The e-commerce industry has been growing rapidly over the past few years and is expected to total over $8.1 trillion by 2026.
Like many sellers, you may be worried about the impact a recession could have on your sales. It’s understandable to feel anxious but it’s important to remember that every challenge brings a new opportunity for growth.
As an e-commerce seller, you have the advantage of being able to reach a global audience. With the right strategies and tactics, you can continue to boost your sales during economic downturns. While it may seem daunting, there are several ways to optimize your business for success during economic slowdowns and recessions.
This article will walk you through a three-step, practical strategy with tactics you can start implementing today to increase sales.
Grab a pen, get excited, and let’s get into it.
Step 1: Start with Essential On-Site Tactics
Before you jump into any creative marketing tactics to boost sales, your first step is to go back to basics and ensure your website is optimized for conversions.
Your website is the most important tool you have as a seller. It serves as your virtual storefront, showcasing your products to the world. With a well-designed and optimized website, you can reach a global audience, engage potential customers, and drive sales 24/7.
Improving the overall content of your website can have a significant impact on user engagement, conversion rates, and overall customer experience. Here are some tips to improve the quality of your website:
1. Create Clear and Compelling Product Descriptions
Write detailed and persuasive product descriptions that highlight the unique features, benefits, and value of each product. Use descriptive language, bullet points, and clear headings to make the information easily scannable. Incorporate keywords naturally for SEO purposes.
2. Use High-Quality Product Images and Videos
Use high-resolution images that showcase your products from different angles. Consider providing zoom functionality and multiple image views. Additionally, consider incorporating product videos to provide a more interactive and engaging experience for customers.
3. Create a Clear Navigation and Site Structure
Ensure your website has a clear and intuitive navigation structure. Categorize your products logically and use clear labels for menu items. Include a search bar to make it easy for customers to find specific products. Streamline the user experience to minimize confusion and frustration.
4. Feature Customer Reviews and Ratings
Feature customer reviews and ratings prominently on your product pages. This social proof helps build trust and confidence in potential customers. Encourage customers to leave reviews by offering incentives or sending follow-up emails after purchase.
Step 2: Strategic Marketing Tactics To Increase Ecommerce Sales
In this step, you are going to be more intentional with the tactics and strategies you use to increase sales.
Let’s get into it.
1. Optimize Your Site and Shopping Experience for Mobile
According to Tidio, mobile retail e-commerce sales are projected to exceed $510 billion in 2023 and $710 billion in 2025. This trend should tell you that having an optimized shopping experience for mobile is no longer a luxury but a necessity if you want to compete and continue to grow your sales.
Here are a few ways you can optimize your mobile shopping experience:
- Implement a responsive design that automatically adjusts the layout and content based on the screen size of the user’s device.
- Optimize your product display for mobile by using clear, high-resolution product images. Ensure images are properly sized and load quickly to avoid slow page loading times.
- Use large and prominent call-to-action buttons that are easy to tap with a finger.
- Create mobile-specific promotions, discounts, or offers to incentivize mobile users and encourage conversions. For example, optimizing your pop-ups for mobile is key for conversions.
Remember, optimizing your e-commerce site for mobile devices is an ongoing process. Stay updated with the latest mobile design and usability trends, regularly test your website’s performance, and adapt to the evolving needs and preferences of your mobile users.
2. Showcase Your Top-Selling Items
If you walk into a physical store, you see items on display as soon as you enter. Your e-commerce site should also feature your top-selling products in plain sight.
There are a couple of reasons why showcasing your top-selling items can help boost sales:
- You give a starting point for visitors to begin shopping without feeling overwhelmed by all the products available on your website.
- It taps into the psychology of social proof, where people instinctively trust what others have already validated.
- When customers realize popular items are flying off the shelf, they often experience FOMO and want to buy too.
- It inspires site visitors to make impulse purchases. Maybe they came for a certain item, then saw a featured item and bought that as well.
When customers see your top sellers, it builds confidence in their decision to buy. It’s like a guiding compass in a sea of choices.
Pro tip: You don’t have to feature your true top sellers all the time. You can strategically highlight a weekly top seller on your homepage or create a “best sellers” page that features the top items in different categories.
3. Use Exit-Intent Pop-Ups
Exit-intent pop-ups are a must to increase conversions and boost sales.
In simple terms, an exit-intent pop-up appears on a shopper’s screen when they seem like they are about to leave your website. The goal of the exit pop-up is to make the shopper an offer before they leave to encourage them to complete the purchase.
Below is an example from Everlane.
It’s important to remember that the modern consumer isn’t a fan of pop-ups so you have to execute them the right way.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Copy: Your pop-up should have a clear, singular message that is valuable to your shoppers. For example, Everlane makes it clear you will get 10% off your first order.
- CTA: Make sure the CTA stands out and is clear to understand. Use actionable language to motivate your shopper to convert. Everlane does this well using the verb “unlock” in their CTA.
- Image: Pick an image that will relate to your shopper. Everlane uses a woman wearing a pair of their jeans. This helps the shopper to envision themselves in the jeans and triggers them to purchase
Pro Tip #1: Remember to optimize your exit intent pop-ups for mobile!
