Three tips to improve your online sales

Ecommerce is hard work and it's tough to make significant sums of money by selling products online. Yes, you can increase your business turnover with an online shop but making millions is more difficult. So, this post is about making a few changes to your ecommerce website that will, hopefully, improve sales.

However, there is one caveat that you should bear in mind whilst reading this article. There's no 'magic bullet' and what works for one website may not work for another. It's important to try new things though and that's what this article is about.

So, let's get started...

1. Give buyers more confidence at the basket/cart stage

In this article, James Young describes a Twitter survey about buying high value goods online. As a result, Cutting Edge Knives implemented a Buy From Us With Confidence message on their cart page and this gave a 20% increase in sales for the same number of website visitors.

James Young is one of the very few web developers I know who runs a successful online shop. That's putting your money where your mouth is!

One thing to note here is that the Buy From Us With Confidence message doesn't mean a padlock image with a vague security message but instead a few simple and specific points describing what Cutting Edge Knives offer.

Below: The Buy From Us With Confidence message on the Cutting Edge Knives site.

Buy with confidence message

2. Add product reviews from other customers

People like to read genuine reviews from customers who have already bought the product and adding reviews is a great way of answering questions about a particular product. However, managing reviews may take up some of your time so factor that into your shop process. You also need to decide what to do about "negative" reviews and how to react to that.

If you don't have any reviews, try asking previous customers for their comments.

Below: Amazon has reviews on every product page.

Amazon reviews screenshot

3. Make sure delivery charges and offers are shown upfront

One of the reasons that potential customers abandon their shopping carts/baskets are hidden charges, for example shipping costs, that are only shown near the end of the checkout process. You must make sure that any postage charges are shown early on in the process. The first step of your checkout process should have the delivery costs clearly displayed. The delivery charges may be different for different countries so you should consider giving the customer a way of seeing this early in the process as well.

Consider putting shipping costs in a mini checkout/basket on your site. That way, as customers add products to their basket, they will see the estimated delivery costs as well.

Shipping/delivery costs are a big factor in a customer's buying decision. Make sure that potential customers know of any free shipping offers by adding a prominent message about it. You might not be able to offer free shipping for any length of time if it affects your bottom line but you have to make sure that people know about, for example, free shipping to your home country or any other delivery offers.

Below: Marks and Spencer in the UK add a delivery offer message in the header section of their site.

M and S delivery charges screenshot


Of course, you need to get relevant website visitors and potential customers "through the door" so-to-speak in order to make a success of any ecommerce website and there are many other factors that could determine the success of your online shop. You may be doing all of the above already - that's great! but there are always others things that you can try.

Perhaps you need to be doing more with social media, writing regular blog posts, writing better product descriptions (in my opinion this is hugely underdone), or improving your website's SEO?

You need to keep trying different things in order to learn more about what works for you and your customers. It's hard work but it's definitely possible to make a success of your online shop!

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