Use the Power of Perfect Timing to Boost Online Sales
When it comes to sales, the ticking clock often holds the key to success, and in the fast-paced realm of online, eCommerce retail, timing can be everything. Knowing when and how to conduct sales can make all the difference in business performance. In this blog, we’ll discuss optimal timing tricks and strategies and provide you with tips that will empower your eCommerce business. Whether you’re a seasoned online retailer or just starting out in the digital marketplace, understanding the intricacies of when to offer discounts, promotions, and product launches is vital.
ECommerce Timing Tactics
1. Understand Customer Behavior
Understanding your target audience’s behavior isn’t just about collecting data; it’s about leveraging that information to optimize the timing of your e-commerce strategies. By knowing the demographics, psychographics, and past purchase history of your customers, you can strategically schedule promotions, email campaigns, and product releases to align with the times your audience is most active and receptive. This fine-tuning ensures your marketing efforts are not only data-driven but also well-
2. Leverage Seasonal & Holiday Sales
Holidays and seasons offer prime opportunities for e-commerce businesses to optimize sales. These include Christmas, Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, back-to-school season, and even niche holidays like National Pet Day. The key is crafting seasonal campaigns that resonate.
To optimize timing, tailor your products and messaging to align with the current holiday or season. For example, during Christmas, emphasize your products as “perfect gifts” or market your services as “quick and easy, giving you more time with family”. During Valentine’s Day, portray your services as something clients will “fall in love” with, or market your products as ways to “show you care” – whether that’s for themself or a significant other. By tapping into the seasonal sentiment, you can create a stronger connection with your audience, boosting the impact of your e-commerce efforts. Remember, it’s not just about the dates; it’s about capturing the essence and feeling of the season to connect with customers and drive sales and engagement.
3. Run Flash Sales and Limited-Time Offers to Create FOMO
Flash sales capitalize on the psychology of urgency and FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out). When customers fear missing out on a limited-time offer, they’re more inclined to make a purchase. By creating a sense of scarcity and time sensitivity in your sales strategy, you can stimulate immediate action from your customers, and less abandoned carts.
To optimize the timing of flash sales, you can employ several key tactics, such as countdown timers to visually convey the limited-time nature of the offer, clear and compelling CTAs (Calls to Action) that direct customers to act quickly, or highlighting the benefits of acting swiftly and engaging with your limited-time offer.
4.Optimize the Timing of Email and Social Media Marketing
Sending promotional emails at optimal times, typically mornings between Tuesday to Thursday, can greatly enhance open and engagement rates. However, don’t forget to adapt these timings to your audience’s behaviors and time zones for maximum impact.
For social media marketing, figuring out when your audience is most active is essential. Utilize analytics to pinpoint peak engagement times on different platforms, such as evenings for Instagram and Pinterest. With this knowledge, you can schedule your posts and content to align with these windows of heightened activity, ensuring your message reaches your audience when they’re most receptive.
5. A/B Test and Conduct Data Analysis
Running A/B tests allows you to compare the performance of different eCommerce timing strategies. Experiment with variations such as launching sales in the morning versus the evening, and closely analyze the results. This approach provides the insights needed to fine-tune your timing approach and optimize sales.
As testing alone isn’t always enough, it’s important to also utilize data analysis tools like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics to delve deeper into user behavior and preferences. Metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates offer valuable guidance for making informed timing decisions.
6. Keep Shipping and Logistics Considerations in Mind
When it comes to the optimization of your eCommerce timing, it’s not only important to focus on digital aspects, but physical ones as well. Timely delivery is a pivotal component of customer satisfaction in the e-commerce world. While digital marketing and well-timed promotions can pique interest and generate sales, the actual delivery of the product or services can enhance, hinder, or even ruin the overall customer experience.
To ensure you’re optimizing timing in both the digital and physical, consider offering expedited shipping options during promotions. This tactic can attract customers looking for quick deliveries, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive higher conversion rates during peak sales periods (such as flash sales or holiday promotions – when timing is of upmost importance).
