There are no magic tricks when it comes to increasing ecommerce sales. As a small business owner, you need to put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to grow your business. Increasing sales is only one of the many different tasks you need to juggle in order to make sure your business is growing well.
That doesn’t mean you are at the mercy of the whims of your customers to grow your business. As a small business owner, you’ve probably learned more than a few tricks to keep your ecommerce cash register ringing, but in order to grow your business, you’ll need to expand your arsenal. Fortunately, there are plenty of amazing tools available to increase your ecommerce sales.
We’ve evaluated both the services you’ll need and the specific tools you can use to effectively increase ecommerce sales without compromising your work on all other aspects of running your business.
Email Marketing Newsletter
Email newsletters aren’t only the granddaddy of all online marketing initiatives, but they’re a tried and true method of increasing sales for businesses of all sizes. Personally-crafted messages deliver your sales pitch directly into your customers’ email inbox, where a large majority of consumers still spend their time every day.
Use incentives in your emails to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. By offering a discount on purchases made by using a coupon code that your customers can only get from the email, you can see how many people have opened and clicked on the links to the discount embedded in the emails, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of your email campaign.
Use personalization to connect with your customers on a more informal level of communication. By collecting first name, last name, and date of birth, you can customize the email so that your recipients can feel like you are addressing them personally. Sending a redeemable gift or other incentive on a person’s birthday is one of the more-clever – and effective – ways of building customer loyalty.
The downside to email is that your personal, meticulously crafted message is only one click away from the trash. People that receive too many emails often don’t have time to read them all, and simply send unimportant email messages to the circular file without looking at them. This makes your job harder to make your message powerful enough to give your message a second look.
Email has been around as long as the internet. That doesn’t mean it’s outdated, rather, that email is one of the best and most recognizable systems for message delivery available.
Our top picks for small business email marketing services: MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber and GetResponse.
Social Media Management
Communicating with your customer base on a regular basis is one of the keys to keeping your customers engaged. The trouble is, remembering to do it on a regular basis is not always convenient for a busy small business owner. Fortunately, there are many tools that can help you schedule your social media management and make the otherwise time-consuming task much more manageable.
There are, in fact, several companies that provide services that allow you to schedule your messages to be sent at a specific time, on a specific day. They typically allow you to register with several social media platforms at a time, so you can broadcast your message to multiple platforms simultaneously. You might even find, to your surprise, that you get more response on a social media channel you hadn’t been giving enough attention and create a completely unexpected boost in your online ecommerce sales.
If you’re not the kind of person who likes to plan ahead, using social media management tools to improve your ecommerce sales might be harder for you than necessary. Having to think about your brand message to attract ecommerce sales weeks or months in advance might not be your specialty, but you may find that after a few times, planning a few months in advance gives you more time to plan and refine your ecommerce strategy, leading to higher sales.
Planning your social media messaging is necessary in order to stay on brand and on message. By using a social media manager application, you can plan days, weeks, or even months in advance to guarantee that your customers are seeing the right messaging at the right time.
Our top picks for social media management tools: Hootsuite, Buffer, CoSchedule.
Customer Relationship Manager
Having a tool that can track your communication cycle with your customers is one of the most underutilized software platforms that can make a huge impact on your ecommerce sales. Did your competition just start growing exponentially? Chances are they went out and purchased a CRM software package, giving themselves a significant advantage over you and the rest of their competition.
Having a CRM for your small business is one of the best investments you can make to increase your ecommerce sales. With it, you will be able to track leads, sales, products, marketing campaigns, your sales pipeline, and customer communications. You will be able to automate many of the repetitive, redundant tasks that take up so much of your time, leaving you with more time to take care of the things in your business that really matter.
If you want to go the extra mile for your customers, make sure your CRM has a way to communicate with your web site. Hire a professional developer to link the two together, so you can provide your customers with a real-time service portal on your web site.
If you feel like you’re losing ecommerce business because things are falling through the cracks, invest in a CRM. It will help your small business immeasurably to shore up many of the cracks in your sales pipeline and customer communications.
Our top picks for CRM software: Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Monday.com.
Traffic Analysis Tools
Knowing how your visitors are arriving at, traveling through, and exiting your site are important elements of business intelligence that can help you improve your online ecommerce strategy. Fortunately, web sites have been logging statistics since the early days of the internet and have only improved over time.
