Internet retail sales conducted by smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have increased by as much as 400% and it’s critical that merchants refocus their efforts accordingly.
Australia’s online retail spending totalled $14.2 billion for the 12 months ending August 2013. This level is equivalent to around 6.3% of Australia’s traditional bricks-and-mortar retail sector.
What’s more, because of the increased use of social media on smartphones and social media’s involvement in retail sales, “social selling” has become red hot. Anyone hoping to improve their online sales success must take advantage of emerging trends like data-driven selling, personalised marketing efforts and specific product recommendations based on a buyer’s past shopping history.
Here are seven quick tips for Internet sales success:
1. Make sure your store is ready for the mobile revolution
Mobile usage accounts for more than 50% of your visitors. A recent report by marketing website optimisation company Monetate found the average order value purchased via iPhone was $97.49 and the average order via Android was $97.16. Your store has to be prepared for that type of mobile transactional traffic, so creating a mobile-friendly version of your site is a no-brainer.
2. Optimise your mobile site for SEO
It’s now just as important to optimise your mobile store for SEO as it is your normal online store as half of your traffic is coming from mobile devices. Be sure to add unique titles, tags and descriptions.
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3. Offer local pick-up
Research by CBRE shows when given the option, 41% of Aussie shoppers would prefer to pick up their products locally. What’s more, 27% of in-store pickup shoppers make additional purchases. If you don’t have a physical storefront, offer pick-up at farmers’ markets, craft fairs and other similar locations.
4. Enable “geo-focused” SEO
Another way to cash in on consumers’ need for instant gratification and their desire to shop locally is by adding terms and tags to show up in geo-based search results. You should also get listed in location-based price comparison apps like Milo, RedLaser, Shopkick and others.
5. Add real-time product reviews
Customer reviews translate to an 18% increase in sales. It’s important, though, to tell both sides of the story. Shoppers who read bad reviews convert 67% more than those who use sites with only positive reviews. Start proactively gathering reviews and set up an email campaign asking buyers to review products.
6. Add product videos
By some reports, a video makes a front-page Google result 53 times more likely. Consumers are 64-85% more likely to make a purchase after watching a video. Use pre-produced videos or make your own and add them right to your product pages.
7. Improve your checkout process
You can attract more customers and close more sales by simplifying checkout and adding payment. Offering a single-page checkout can boost conversion by up to 21% according to ABtests.com. Provide as many payment options as you can and gateways for credit cards like Google Checkout and PayPal. Finally, increase your average cart value by showing complementary or similar products as an add-on option at checkout.
Take a snapshot of your store’s basic analytics today: sales, traffic, etc. Implement the changes I’ve suggested, then compare your snapshot to your numbers three months from now to measure your improvement to determine which suggestions really work for your business and which you may have to tweak for better results.
Eddie Machaalani is the co-founder and co-CEO of Bigcommerce, the world’s fastest-growing software as a service e-commerce platform that helps power over 30,000 small businesses to sell online.