Increase your Average Order

However, not all businesses are maximising their online presence. Many online retailers are failing to take full advantage of eCommerce software and don't understand what it can really do for a business. The secret to making the most of your eCommerce platform is to understand how people make purchases online. Internet shopping differs in many ways to how people make purchases from physical stores, so many of the marketing and promotional techniques that work in-store are not effective on the internet. However, some are. Additionally there are plenty of other things you can do to boost sales and maximise the potential of your eCommerce software.

Up sell and cross sell

When people shop, whether it is online or at a brick and mortar store, they like to browse. Just because a customer visits a store to buy one specific item, it doesn't mean that is all he or she will purchase. Browsing enables customers to find other purchases they may like. However, while browsing in a physical store is just a matter of walking round, browsing online can be tricky, especially if a website has thousands and thousands of different product pages. The best tool to promote browsing and maximise sales, however, is the use of cross and up selling features included in many eCommerce software platforms.

Up selling is the process of convincing a customer to buy a more expensive product. This can be done easily with eCommerce software thanks to the use of "similar products". By simply including similar types of product on the product on the same page and detailing the benefits of these products, you may convince a customer that a product with more benefits may be the better purchasing solution. Cross selling is when you provide customers with products they may also find useful, often by using the related products feature in eCommerce software. Related products complement a customer's original purchase. For example, if somebody is looking at the product page for a digital camera, ideal related products to show would be carry cases for the camera, additional memory cards, batteries and data cables.

If you are already up selling and cross selling but are finding it is not boosting sales very much, you may want to consider changing the wording of your calls to action. For instance, instead of using "similar products," consider terms such as "best selling products". People tend to like their shopping choices reinforced, so by knowing other people have bought a certain product can convince a customer to go for the popular product rather than the one they initially intended to buy. In addition, rather than use "related products" use phrases such as "shoppers who bought this also bought". Again, this provides a consensus opinion that could provide the impetus for a customer to make an additional purchase.

Bundles, discounts and promotions

Another great way to boost sales using your eCommerce software is to make full use of promotions, discounts and bundles. Think of the way supermarkets maximise sales using offers such as "two-for-one" or "buy one get one free". All customers like to think they are getting a good deal, so by providing promotions you can encourage further spending. A good way to come up with promotions is to use the statistical tools on your eCommerce software and work out what the average spend is on your website. If the average is say £50, why not have an offer suggesting, "Spend £70, get £5 off". This could boost the average spend and more than pay for the discount you are offering these customers.

Discounting popular items is also a great way to improve up sells and cross sells. If customers visit your website because you are offering a popular and desirable item cheaply, there is a good chance they may make other purchases. Even if this means you are only breaking even on the discounted product, the increase in up sales and cross sales could mean you generate much higher returns due to all the extra custom. Make sure you make full use of social media, apps and other eCommerce marketing techniques to spread the word about these discounts.

Bundles too are a simple way of boosting sales. By bundling together related products, such as a digital camera, a memory card and a carry case, and then detailing the savings of the bundle compared to buying the products individually, you can encourage more cross sales. All sorts of items can be bundled together, and the relationship to each other can be quite tenuous, because everybody loves a bargain. This is also a great way to push products that otherwise may not sell so well on their own.

Shopping cart, delivery and revisit discounts

Just as supermarkets make one last push to sell at the checkout, an eCommerce site should do the same. The shopping cart can be a great way to encourage customers to make another purchase. Think of the cross selling techniques used earlier. If your eCommerce software allows it, try including similar call to actions when a customer is about to pay for items, such as "do you need a carry case with your digital camera?" You could just make that extra sale. However, it does have to be done subtly, as you don't want to annoy customers who may click off the website altogether.

Delivery charges are another way of boosting sales. By having different charges for money spent, you can encourage customers to make an additional sale to take advantage of cheaper delivery. Free delivery is the best tool, and offering it as a promotion on items over a certain amount (ideally higher than the average spend on your website) is a great way to boost the average spend and encourage further purchases. In addition, speedier delivery times offered at different spend levels can also work by boosting spending.

Finally, securing repeat business is another way to boost your turnover and there is no better way to do that than by offering customers who have made a purchase a discount if they return to the website and place another order. Some customers may originally intend never to visit your site again. Perhaps you sell products they very rarely buy. However, by offering discount for a repeat visit, it is more likely when the need arises to make a similar purchase it will be your website they visit and not a competitor's. Furthermore, to encourage word of mouth and bring in new customers, discounts for recommending a friend can also work, although this can depend on the type of business.