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7 practical tips to increase ecommerce sales in 2016

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4. Ecommerce technology to follow strategy

If you really want your website to succeed, it is important that you invest in good technology. Functionality such as price tracking (so that you are always offering the best deal), multi-channel marketing, real time support and product recommendation services are a must-have, as are good order tracking features, and loyalty schemes.

As ecommerce websites become ever more commonplace, competition is increasingly fierce. Companies that offer the smoothest and most personalised experiences for all shoppers are those that will ultimately succeed.

But with so many new technologies it is hard not to knee jerk into buying new technologies to avoid competitor threat. We also see new website platforms being bought on the justification of just needing something new. It is important to commit resources to developing your technology but it should be driven by your roadmap or customer journey and the value it can create.

5. Cross-sell products with conviction

Whilst a lot of focus is put on conversion, building average order values by getting more or higher value items into the basket is crucial to ecommerce profitability. We have witnessed poorly thought through manually driven cross-selling and highly mechanised cross selling technologies that create illogical links for the customer.

Which approach is the best for you depends on your product set, how generic it is, how much it associates and how much you can really understand what your customer might buy next.

If you sell products that go together well, you should cross-promote them. Offer a phone case to go with your mobile phones, cartridges to go with printers, and shorts to go with t-shirts. Its as simple as that, but it’s something that will greatly improve your advertising ROI, and the average order value for your store.

Amazon manages cross-promotion particularly well, and even tracks past orders, and products that customers have viewed, offering recommendations based upon those metrics. John Lewis has also become a master at cross-selling, and has a high average cart value as a result.

Cross-promotion doesnt have to mean selling other products, either; it can include selling value-added services. For example, Amazon offers a wrapping service, and promotes this on the check-out page, as well as promoting its own credit card.

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6. Testing

Your site must work well, and be reliable, otherwise you will lose customers. Make sure that you test absolutely everything. Dont just make sure that the site works when you use it pay someone else to try to break your website.

Focus groups and user testing will reveal an awful lot about how your site really works, and will identify problems that you may never have thought of.

7. Strengthen customer trust

Online shopping is fast becoming the norm, but that doesnt mean that shoppers blindly trust online stores from which they have never bought before.

Use services such as TrustPilot to show that your company has a good reputation, and try to build trust from day one. Collect customer feedback and allow ratings on products from verified buyers.

Offer product guides to help people with technical or complex products; make sure that you have a good warranty service and honour it. Build a reputation as a reliable, innovative and honest company and you will build a loyal following.

Richard Blanchard is director at ecommerce consultancy Transaction Partnership

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