Research shows that holiday spending is on the rise. Last year saw an increase of up to 4.8% over the previous year, and e-commerce businesses are benefitting from the trend. Shoppers now embrace online shopping and 61% of consumers are willing to buy from new retailers during the holidays.
The holiday season is a great time for your e-commerce business to attract new leads while satisfying the needs of your current customers. It also presents the online e-commerce retailer with an opportunity to provide consumers with seamless experiences as they move down the sales funnel from the intent phase to the purchasing phase with personalized and perfectly timed offers.
Over the past four years, I’ve worked with a hundred thousand different e-commerce stores. I’ve witnessed the following three strategies help increase sales year after year, and they can be utilized by your e-commerce site too.
1. Expand your product depth through the use of print on demand
In every store we’ve studied and worked with over the past four years, there comes a time when selling the same product type starts to give diminishing returns. Any time your sales go down, the chances of growth become slim. Even the most engaged audience will reduce their purchases after they’ve bought a dozen T-shirts from you, even if the new design you’ve released is impressive. Introducing new product types helps reinvigorate your audience, and this is what print on demand offers your audience.
Whether you are looking to sell some merchandise, test a new product or sell something to a niche market, print on demand is the best way to do it. Unlike traditional print technology, print-on-demand technology has evolved to a point where there are hundreds of different products you can make with no upfront investment in inventory.
For your e-commerce business, you can use print on demand to expand the types of merchandise you offer, from clothing to key chains and mugs. You get maximum benefits with little risk to the business. The diversity of products you offer your customers will keep your current customers coming back, leading to increased loyalty. You will also increase your leads through marketing and brand ambassadorship stemming from your loyal customers. Customers love sharing great offers on their social media channels, and as a result, there will be a bigger chance of them bringing others to your store.
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2. Personalized products are in high demand
Personalization has become increasingly important as technology evolves. The consumer today is also empowered by technology and social networks. As a result, they dictate their needs and expect retailers to meet them. In fact, 63% of consumers see personalization as part of a standard service from businesses.
According to a Deloitte report, consumers are willing to pay a 20% premium for personalized products. They want unique products and they want to be involved in the creation process. Another Deloitte research showed that in some categories, more than 50% of consumers were interested in customizable products. So instead of selling an item that one can compare to other brands or items, you can offer them something that’s 100% unique to them, making it easier to sell.
Product personalization provides your customers with unique concepts and designs that give you a competitive edge. The customer can design their product online, giving them the freedom to give it a personal touch. One company that does this well is Nike, which allows its customers to personalize their shoes. When you give customers the opportunity to design their items, they spend more time on your site than they would if they were making an average sale. The customer is also more likely to buy a product they designed. Once customers receive their orders, they are likely to become loyal and trusted customers who become brand ambassadors for your business.
Offering to customize products to meet customers’ preferences gives you access to their data. 83% of consumers are even willing to share their data to allow companies to offer them personalized experiences. With personalization, consumers get better value for their money and a sense of ownership. Today, mass personalization has been made possible at a lower cost due to the technology advancement in the manufacturing and distribution industry. An example of this is 3D printing, which has completely changed the game. Everything is now efficient, thanks to technology.
Post-purchase upsells and downsells are a must
Advertising costs are one of the most substantial expenses from the stores we’ve studied. One of the best ways to improve your return on ad spend is to increase your average order value. Upselling works best after the customer has made a purchase. The idea is to showcase products that complement what the customer has already bought. The upsell also encourages customers to spend more money on your site by taking advantage of discounts and offers.
Trying to use upsells before a customer has committed to buy has unreliable results. You have not built up any trust with the customer and are already offering them more products to buy. They are unsure if they want to buy from you in general and now you are asking them to buy an additional product. However, with post-purchase upsells, the consumer has already decided to purchase from you; they trust your site and have provided you with payment information. Use upsells to make them feel special and comfortable, do not make it all about the money.
With upsells, you grow lasting relationships with your customers and increase your revenue. Our clients have seen as high as a 10% conversion rate from post-purchase upselling, and it should be a strategy you implement this holiday season.
Here are the keys to successful upselling:
- Suggesting relevant products based on what the customer purchased.
- Offering products that will cost the customer only 25% more on their original purchase.
- Timing the upsell right. You don’t want to be pushy or miss the opportunity. Create trigger-based rules that show the customer the right message at the right time.
- Become selective about how you use upselling. Choose the right products for an upsell and do not flood the customer with upsell products. Limit the opportunities to about 30% of your products.
In case your customer decides not to buy anymore, for budget issues perhaps, then you can always use down sells. Show them something else that’s cheaper and better if possible. Keep them involved in the sales process. Even though the customer won’t leave with what they had first intended, you will still make some money by selling them something. After that experience, there’s a better chance that they will make a return visit.
The key is to pay close attention to customer behavior on your site. Look for incomplete purchases, abandoned shopping carts, close button clicks or incomplete purchases. Try to ascertain why they are performing these actions using surveys. For example, did the customer abandon the purchase due to the price, different interests or was your offer complex? Trigger the behavior and offer downsells using email marketing, exit pop-ups or one-time offers.
With downsells, you need to be careful. They are difficult to implement, and the customer may be declining the original offer to get a cheaper offer later. You may also annoy them with the emails and pop-ups, leading them to view your business as desperate to make a sale.
According to a Gartner survey, companies will now be competing on a customer experience basis. As this competition for consumers increases, it becomes even harder for businesses to engage with their consumers. To increase sales during this holiday season, you need to offer your customers great experiences. Offer genuine interactions that meet the customer requirements and needs at every touchpoint. Invest in analytics to help you know what your customer wants and doesn’t want. With this information, you can adapt the tactics mentioned above to respond according to your customer needs. You can then nurture your customers while growing their trust and loyalty.
As a business owner, your customer is the most important person. If you can develop and maintain a good relationship with them, you will attract more of them and they will become your brand ambassadors. With the strategies I have mentioned, selling a product or service on your site will no longer be as hard as it has been in the past. Using these strategies during this holiday season will boost your online store revenue and strengthen your relationship with your customers.