It probably won’t shock you to hear that each year consumers are making more of their purchases on the web. In Australia alone, online retail has been consistently growing at an annual rate of close to 7%. But to capitalize on this trend, your business must begin taking the necessary steps now. By being proactive today, you can ensure that you not only retain, but also grow your market share in the coming decade.
Optimize Your Website For More Online Sales
It’s important to remember that no website is perfect, and while this may sound discouraging, it’s actually quite positive. Think about it this way: if no website is perfect, then your competitors websites aren’t perfect either. This means you’ve got a significant opportunity to capture more market share. In order to improve your website and increase your online sales, there are two areas where you need to focus: the frontend and the backend.
As far as the frontend goes, you should make sure your website is optimized for mobile browsers. This can be done inexpensively; and many themes for platforms like WordPress and Shopify even come with mobile optimization built-in. Another thing you need to be doing on the frontend is setting up a way to capture the information of your website’s visitors. One way to do so is by creating an email opt-in box on your site, where site browsers give you their email address in exchange for the promise of having deals and news sent to their inboxes.
As far as the backend goes, you should invest in an order processing and management system that streamlines fulfilment. The key here is to make sure that the system you implement integrates fully with your eCommerce platform. Doing so allows you to significantly reduce the lag time between receipt of purchase and when the order ships. It also simplifies your logistics, because all orders can be tracked and managed from a single platform; which eliminates redundancies and reduces the risk of errors. There are numerous integrated order management solutions available on the market, and some of the more premier 3PLs (Third Party Logistics Providers) offer their own private systems to clients.
Build an Online Marketing Funnel
The web 2.0 environment has made getting qualified, low-cost traffic to your website easier than ever before. Companies that will thrive in the coming decade recognize this, and are investing in a comprehensive online marketing strategy that moves beyond simple “pay per click” advertising. Here are three essential components of an online marketing funnel:
1. Social Media. With billions of users worldwide, the world’s most popular social media platforms are a great way to go where your customers are. By becoming actively engaged in social media your business can begin to build deep connections with members of your demographic. The key here is to make sure you balance your social marketing activities so that they provide a mix of value and selling to your fans. For example, you may make one post that gives followers holiday shopping tips, and follow it up with a post containing a special coupon code for your online store.
2. Email Marketing. We all know email marketing is crucial, and yet many retailers simply don’t take it seriously enough. Email marketing gives your company the rare chance to get directly in front of your customers. It’s one of the few advertising mediums where the consumer is captivated – when they open an email from your company, they become face-to-face with your brand.
3. Content Marketing. Content marketing is the practice of generating large amounts of valuable, interesting, and engaging content and posting it to the web. Normally the content being created has been crafted to include specific phrases or words that people often use in search engines. Examples of content marketing include blogs, articles, white papers, podcasts, and memes. Through increasing the amount of content your company has on the web, you also increase the likelihood of getting your brand in front of new customers. Just make sure that you remember to always make this content interesting and useful – no one wants to read a five-page advertisement, or a poorly written and irrelevant blog post.
This article is not intended to be the final word in online marketing and sales generation. It should, however, serve as a great point of departure for those who see the value in taking a proactive approach to online sales. For even more ideas, make sure to return to this blog periodically, and to follow me on social media.[SG1]