Top 3 Ways to Boost E-Commerce Sales in 2009

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A dismal year for retailers that closed with the lowest holiday sales numbers recorded in nearly four decades has left online merchants searching for new ways to increase sales. But the good news is that they don’t have to look far. Merchants can actually increase sales from their current traffic by following these three easy steps. In the next three weeks we’ll take an in-depth look at each one.

1. Implement Alternative Payment Platforms Forrester Research reports that 74% of online shoppers have used an alternative payment system, and recommends that businesses should prepare for alternative payments to become the norm. With little or no transaction fees, minimal integration costs and the ability to reach a large base of customers who prefer cash-based payments, alternative payment systems are a cost-effective way to increase conversions. More ways to pay simply means there are more ways to buy—which ultimately results in more sales.

2. Offer Purchase Incentives Incentive marketing is a great way to sweeten the deal and convince hesitant shoppers to complete their purchases. A purchase incentive can be anything—free shipping, a free product, a discounted rate or a valuable coupon—as long as it is compelling enough to cause a reaction. It is also an effective way to increase average order values. For example, Amazon.com offers free shipping on orders greater than $25, which means the majority of Amazon.com visitors will spend at least that amount—and often much more—to qualify for free shipping.

3. Begin (or Continue) E-mail Marketing With consumers accessing e-mail on everything from computers, cell phones and PDAs to MP3 players, gaming systems and social networking sites, this low-cost, high-ROI marketing channel has more potential than ever. Tap into your database of customer e-mails to announce special offers, new product launches, seasonal campaigns and more to significantly increase your sales. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t receive an immediate response, though. E-mails should be sent in three cycles, ending with a friendly “final offer” reminder, in order to achieve the best results.

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