There are numerous packages available to help you analyze your web site traffic patterns. With them, you can see where your customers come from globally, what the busiest days and times of day are for your site, what platforms they’re using and what devices they’re using to view your site. Your statistics can show you any errors that have been logged for missing pages, what search terms your visitors used in the search results that your site appeared in, and other interesting aggregate information. Tools like Google Analytics can show you the flow of traffic of visitors through your site, including which page they use to enter, which is especially useful information if you use landing pages to track advertising campaigns.
As a small ecommerce business owner, you need to be constantly studying your customers’ traffic patterns to figure out how to best get them to convert from browsing to make the sale. Using a traffic analysis provider will take the guesswork out of what your online visitors are doing, so you can concentrate your efforts on increasing ecommerce sales where they will be most effective.
Our top picks for traffic analysis tools: Google Analytics.
A/B Split Testing
When you have an idea for a marketing campaign but you aren’t sure which way to approach it, you can (and maybe should) always let your customers decide. A method known as A/B split testing is a useful tool to have in order to help you increase ecommerce sales on your web site.
An A/B split test randomly shows one-quarter of your customers your first advertising concept, and one-quarter of your customer the other concept. After a predetermined period of time, such as an hour or a day, you tally up the reactions to each of the advertising concepts. Whichever does better gets shown to the other half of your customer base. In this way, you can target your market with the more effective campaign.
If you have WordPress or some other popular web site platform, look for a plugin or extension that can provide you with this functionality. A/B split testing is also available on most of the popular email campaign sites.
Learning about what your customers like and respond to when you advertise will help you save money by focusing your campaign on what they like, rather than what you or your graphic designer think might be effective advertising.
Our top picks for A/B testing tools: Google Optimize, Unbounce, and Optimizely.
One of the newest tools in the online ecommerce sales toolkit is an artificial intelligence, or AI chatbot. This is a program that is taught how to respond to particular questions from customers that visit your web site.
For more than the last two decades, web sites have been the ultimate sales tool for businesses. Always available, always able to recall everything they were ever told, never out sick or on vacations, company web sites were terrific employees. The only thing that was really lacking was the element of human interaction.
Then along came artificial intelligence. Recent advancements in AI and machine learning technology have enabled web sites to have the ability to communicate with human customers through the use of chatbots. A chatbot is software designed to learn through teaching it about whatever it is your company wants the chatbot to know, and then be able to converse with customers using natural language. If your employees are constantly returning calls and emails of the same questions over and over again, investing in setting up a chatbot will give them more time to focus on more critical elements of their jobs.
Your customers will appreciate the effort your company makes to communicate with them in a way that is comfortable and familiar. Implementing a chatbot system to serve your customers and answer their pre- and post-sales questions will show them that you care about them and how they want to do business with you, which means more business for you.
Our top picks for chatbot services: Zendesk, Liveperson.
Sometimes, when you know what’s happening with your business, it’s already too late. Wouldn’t it be better if you knew what was going to happen before it happened? That’s what predictive analysis tools can help you do: learn what is going to happen to your business based on what has already happened.
In addition to chatbots, machine learning, another aspect of artificial intelligence, is being used to help small businesses predict how their sales are going to perform based on the valuable data that has been collected over the course of time. While the math that handles predictive analysis isn’t important, what is important is knowing the projections for your business, whether it’s ecommerce sales or some other aspect of your company.
In recent years, the availability of predictive analysis models and techniques have become available to small businesses. Find an online company that can offer you the type of predictive analysis you need for your small business. If you already have data for your ecommerce business, you can use it to predict what is going to happen.
One of the drawbacks or predictive analysis is the time that it takes to refine your prediction model to give you the most accurate forecast for your small business. If you’re considering using predictive analysis to improve your online sales, it’s best to start as soon as possible to give you enough time to get accurate predictions.
Our top picks for predictive analysis tools: Domo, Sisense.
Technology tools that were once only available to large corporations are now accessible to small business. There are many different tools that small business owners can use to improve their ecommerce sales. By using some or all of them in combination, you can give your business the power it needs to reach your customers, handle communications, and analyze different parts of your small online business. Don’t wait too long to start using these tools, so you can get ahead of your competition.