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March 11, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:10am

6 top tips to selling online

Digital River explains how to improve your e-commerce strategy.

By Claire Vanner

Creating a global online purchasing experience that is relevant, dynamic and personal to the consumer is part art and part science. That said, there are best practice guidelines firms can follow to improve online sales across the board.

Steven Sheppard, senior director, strategic accounts at Digital River, says: "Online stores are no longer just another avenue to sell products. They are places where connections with consumers are made, brands are built and where organisations can influence consumer behaviour far beyond a single purchase.

"Every company and consumer set is unique, but by tapping into common traits and targeting consumers in specific groups, selling online becomes much more tailored and much more effective."

Sheppard gives the following six top tips for businesses looking to build international online sales:

1 – Capitalise on seasonal traffic spikes via name capture

Seasonal events, including special holidays, can often create an influx of first time visitors to a site. It’s crucial that companies make the most of these spikes in traffic by capturing as many names and email addresses as possible. Ways to ask for this information include an overlay message on the homepage, a stripe across the top of webpages, or offering a ‘welcome’ discount.


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2 – Keep your products and promotions front and centre

Shoppers have a short attention span, if they can’t find content that’s compelling or products that spark their interest, they will move onto the next store. Placement on a landing page is therefore vital and tactics such as ‘top five products’ or ‘most frequently purchased’ sections can offer real value to consumers. The shopping experience can also be personalised based on past purchases, which would further encourage a sale.


3 – Treat segments of customers like VIPs

One way to cultivate strong relationships with customers, and provide another layer of personalisation, is by developing a VIP programme, which offers the best customers early access to promotions to reward them for their business. This will not only make customers feel more valued, but will also allow firms to target the VIP audience with a select set of products and preferential prices.

4 – Offer online exclusives to differentiate your online store

Whether it’s a completely new product, new colour or new bundle that is unavailable through offline channels, an online-only exclusive product or offer can be used as a draw to the site. Online customers can also be used to test out limited availability of products or additional services, such as personalised engraving.

5 – Use free shipping to maximise sales

Customers tend to spend more when they receive free shipping and companies need to make the most of this by ensuring such promotions are well placed on a website, by use of emotive language and differentiated from competitors. This could mean free delivery on a Saturday, for example.

6 – Give consumers control of their basket

By offering custom bundles that group relevant products together, firms can drive up revenue by cross-selling more of their product range and sending a more targeted message. This will also provide customers with a more convenient shopping experience.

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