Pro Tip #2: Only use exit intent pop-ups when users haven’t yet taken an action. You don’t want to come off as annoying while they are shopping.
Step 3: Strategies and Tactics to Dramatically Boost Ecommerce Sales
This next step is like reaching the roof of your house and being able to see the big picture because you have a strong foundation to stand on.
These strategies and tactics will take your sales over the top.
1. Use Scarcity to Create FOMO and Improve Conversions
Scarcity is a tactic that has always worked for retailers because it creates urgency for customers to make a purchase before a product goes out of stock or a discount expires.
This is a battle-tested tactic that is going to help you drive higher sales, boost conversion rates, and generate hype around products and flash sales.
Here are six ways you can put scarcity into play:
- Limited Stock or Time-Based Offers: Highlight the limited availability of your products by showcasing the remaining stock or limited-time offers. For example, you can display messages like “Only 5 left in stock!” or “Limited time offer: 24 hours only!” This creates a sense of urgency and prompts customers to take immediate action.
- Flash Sales and Daily Deals: Offer time-limited promotions or flash sales where you provide significant discounts for a short duration. Clearly communicate the start and end times of these sales to create urgency. Consider using countdown timers on your website or in your marketing emails to visually remind customers about the limited time remaining.
- Exclusive Offers for VIP Customers: Create an exclusive membership program or loyalty program for your most loyal customers. Provide them with early access to new products, special discounts, or exclusive promotions. This makes customers feel valued and gives them a sense of exclusivity, driving them to make a purchase.
- Limited Edition or Seasonal Products: Introduce limited edition or seasonal products that are only available for a specific period. Communicate the exclusivity and time-limited availability of these products to create a sense of urgency. This can motivate customers to buy now to avoid missing out on a unique or time-sensitive item.
- Pre-Order and Waiting List: If you’re launching a new product or restocking an item that’s currently out of stock, offer customers the option to pre-order or join a waiting list. Highlight the limited availability or expected delivery time to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity. Send email notifications to these customers once the product becomes available, prompting them to take action immediately.
- Social Proof and Testimonials: Incorporate social proof and customer testimonials that highlight the popularity and positive experiences of your products. Display the number of purchases or positive reviews to show high demand. This creates a sense of urgency and validates the value of your products in the eyes of potential customers.
2. Use Social Media Ads to Retarget Website Visitors
People who have already visited your website are 70% more likely to buy when retargeted with ads.
- Familiar with your brand
- Have shown intent to buy from you
You don’t want to wait and hope they will come back and buy a product (it won’t happen). Instead, you should retarget these visitors with ads on social media.
Here are a few ways to use social media ads to successfully retarget and convert customers.
- Offer Limited-Time Offers for Products They Looked At: If a site visitor clicks on a product but left your store before purchasing, you can retarget them with an ad on Facebook or Instagram showcasing that product with an offer for 15% off in the next 24 hours. This not only reminds the shopper they wanted this product but uses scarcity to push them to purchase.
- Encourage Cart Abandoners to Complete Their Purchase: When a customer fills their cart and abandons the site before purchasing, serve them an ad that reminds them their cart is still full and offer a bonus if they complete their purchase. This bonus could be an extra item, a discount, or anything else of value to them.
- Offer Discount Codes to Encourage Purchases: Sometimes customers have shown interest but are shopping around for the best price. Anticipate that and get ahead of it. Retarget these customers with discount codes so they don’t feel the need to shop around.
Overall, you want to keep site visitors engaged and remind them of the products they have shown interest in. They may not buy right away but they certainly won’t buy if you let them forget about you.
Pro tip: Run retargeting campaigns regularly and A/B test your ads to find what works best.
Note: Here is a great resource to teach you how to set up and run retargeting ads on Facebook
3. Celebrate Your Existing Customers
The majority of sellers focus on converting new customers and ignore opportunities to increase revenue with existing customers.
You won’t be one of those sellers.
This strategy is all about maximizing the lifetime value of the customers you do have.
Here are a few ways you can celebrate your existing customers, which will lead to increased sales and brand loyalty:
- Create a loyalty program so customers can earn and redeem points towards new products
- Offer existing customers early access to sales. They are more likely to buy when they feel like a VIP.
- Send them a free gift on their birthday and a discount code to treat themselves to something nice from your store.
When you do this right and make your existing customers happy, you will see so many benefits that lead to more sales:
- Happy customers always return for more.
- Happy customers talk to their friends and recommend your brand.
- Happy customers share their experiences and your brand on social media.
- Happy customers leave glowing reviews that can attract new customers.
This strategy seems obvious but is one many sellers forget when they are focused on increasing sales. Don’t overlook it.
Use These Strategies and Tactics to Increase Sales Immediately
There you go — a simple and practical three-step process for increasing your e-commerce sales even during slow times and recessions.
Remember, while each tactic is great, they will perform best when combined together.
Start today with the tactics in step one and keep adding the other tactics into the mix. You’ll be seeing increased sales before you know it, regardless of where the market is at.