Let’s start with some assumptions: You’ve done your research and you know that your audience wants to buy what you’re selling. Plus, you have a great website. These are big assumptions, so you’d better have some stats to back them up. If you’re missing either of those, then take a step back and focus there — you have some work to do. But what if you’re doing good, and you’re looking for some easy ways to bump your revenue?
Well, chances are that you’re missing out on at least one of the following. And after working on a few hundred sites, I’ve personally seen each of them pay back dividends:
1. Offer free shipping.
Free shipping just makes everything more appealing. But don’t just take my word for it: One study found that a staggering 80% of U.S. respondents say free shipping would be a key factor for their online purchases. Isn’t that a huge reason you’re subscribed to Amazon Prime? I know it is for me.
The question is: How can you offer free shipping without having to eat up the cost? The answer is that you have to work it into your pricing or your margin, and the right choice for you lies in the numbers. You’ll want to consider your margins, products, orders and customers.
If you can add the average shipping cost into your product’s price without making it look “expensive,” then do that, and offer free shipping on all orders. If not, then it’s all about those cart values — look at the average order size, and offer free shipping for that number, plus a margin. You want to make sure that the added profit of the bigger orders is enough to cover the shipping expenses and then some.
The key to success is making your customers aware that they are getting great value with your free shipping offer. Psychologically, that typically ensures a change from perceived savings to actual quantitative savings in the customer’s mind.
2. Give something for ‘nothing.’
Dr. Paul Zak of Claremont University and his team conducted a study where half the participants were given a $10 voucher to make a purchase. They discovered that discount users experienced a 38% rise in oxytocin levels and were 11% happier compared to those who purchased without a discount. In plain English, discounts can make your customers feel warm and fuzzy, and they will associate those emotions with your brand.
Customers are savvy. They know when and where to get the best deals, and they scour the internet waiting for flash sales and events like Black Friday before they buy. You can use that to increase your sales. So give them that discount. Distribute your own coupons on coupon sites. Advertise them.
Alternatively, you can offer a gift or bonus on purchases over a certain amount. Typically, about 30% more than your average sale is a good sweet spot. What’s interesting is that it doesn’t have to be a big gift — you have psychology on your side. Everyone loves free stuff!
At the same time, you want to be considerate of your audience and understand why they’re buying your product to determine whether to offer a coupon/discount or a gift/bonus. If it’s more of a luxury product, then it’s likely better to offer a bonus, particularly if it’s an exclusive item that they only get if they meet a certain threshold. This adds to their experience without taking away from the higher-end feel that your brand should portray. On the other hand, if your product is more of an everyday item, then a coupon generally works great.
3. Get some great customer photos.
Missing the buzzword? Here it is: user-generated content (UGC).
According to research, 93% of consumers find UGC to be helpful when making a purchasing decision. But surprisingly, only around 16% of businesses actively engage with their customers and tell them what content to create and share.
Encourage your customers to be your brand ambassadors on social media. Any customer who references your product is your ambassador, and since most of your customers are already using social media, they can all play that role. In 2019, videos and photos are still going strong, so Instagram is your best friend. Create an easy-to-remember hashtag, and ask your customers to post their photos. The hashtag will enable you to track their responses so you can find and reply to them quickly and efficiently. Bonus points if they upload it to their Stories.
By far the most effective way to gather feedback is while you’re still fresh in your customers’ minds, so add a box after checkout or in a follow-up email shortly after they receive their order. To encourage more responses, consider offering a coupon or a free gift in return for their efforts.
All three of these are focused around the same concept: to make your customers feel good. You want them to feel good about making a purchase before they make it (by giving them social proof through other customer photos) and as they’re making it (free shipping or discounts/bonuses). If you do that, then assuming that you are selling a great product, you will not only increase your revenue through new orders but also earn some repeat customers.
We all associate feelings with every transaction, so the positive feelings that you’ll create by following these methods will stay in your customers’ minds when it’s time to buy again.