It appears to be a good time to be an online retailer – e-commerce sales have been strong over the past few years worldwide. Better yet, according to Shopify’s Enterprise Guide to Global E-commerce, global revenue from e-commerce is projected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.
One of the most exciting things about e-commerce ecosystem is that things change really fast here. However, for some retailers, one thing hasn’t changed over the years: their online store is not making enough sales. While many are making almost no sales, others aren’t selling enough to make a profit. In most cases, both these problems have the same root causes; however, the latter is often a temporary issue for some.
The sales funnel in e-commerce has many critical elements, each of which can make or break your business. Perhaps the most significant one here is traffic. You need targeted traffic that will convert. So if you’re not getting enough sales, it’s obvious your traffic is either not enough or not targeted.
In this post, we will discuss what you need to do in order to get more targeted traffic to your online store.
- Get the right mix of SEO and PPC
When it comes to organic search, Google is increasingly giving preference to brands. They look at “entities” that people are searching for. That will naturally result in them giving preference to established brands. No surprise then, that giants are most likely to have top rankings across various verticals. Amazon.com, for example, receives 353 to 478 million visits from organic search per month.
Yes, you are not Amazon, but you don’t need to despair. While SEO doesn’t work magic, it’s also not something beyond the reach of small businesses or startups. There are certain SEO fundamentals, which once you get right consistently, will have a definite impact on the number of visitors who actually intend to buy your products:
- In-depth keyword research for all your products and categories
- Highly optimized product pages
- Titles and meta descriptions that attract clicks
- Proper URL structure
- Competitive link building
- Optimization for mobile devices
- Quick loading speed
- Customer reviews and ratings for products
The only drawback to SEO is that it doesn’t show quick results. However, PPC is your savior here; it’s one of the best ways to get targeted traffic and generate sales quickly. Google Ads and Facebook Ads are the two ad networks that really matter, where you can create winning PPC campaigns that can really take your traffic to the next level.
Again, you don’t need to burn a hole in your pocket; you can start with a small amount like $50 to test the waters. The average Cost Per Click (CPC) for Facebook Ads is just $1.72, so spending a few dollars can still teach you a lot about the buying preferences of your target audience.
The key is to experiment with ideas as well as targets. Create campaigns with varying objectives (like clicks, page views, etc.) for different product categories, targeting different demographics and areas. Create multiple ad copies and formats for each of them. Monitor your metrics closely to determine which campaigns are bringing in the most profitable visitors. Gradually increase spend on those campaigns and reduce it on others.
- Target the right markets
When it comes to differentiating e-commerce markets by consumer spending power, there are three categories globally: top-tier markets, second wave markets, and wait and see market.
The market you are targeting will impact your sales. For instance, the top-tier markets have large consumer segments with deep spending power. The second wave markets are the ones with most potential and early-stage development in regulations and physical infrastructure. They are easy to penetrate and the opportunities are huge, but so are the challenges, thanks to the presence, but not necessarily dominance, of larger players. The wait-and-see markets have uncertain political climates and challenging infrastructures, although they also have a strong long-term potential.
So if you are a global e-commerce retailer ready to sail into international waters, the US and China are perhaps your best bets as they each have about one-fifth share of global online sales. Japan also has a significant share (5.4 percent) followed by the Western European countries.
India too, is a great prospective market with over a trillion dollars in online sales in 2017. It also had the highest e-commerce growth rate across the world at 15 percent and is expected to retain this growth rate in 2018 and beyond.
- Make Instagram your social shop
A BigCommerce report found that 30% of online shoppers are likely to make a purchase from a social network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat.
But these days, Instagram is perhaps your fastest ticket to success. Why? To start with, it has just surpassed 1 billion monthly active users.
Further, an Instagram survey found that 60 percent of users discover new products on Instagram. Moreover, brands have seen 1,416 percent increase in traffic and 20 percent increase in revenue after using Instagram shopping. I’d go as far as to claim that with every passing day, you’re leaving money on the table if you aren’t using Instagram as a shopping platform.
Instagram is the next frontier in social commerce. It’s easy to start selling via “shoppable posts” on Instagram. The main steps are:
- Convert your Instagram account into a business profile.
- Go to Settings, tap Shopping and continue through the screens to connect the profile to a product catalog on a Facebook shop. You must be selling goods, not services.
- Start tagging products in your photos. You can tag 5 products in one photo. When users tap on a tagged product, they’ll see the cost, description, and link to your site.
Growing your sales takes time, efforts and most of all, patience. Take an honest look and see where you are going wrong. Make sure you get the basics right, understand what your successful competitors are doing differently, and keep experimenting. With persistence and well-crafted marketing strategies, you will slowly but surely drive more targeted traffic to your store. Good luck!