7. Conduct Post-Sale Follow-Ups
It’s important to remember that the sale is just the beginning. Post-sale follow-up is paramount in eCommerce. Express swift gratitude and promptly ask for feedback. This approach forms the foundation of long-term customer loyalty, where a timely follow-up can turn a one-time buyer into a loyal, repeat customer.
For more helpful information, as well as customized marketing and eCommerce solutions, reach out the experts at Strata.
Key Tactics to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rates
As mentioned in part one of this blog series, achieving high eCommerce conversion rates requires continuous measurement, testing, and optimizing of your eCommerce platform – and if you’re not constantly focusing on enhancing customer experiences and streamlining the purchasing process, you’re missing out on potential gains. In this blog, we’re sharing ten additional key practices to boost eCommerce conversation rates.
More Ways to Increase Your eCommerce Conversions
Reduce the number of steps at checkout
When it comes to eCommerce conversions, checkout is arguably the most important area to focus on and optimize. It’s at the bottom of the conversion funnel – so when optimized properly, all other parts of the flow are likely to improve, as well. “If you improve the conversion rate of your final purchase page by 5%, your overall sales will go up by 5%.” One way to improve checkout? Try out some A/B testing of the content, imagery, and layout. Another? Make sure the cart can be easily edited. There’s nothing worse than not being able to figure out how to reduce the quantity of a product from 2 to 1, or remove one of the products from your cart. Lastly, try setting up auto-fill areas – such as the city, state, and zip code fields. “Research shows the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is around 69.57%.” Don’t let it happen because of a difficult checkout process. Most often – the simpler and easier the checkout, the better.
It’s also important to provide multiple payment options. Make sure all the most common ones are covered. You wouldn’t want a potential customer getting to the last step of the checkout process with the means to pay your company, but not the ability.
Think through the customer journey – then go through it backwards
Always have user experience in mind when reviewing and testing your eCommerce site’s effectiveness, while making sure it portrays and exemplifies your unique brand. If an eCommerce site is too complicated and confusing, customers will leave and find your product elsewhere. Additionally, make sure this simple design and experience is optimized for mobile. While it depends on your product and customers, it’s usually best to design with a mobile-first perspective. 91% of online purchases are made via a mobile device.
Differentiate your eCommerce site and your product
As noted above, it’s important to show off your unique brand and offerings. Make sure your product or service’s different qualities are clearly exemplified on your eCommerce site – and ensure your site and offerings compete with those within your vertical. If you don’t differentiate yourself, customers will likely navigate over to a company that does.
Use high-quality images & video
High quality, clear imagery not only looks professional, but can help the potential purchaser envision the products they’re interested in, in real life. In fact, “75% of shoppers rely on product photography to make purchase decisions.” Low quality, poorly lit, or badly photographed images look bad and can cause distrust and disinterest for the potential customer. 65% of people are visual learners…so make sure they’re learning what you want them to.
Here are two more photography tips that increase conversions:
- Product images work best with neutral-colored backgrounds (such as white, black, and beige), although this can differ depending on the nature of your product. Sometimes images need to show mood, style, lifestyle, and so on, so a background that tells the story but isn’t the focus is, at times, necessary. Use your best judgement with knowledge of your customer base and product.
- To create focus on your product, make the subject of the image either much bigger or much smaller than the background.
Video is also a great converter, enabling the viewer to not just envision the product in real life, but see how it works, where it works, and who it works for. Additionally, if your video is intriguing and well-shot, it will keep customers on your eCommerce site for a longer span of time (which is never a bad thing).
Think through and develop consistent understanding of data passing back to your site
This data includes that from digital ads, social media, print ads, and so on. Reliable and consistent data passed back from all traffic sources to your eCommerce site is crucial to knowing where to focus your efforts. But keep in mind, digital ad programs often mark all conversions as incremental, when that’s not always the case. Think through where and why this traffic is coming to your site and what it leads to. Yes, this takes time and effort – but the effort pays off. Understanding these pass backs can lead to higher profitability and better outcomes.
Along those lines, it’s often better to direct traffic to landing pages rather than to product pages or your site’s home page. This makes for easier tracking, increasingly focused targeting and CTAs, and often, better conversions.
