10 tips to increase your online sales

Achieving success in online sales requires achieving excellence in a number of different areas. Marketing, customer service, and delivery are all exceptionally vital. But what if even after mastering all these you still don’t make sales?

You can start by avoiding the ten classic mistakes that trip up online sellers. If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to succeeding online.

1. Don’t charge retail prices
Running an online store helps you save on overheads and consumer’s know this. They expect to get products at a cheaper price when they shop online. It is a mistake to charge regular retail prices on the Web. Your goal is to build a loyal customer base that consistently has a good experience when buying from your online store. What stops people from ordering online is not security, it’s unfamiliarity. You have to train people to trust you. To buy from you. And unless you give them an incentive, they won’t take the plunge.

Low prices are the best incentive. Nine out of ten times, you can afford it because selling online is cheaper.

2. Use clear site navigation
Customers will leave your site if they can’t find what they want quickly. So be sure to make navigation intuitive. Minimize the number of clicks it requires for customers to find what they are looking for. To improve navigation, review your analytics to see where your customers are dropping off and then optimize your eCommerce site accordingly. Crazy Egg is a good tool to know how customers are interacting with your website. Use insights from there to improve your user experience. Also be sure to offer a search function so that customer’s can quickly find what they are looking for.

3. Be transparent about delivery fees or taxes
Be open and clear about your company’s delivery charges and any added tax or suffer the consequences. According to the 2014 ecommerce survey conducted by Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), 28 percent of customers abandon their shopping cart when they are presented with unexpected shipping costs at checkout.

It’s ok to charge for delivery, but you need to make it clear that you do, before customers go far in their purchase. Digital Link Africa displays shipping costs transparently on the checkout page before customers are required to enter any details. Customers also have a choice in the delivery method if you support more than one provider.

4. Make sure your checkout process is as easy as possible
It’s common sense: don’t make people jump through hoops to give you money. If you are going to put obstacles in people’s way, at least wait until after they have given you their credit card number.

Make it easy for the customer to check out and don’t complicate the process. It’s important to remember that many shoppers would prefer not to invest more time than necessary completing their purchase, and are simply focused on getting their items, not on signing up.

5. Gather online reviews
Seeing great reviews from satisfied previous customers convinces other shoppers to purchase a product or service. More than marketing copy or ads. Online reviews are powerful because customers know that they are usually genuine, not curated and hand-picked by a company.

The VWO survey found that a whopping 55 percent of customers said online surveys influence their purchase decisions.

To increase your conversion rate, it pays to encourage customers to write reviews. You can offer a free additional product if the customer leaves a review. Encourage customers to upload their thoughts about your product or customer service directly on your site or social media pages.

6. Create a mobile version of your site
Mobile traffic is huge in Africa. Seventy-six percent of internet traffic comes through mobile. This is not a channel you can afford to ignore. Make sure that your website looks good on a mobile. The DLA checkout and cart pages are already designed to scale for different screen sizes but you will need to make sure that the rest of your site is mobile compatible too.

7. Make sure your site is secure and this is clear to customers
eCommerce sites, especially smaller ones, fall short of having clear trust indicators that users can be comfortable with.

Don’t make that mistake. Up to 25 percent of users stop an online purchase because of website security concerns.

A digital certificate provides authenticity of your website and an encrypted connection to protect sensitive data. It doesn’t hurt to have a little security. What’s more, you can get one quickly and within budget.

8. Optimise the speed of your site
If your site is too slow, people will leave to shop somewhere else. People online are called “web surfers,” for a reason. They are not interested in waiting.

When you design a website, it is tempting to put in a lot of fancy graphics. They make your site look so much better.

It doesn’t look the same to consumers. Most of them will be looking at your site through a modem or a mobile phone. And all those juicy graphics will not only make your site slow to download, it’s also saps data.

If you want visitors to take out their credit cards, your site has to be attractive yet load very quickly. Digital Tangent offers a site optimisation service to help speed up your site. Contact us to learn more.

9. Using good product images and descriptions
Since a customer cannot pick up and hold a product and examine it on your site the same way they could in a physical store, a robust product description and images allow customers to familiarise themselves with your products.

Make sure the photo is big enough to zoom in on. Show multiple angles, available colors, etc. Photos are usually best on a clear white or transparent background and should be photographed in good lighting. If you need help with product photography, Digital Tangent can help. Contact us to learn more.

Write informative yet simple product descriptions and make sure that you provide as much detail as possible about your products.

10. Making it easy for customers to contact you
Customers shopping online want to know they’re not going to be left stranded if they need help.Give them confidence by letting them feel your presence.

The easiest way to do that is to include a live chat or a phone number in the header or footer of your website. Also provide an easy-to-find email address for customer service. DLA integrates with leading live chat services to make it easy for you to support your customers while they shop.