13 Reasons Why the Best eCommerce Sites Make More Money Than You Do

Did you know that some of the best eCommerce sites have key features that are relatively simple to set up but are insanely effective in ensuring sales rush in all the time?

Yes, that’s right.

After studying literally thousands of websites when doing audits and critiques for clients, we’ve found that there are a handful of elements that help the top ecommerce sites rake in the sales while others wonder what piece of the puzzle are they missing.

This is going to be a long one, so I’d recommend you get a cuppa something nice to sip on and curl up to dig into this unignorable guide to getting everything right on your site. [Hey, look ma, I can rhyme;)]

13 Essential Elements That Boost Sales for the Best eCommerce Websites

1. Rock Solid SEO = Sizzling Sales Organically

That’s right.

Want more organic traffic and people looking to buy landing on your site? Boost your SEO, baby!

According to an analysis of 18,000 ecommerce sites, 30% of all traffic could be attributed to Google. 30% traffic isn’t anything to scoff at.

SEO is like that secret ingredient that everyone’s mom or grandmom pops into the pasta sauce for that added punch and flavor kick. It seems all mysterious, dark and smoky but you know you need it because without it, your pasta sauce will taste flat and bland. Ugh!

Lucky for you, we have an open pantry so hop into the SEO aisle and load up on the basics to get started with!

But before you get started with SEO, here’s what you should know. SEO is a long-term strategy and involves solid content marketing done right.

Honestly, if someone were to promise you the first page of Google within 30 days, I would run and fast!

I’ve heard tons of stories from clients who’ve been burnt badly by SEO peeps and it breaks my heart.

Jessica Brantley testimonial for SEO services

So, before you hire that guy who’s been emailing you about Page 1 ranking, read these SEO posts and feel free to email us with your questions and concerns and we’ll be happy to help. Honest.

2. Free Lunches for the Win

Freebies work.

I’ve shared how to execute this strategy for shipping, samples and more in 31 Days to Get More Customers but it bears repeating.

According to David Bell, customers would rather take free shipping of $6.99 than a flat $10 off. Go figure!

Whether you offer free shipping, deals or BOGO promos, know that these help boost sales. There’s a reason why Amazon offers free shipping or why one of my fave gifting sites, Dayspring offers Buy One Get One promos. They work. Always.

3. Payment Methods that are Painless

Do you make customers jump through hoops to make their payments? I mean, really?

Offer multiple payment options, secure payment gateways and make it insanely easy for them to whip out their wallets and pop in their details.

Websites that force you to create an account before you can shop from them usually lose 23% of their sales (Kissmetrics). Instead, offer them a guest checkout option.

Make it simple, guys!

4. Don’t Make Me Search for a Needle in the {Online} Haystack

Do you have an easily accessible search box on your site? Or is the search box buried somewhere deep and dark? Is it throwing up relevant results or is it more hit-and-miss? If you haven’t tested it out, do it now!

I love how Amazon has it front-and-center.

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5. Product Descriptions that Power Up the “Pull Out My Wallet and Take My Money” Switch

Yep, this is another powerful one and one that I have talked about in detail earlier but when you think about the fact that product descriptions are what can actually turn a browser into a buyer, you know you cannot ignore them.

On that note, head over here and snag a free Product Description Checklist to give your products that extra oomph!

6. Clear Categories are Always Better than Cutesy Ones

It’s so fun to create cute categories but please, resist the temptation. Because you may know what “bits and bobs” may mean but a customer would understand “Accessories” better.
So, when in doubt, go for clear rather than cute. It’ll always work.

Confusing categories impact user experience and when customers have to spend energy figuring out your categories they’ll not have the patience needed to finalize purchases.

7. Quick Load Time is Loved by Everyone

Oh, this is a biggie. Did you know you can lose up to 40% of your shoppers if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load?

Yeah.

Time for you to have a chat with your developer/designer and ensure your plugins, images and all the other techy stuff is working optimally and that your site loads like Ethan Hunt loads his gun… Rocket-fuel FAST!

8. Can I Contact You? Yes, Please and Thank You!

Can folks contact you easily and effortlessly? Is your contact form working and are responses being handled promptly?

What about social media? Are you connecting with your customers on Facebook and Twitter? Replying to questions, feedback and complaints?

See, here’s the thing… People expect brands to respond to their tweets within an hour. (Lithium)

Not just that, 43% of customers use social media for customer service interactions rather than marketing (Social Media Today).

Bottomline: Customers like a business to be contactable. So make it easy for them to do that.

9. Email Engagement = Intelligent eCommerce

“Communications is at the heart of e-commerce and community.”- Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard

Are you communicating with your customers and building your community via email? Making it super simple for them to sign up and be rewarded for it? Sharing regular news, trends and of course, specials and deals just for them?

More importantly, do you segment your customers into prospects and those who’ve already bought from you?

Because, it’s statistically proven that repeat customers are more valuable than a new one. It’s also easier to sell to a previous customer than a brand-new one. In fact, 71% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by email. (Adobe)

So, know where to focus your efforts and stay engaged with email.

13 Reasons Why the Best eCommerce Sites Make More Money Than You Do

10. Who Else is Buying Your Stuff

Does your website have reviews? Testimonials? If not, it’s time to get those going. People buy from people and they also want to know what others think.

Social proof sells like hot cakes. Period.

11. Mobilized Marketing Matters

Do you know that I’m in the 55% of people who shop from their mobiles. Mayank too? Yes, if your site’s mobile experience isn’t the best ever, you’ve just lost our business and whole lot of others’ too.

Mobile responsive sites are those that resize text to fit mobile screens, have navigational positions that are mobile-friendly and can deal with “fat thumb” syndrome or in other words, have easy-to-click links.

12. Blog, Baby, Blog

Nearly all of the best eCommerce sites, other than Amazon;), have blogs that bring customers back over and over again.

Blogging is one of the best ways to share tips, strategies, news, how-tos, tutorials and more. The Zappos blog updates customers on style trends, HQ news and also, general interest articles. LOVE it! Also, note the Search Box again, front and center 😉

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13. Satisfied Customers are the BEST Sales Strategy

Finally and most importantly, all of the top eCommerce sites focus on going above and beyond for customer service and delight.

In fact, I first learnt about customer delight when working with American Express as a trainer. It’s something that’s so ingrained in us right from Day 1.

Whether you look at the Lego customer service representative Richard who sent a little boy a Ninjago figure that he’d lost or Zappos who shipped a whole box of blankets to flood victims in South Caroline after a shoe order got mixed up, customer service that delights and literally wins the Internet is what you should aspire and aim for.

So, which one of these 13 essential best practices from the top eCommerce sites will YOU be adopting this year?