Hints, tips, and ideas to improve loyalty and boost conversion rates

The growth in eCommerce shows no signs of abating with global online sales expected to exceed $2.7 trillion in 2016 and 20% growth predicted for 2017.   Online shopping is now an everyday occurrence for billions of consumers worldwide who expect great user experiences, the best prices, fast delivery and the ability to buy their favourite products online using their preferred device. The result is a sector jostling with thousands of different brands, some established household names and others struggling to make their voices heard in a saturated marketplace.

There’s no getting away from it online selling is a tough business, but if you get it right there’s money to be made. But unless you are doing something different and constantly improving it’s difficult to compete with the big boys, raise awareness and drive traffic and sales to your site.

To help we’ve compiled a list of 50 great marketing tips, some advice, and ideas to help you drive more customers, improve loyalty and boost your conversion rates.  We hope you find it useful and if you need any help pay us a visit at www.wewantzoom.om or drop us a line at hello@wewantzoom.com.

 

CUSTOMER FOCUS

1) Understand your customers

It’s important to know who your customers are and what value they bring to your business. There will always be a small percentage of customers who contribute to the bulk of your sales, and it’s these frequent big spenders that require the most care and attention. Survey your customers, conduct consumer profiling and examine purchase histories to paint a clearer picture of your customer base.

2) Create buyer persona

Buyer personas can be used to better understand your typical customers. This information can be used to allocate your spend and resources to the most valuable areas. You can also use buyer personas to better communicate with your customers, adapting content tone-of-voice and the style of content delivery to match customers’ interests.

3) Test the user experience and journey

A strong user experience (UX) will help to improve dwell time and conversion rates. Test your site frequently and work to improve UX and the customer’s journey from your initial landing pages to check out. Even changing the color or position of your call to action buttons could make a difference. Test one element at a time to ensure that no other variables are having an effect.

4) Encourage Feedback

Your customers are an excellent sounding board as to what you’re doing well and what needs improvement. Encourage feedback both negative and positive, and be seen to make appropriate changes based on your customers’ responses. Your customers can provide real insights into what works and what doesn’t and their voices are being heard will help to increase brand loyalty.

5) Do a good job

Sounds simple but it’s easy to miss the basics during busy times. Amazon built their business on ensuring world class customer service and by building their reputation. Word of mouth really is the most effective form of advertising so do a great job and customers will spread the word.

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6) Be Human

Customers find it easier to engage with a brand if it has a human face, rather than remaining a distant corporate entity. You can achieve this by adopting a more conversational tone in all your communications, being proactive on social media and by using team names in social media posts and blog content.

7) React quickly

Brands that are transparent and respond to customer queries in a timely fashion are more likely to form positive relationships and benefit from improved brand loyalty. Ignoring complaints or other issues on social media only tends to exacerbate the issue and put you in a bad light.

8) Encourage customer reviews

Don’t be afraid of what customers have to say about your brand or website. If you continue to do a good job then the majority of customer reviews will be positive ones. Reach out and encourage customers to leave reviews on sites such as ReviewCentre and TrustPilot, enhancing your reputation and improving SEO.

9) Build relationships

Email marketing software makes it easier than ever to have a continued dialogue and build relationships with your customers. You can use data to personalize your comms by sending out bespoke emails based on predefined criteria, offering discounts or freebies on customers’ birthdays, or by sending reminder emails if users’ accounts have been inactive for a number of months.

10) Reward your customers

Returning customers spend 67% more than new customers on average, so it pays to create incentives to retain customers. Loyalty programs in the form of point schemes, discounts and free delivery can make for a positive addition to a returning customer’s experience.

11) Treat your VIPs

Your core of loyal, repeat customers represents the backbone of your business, so reward them and ensure that their loyalty is maintained. Identify repeat customers and big spenders, and consider implementing loyalty incentives to reward their custom. You could set up VIP discounts or consider sending out freebies after a set number of purchases.

 

USER EXPERIENCE & CONVERSION

12) Make your website fast

Slow loading pages are massively off-putting and are not good for SEO, so make sure pages are uncluttered, content is clear and images are optimised for quicker loading across all devices and formats.

13) Ensure simple & clear navigation

Keep your pages clean and clear with clear signposts and call to actions.  Give site visitors the best chance of finding what they’re looking for by dividing your products into relevant categories and sub-categories. Make these categories accessible from a clearly labeled navigation bar on your homepage and include search functionality to help customers find what they want quickly and easily.

14) Personalize the experience

Provide a ‘keep me logged’ in function to save customers the hassle of logging in each time they visit your site.  It will also allow you to personalize their experience and potentially show them products they might be interested in based on previous purchases.  This personalisation should then be extended to email communications by serving relevant, engaging content they will be interested in.

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15) Show customer footprints

The actions of previous buyers can significantly influence new customers. New visitors to your site take comfort from the fact that others have bought and reviewed your products before them. Amazon uses this shopping psychology when creating wish lists and bestseller lists, meaning that new customers can feel reassured in making the correct purchase decision based on a previous shopper’s experience. Add reviews, bestseller lists or even a ‘units sold’ metric to increase sales.

