By 2016, consumers will spend $327 billion — yes, that’s a “B” — a year for online products, which is about $125 billion more than they do now, according to Forrester Research. That’s a lot of sales, and savvy webmasters want to know how to get their piece of the pie.
Here are four ways that you can increase your online sales.
1. Become a master of persuasion. An article in Businessweek describes six timeless persuasion techniques that business owners can use to influence their potential market. For example, if customers think a product or information is scarce, they’ll be more likely to want it. That’s why Amazon tells you how many items are left in stock, and why sites that offer online courses list the number of spots left until a class is fully booked. Study these techniques and then apply them to your own website.
2. Don’t just tell them about it. Although good content is important, recent studies show how vital video ads are to sales success. Robert Kyncl, global head of content at Google/YouTube, tells Forbes that video will soon represent 90 percent of internet traffic. Indeed, some 76 percent of internet marketers plan to add video to their sites [PDF] this year, perhaps because 85 percent of visitors who view product videos are more likely to buy than those who don’t. On a tight budget? Make your own video ad using a service such as SpotMixer or GoAnimate.
3. Let your customers speak for you. Encouraging user reviews on your website accomplishes two marketing feats: It creates relevant content that can boost your Google rankings, and it encourages people to buy from you. In a case study by MarketingSherpa, a coffee purveyor’s website (with about 6,000 reviews) found that visitors who interacted with those reviews had a 125 percent higher conversion rate — and spent 157 percent more time on the website — than those who didn’t.
4. Sell more by offering additional options. Upselling is the act of showing a visitor a product that’s similar to, but more expensive than, the one they’re viewing. Recent studies show that doing this on your site can drive more than 4 percent of your sales. Cross-selling, which is showing a visitor a product that’s compatible to the one they’re viewing in hopes that they’ll add it to their basket, too, has been shown to drive 3 percent of sales when it takes place on the checkout page. (This is similar to what supermarkets do when they place impulse items next to checkout lanes.) Are you suggesting more expensive items or companion items to your visitors?
Online sales have huge potential in today’s global market, but the successful “webpreneur” must take advantage of all of the marketing tactics available. Why not examine your site to see whether there’s anything you can do to increase your sales, starting today?