Tips to help your online business sell more

The goal of every eCommerce retailer is to consistently grow the bottom line. But is your online store working hard enough at driving sales? Here’s what you need to know to maximise its full potential.

eCommerce is booming in Australia, with online sales now making up close to 10% of traditional retail spending (PDF 4.2MB). With the number of online sales growing by 20% last year, up from 19.2% in 2017 (PDF 4.2MB), it’s a market that offers huge opportunities to businesses of all sizes, including microbusinesses.

Here are four tips to help you tap into the full potential of your eCommerce store.

1. Improve your customer’s shopping experience

Many eCommerce sites try to replicate the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience, allowing customers to browse through their product range and have a closer look at products that interest them. Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts and Rusty Surfboards are good examples.

Help your customers find what they want by making sure your site allows them to search product names and descriptions. As your prospective customers won’t be able to touch, feel and smell your products you should compensate for this by including photos from multiple angles, a magnifying tool, detailed descriptions, customer reviews and, if possible, product videos.

Gold Coast-based business Plants in a Box used professional photographers to capture images for the online plant business. “Images are a high priority not only for our website but for our social media channels. Photos give our customers and potential customers a vision for what they can do with their plants,” says co-owner Debbie Prince.

2. Learn from customer data insights

One of the great benefits of selling online is the amount of data you can collect about customer behaviour, which you can use to refine your website and improve your customers’ shopping experience.

In particular, you can use analytics data to see how your customers enter and leave your site. For example, your analytics tools might show you that people are visiting your homepage but not looking at any of your products and this could be a sign the site navigation isn’t working as well as it should.

Another example is that your analytics tools might show that your customers put products in the cart, but leave before completing their purchases. You might then see what you can do to streamline your purchasing process, perhaps by letting customers create a customer account that stores their payments and shipping details which will allow for a quick and easy checkout in the future.

Celeste Robertson of Natural Supply Co relies on web analytic tools as a great resource. She says, “I use these tools so I can see who is on our site at any given moment and see what they are looking at. It's very satisfying to be able to track and analyse the success of our online shop; and I actually end up looking at it countless times throughout the day.”

3. Convert potential sales into completed sales

You can also draw on customer information to show previous visitors advertisements that contain products and services that they viewed but didn’t buy.

Known as dynamic remarketing or retargeting, it is an effective way of prompting customers to buy a product you know they’re interested in.

A product retargeting solution uses a small piece of code, placed on the pages of your website, to anonymously track which products your shoppers are interested in and then takes the data and targets those customers who’ve left your store empty-handed.

Your advertisements can also offer discounts as an incentive which could help get customers over the line.

4. Extend your reach

When you’re happy with the way you’re selling products from your own website, it is worth considering online marketplaces, especially those in Asia. According to Kenny Chen, Australia Post’s Head of International Sales, the Asia Pacific eCommerce market will be twice the size of Western Europe and North America combined by 2021.

By extending your reach via eCommerce marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, you can attract new customers who might not have seen your products before.

Retailers wanting to access the Chinese market – particularly those which sell health products and supplements, cosmetics and skincare and organic food and wine – can set up a virtual shopfront with two of China’s largest eCommerce marketplaces, Tmall Global and JD Worldwide.

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