Whether an established business or sole enterprise that occasionally embraces ecommerce, it’s important that brand owners are constantly updated with regards the newest and smartest strategies in online sales.
One of the first things to know is that trends will likely influence brand customers and the way other online retailers (competing brands) buy and sell online. This information provides useful insights for positioning the brand, product or service to potential buyers.
So, what are the current industry trends for 2018? To begin with, people are benefits-oriented. They want solutions that will make their lives easier. So, it’s best to start with a compelling product description that lists all the compelling benefits of the product or service on offer.
Market analysts and experts are forecasting the list below as some of the expected trends for ecommerce in 2018:
- Video will still be king of content
- Mobile shopping will increase
- Holidays will make great seasonal sales
- FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) will continue to be a veritable marketing tool
- There’ll be a rise of machine-learning shop-bots
- Trust badges on sales websites
Foreknowledge of trends helps marketers drive a comprehensive online sales strategy. It can also save money for the digital marketing budget. Some techniques to guide serious brands through an impressive Q1 of sales include:
Use of images and videos to describe a product
If there’s one major limitation online shopping has (as opposed to brick and mortar stores),
it’s the inability to ‘experience’ the product in terms of touch, feel, and smell. For example, certain high-involvement products (such as electronics or jewellery) require an experiential assessment.
In addition to the benefits-focused description of a product or service, brands will also need to overcome any anticipated customer objections using a high-quality video display.
Image and video descriptions of products don’t have to be lengthy. It could be a one or two minute product demo, describing its features and benefits. If it requires some learning, companies can hire an expert to show people how it works. Brands that add a video to their marketing content can boost click-through rates by 200 – 300%. Images and videos are excellent marketing tools.
The explosion of smartphones continues to shake the online retail industry. With improving technology and simplified mobile payments, more shoppers are opting to buy via their mobile devices.
It goes without saying that a business website needs to be enhanced for mobile shopping. Are the fonts and text size legible? Do the images look clear on a smaller screen? What about OS compatibility?
People are also addicted to social media, and mobile apps offer a convenient way to log into Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram with just a single click. It’s best to make room for these services on a website, so that potential customers can complete checkout conveniently.
Brands must utilise holiday sales for winning result
The 2017 holiday sales season was a bountiful year for retailers and shop owners alike. In the US, sales hit an all-time high since 2011, while UK retailers recorded a 5% surge, boosted by strong online performance. Experts have attributed it to a strong economic year. It is believed that 2018 also promises to be equally promising – if not bette
It’s still early in the year, so smart brand owners and managers are already outlining the potential holiday seasons and preparing a unique selling strategy for each of them.
Starting with the first quarter holidays (such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter holidays), it’s never too early to start planning an effective online sales campaign. A bigger budget also needs to be allocated and a brand must be ready to go all in.
Selling to the brand’s existing customer base
Even if an online is low on advertising funds, it’s no time to fret. There are many ways to generate instant revenue from the business’s existing customer base. It is a well-known fact that retaining current customers is a lot more cost-effective than winning new ones. Moreover, creating revenue from loyal customer base allows the company to roll it back into ad campaigns and target new propspects.
Big brands like Morrisons have a large customer base which they market to from time to time. To follow their example, serious businesses can use data from customer’s loyalty cards, and create personalised deals and combos to encourage customers to buy. With many existing customers, the margin will be large. Freebies and specials every now and then are also huge deal breakers.
Creating a sense of urgency in brand offers
If a company’s existing website has an impressive amount of incoming traffic, then the brand owner or manager needs to translate those numbers into great conversions. The objective should be converting every prospect on their final visit, because if a brand doesn’t do that, there’s a chance prospects might never return. However, those who eventually complete a purchase are likely to return.
A sense of urgency must be created in the company’s sales campaigns. People have a natural fear of missing out (FOMO), so it’s a great idea to find a smart way to integrate it in the brand copy or CTA.
According to Brendan Wilde, Marketing Manager at Freeparking hosting, this strategy works especially well for fashion brands. “We’ve seen spikes in online traffic among clients that apply this strategy. It’s safe to say that such
sales traffic increases the chances of conversion,” he says.
Use of smart technology and processing multiple payment options
In December 2016, Alibaba and Macy’s collaborated to provide a virtual reality (VR) shopping experience for customers on their website. Since then, other online retailers have explored the use of VR and other technologies such as chatbots to enhance the shopper experience.
Chatbots act as a shopping assistant on websites to make product browsing easier for first-time visitors. This convenient service spurs repeat purchases and inspires people to share their experience.
Similarly, allowing multiple payment options on an ecommerce website makes purchasing more flexible and increases revenue for the business. It’s vital to ensure security on the site is impenetrable too.
Display of trust badges to reassure your customers
Security is always at the fore of every online shopper’s mind. Last year alone, the personal date of millions of Equifax customers was breached in a hack that saw its shares plummet. Customers are now more wary than usual. They will desert an ecommerce site if they have reason to believe their personal information will be compromised.
An e-sales brand must avoid this by beefing up its security with a safe and reliable SSL certificate. Is the brand website ‘https’? The ‘s’ at the back end stands for ‘secure’. This is one of the first things shoppers look out for. It’s also important to include trust badges such as the SSL symbol at the bottom of the page, antivirus stamps, as well as any safety awards the company may have received. Reassuring site visitors gives them peace of mind and a willingness to buy on the platform.
With these strategies in place, an ecommerce brand should have a good year in sales. Brand owners and managers shouldn’t hold back on any of them.
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