Cyber Monday is almost upon us, and with doors to physical retail stores currently closed, the online sales phenomenon will further stake its claim as the premier online shopping event in the calendar.
For many online stores, these sales will roll into December and capture customers doing their Christmas shopping, before one last surge on Boxing Day completes a month that can make or break your bottom line at year’s end.
The advantage this year for small independent businesses is a changed retail landscape - with most retail shopping currently being done online – has given you capacity to compete with traditional High Street stalwarts without the shopfront on Oxford Street. Anyone with a smart phone can now shop with you so make sure your online store stands out.
Here are our top tips to prepare your online store for the sales season.
1. Replicate your in-store experience online
The first thing a potential customer is likely to see of your business online is your homepage. Ensure your logo is clear, and your branding, colours, and style connect to your physical store, if you have one.
And if your customers won’t be able to physically handle your products until they have them in their hands at home, you need to eliminate any uncertainty they may have shopping in an online environment by including large, clear product images and descriptions, and clear prices and discounts.
2. Keep checkout simple
Cart abandonment rates are as high as 75%, which equates to a lot of lost sales. Registering to buy is a pain point for customers so offer a guest checkout procedure to ensure a smoother buying experience.
Further, ensure it’s clear what payment types your store accepts. As a customer, there is nothing more frustrating than finding out late in the buying process that your preferred payment type is not offered. To avoid this, consider optimising your online store to take all payments types, such as Apple Pay and Pay Pal, as well as debit and credit.
3. Delivery options
While some customers are happy to wait a few days for their order to arrive, others want it now! Ensure you offer all delivery types where feasible – same day or one day, tracked, and standard mail are common options. Make sure pricing for each type is clear, and consider offering free delivery – the cost to your business may be outweighed by increased sales. On top of this, communicate a clear returns policy to give your customers peace of mind.
4. Offer newsletter sign up
Data is everything. Ensure you capture your customers’ and potential customers’ data early in the buying process so you can include them in your email campaigns, and build a relationship and loyalty with them. A pop up when they enter your site, and another opportunity to sign up for your newsletter after a purchase often works well. It’s also worth considering offering a sweetener, such as a 15% discount on their next purchase, if they do sign up. But just be clear with them how you will use their data!
5. Leverage social media
Leverage your brand where your audience spends time. Consider Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to build brand recognition and loyalty, offer discounts to potential customers, and continually direct them to your online store. But remember the medium and audience you’re pitching to – keep your content light and on brand so it’s reflective of your business.
6. Use Analytics
Data is your friend. What are people clicking on? What are your cart abandonment rates? Use these analytics to dictate the design of your online store, and continue to make changes where necessary to optimise the customer experience and drive sales.
Are you ready for the online sales season? If you’re current online store just isn’t cutting it, or you want to go online for the first time and are in need of a reliable, easy-to-set up online store, Elavon’s eShop offers you everything you need to get going in a matter of hours. See how eShop has worked for one of our small business customers, Making Music.