16) Be upfront with extra costs

The most common reason for transaction abandonment is encountering hidden costs. 56% of abandoned carts result from unclear pricing and shipping details. Make sure all costs are factored in upfront instead of surprising customers at the checkout.

17) Introduce a live chat function

Adding a live chat button will give you a chance to assist any users who are confused or need help. Most visitors will close a page if they can’t find the information they are looking for, so a live chat option can prevent you from losing that sale and gives you a more human side and the ability to deal with issues quickly and painlessly.

18) Take advantage of impulse selling

Emotion plays a key role in informing customers’ purchase decisions. Many retailers exploit shoppers’ tendencies to make impulse buys, creating the illusion that they have a unique opportunity to snatch a bargain – so highlight those special offers or fast moving items.

19) Upsell suggested products

Use your customers’ purchase histories to suggest products they might be interested in. Subtly upsell based on past buying behavior, but be careful not to suggest irrelevant products that will only put customers off. Upselling in this way is a great way to increase basket value and drive incremental orders.

20) Use comparison charts

Comparison charts make it easier for shoppers to quickly scan multiple products or features in one convenient location. This allows the customer to quickly identify products that fit their requirements and make a more informed purchase.

21) Make the most of your product descriptions

Don’t do your stock a disservice by providing inadequate descriptions. The description is almost as important as imagery, so see it as a chance to promote the product. Be sure to optimize this text with relevant keywords to boost SEO.

22) Label your website images

Images can generate significant traffic from image-based search engines such as Google Images. Optimizing your images with alt tags is as simple as saving them with relevant file names (e.g. ‘red woolen jumper’) and adding a short description in the image’s alt text.

23) Balance text and images

We’re visual creatures, and strong imagery is essential in the online shopping experience. However, research has found that too much visual content can encourage customers to skim read and potentially miss information. Shoppers tend to slow down and consider their purchases more carefully when presented with text. Good product descriptions are more likely to encourage customers to think about how products fit their requirements. People are also more able to remember products that are verbally described.

24) Offer native language retail

Unsurprisingly, most online customers prefer to shop in their native language than in a second tongue. If you sell overseas, consider offering native language options for some of your more popular regions. There are plenty of good value translations services out there and you’ll see conversion rates rise.

25) Create a detailed product catalogue

Quality over quantity is the key here. Taking a look at the success of leading eCommerce retailers – you’ll find that they all provide thorough product descriptions, complete with key features and specifications. High-quality product images and thorough product categorization not only helps the user to navigate products more effectively but also boosts SEO.

26) Display stock levels

Showing that an item is in high demand and likely to sell out will give some urgency to potential buyers. The idea that they might miss out can spur customers to make purchases they might not otherwise have made.

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27) Use images to reduce cart abandonment

Provide thumbnail images of the items in shoppers’ baskets instead of product names alone. Doing so increases customer confidence in their purchases and reduces the chance of cart abandonments.

28) Make your carts easy to edit

It should be simple for shoppers to add, remove or change the quantity of items in their basket before or at the checkout. If they want to go back to browse some more or potentially add more items, they shouldn’t have to start the whole process again. Make this easy them with a ‘continue shopping’ button.

29) Be transparent on refunds

36% of consumers don’t see transactions through due to be unsure of the purchase they are making. Having a clear and upfront refunds policy means customers will be more willing to invest in products they’re unsure about, helping you to convert more sales.

30) Allow multiple payment methods

Allow as many payment options as you are able. A greater number of payment options equates to more sales. Consider accepting all major credit cards as well as PayPal and other instant payment options and wallets.

31) Embrace mobile commerce

mCommerce isn’t the future – it’s now. According to Criteo, mCommerce grew to encompass 40% of global eCommerce sales during 2016. It’s a figure that’s growing all the time. If your website isn’t responsively designed or mobile optimized, then you’re already losing out on sales.

32) Enhance your delivery options

Some eCommerce retailers underestimate the importance of distribution, but in reality, this is the last link in the retail chain. It’s one of the most important stages, too, and by enhancing your delivery options you stand a good chance of winning more repeat customers. Offer next-day and same day delivery options and consider rewarding loyal customers with free upgrades.

33) Set up cart abandonment emails

Most email marketing services now offer trigger email automation, letting you automatically send tailored emails when certain conditions are met. Use this function to set up cart abandonment emails, prompting customers to continue with their transaction if they abandon their cart at the checkout. Consider offering incentives for customers to complete their transactions, helping you to win sales you’d otherwise have lost.

 

DRIVING TRAFFIC, NEW CUSTOMERS & SALES

34) Explore multi-channel selling

eCommerce has come a long way over the past few years. It’s important to diversify into multiple sales channels as new selling platforms become available. eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping and various social media platforms all offer opportunities to expand beyond your site. Take the chance to diversify and explore new sales streams and marketplaces.

