Last Updated: June 29, 2020.
For any online business, there are two ways of getting more sales. One way is to get more traffic, and the other way is to improve your conversion rate and increase your average order value from the traffic you already have. Although it’s always wise to incorporate both strategies into your marketing plan, it is far easier to do more with the traffic you already have than it is to increase traffic – because you can never be absolutely certain how Google will rank the content that you publish.
For further evidence of that challenge, look no further than vaping sites like E-Cigarette Empire. In industries where you can’t keep your web traffic stable by paying for it on AdWords, it becomes even more important for you to take full advantage of the traffic you already have. Vaping sites use every trick in the book to maximize the value of their traffic, and you can learn a lot from them.
Do you think that you’re already doing everything you can to earn the most money possible from the traffic your business receives? Think again, because you can do much, much more. Here’s how.
Use a Content Management System Designed for E-Commerce
It really is worthwhile to invest in a content management system that’s built from the ground up for e-commerce. A free CMS like WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin can do an excellent job for an e-commerce site with just a few products.
If you have a large selection of products, though, you need a CMS that’s designed to offer intelligent product recommendations and to incorporate cross-sells and upsells into the buying experience. Most importantly, your CMS needs to make product discovery easy and help customers find the products that are likely to interest them.
Products and content are one and the same, and a content management system that understands the connections between products and helps customers find the products that are relevant is worth its weight in gold.
Invest in Clean, Fast Code and a Speedy Web Host
One of the most important things to remember about running an e-commerce site is that people expect every online store to deliver a shopping experience that’s as fast and easy as the shopping experience on a site like Amazon. If your website doesn’t display pages on visitors’ devices almost instantly, it’s safe to assume that you’re missing out on sales.
There are two ways to make your website faster. The first is by ensuring that your site’s source code is as clean as possible. Minimize your use of huge images. Use caching technology to limit database queries. Limit your use of client-side scripts. Google PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that can analyze your website and make actionable recommendations.
When you run speed tests on your website, one of the most important metrics that you’ll see is the time to the first byte. That’s the amount of time that it takes for the server hosting your website to send the first byte of information to the recipient. A slow time to the first byte may mean that your website is hosted on a slow server or that you are sharing the server with too many other customers.
In most cases, you can’t improve the time to the first byte by changing something on your website. Your hosting company needs to perform some hardware upgrades or stop overselling its shared servers.
If you can’t resolve the issue by talking to your hosting company, it’s worthwhile to consider moving to a different hosting provider because making your website faster can significantly improve your earnings.
Develop a Great Customer Reward Program
If you are using the customer loyalty program that’s built into your e-commerce platform, you’re probably making a big mistake. Any reward program that simply gives points for purchases and allows customers to trade those points for small discounts is unlikely to get much attention at all because practically every online merchant has a reward program that works in exactly the same way.
Your customers barely notice as the reward points trickle into their accounts and the fact that your customers don’t notice the reward program means that it isn’t earning you any repeat business.
You could probably do away with the points entirely without your customers noticing or caring – but you shouldn’t do that.
Instead, put some serious thought into developing a reward program that’s fun and engaging for your customers. Think about the reward programs that excite you as a consumer and do what you can to emulate those.
Here are a few examples of things that you can do to make your reward program more fun.
- Give your most loyal customers rewards that can’t be acquired by any other means. Hilton rewards loyal customers with free room upgrades and late check-out times. Sephora allows loyal customers to be the first to buy newly released beauty products.
- Allow your customers to exchange their reward points for truly meaningful discounts. Consider increasing the rate at which the most frequent buyers can accrue points. Vitamin Shoppe is an example of a company with a tiered reward program in which customers earn points more quickly based on how much they spend in a calendar year.
- Host “secret sale” events that customers can only see if they’re members of your reward program. Don’t hold a “secret sale” every week, though, or the event will stop feeling special to customers. Pick just a few times when your customers will really notice.
Do Your Part to Help With Product Discovery
It’s great to have a content management system that can provide intelligent recommendations and help with product discovery, but no one knows your products better than you – so do your part to make buying fun and help your customers discover interesting products. Offer limited-time discounts on products that you think deserve more attention.
Create bundles that encourage customers to try new products they might not otherwise have purchased. Creative marketing on your part can help to stimulate sales of products that aren’t moving, and it can also help to generate repeat business because it makes the buying process fun.