2016 is quickly coming to an end and if you want to meet or surpass your sales goals for the year, you still have time to make an impact.
Depending on your business, the end of the year may be your busiest or slowest time. But no matter what your projections are for the rest of 2016, there are some fail-proof ways you can drive a huge wave of sales to your business.
Here are 18 e-commerce growth hacks that will help your sales to skyrocket so you can end 2016 with a bang:
Growth Hack #1: Target Your Best and Most Loyal Customers
Your best customers are your most loyal customers and they are the ones that you need to target around this time of year. When you can cater to your best customers and hone in on their needs specifically, it can help you to make lots of sales fast.
If you are like most e-commerce businesses, you probably spent a great part of the year acquiring new customers. Now as the year comes to an end, it is time for your business to nurture those customers and cater to their specific needs and desires.
Existing customers are more likely to spend and more likely to do business with your brand again and again, so tap into this and watch your sales soar.
Growth Hack #2: Go Big With Branding
Especially as the holidays approach, companies that can focus on their brand rather than their products and services, often tend to see a huge increase in sales. If you have been working on building your brand throughout the year, now is the time to really drive the message home.
For example, the shoe company Toms has built their brand around the fact that for every shoe you buy, they donate a pair to someone in need. As the holidays are approaching, Toms has amped up their marketing message by promoting a “We Are One” campaign. This campaign helps to drive home the message that Toms is the more conscious choice when it comes to buying shoes.
Growth Hack #3: Go Offline
When was the last time your brand considered going offline? Never? You are not alone.
Many e-commerce stores dismiss the idea of brick and mortar due to the fear of overhead costs, but there are other alternatives. Pop up shops for one are a great example of how product based e-commerce stores can temporarily market offline.
Pop up shops are a great way to promote your brand and to reach new customers who perhaps may not have come across your brand online.
Other alternatives include promoting your services or products at conventions, farmers markets and other industry events.
Growth Hack #4: Segment Your Customers
If you are planning on sending the same holiday e-mail to all of your customers, think again.
The best and most successful e-commerce stores are the ones that segment their customers and target them specifically based on their needs and characteristics.
When you segment your customers and market to them in a more personalised way, it automatically helps to increase sales and gets your customers engaged with your brand on a whole new level.
If you have customers that are ready to buy for example, you can tailor emails and landing pages to them that are all about “buying now”, but if you have lukewarm customers, you may have to think about sending them more information about what your company is offering.
By targeting your customers in this way, it can help to improve your conversion rates and boost sales, all at the same time.
Growth Hack #5: Go Video for High Impact
There is a lot of competition around this time of year, which means that if your brand is going to stand out from the crowd you have to think about shifting your marketing to a whole new level.
One of the easiest ways to stand out from the crowd is to create video content. Video content is not only visually appealing but it can help to showcase your brand’s products and services in a whole new light.
Videos also engage the senses, which means that your marketing message automatically drives more impact and allows your audience to see your products and services in a whole new light.
Videos also allow your audience a more personal insight into your brand, which can go along way when it comes to making your brand stand out against another.
Growth Hack #6: Amp Up Content Creation
If you want to get more sales you first need to get more traffic, which means that you need to start pumping out more content.
Towards the end of the year is the perfect time to release new content and re-hash old content that is still useful and beneficial to your audience.
Sam Mallikarhunan, who runs e-commerce marketing at HubSpot is a big believer in this growth hacking tool and had this to say about amping up content creation-
“Our primary growth channel has been an aggressive re-investment into blogging….so far we are seeing roughly a 12 percent month over month increase in traffic.”
Blogging is a great way to drive more traffic to your site but so is creating other types of content such as ebooks, white papers, infographics and slides. By having a variety of content types it allows you to reach a wider audience and increases your chances of making a sale.
Growth Hack #7: Create Package Deals
One of the best ways to get your customers spending more is to create package deals with complimentary products or services bundled together.
This is not only great for boosting sales, but it also gives context to your products and services and allows your customers to get a richer experience.
When you offer bundle deals, subconsciously they are also perceived as having a higher value, which can also help interested customers to take the plunge and finally purchase.
Bundle deals are also a great way to get rid of excess inventory, so you can go into 2017 with a clean slate.
