For growing eCommerce companies, finding reliable promotional strategies to grow (and measure) their sales can be a struggle. Running successful sales might provide revenue bumps, but it rarely leads to sustainable, long-term improvement.
Fortunately, promotional marketing strategies exist to grow sales over time organically. They don’t result in the short-term sales hike you might see from a steeply discounted product, but they do provide you with a foundation for long-standing success.
Bundle and Upsell
Upselling and bundles are the most effective way to increase your average order size. However, only a few companies approach upselling in a way that reaches maximum potential. According to an Econsultancy study, upselling is more than 20 times as effective as cross-selling online.
Let’s examine how Apple sells iPads. On their iPad product page, Apple gives customers multiple opportunities to upgrade their purchase. Not only do they direct users to different iPad models at the top of the screen, but most of the page entices customers to buy accessories that will complement their new purchase:
This represents one of several upsell-focused promotions. They dedicate a lot of screen real estate to their accessories, and other upsell opportunities on their main product page. More eCommerce companies should look for ways to bundle products together and upsell accessories after the purchase of the original product. Placing more focus on this will certainly grow sales over time. It might also have an immediate impact.
One effective strategy for increasing your average order size is offering volume promotions to your customers. A volume promotion typically provides the customer with a benefit when they reach a certain payment threshold. For instance, you might offer a 5 percent discount or free shipping on any order above $75. Amazon, for instance, offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more of eligible items. Even small volume-based promotions can push your customers toward spending a few more dollars.
Take Steps to Generate More Reviews
Anyone working in eCommerce should understand the importance of product reviews. Why then, do so many sites often feature products with less than a handful of reviews, or no reviews at all? Customers crave them. According to BigCommerce, 69 percent of eCommerce shoppers want more reviews from the websites that they buy from.
Reviews are especially critical for new products in your store. A blank review page hardly inspires confidence in your product. You should always encourage customers to leave reviews by following up through email. Some companies offer additional incentives for leaving honest reviews, such as loyalty program benefits or coupons for future items. Getting a blank review page filled will benefit the product’s sales in the long-term.
Install Referral & Loyalty Programs
Many eCommerce companies fail to realize they already have their biggest marketing asset at their fingertips—their customers. 74 percent of customers actively identify word-of-mouth as a key contributor in their purchasing decisions. Today, most referrals come through social media, where your customers can broadcast their appreciation for a product to hundreds of people…with little effort required.
Referral programs give your biggest brand advocates even more reason to recommend your products. Many of your customers will be doing so anyway, but added incentive can be the push that many need.
Loyalty programs can quickly generate positive word-of-mouth. By giving back to your most loyal customers and showing that you appreciate them, you create more brand advocates: who in turn will refer more business over time.
Additionally, loyalty programs incentivize customers to buy more products from you (in order to hit the thresholds that benefit them).
Genuinely Engage with Online Communities
There is nothing more beneficial for an eCommerce business than for the brand to become immersed in the culture and communities of their industry. Taking part in genuine discussions (without being promotional) will build your credibility within the community and keep your brand top-of-mind.
The key word here is “genuinely.” Customers and the communities they inhabit can smell self-promotion from a mile away. In fact, just participating in a community as a representative of your brand is transparently promotional. You’ll have to actively engage for long periods of time and take part in relevant discussions that won’t directly benefit your brand to win them over. Engaging directly with your customers over time will foster brand advocates and increase referrals.
Effective Promotion is a Long-Term Strategy
Promoting your eCommerce company isn’t like running a PPC campaign, where the results are immediate and measurable. You’ll often chip away at these different strategies for months before the real benefits become apparent.
When it comes to assigning resources to a new strategy, reliability can be an issue. No one likes to take a shot in the dark. The strategies outlined in this article are proven to work, but will require testing and tweaking to find the right iteration for your company.