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E-commerce isn’t just a numbers game but it certainly helps to bring more sales through the door.

If you know Purpose Media, you know we emphasise the importance of finding your ideal audience and attracting the right kind of customers – but sometimes, you just want to see cold, hard figures and increase the number of sales to your e-commerce site.Cookie jarHere are three powerful tips to improve your sales:

  1. Establish a problem (and solution)

Your website visitors have found you, for the most part, because they have a problem.

The percentage of e-commerce sales resulting from online search is rising. As a result, it’s getting easier to find the right results faster. Algorithms are increasingly intelligent and e-commerce businesses are getting more astute with how they market themselves.

It’s therefore important to switch your mentality. Focus on your website visitors, not your products.

By concentrating on the journey that visitors are taking, on your website and before, you’ll be able to streamline their time on site and move them towards the sale.

One of the easiest ways of doing this is considering your products from a customer perspective. Ignore the features, what are the benefits? What problems do they solve?

Once you know these problems, you can tailor your website copy around how your product solves them. Relate with your visitors rather than throwing out a list of specifications and trademarks.

  1. Instil urgency

Imagine you’re browsing online for a new TV package, you have your heart set on a full bundle – sports, films, kids, boxsets – but you want to shop around for price first.

You drill it down to two stores selling the exact same package, but one is offering a limited-time price discount. It’s not much, but it’s enough to swing you towards that retailer. It’s also time-sensitive enough to make you hurry to the checkout.

Why? Partly because there’s a genuinely better offer on the table price-wise, but also because urgency and the fear of missing out has helped speed up the sale.

Urgency has been around in sales for generations, and with good reason – it works. A limited-time discount makes the offer look fleeting so that customers are compelled to seize the opportunity.

It’s not exactly Machiavellian, but it is a gentle push towards the checkout. If you’re not a fan of this way of thinking then there are other ways to implement urgency.

If you’re buying shoes, for example, and want a size 10 pair. You get to the product page and size 11 is greyed out with an ‘out of stock’ message, it immediately places the thought of urgency into your mind.

There’s no misleading or dishonesty here. But if that size 11 option wasn’t shown, the sense of urgency would have be missed.

It’s beneficial to the customer to demonstrate when stock is running low, but as scarcity goes up, so does perceived value.

In 1975, there was an experiment to test the effects of supply and demand on ratings of object value. Worchel, Lee and Adewole experimented with 200 undergraduates who rated the value and attractiveness of cookies that were either in abundant supply or scarce supply.

The results indicated that cookies in scarce supply were rated as more desirable than cookies in abundance. The same applies today in e-commerce.

  1. Focus on appearance

While your website copy can see a visitor through the sales funnel, the appearance of your website can do wonders for grabbing attention, establishing authority and improving user experience.

There are a number of benefits to using high-quality imagery on your website. You’ll be helping your customers by showing them exactly what they’ll be getting; you can even provide additional views and angles to demonstrate detail. If you have the resource available, think about providing video content on your most profitable products to further drive sales and reduce returns.

increase sales onlineImagery can also give your products context. In photography, the term ‘hero shot’ is used for a product or video that clearly shows the benefits and context of use. Often used on product landing pages, they should effectively make your shopper relate to the use of your product, as they see themselves in the picture.

But appearance is not all about glossy photos and clever imagery, it’s about making your website and product pages user-friendly.

Think about the following changes when you format your copy, and you’ll help improve the experience users have on your site:

  • Bold and italics – emphasise your point and improve readability (be aware that underlines usually signify links!)
  • Bullet points – break up your text and make the key points clear
  • Spacing – don’t cram text wherever it fits; white space is not your enemy!
  • Paragraph length – varied paragraph length will make your text more conversational and visually appealing
  • Sub-headers – break up your copy and see benefits to your search engine optimisation

You don’t need to spray your text with bullet points or embolden every other word – just think about making it as easy for visitors as possible.

The important takeaway here is that no one wants to read a block of text when buying online. The more you keep visitors engaged, the more likely you are to make the sale.

Unless your product is extremely technical and requires paragraphs of detail – even then, it’s debatable! – you need to make it ‘scannable’. Consider formatting, spacing and layout, so visitors can find the information they want in as little time as possible.

Appearance isn’t all about showing off your polished branding, it’s also about creating a solid user experience. One that makes it easy and instinctive for your website visitors to get the info they need and move onto the checkout.

Conclusion

E-commerce and digital marketing is always evolving so this is just the tip of the iceberg… but don’t underestimate the fundamentals.

Thinking like your customers, dabbling with urgency and improving your website appearance are all great places to start; and all three can be relatively cheap to implement. From there, you can start to consider who your ideal customers are and how you can tap into the latest digital marketing channels.

If you’d like help in improving your online sales and bringing a greater return on investment, get in touch with us and see what options would be right for you!

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Posted by Katrina Starkie