Growth Hack #8: Team Up with Influencers
Teaming up with an industry influencer is a great way to drive traffic to your page and to get your brand noticed. Today, there are so many great influencer marketing strategies out there that you can take advantage of.
By promoting your brand with an influencer, it allows you to access their audience as well, which can be a great and effective way to promote your products and services.
Audience members are also extremely loyal to their influencer, which makes marketing to them all the more effective.
If you want to go that extra step, reaching out to stores, hotel chains, spas and other establishments can be a great way to promote your products and services, so think big.
According to Sina Djafari, the CEO of Duoplane-
“On the revenue side, the biggest opportunity is working with companies or individuals that have a strong following/audience to create an e-commerce presence as another revenue stream. This could be done through a licensing arrangement, or profit sharing model.”
Growth Hack #9: Look at the Trends
While there are timeless classics when it comes to marketing and promoting your e-commerce store, there are also evolving trends that your brand should always pay attention to.
Keeping ahead of the trends, especially on social media and the news is going to help give you content ideas and new inspiration on ways to market and promote your products or services.
By paying attention to trending news stories, you can ride the wave and capitalise off the number of people searching for that term.
For example, if you are security e-commerce store and there is a recent hacking in the news, that is the perfect time to release a blog article telling businesses and people how they can protect themselves and what services your company may offer.
Trending news is always changing, but it provides a wonderful opportunity for reaching out to a whole new audience in order to boost sales.
Growth Hack #10: Target Abandoned Shopping Carts
There is so much potential when it comes to abandoned shopping carts. There are a few main reasons why customers will abandon shopping carts such as, the cost of shipping, the cost in general, distractions and a difficult check out process.
If you have any abandoned carts on your radar, now would be the perfect time to assess why they were abandoned and see if you can do anything to coerce the customer to continue through with their purchase.
One effective strategy to help your customers return to their abandoned carts include re-marketing through emails. You can even entice your abandoned shopping cart customers with coupon codes or free shipping.
Another way to minimise abandoned shopping carts is by optimising your sales funnels and looking at where you can streamline your checkout process for higher conversion rates.
By focusing your attention on abandoned shopping carts, you can maximise your revenue and get those customers excited about their purchase again.
As Neil Patel from Quick Sprout states-
“For most e-commerce companies that I have worked with, shopping cart abandonment has been one of the biggest levers. From using remarketing to email automation to even optimising the flows for conversions, this is where you can drastically increase revenue.”
Growth Hack #11: Encourage User Generated Content
User generated content is huge right now, especially on social media platforms like Instagram.
Lifestyle and fashion brands tend to perform best when it comes to user generated content, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative and make it work for your business.
There are many ways that you can use user generated content to increase sales and get people talking about your brand, but one of the best strategies is to run a competition.
Ask your Instagram following for example, to snap a shot of them using your product with a specially curated hashtag. Give them an incentive by offering them some type of reward, prize or experience.
If you offer the right reward and target the right customers, your promotion will soon go viral, helping your product to get on the feeds of thousands of people. Not only will this give you lots of exposure, but it will also help you to increase those last minute holiday sales.
If you are a B2B brand, using the user generated content strategy may be tougher, however you can instead turn your attention to social proof.
Providing social proof such as testimonials and case studies or sharing the number of customers that you have served, can go a long way in building up trust and getting businesses interested in buying your products.
Growth Hack #12: Team Up with E-commerce Giants
If you run an e-commerce store, you have probably already crunched the numbers on whether or not selling your product on a platform like Amazon is going to do well.
Even if you have crunched the numbers, you may actually not know the truth until you give it a shot. While there is a lot of competition on Amazon, it may give your products the leverage you have been looking for.
If Amazon feels far too competitive, there are other sites that you can also use to your advantage such as coupon sites like Groupon.
By showcasing your products or services on platforms that already get heaps of traffic, it can be a great way to boost sales and to get your brand name out there.
While it may not be economically viable to offer discounts on Groupon all year long, the end of the year may be the perfect time to test things out and see if it can help to push any last minute sales.
Offering services on a site like Groupon is also a great way to get returning customers. If they like your services enough, they may sign up for more, making that initial discount worth it in the long run.
