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20+ Tips to Speed Up E-Commerce Sales

Posted on 11.13.2016

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are near and e-commerce retailers will soon see how their yearlong preparations stack up against shopper expectations and competitor offerings. And, perhaps for the first time all year, they'll see more people buying from them at a quicker pace.

To capitalize on timely holiday promotions, shoppers typically understand they have to add products to their cart and checkout in the same visit or risk items being unavailable or the sale ending. The rest of the year, that's not often the case as they even add items to their carts in hopes they receive a promotion incentivizing them to return and complete their transactions. They also know that their shopping cart contents will typically stay put, allowing them to come back at a time that is more convenient for them - all leading to an "endless visit" of sorts. Retailers banking on November-December sales not just tied to the aforementioned busy shopping days, however, have some practices at their disposal to encourage shoppers to buy - quicker. Let's explore these options. 

1. Provide Payment Options 

A person browsing on their mobile phone during downtime or shopping on their work computers when time is limited, may fully be ready to buy but if they have to go hunt for their credit card, that conversion can be slowed - for a time that is more convenient for them - or stopped altogether if they forget to come back and complete their transaction. By offering their preferred payment method, which could be PayPal or a digital wallet, they can quickly checkout without leaving their seat and get back to what they were doing.

2. Suggest Installment Help

Sometimes whether a person completes their purchase or not has nothing to do with the retailer but rather the shopper's personal situation. Perhaps, for example, they really want to buy those expensive headphones for their teenager but their budget doesn't necessarily allow for it - yet. By offering a way to split up the total purchase cost, the visitor is more likely to complete the purchase, quicker. SplitIt offers this functionality for e-commerce sites. 

3. Offer an Exit Incentive

Why wait til they open their email or visit another site to retarget exiting visitors? By delivering an interstitial with an incentive to buy before they leave, they may consider completing that sale (bonus points if the promotional code is automatically applied and they don't have to check their email or copy and paste anything).

4. Let Them Checkout As a Guest

Don't let the shopper leave just because you want them to create an account. By allowing for guest checkout, the person will likely convert if that was their original plan but asking for more information than is needed to complete the sale, could end the sale instead. Giving a shopper a great first-time experience is the best chance a retailer has at getting them to buy again - so chill and let them checkout as a guest.

5. Include a Timer

Tick tock. We're all motivated by time and when a shopper sees a countdown clock for a promotion ending, they may feel huried and ready to buy quicker. Many e-commerce platforms offer plugins for this capability like this Shopify example

6. Highlight Limited Inventory

Only five alarm clocks left? Let customers know there is limited inventory on this item, which should move them to purchase quicker if that's something they really need or want. Fabletics does this in the shopping cart itself, which is smart to get people moving quickly. In the same breath, if an item is out of stock and it's displaying in product search results, retailers will want to add an option for visitors to be notified when it comes back in stock. 

7. Include Must Order By ___ to Get By ___

Shoppers are typically on a deadline during the months of November and December, so it would be wise to showcase "must buy by" dates so they meet their gift-giving deadlines.

8. Badge Your Products

Every retailer has best sellers, products with limited inventory, new items and more. Including "badges" for these products within the search results and product pages, is a good way to highlight what makes them unique within all the SKUs and can get people to buy because they are noticing that other people like this item, that they may not have much time to get the product, etc. Solution providers like Monetate actually have a way to personalize these badges based on the visitor.

9. Deliver a Deal of the Day 

Target does this and so does Amazon...leading up to the final days of the holiday season, retailers should consider offering a "Deal of the Day," where select products are available at a discounted price only for a 24-hour period. 

10. Display Real-Time Activity

Whether it's a social feed of people talking about the product being shown or how fellow shoppers are buying at the moment, showing real-time activity creates a sense of urgency on a site. 

10+ More Ideas

Use the right copy - include words like: hurry, deadline, act, now

• Consider a flash sale - pick a period of time where certain items will be on sale (at a deep discount) to select customers

• Retarget, for sure - if the person does leave without buying the first time, remind them to complete their purchase with ads across the channels they visit

• Price match - while this is tougher to do online, retailers could consider adding a way to price match their competitors. The person can buy right away and then email a retailer their proof that a competitor is offering the product at a lower price. The burden of proof would be on the shopper but retailers would have to make sure this tactic doesn't backfire with chargebacks. 

• Add social sharing - give consumers a way to show their friends what they are considering buying so it's already in their mind that they are tied to the product in question

• Give them points - launch a loyalty program that rewards shoppers for their purchase and make sure to include how many points the current order would provide 

• Experiment with color - include colors that are tied to urgency like red in order to play to color psychology 

• Adjust the calls-to-action - make them bigger and bolder to get people clicking

• Honor the device - having a mobile-optimized site goes without saying but consider ways to truly optimize the experience based on the device in use whether it's delivering personalized recommendations for a person based on their location or saving their carts across devices

• Bundle products - making it more lucrative to buy more alike products will get people converting quicker

• Partner with influencers - give recognizable names in your vertical access to promotion codes that they can share with their audiences for a limited time

• Make their social feeds shoppable - consider social shopping to get people buying where they are

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