Whether you label them your New Year’s resolutions or describe them as your goals for the year 2016, it’s time for some advance planning to help you achieve success in the coming year.
Here are a few tips to get you started off on the right foot:
- Add product videos. Customers can’t pick up and examine a product online. But video helps bridge that gap, adding an extra dimension to online shopping. Goodvideo, a company that helps ecommerce stores take advantage of the medium of video, says four times as many consumers would rather watch a product video than read a product description. Shoppers who watch videos stay up to 88 percent longer on a site, browse more, and are less likely to bounce. What’s more, product pages enhanced with video see 37 percent more add-to-cart clicks than pages without video.
- Post customer reviews. According to Business Insider, customers are 30 percent more likely to buy when an eCommerce store includes product reviews. Yes, you run the risk of negative reviews. But they can be valuable for showing you areas that need improvement.
- Refresh your product images. A recent study confirms that larger images with less type – but with descriptions available on mouse over – can increase online sales by more than 9 percent. Make sure you opt for high-quality photos, though. You’ll want to consider items such as background, lighting, color, etc. Use similar backgrounds, angles and picture sizes – and, if possible, use multiple images to keep the reader engaged.
- Include user-generated images, so consumers can see what your product looks like and how it’s used in real life.
- Increase your website’s loading speed. Research shows that 47 percent of consumers expect a website to load in less than two seconds, and 40 percent will abandon a page that takes longer than three seconds. If your website is too slow, you’ll lose business.
- Personalize your customer communications. You have a variety of opportunities to persuade shoppers to buy. Take advantage of as many as you can:
- Segment your mailing list. Don’t send the same email to every contact on your list (and make sure you keep your list updated). After all, you have existing customers, new customers, prospective customers – and former customers. They all deserve a unique email linked to their interests, location, even their gender.
- Craft a “comeback” email for browsers who didn’t buy. The technology to automate such messages is readily available.
- Use Popups. They’re back and they can help you capture email addresses.
- Provide shopping cart emails. In a survey conducted by Bronto Software this year, three quarters of shoppers said they use their shopping carts to store items, with plans to visit later. When you get back to them, consider adding an incentive, such as free shipping or a discount coupon.
- Offer emails for everything: shopping cart abandonment, order confirmation, shipping confirmation, and customer feedback. Each one gives you an opportunity for a call to action.
- Create a loyalty program. If you don’t have the funds to reward your repeat customers, send them a personalized letter thanking them for their loyalty. A little recognition can go a long way.
- Take a new look at your unique selling proposition. This tells your customers what sets you apart from your competition. Make sure it reflects how you want to be known.
- Embrace all of the holidays, year-round. You don’t have to sell chocolate to take advantage of Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Decide now how you want to take advantage of the holidays in 2016.
- Provide recommendations. Two-thirds of Netflix movies get watched after a recommendation. More than one-third of Amazon products are purchased after a recommendation. And 26 percent of songs on Spotify get listened to after a recommendation. Find tools to help you anticipate customer needs and recommend products before your target even realizes what he or she wants.
As the new year approaches, make sure you take the time to work on your business, and not just in your business. If you take advantage of these tips, you should be headed for a prosperous 2016. Decide what actions you’ll take to make your year the best ever.