Most people think that the best method to boost sales is to offer a sale or a discount. If a customer is not sure about your product, but you offer a discount, maybe they will take the leap and try it out. Maybe they will like it so much that they return to buy it again.
However, things do not usually work out that way. Typically, your sales will jump up for the duration of the sale, and then go back to normal after the sale is over. There was a study during a discount on Cornflakes that showed a 500% increase in sales during the discount. After the discount was over, sales returned to normal.
Also, during the sale, competitor products did not decline in sales at all, sometimes they even increased. This means that existing customers were probably the ones stocking up on Cornflakes, not new buyers. The sale did not attract many new buyers or buyers who typically shop other brands. Meanwhile, Cornflakes is losing money on discounted sales made to existing customers.
Instead of losing money on discounts, consider some of these other techniques for driving sales:
Sending a follow-up email to accounts with abandoned items left in their shopping cart can encourage customers to revisit. This works so well that almost half of shoppers end up completing their order. A simple email alert 3 or 4 hours after the item was put in the cart can rekindle interest. It can be something as simple as “Hi (customer), don’t forget to complete your order” with a link back to their shopping cart.
Another effective follow-up strategy is using targeted ads. A large majority of targeted shoppers will come back to complete an order because they have been reminded of what they liked about your product. Sometimes a customer can simply be distracted or interrupted while shopping. Reminding them of your product will draw them back in.
The majority of shoppers admit that if they do not get free shipping, they will not complete the order. Offering free or flat rate shipping could greatly increase the number of sales. You can even make this free or flat rate shipping seem like a discount. Customers can enter a code at check out and feel like they are getting a deal even though this is an expense you already planned for. You may even have customers who forget to use the code and pay for shipping anyway.
Free/flat rate shipping may seem like an unrealistic cost upfront, but you will most likely make enough of a profit from the bump in sales to cover the cost. Consider working the cost of shipping into the item’s price so that you will make more of a profit to cover the free shipping. This sounds like a workaround, but it will still give your customer the satisfaction of having free shipping while covering your extra expenses.
If you are a part of a highly competitive market, uniqueness is what is going to sell your product. Make your uniqueness the center of your marketing strategy to get customers to you look to you to provide the product or service.
Let’s say you are selling coffee mugs. What are the things that can make you stand out? Are they hand-painted? Are they one-of-a-kind? Are they made from a sustainable or unexpected material? Highlight the uniqueness at every possible opportunity. This detail is the thing that will make the customer choose you instead of the hundreds or thousands of other sellers.
Fast Purchase Process
Fine-tune your order process to create a smooth, fast experience for your customer. When a page is constantly crashing or taking too long to load, casual shoppers may become frustrated and give up on the entire order. Also, if it takes a long time to add other items or complete a purchase, impulse shoppers are more likely to abandon their cart.
Do not lose orders when the customer is so close to buying! If your purchase process is sloppy or slow, you have no one to blame for your low sales numbers except yourself. Put in the extra time, effort, and maybe even a few extra dollars to make sure that your system is not standing in the way of orders being completed.
While a professional marketing strategy is important, most shoppers read and compare reviews before deciding on a business to buy from. When a customer purchases something from you, especially if they are a repeat customer, send them an email requesting a review of their purchase.
Positive reviews will create confidence in your business in a way that nothing else can. Customers are always going to be suspicious that businesses are only playing up their strengths and not giving an honest depiction of the quality of a product. But, they would trust dozens of reviews from varied sources. They are more likely to trust other customers who only have a customer’s interest at heart than they are to trust a business that focuses more on its own profit.
In order to increase your sales, you will have to revisit your marketing strategy and make sure that you are creating a good customer experience at every point. Discounts are not the only way, and certainly not the best way, to draw in new and lasting business.
Focus your energy instead on things that you can make your business appear more valuable, more trustworthy – or more convenient. Once you have sold a customer on your brand, it will be much easier to receive repeat orders. A customer who took a chance on your company because they got a discount is not as likely to return. So, spend your time and energy on sales tactics that will encourage long-term relationships with your customers.
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