35) Implement seasonal marketing plans

A marketing calendar will help you plan for the year ahead and prevent you from missing any potential seasonal opportunities. Put email and social media marketing plans in place ahead of major seasonal events such as EID, Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day and the summer school holidays – these offer significant retail opportunities and should be embraced.

36) Promote your USP

What makes your brand different? If you’re looking to build a successful eCommerce business then you need to advertise your USP to your audience. Remind your users why purchasing from you is preferable to shopping with a competitor, and be sure to repeat this USP often.

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37) Have an SEO strategy

Spend the time and effort to plan and execute a well thought out search engine optimization strategy.  It will take a fair amount of time and effort but the long term results will be worthwhile and allow you to drive significant organic traffic and reduce your reliance on paid advertising.

38) Digital Advertising

There are a vast number of digital advertising channels to choose from and it can be hard to choose the most effective routes.  The obvious route is Google Adwords for advertising the more unusual items, otherwise, it can be expensive.  Facebook ads are a great way of targeting users with specific demographics or interests and done right can be very cost effective.  The key is to try multiple channels and ads, ensure you are measuring effectiveness through to conversion and focus your spend on the best performing channels.

39) Content marketing

Content marketing isn’t just about blog posts, news articles and whitepapers. The brands that engage with their customers the most successfully do so using multimedia – images, videos, GIFs and similar – focusing on the media and type of content their customers would consume most.

40) Create a blog

Create a blog and produce new content regularly to improve your brand’s search ranking, attract readers and promote sales. Even a single short blog post every week can make a difference. Use relevant keywords and consider using multimedia content to make your blog posts more engaging. Blogging platforms such as WordPress are a great place to start.

41) Create original content

There are two main approaches to content marketing: sharing existing content and creating original content. The latter approach tends to offer the greatest long-term success, but is also by far the more time-consuming. If you’d like to create original content then consider bringing in a freelancer or a dedicated member of your marketing team to produce unique, engaging long-form content.

42) Encourage referrals

As we all know word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising so encourage it by introducing referrals schemes where both the existing customer and the referred customer get something such as 10% off their next and first order? It’s a great way to keep a steady stream of a new customer using your site.

43) Case studies and testimonials

Ask customers to write product reviews or case studies and reward them for doing so. Influencer stories or compelling testimonials will inject a human element to the purchasing experience and makes also makes for great blog content.

44) Engage in outreach and online PR

Reach out to influencers and popular bloggers in your sector. Many bloggers, YouTubers and other social media influencers will agree to review products and services, helping to boost your brand awareness and improve SEO. The influencers get free products and additional content to post on their channels, while you get a mention and a link to your site. It’s a win-win.

45) Don’t ignore email marketing

Email may be somewhat old fashioned by digital marketing standards, but it can still be effective if used appropriately. Promotional emails and marketing newsletters can help to drive sales and may offer 25%+ open rates, provided you have permission to contact your customers by email. Don’t bombard recipients with constant emails, and take the time to personalize correspondence with the customer’s name to encourage engagement. You can even organize your customer database by purchase history to ensure that each recipient receives a relevant, tailored offer. Analyze the results to find out which offers are effective and determine what your customers want to receive.

46) Spend time on social media

Most social media accounts are free to use. However, maintaining them can require an awful lot of time and effort before you generate any kind of return. Dedicate sufficient energy to social media and remember that potential customers want to see engaging content rather than a dry sales pitch. Analyze your efforts to see what kinds of posts generate the most engagement, and reward social media followers with offers, competitions, and promotions.

47) Test different social media channels

Don’t be afraid to experiment with social media, nor to abandon those experiments if they aren’t working as well as you’d hoped. Create a variety of profiles across all of the most popular social networks, and use analytics to determine which are worth persevering with and which aren’t. Once you’ve found the best networks for your business and your customers you can allocate your time that much more effectively.

48) Big yourself up

Has your business won any awards, got some great PR or perhaps earned some particularly favourable reviews? Sharing your achievements on your site, through email newsletters, and via your various social media channels will show your company in a positive light, increasing consumer confidence in your brand.

49) Run competitions and free prize draws

Consider introducing competitions where customers are encouraged to like and share on Facebook, submit content or images or write product reviews. You’ll get some good reach and awareness from this type of low-cost activity and it will boost engagement, helping to enhance brand loyalty.

50) Track, measure and analyze everything

It’s no use doing all the right things if you don’t know why you’re doing them, or what effect they’re having. Use Google Analytics to its full potential, setting up conversion funnels to view the customer journey and identify the places where most customers drop out.  Make alterations to your site and determine what impact they have. If you run any pay-per-click or digital ads, ensure you have tracking in place to measure ad performance and better focus your resources towards the most cost effective channels.

SUMMARY

Selling online is competitive, and one where success is by no means guaranteed. With attitudes to eCommerce changing and new technologies emerging all the time online retailers can’t afford to stand still for long. By applying just a handful of the above tips you can bend the odds in your favour, helping to retain your most loyal customers, win new ones and convert more site visits to sales.

 

If you’d like help executing and implementing any of the above ideas or want to discuss your business and objectives get in touch with use here at Zoom Digital and we’d be more than happy to help.