If you’re in business online, you’ll want to focus on how to continually grow your e-commerce website. It’s easy to “set it and forget it” but making regular updates to your e-commerce website aimed at growth will keep the orders coming in. We’ll organize this into three areas, product planning (designing new products, ordering new products to sell) growing your email list and updating your home and product pages regularly.
Grow your products:
The first one, product planning is a must-do for all stores – we’re creatures who like “new and shiny” and your customers are no exception. The third task also feeds into this “show them something new” category (even if products don’t change).
If you sell things that you buy for inventory, you have this a little bit easier than those that create product to sell themselves. The best way to plan for new product is to ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS! Indeed! Have a trusted group of customers that you can reach out to ask what they’re looking to see in your store. You can also tap into your vendors – they also have new products they want to sell through your store. And you can, through your strategic planning, decide where your business is going, what kinds of products do you want to offer and adjust using your own long term goals.
If you design and create your own products, you’re going to have a much longer lead time to produce these than just ordering goods for sale. To do this, you should plan how often you want to introduce new products, do an annual or quarterly product planning roadmap so that you can work back through those new product launches to ensure you can get it all done. I like doing this with Trello (our businesses have side businesses, so we’re not just a marketing training and coaching company, we actually run e-commerce businesses, both those that offer custom products and those that offer on-demand products!) In Trello, I will use the calendar power up to plan the launch date for a new product, organizing all of that product’s tasks on individual cards on a list devoted to that product. Then, I drag around the tasks (cards) onto the calendar days to plan when I need to start working on it. Usually it was a week ago Tuesday that I needed to start!
Product launches should have at least the following components:
New website header featuring these products
Social media account headers featuring these new products
Social media posts featuring the new products
Product grid update to include new products on your home page “featured products grid” If you need help organizing your e-commerce site’s home page, check out this article. (link)
Grow your email list
An email list is a saleable business asset. You own those names (particularly if they are customers!) And it’s one way to get your message out regularly to your audience. If you provide more value than selling, your email will get opened, read, and looked for. We talk a lot about email marketing, and it’s importance for all small businesses, especially those that sell things online. As many more customers look to disengage from social, they don’t necessarily want to disengage from your brand. You can still inspire them on social, but add in email marketing and you can still move the sales needle in a significant way. Done well, email marketing is an opportunity to share deeper content with your customer. It is one sided, of course, but you can continue the conversations on social media for spiral or flywheel of engagement over time.
Update your home page and product pages regularly
Google (and your customers) love new stuff! Updating and optimizing your home page has significant impacts on how your site is served up in response to a customer search. It also has big impacts on what products and services convert when you’re linking to your business from online networking groups, and your own social media.
We outline the architecture of a high performing e-commerce page here. But we also talk about optimizing your service business website home page to tell your story and engage your prospects.
What should you update on your ecommerce home page with every product launch:
For new products, your header image should be geared toward the new product
Your product grid should contain new products as your featured ones
Your blog feed should contain one or more blog posts about your new product and how to use it/enjoy it.
Your embedded social media feed should contain posts (not stories, stories do not embed) about your new products
What you should update weekly on your ecommerce home page:
Featured products on your featured product grid. Just tag your products featured on/off, pick products that work seasonally. Just like retail stores adjust their window displays weekly, your home page is your window display!
Your header image should change weekly. Create several in advance, and rotate through them. You can add and swap one or two, moving it up in your slider queue to get more “air time”.
Update your client conversion process:
Have more than one sign up to email with a compelling ‘why’ message. Use a popup with an offer (discount, freebie, etc.) as the customer enters or leaves your site (exit intent). Many systems allow you to tailor the exit intent. Popups increase signups by 21-35% on e-commerce sites!
Every opportunity to ‘convert’ a prospective customer to a paying one should be reviewed at least quarterly for performance. If your current conversion offers and visit-to-customer percentages are slipping or not growing, it’s time to adjust your offers and your positioning.
Most product stores benefit from a discount with purchase offer, but don’t overlook adding customers to your list through freebie downloads, as those can often sway a potential customer to sign up before they’re ready to purchase – and you can use email to encourage that purchase, AND larger purchases at the same time.
You should look for opportunities to engage customers across social media after the sale – “show us your stuff!” with hashtags are a great way to remind customers that they can share your product use with them across their own social with your hashtag. Before the sale, you can encourage them to join Facebook groups with special member-only offers.
The magic in how to continually grow your e-commerce business happens in the daily activities that you take on your site to encourage your customers to stay in touch with you. Plan your week with an hour in it to update your e-commerce website to encourage customers to buy more (and more often!)