant results.

And here’s the amazing thing about site search.

It can lead to crazy high conversions.

Research actually found that search users are 7-10 times more likely to convert than regular visitors.

That’s because this segment knows what they want and is often heavily motivated to make a purchase.

By making their search ultra simple, you should see a noticeable spike in conversions.

3. Showcase New or Relevant Items on Your Homepage

Shoppers will always be drawn to what’s fresh.

There’s something infinitely appealing about products that are brand new or in season.

And you can use this tendency to your advantage by highlighting new arrivals or relevant, seasonal items.

Menswear company, Bonobos does a great job of this on their website where the first thing visitors see when landing on it is a CTA to check out their new arrivals.

It’s early summer as I’m writing this, so clicking on the link takes me to their newest products that are perfect for warmer temperatures and really capture the summer vibe.

British fashion retailer, ALLSAINTS, does something similar by making summer clothing a focal point on their homepage.

Click through, and you see their collection of men’s shorts, which are perfect for this time of year.

This is a great way to pique the interest of shoppers and gives you the chance to bring attention to any certain products.

Perhaps the ones with high-profit margins or the ones you’re looking to move in a hurry.

4. Create an Explainer Video

Let me preface this by saying an explainer video isn’t always necessary and doesn’t make sense for all brands.

For instance, a clothing company probably doesn’t need a video to explain their products.

But for many other brands, it can be a huge help for educating consumers, which is an excellent way to increase e-commerce sales.

One study even found, “73 percent of all consumers are more likely to purchase after watching videos explaining a product or service, and 96 percent of all consumers find videos helpful when making purchase decisions online.”

If you sell items that need a bit of explanation as to how they work, their features, benefits, etc., this is an effective way to go about it.

A good example is wearable “fitness coach,” Moov.

At first glance, it’s not necessarily obvious exactly what the product does.

But they’re quick to educate shoppers with a fantastic explainer video.

This is actually the first thing you see once landing on their homepage—a CTA to watch a video on how Moov works.

After clicking on it, viewers know the ins and outs in less than two minutes.

While not necessary for all e-commerce stores, it’s definitely a content medium to consider if any of your products require clarification.

5. Use Social Proof

Social proof is a term that was created by Stanford marketing, business and psychology professor, Robert Cialdini back in 1984.

“Social proof is based on the idea of normative social influence, which states that people will conform in order to be liked by, similar to or accepted by the influencer (or society),” ConversionXL explains.

It’s something that can be applied to numerous areas of business and marketing, and e-commerce is no exception.

Incorporating content where others validate your brand is an excellent way to warm leads up and get them over the buying hump.

A good example is Beatific, a company that sells “blissfully happy” planners and journals.

Upon arriving on their site, you see that real people have recently made purchases and that Beatific is loved by more than 101,000 people.

Scroll down a bit further, and you see that it’s also loved by some notable brands including The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. 

This nod of approval from customers and big name brands lets shoppers know the company is legit and people love the product. So many of the reservations they may have had will go out the window.

6. Offer Reviews

Modern shoppers love reviews, and reviews have a significant impact on their purchasing decisions.

In one study, “90 percent of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.”

In other words, customer testimonials matter—a lot.

So why not incorporate them directly into your e-commerce store? That’s what organic tea company, FitTea does. Shoppers can quickly find a link to their “reviews” page.

After clicking on it, they can check out over 2,400 reviews to get input from actual customers to get a feel for how well FitTea’s products work.

That way they can get an objective perspective and form their own opinion of FitTea.

And assuming the bulk of the reviews are positive, it should motivate many shoppers to go ahead and complete their purchase.

But there is one caveat.

To really make this strategy work, you need to have a sizable number of reviews.

As of 2019, prospects wanted to see an average of 40 reviews before they believed a rating, which is up from 34 in 2017.

So be sure you’ve got at least 40 reviews before incorporating this feature into your e-commerce store.

7. Offer Irresistible Discounts

Who doesn’t love a good bargain?

It’s a huge motivating factor for shoppers and can serve as a powerful incentive to buy from you.

Business psychologist, Dr. Dimitri Tsivrikos has spent time examining the brain scans of consumers excited by a bargain and explains that it creates dopamine rushes when they feel an increased level of control over a transaction.

So offering discounts on your e-commerce store is an excellent way to entice shoppers, especially new ones, to take the plunge.

It’s just a matter of offering discounts that people will respond to and placing them in a conspicuous location.

Take for instance the website of clothing and accessory company MSGM.

They put their discount front and center so visitors immediately see it once arriving on their site.

Or you could use functional sportswear brand, 42|54’s strategy of offering a discount for signing up for a newsletter.

They just use a simple popup to alert shoppers of the discount.

Regardless of the approach you take, this is a simple way to increase e-commerce sales and keep your customers happy.

8. Include Security Badges

Another massive roadblock to the checkout process is security concerns.

And it’s easy to see why.

More than 6.2 million data records are lost or stolen every single day.

That’s 73 records each second.

This has created a collective unease about forking over highly sensitive payment information to e-commerce brands, especially if those companies aren’t well-known powerhouses like Amazon.

So it’s absolutely critical that you quell those concerns.

One of the best ways to do that is to include security badges to let shoppers know their data is in good hands.

Luxury accessory brand, Mulberry does a great job at this on their checkout page.

First, they have two areas that let shoppers know their personal details are secured when entering their email address.

Second, they have a section that clearly states they have a secure checkout.

It explains that their customers’ security is very important to them, and they include a security badge from one of the most trusted names, Norton.

And if shoppers want to know more about Mulberry’s security precautions, they can click on “Privacy Policy” for more details.

In a day and age where cybercrime is the norm, addressing security concerns like this is vital.

To learn more about the impact of security badges on conversions and sales, as well as which ones people trust the most, check out a previous post we wrote on this subject.

9. Offer PayPal as a Payment Option

One final way to reduce cart abandonment and increase e-commerce conversions is by simply offering PayPal as a payment option.

This payment platform has experienced significant growth over the past decade, and as of the first quarter of 2019, there were 277 million active PayPal users.

So it only makes sense that you’ll want to offer PayPal as a payment option.

And here’s the thing. It has a far higher checkout conversion rate than other platforms.

Research has even found, “PayPal transactions have a 70 percent higher checkout conversion than non-PayPal transactions.”

The main reason is because people feel more comfortable using it because it doesn’t require them to give out their credit card information.

It basically acts as a data barrier, which is something many security wary shoppers prefer.

So it’s smart to offer it to your customers.

Free Downloadable Bonus

Want More Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies?

Get access to our free CRO toolkit and skyrocket your organic traffic, on-page conversion rate and more (includes resources not found in the blog post).

Conclusion

E-commerce has witnessed major growth in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

But in order to capitalize on the rise of digital shopping, you need to provide a user-friendly experience.

Some specific things to focus on include creating seamless navigation, validating your products, offering the right incentive to buy and improving the checkout process.

Focusing on the nine actionable strategies listed here should help you overcome common obstacles and increase e-commerce sales, while at the same time raising customer satisfaction levels.

Which of these strategies motivates you the most to make a purchase?

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