In a rapidly growing global e-commerce market, entrepreneurs across industries are asking themselves how they can earn a larger chunk of the revenue pie. After all, Shopify’s e-commerce definition page states that global retail e-commerce sales are projected to reach $27 trillion by 2020.
But while any quick online search for e-commerce sales-driving strategies will immediately yield hundreds of different ways to potentially do so, most of the tips offered aren’t actionable.
Instead, they take time: planning, execution, measuring, tweaking, and repeating. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s tried to run an e-commerce business, but simply accepting long-play strategies as the only way to drum up business is a mistake.
If you’re looking to boost your sales with actionable methods that can start working tomorrow — here are three to consider.
Optimize Your Receipt Emails
What’s so great about receipt emails? People open them. Per Conversio, receipt emails are opened nearly 71 percent of the time compared to industry-wide open rates of 18 percent. What’s more, the average email attention span is just 8 seconds compared to the 14.8-second average attention span of a receipt — that’s a 185-percent spike in engagement!
Yes, shoppers are motivated by—and expecting to see—information about their order. Per the Good, receipt emails need to include the following information:
- That their order went through.
- When it will ship and how to track their shipment.
- How they can access their receipt.
- Who to contact if there’s a problem.
- What they should expect next.
Chances are your receipt emails already do this, but it’s what you’re not doing that’s costing you more sales. If you start including discounts or other exclusive offers via your receipt emails, you can bet that not only your open rates but your engagement rates will be even higher going forward. With a few simple tweaks you’ll have created a cyclical loop that entices new customers to become repeat buyers and repeat buyers to spend more than they already do.
Then again, it’s not like existing customers need that much incentive to spend money with you. That’s another reason why email-receipt optimization is so effective. Repeat customers are way more likely to convert and spend more money per order. They purchase more during the holidays, and they’re even recession-proof. Basically, repeat customers are what drive e-commerce business’ bottom lines. Laying each of these benefits out makes it less surprising that 40 percent of the average e-commerce store’s revenue comes from repeat customers who represent only 8 percent of site traffic!
It is worth nothing that you don’t want to come on too strong in the promotional tactics you employ on your receipt emails. You don’t want to overwhelm first-time buyers or come off as insensitive, aggressively trying to sell them more product immediately after they’ve bought something.
Attack Your Cart Abandonment Rate
Whether you’re pleased with your store’s revenue growth to-date or not, there’s no denying it could be better. After all, the average cart abandonment rate across e-commerce industries is just under 70 percent, per the Baynard Institute. If yours is in that ballpark, you’re effectively losing two-thirds of your sales — two-thirds! While there’s no one way to quell cart abandonment rates, paying attention to key areas like shipping, the checkout process and email recovery campaigns can reduce your abandonment rates significantly.
Baynard cies that 55 percent of shoppers abandon their carts because extra costs, like shipping and fees, are too high. Thirty-four percent abandoned their cart because they were forced to create an account while 26 percent left because the checkout process was too long and/or complicated. Twenty-one percent of shoppers bounced from their purchase because they couldn’t calculate total order cost up-front. Other top reasons included too long of delivery time frames, returns policies and lack of trust entering credit card information.
This may all seem like a handful to tackle, but a few key changes will make all the difference. Offer free shipping or free shipping on orders over a certain amount and advertise it prominently on your home page. As far as your checkout process, consolidating the name field to one box instead of title, first, and last name will help simplify your appearance. The same is true with making “Address Line 2” and “Company Info” links that only expand into forms when they’re clicked. These aren’t relevant fields to many shoppers. Another unneeded space-taker is billing information.
You can hide the billing address to copy by default and only expand when it’s different than the shopper’s shipping address. Baynard states that the average store’s checkout flow is 14.88 form fields, but changes like ones above could reduce it to between six and eight fields. Better, more flexible checkout designs have the potential to increase the average large-sized e-commerce site’s conversion rate by over 35 percent.
To round out your efforts to curb cart-abandonment, developing a cart recovery campaign will help you retain that other chunk of abandoned purchases: the ones that didn’t mean to leave their cart. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of customers cite website crashes for their abandonment and 15 percent said the website timed out. Similar to 404 pages, a well-crafted recovery email engages the user and convinces them to continue with their previous action through great copy, images and linking.
A/B Test Everything
Regardless how pleased you are with your conversion rate, it can always improve. While AI may offer a more attractive way of testing in the not-so-near future, A/B testing is still an essential ingredient in any successful e-commerce recipe. However, many stores consider all the details they could test and immediately get overwhelmed. Instead, focus on one detail at a time. Isolate testing and allow for a decent enough sample size to truly confirm a hypothesis.
ConversionXL lists some ideas stores can get started with such as displaying contact info or free shipping in a top-level site banner, highlighting special product discounts and category sales on the home page, and making CTA buttons larger. In an age of Amazon and comparison-shopping, you could list the benefits that are exclusive to your business under your navigation. Maybe you sell 100-percent USDA organic products, offer a selection of free products for orders over a particular threshold or even free shipping for registered members.
If you’re still not sure where or how to start A/B testing, conduct usability testing to uncover site issues. For example, if you a user is tasked with finding your contact information in under 20 seconds and they can’t find it, you now have contact location to start testing.
Many storeowners will already have a decent idea as to the problem areas lurking in their sites, though. And that’s part of why A/B testing is so fun. We can put our longtime suspicions to rest, settle internal debates, and most importantly, figure out the best solution going forward for engagement and revenue-generation.