Minimize (and test) the number of recommendations per page
“Choice Paralysis” is when a person is overwhelmed with the number of choices they have in front of them, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to make a decision. When this happens to a shopper, they’ll often become so overwhelmed that they’ll leave your site altogether. Limit this paralysis by offering fewer, more relevant options per page. To increase conversions, A/B test the number of items customers see at each section of your website. It’s often even effective to give the customer the option to make that decision themselves, by adding a products per page dropdown at the bottom of each page. Additionally, make it easy and accessible for customers to search and narrow down what they’re looking for with a search bar.
We hope both part one and two of this blog series help you increase your conversions – but if you have questions, we’re always here to assist you. And, if you’re ready to explore our services or chat further about eCommerce conversion strategies, don’t wait! Contact us today.
Key Tactics to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rates
eCommerce conversions don’t just happen overnight (not often, anyway), and set-it-and-forget-it tactics for your online store, no matter what product or service you’re selling, will only get you so far. Every visitor to your website who leaves without converting is one more missed opportunity that’s likely due to a lack of (or poor execution of) conversion tactics.
Measuring, testing, and optimizing your eCommerce platform – from website design and customer communication to the checkout process – takes dedication and willingness to experiment. Before you put in the effort, give this blog a quick read. We’re supplying you with several key practices to increase eCommerce conversation rates.
What Makes a Quality eCommerce Conversion Rate?
Before we get into what may be holding your company’s eCommerce conversion rates back and how to convert more customers, let’s talk about what an eCommerce conversion rate is, and what makes it seen as “successful”.
An eCommerce conversion can be a variety of things – a newsletter or rewards program sign-up, adding something to a wish list or shopping cart, making a purchase, or something else. The most sought-after and most commonly referred to eCommerce conversion is a sale, but many programs will record all of the above. Before measuring, make sure you can differentiate between these conversion types and get the information you’re looking for.
Conversion rate is calculated using the following equation:
Across the internet, there are various findings when it comes to the “most common”, average conversion rate – ranging from 1 – 5%. According to BigCommerce, “Even if you are doing everything right, you can still expect to win the sale around 2-3% of the time,” so ultimately, your goal should be a 2-3%+ baseline conversion rate. With that said, your company’s specific optimal conversion rate will vary based on several variables. These variables include, but are not limited to, the product or service, industry, product pricing, and target demographics.
Top Reasons Why Customers Don’t Convert
In an ideal world, a customer visits your site, finds the product(s) they need and/or like, and finally, makes a purchase – but this sequence is rarely the case. Here are some top reasons customers don’t convert:
- Your site makes a bad impression
- You don’t know your target audience and/or have not conducted enough research
- Your site isn’t optimized and hasn’t been tested
- Your images are bad and/or poor quality
- Your copy isn’t persuasive
- Your site’s pages are confusing or distracting
- The CTAs aren’t clear
- There’s a lack of trust
- Your site has a confusing checkout
- There are no retargeting efforts
- Your site has outdated UI/UX design
Key Tactics to Increase Your eCommerce Conversions
Although the barriers to conversion above are common, your company doesn’t have to fall short. Here are several ways to increase eCommerce conversions:
You’re likely aware that loyalty programs can generate a ton of value. In fact, research shows that “43% of customers spend more on the brands they feel loyal to.” Brands that have high customer loyalty spend more time and money on customer lifetime value (CLV) through creating a community of loyal followers. Offer long-term benefits to customers (such as evolving their customer tier with every purchase and increasing their rewards), and customers will convert more often. Additionally, celebrate customer milestones with rewards, and/or give loyal customers early access to products. The more repeat, loyal customers, the better your conversion rate.
Optimize the Speed of Your Site
A Walmart study found that “conversion rates drop sharply with load times greater than one second.” An additional study found that 53% of your customers will leave your site if a page takes more than two seconds to load. And another study found that “even a delay of a single second can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.” There’s really nothing worse than losing customers to slow site speed. Don’t worry, as there are tools to test and negate this issue, such as Google PageSpeed. Additionally, if your site seems slow, check its hosting plan, because it may have speed limitations. Lastly, check image sizes, as they may be too large, causing your pages to load slowly.