Growth Hack #13: Get People Talking
Word of mouth marketing is by far one of the best strategies. Why? Word of mouth marketing often guarantees an instant sale as they have already been informed and are ready to buy.
Word of mouth marketing is also extremely affordable, but like all good things, it can be difficult to come by.
There are a few ways that you can promote your customers and clients to talk about your brand. This includes offering incentives for referrals and sharing reviews or testimonials.
Of course, offering a great product or service is going to be the best way to ensure that your happy customers are going to talk about your brand organically.
To ensure that your customers stay happy, focus on offering quality products and services, make sure your marketing is honest and be accessible to answer all of your customers questions and concerns.
Gaining that competitive edge over your competition sometimes comes down to the little things like exceptional customer service.
As Craig Elbert, the BP of Bonobos states-
“Since launch day, it has always been word of mouth for us- which means you ned to have an amazing product that people want to talk about. You can’t fake that in the long run.”
Growth Hack #14: Offer Gifting Options
With the holidays fast approaching, offering gifting options is another great strategy to get customers in the mood to buy.
Nowadays, people are always looking for practical and unconventional gifts that stand out from the crowd and are personalised. So even if you sell a product or service that is not mainstream, consider creative ways to market it as the perfect holiday gift.
This includes offering everything from fancy packaging, gift wrapping and even beautiful looking gift certificates. Get creative with what you choose to offer and make it as easy and as accessible as possible.
You may also have to think about extending your refund policy or being more generous with your terms and conditions.
Remember, around this time of year most people are looking to keep purchases as simple and as stress-free as possible. By finding ways to create this vibe on your own e-commerce store, it is going to drastically increase sales and will keep your customers coming back to your store year after year.
Growth Hack #15: Pay Attention to SEO
Choosing the right keywords in your marketing and advertising campaigns is crucial if you want to see record sales.
Highlighting certain keywords in your blog posts and even on your e-commerce site is also super important if you want to reach the right customers.
If sales have been down, consider testing out new keywords or running a new Adwords campaign that targets more holiday friendly keywords in relation to your products or services.
You may even want to write new blog posts that tap into the new keywords that you might be using specifically for the holidays.
For example, you may want to use keywords in your blog posts such as- “the perfect gifts for men” or “what to buy my wife for Hanukkah”.
By experimenting with keywords that are specific to the holidays, it could help to boost sales and get your business aligned with a new demographic of customers.
Growth Hack #16: Put Your Test Results to Use
Even though we have mentioned reaching out to the holiday crowd and promoting your products and services to those shopping for holiday gifts, it is also important to not disregard all of the testing that you have done throughout the year.
While targeting holiday shoppers is a great idea, staying true to the customers that have been loyal to you throughout the year is also important. This means that you need to stay in touch with what your test results have shown and use them in a practical way to help drive sales.
All of your marketing events from the year gone by has provided you with keen insights into how your customers think and what fuels them to click “buy”. Now is the time to utilise these results and to maximise them to your advantage.
Growth Hack #17: A/B Testing
It can be amazing how small changes to your landing pages can increase conversions.
If you are expecting sales to be busy this time of year, it may not be the right time to make any drastic changes, but small tweaks here and there can sometimes make a world of difference. Think about changing colours, making text larger or smaller and cleaning up your copy.
Removing distracting elements from your landing page has also been shown to drastically increase conversions as well. Of course, it goes without saying that you have to test things and see how your audience responds.
You should also split test both your mobile and desktop versions separately as both of these landing pages are going to yield different results.
Growth Hack #18: Think About What Is Next
All successful e-commerce stores have to keep thinking about what is next. This means that you need to keep considering what your customers are going to need next and how you can expand your product range.
Thinking about what is next is also about listening to your customers feedback and tailoring your products or store in accordance to what your customers are asking for.
When you use this mindset, it can help your online store to really thrive anytime of year and will always ensure that you have a product that is necessary and important for consumers.
It will also help inspire you to come up with new product ideas or new features or services that will keep your company in business for years to come.
As 2016 draws to a close it is important to think about how you can use all the things that you have learnt from the year gone by and apply it to every area of your business so you can end the year on a strong note.
Implementing just some of these easy growth hacks will also help you to boost your sales and will keep your business thriving well into 2017 and beyond.
Are you ready to close out 2016 with a bang?