It’s incomprehensible. You follow all the online marketing strategies for small business tips you’ve studied meticulously. You’ve ensured that everything from your inventory to the packaging to the shipping is top of the line. You maintain service transparency and ensure that you and everyone else on your team are personable towards customers. But after following all the best business moves to a T, you still haven’t hit your sales target. What could you be doing wrong?
Making sales is much more complicated than many people think. It’s not a straight road with a ton of signs along the way to ensure that you get quickly and easily to your destination. It’s more like a confusing maze with a lot of roadblocks, and you constantly need to be on your toes to master the game.
Why settle with following a set of rules when you can be more strategic and create unique solutions yourself? The latter helps you find ways to increase sales and ultimately learn how to increase business growth.
Here are some relevant info to help you paint a clearer picture:
- 9 out of 10 buying decisions are influenced by peer recommendations (Harvard Business Review)
- 92% of consumers believe in personal endorsements (Nielsen Company)
- 83% of customers would happily refer a brand to friends following a positive experience (SaaSquatch)
- 84% of American shoppers research a product in at least 1 social channel before buying (Pew Research Center)
- 54% of online purchases come from millennials (Smart Insights)
- 56% of online shoppers say they abandon shopping because of unexpected costs (Shopify)
- 23% of consumers discontinue shopping when asked to create a user account (Kissmetrics)
These findings illustrate the complexities of closing a deal with consumers today. They debunk the idea that hitting your sales target can be done by following the same formula you’ve already tested. There are different reasons why you’re missing it in the first place!
Here are some possibilities that cause your low sales as well as remedies for increasing them:
Reason #1: Your website lacks security.
With news of credit card theft and cyber issues everywhere, online shoppers have grown more wary of giving out their personal and financial information online. Tips on how to avoid being scammed or robbed of sensitive information have proliferated too. As consumers become more cautious, cyber criminals also become more cunning and deceitful. Now, it’s no longer enough to have an SSL-registered website to be considered a legitimate, trustworthy business.
When someone visits your store for the first time, does your website make them feel secure and confident to buy or doubtful about your legitimacy?
Remember that the goal is to make your website have real security, not just the appearance of it. This means covering your tracks as well as applying proven security measures for online stores. At first blush, you might not think that this would have an impact on your sales target. But it does! Here’s how to do it:
- Add and display security symbols. Apart from the SSL certificate, add other layers of security and make sure to display them prominently on your website. Some of these ‘trust symbols’ are VeriSign, McAfee, and Trustee – services that provide businesses with digital privacy and security solutions. The standard subscription plan for these services starts at $499/year on average.
- Make your credibility stand out. This step is so basic that some entrepreneurs skip over it entirely. However, establishing your credibility across all your digital platforms is necessary for winning customer trust and it’s really important to consider especially if you will create an Amazon store. A Stanford study has revealed that 46% of online shoppers assess brand credibility from its website homepage. This is even more significant if you are a purely virtual business. To establish credibility, create an About Us page that clearly sums up what you do or stand for, enlist your contact information, and make sure there are no grammatical errors in your website copy.
- Offer an uncomplicated money-back guarantee. People hesitate to buy in fear of not getting their money’s worth. To alleviate this fear, the solution is simple: offer a no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. Having this type of assurance boosts people’s confidence to buy from you. It gives them a fallback in case of issues. Plus, if you have nothing to hide, you don’t hesitate to offer people their money back – you’re confident enough that they won’t! This bolsters your self-assurance in the process.
Reason #2: You offer limited payment options.
Imagine browsing through page after page of products, perusing photos, reading product descriptions, and keying in your details in the payment section only to find that they don’t take your card or have a dodgy-looking payment page.
Online payment seals the deal of your transactions – it’s only fitting that customers have multiple ways of doing it. When you only have one or two ways of collecting fees, you only cater to a limited number of customers.
One of the basic lessons in learning how to make money online? Make sure to create various channels for receiving it! Find an online payment platform that offers multiple ways of collecting fees. Apart from taking major credit and debit cards, consider online bank transfer, PayPal, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Square as well.
Otherwise referred to as Online Payment Gateways, payment platform services also come with their own encryption for keeping customer data secure and private. These services require CVV2 for card verification or OTP (one-time password) which take payment security several notches higher. Payment gateways like Due and WePay deliver seamless and cost-effective payment solutions that help business owners collect, secure, and track sales.
Reason #3: Your brand isn’t socially available.
Social presence has a great influence on people’s purchase decisions. Today, consumers check out a social site for product research and brand activity. Studies on consumer behavior have proven time and time again that people consider social media as official brand communication channels. Social proof certifies business credibility and provides concrete proof of its operations. When a business isn’t reachable physically, people investigate its virtual footprint instead.
It’s not enough to register your company to different social channels. What consumers want is proof of activity and constantly updated information. Will people find these when they research your brand online?
Being socially available goes farther than simply creating social media profiles. It also includes acknowledging and answering people’s inquiries and comments as promptly and sufficiently as you would if they walked right up to you. To do this, hire a social media virtual assistant to help you establish a strong and active social presence. Work with your social manager to learn the specific sites your target customers frequent. This narrows down the channels you need to concentrate on the most. Social media management basically covers regular postings, updating company information, and interacting with public and private communications.
Your brand social availability should be consistent in all your digital platforms – including your website, blog, and email communications. Displaying customer reviews and testimonials from your own channels as well as snippets of third-party reviews from Yelp and Google Reviews further boosts brand activity.
Reason #4: Your website is difficult to navigate.
Have you ever clicked on an online ad that looked promising only to be taken to a website that takes forever to load? Don’t you just find it annoying when you’re forced to dig through web page after web page just to find a single product? Even worse is after painstakingly adding items to your cart, you can’t complete your shopping without filling out a lengthy form. When these things happen, isn’t it more practical (and satisfying) to just close the website and move on with your day?
Most people multitask when they go online shopping. They could be on a work break or waiting in line while doing another errand. The rate by which your website or online store loads has a critical influence on whether your potential customer stays or not. And just as importantly, when people only have a limited time (or patience) for online shopping, the last thing you want to do is complicate the process by asking them to create a user account.
User Experience is always tagged by experts as a must to gain a high website ranking in Google. To deliver exemplary user experience, invest on a website that seamlessly loads in all types of gadgets. Using applications that enable instant and smart search is another way to make website navigation convenient. Apps like InstantSearch helps ecommerce stores engage users through easy search options. It also recommends products to shoppers based on search and purchase history.
Of course, it’s just as important to work with a website developer to help you maintain smooth, hassle-free site operations. Task your website developer to set up your store in a way that people can complete shopping as a guest instead of requiring them to create and verify an account.
The Takeaway: How to Hit Your Sales Target
Driving new business development isn’t a one-man job. You need a team of experts to help you put these remedies for low-running sales in place. The good news is, outsourcing can help you hire the right people on terms that work best for small businesses but doesn’t break the bank. Looking for help in starting or growing your ecomm business? Contact Boardroom today.