Add Areas of Proof
Show potential buyers that what they’re buying is truly a good purchase – and that you have the content to prove it. Provide case studies, testimonials, pictures, and reviews. “User-generated content is a goldmine—85% of consumers find them more influential than brand images or videos and 43% say it’s a great way to discover new products.” Including an area on each product page with images and text from real customers, or – a step further – “verified buyers” (accompanied by verified badges) can help increase conversions astronomically. After all, people not only look over, but trust these resources, with “92% read(ing) online reviews and testimonials when considering a purchase.”
Offer Free Shipping
A free shipping offer (especially at checkout) can increase conversions by making potential buyers feel like they’re getting an exclusive deal. Additionally, it’s been found that “free shipping that helps customers save $6.99 is more valuable than a $10 price slash…” Try offering this special discount at checkout, or upon exit intent.
Recover Abandoned Carts
Speaking of exit intent…around 35% of abandoned carts could have been avoided by checkout optimization, changes in product content, or site improvements. It’s important to make sure if a customer does attempt to exit without converting, that you aim to recover their abandoned cart with a cart abandonment marketing strategy in place.
Use Pop-up Windows
As we mentioned earlier, offering a discount upon exit intent gives you a fighting chance to stop the customer from leaving. Do this in a pop-up window, and you’re more likely to get the customer’s attention and keep them on board. Use pop-up windows to supply coupon codes, or have the visitor enter their email and be sent a code (which can additionally help you grow your mailing list and increase future conversions, as well).
Gamified email pop ups are also popular and seen as one of the most effective ways to convert eCommerce site visitors, as they create nostalgia and excitement. “With gamification, the user drops (their) reluctance to buying or subscribing to another newsletter, and by playing on the ecommerce platform (they create) a special and unique relationship with the brand.” Some examples of gamification tools are guessing games, wheel spins, or brain teasers to receive a discount or free item.
Make Yourself Available
Don’t miss out on a potential purchaser just because you weren’t able to answer a simple question. Make it easy for current and potential customers to contact you or acquire needed information, whether that’s by phone, email, or a chat. We’d recommend almost always including a live chat option, as “42% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 23% for email and 16% for social media or forums.”
Additionally, think about including an FAQ section or an area with support articles, how-to videos, and email or push notifications for new updates and offers. Communication is key. “Positive experience drives return visits and conversions – 74% buy based on experiences alone.”
You’ve likely seen this one used more and more these days. Many companies are using persuasion triggers like time limits, scarcity of product, and product interest to increase excitement and urgency around specific products. Some examples of these persuasive phrases are:
- Selling fast!
- Only __ left!
- Currently in __ shopping carts
- __ shoppers are looking at this product
- __% off for a limited time!
- Best seller
- “Influencer Name’s” Pick
- Editor’s pick
- Trending on “social platform”
Many people easily feel FOMO (fear of missing out), enjoy the feeling of obtaining something exclusive, and feel pressure to make quick decisions. Use these human instincts to your shop’s advantage!
Provide a Snippet
If your product is content or resource-based, showing a small portion can compel the visitor to want to read on and purchase. Provide a paragraph or two to pique interest. Or (even better) show a snippet quickly, and then blur it out as a teaser. Then, only offer the full snippet with the input of a name and/or email address, creating an even exchange of value. This way, even if the interested reader does not decide to purchase the full piece, you now have their information for future communication.
Always Be Testing and Improving
The key is to continually analyze, test, report, and work to understand the activity on your eCommerce site, whether from current, potential, or future customers. For the highest conversion rate possible, your company should never stop thinking about how you can improve experiences (whether that’s changing a button or image size, a call to action, page layout, or colors). No detail is too big or too small.
We have several more tactics heading your way, so look out for part two of this blog series within the next few weeks!
Strata’s skill and expertise in increasing conversions goes beyond eCommerce, with years of conversion experience through a variety of mediums. Interested in our services or want to chat more about eCommerce conversion tactics? Contact us today.