Consumers are expecting more and more hassle-free, convenient shopping experiences.
This has increased the pressure on retailers to amp up their eCommerce strategy and ensure they deliver results, especially during high-traffic seasons.
But how can you ensure your ecommerce strategy is optimized to meet those customer needs? What can you do to grow your market share and delight customers?
In this post, we share our best eCommerce strategy practices to help you rise above the competition!
What is an eCommerce strategy?
Your eCommerce strategy includes all the ideas and activities that engage your new and returning customers and increases the demand for your products and services in your eCommerce store.
It's also good to note that eCommerce strategy can take several different forms depending on your specific goals for your eCommerce site.
For example, your goal can be to drive traffic to your website, strengthen brand awareness, or to sell more of a certain product.
Once you know your objective, then you can go on to choose the best and the most impactful eCommerce strategy to fit that.
Here are some proven practices for you to try! 😊
12 Best eCommerce strategies for increasing online sales:
1. Learn from the past
2. Personalize your shopping experience
Examples across different stages
3. Be proactive in your approach
4. Up-sell and cross-sell strategically
5. Gamify your seasonal promotions
Inspiration for your next campaign
6. Optimize your offers with A/B testing
7. Stand out with interactive ads
8. Retarget and re-engage your customers
9. Provide sales-focused support
10. Automate FAQs with bots
11. Think mobile-first
12. Gather meaningful data
Example: sales-oriented live chat
1. Learn from last year's campaigns
Online shopping has undoubtedly become a regular part of people's lives.
In fact, the global eCommerce market is actually expected to hit $7.3 trillion by the end of 2025. This means that companies have made good business regardless of numerous obstacles.
So why not take advantage of past years' learnings and use them as a foundation for your next peak season eCommerce strategy?
Start by digging up your past action plans and data for example on your best selling items, sales times, and performing campaigns..These insights will give you a template for moving forward and taking your strategy to the next level.
Use this to segment customers based on their behaviour, and target them with relevant and timely offers.
Here are some metrics to look out for:
Which of your offers performed the best? Was it free shipping or a discount code? Compare offers and find out which promotions gave the best results and helped reach your campaign goals.
Which channels converted the most sales? Advertising is extremely competitive during holiday seasons, so make sure advertising costs aren’t eating up all your profit. Knowing which channel worked best last year will give you a guideline for budget allocation.
The holiday calendar is full of important dates, so naturally offers run at different times, with varying durations.
For example, Halloween campaigns and Black Friday discounts may be set for just one day, whereas your pre-Christmas promotions may go on for multiple weeks.
The timing of offers will have an impact on your overall sales and even your website’s functionality making sure you avoid unwanted site crashes.
When planning for new seasonal sales look into your buyers and what they do before purchase. Where did your customers need help with on your site? At what points of the checkout process did your customers fall off their purchasing journey?
Digging into this data will give your campaigns the kick-start they need to succeed and ensure you achieve ROI – plus generate more happy customers!
2. Personalize your online customer experience
If you consider one aspect that is missing from many eCommerce sales, it's often the personalized experience.
80% of the customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
Like in a store, where the sales person knows what a customer is looking at and how interested they are, brands should provide similar customized services online.
Combining data on visitor behaviour from your marketing automation efforts ensures that each visitor gets a unique experience that matches where they are in their purchasing journey.
This can be done by offering your promotions, offers, and interactions according to:
- What page your visitor is on
- Where your visitors are on your page
- Where they came from - so their traffic source or campaign URL
- Which country they are from
- The number of times they have been on your website
- Their shopping basket value
To help you with this we have mapped out steps on how to interact and personalize the shopping experience throughout the customer journey:
First when customers do their research, they enter the first stage of the customer journey:
The "Just browsing" stage 👀
In the beginning, your visitors are usually browsing for the items they need. At this stage, they are also more likely to leave without converting.
Sometimes a visitor may come to your site, but they’re not sure what they are looking for. The best way to help them in this situation is to offer assistance.
Proactive live chat replicates the kind of experience you would offer in your brick-and-mortar store: A customer walks in and is immediately greeted by a shop assistant that helps them find what they’re looking for. You would never leave a customer wondering aimlessly in-store, so why would you online?
Triggering a chat with a proactive message not only improves your visitor’s experience - but gets you closer to closing the sale.
The "Check-out started" stage 🛒
Now your visitor is moving from browsing to check-out. They’ve placed items in their basket but haven't completed their purchase yet, cart abandonment is still on the cards.
70% of shoppers will abandon an online purchase during the checkout process due to extra fees or delivery charges.
Offering support during checkout with a personalized autosuggest message can provide a sense of security for those hesitant buyers.
You can also use chat to remind customers to finish checking out, offer deals and discounts or help them navigate through the purchasing process.
Why not try triggering a live chat message with “Hi there! Need help checking out?” for people who have been on the checkout page over a certain amount of time. At giosg, we’ve seen this increase average basket value by 30%.
The "Post-purchase" stage 🛍️
When the visitor officially turns into a customer, it's all about keeping them happy so that they keep coming back for more! To nurture customer loyalty and personalize their experience post-purchase you should consider:
- Using your thank you page to reward customers by offering a discount for their next purchase.
- Providing value-adding content that relates to the products they have just purchased. Ex. A guide or how-to video for using the product they have just purchased or product recommendations that go along with their new purchase.
- Triggering a personalized welcome message or a product suggestion when they return to your website, such as “Welcome back! Have you seen our new product...”, can help you build the brand-customer relationship.
3. Be proactive in your approach
Just like selling in-store, online customer service should also be proactive, not reactive.
This can be achieved by targeting visitors based on their past behaviour and actions on your website.
For example, with giosg's rule-based workflows or AI targeting features you can automatically approach customers with pop-ups and banners, personalized to their needs.
AI can help convert website visitors by identifying shoppers, prioritizing them, and triggering custom actions to meet their specific requirements.
You can also bring your personal selling experience online with the use of voice and video chat. These are exceptional tool in sales-oriented customer service.
To increase sales, make sure to use real-time customer behavioural data to your best advantage. Just like in-store, where you can advise the customer or guide them in a specific direction, based on what they're looking for.
Online customer service should be equipped with this service too.
Ecommerce tools like giosg, enables you to provide similar online services with our shopping cart integration: Your sales people will see inside the visitor’s shopping cart while they’re chatting with them.
This enables the sales personnel to be proactive and address the concerns immediately.
You should also make sure to be proactive off of the website, too.
For example, fulfillment centers in eCommerce can make or break customer loyalty. You’ll need to ensure that people at your warehouses are getting products out quickly.
Otherwise, all that data you used to make that initial sale will be for nothing, as late deliveries are unlikely to attract repeat customers.
4. Up-sell and cross-sell strategically
Insights into your customer’s shopping patterns, will enable the sales team to up-sell and cross-sell efficiently.
Shoppers with items in their baskets provide a real opportunity for cross-selling relevant products and up-selling a higher-value product.
Real-time visibility of a shopping cart combined with a record of a shopper’s previous history creates multiple sales and marketing opportunities. Here are a few to take advantage of:
- Cross-Sell: When a shopper places an item in the basket, you can suggest a value pack of other relevant items that are often purchased along with it in a chat message.
- Up-Sell: When an item is placed into the basket, a pop-up appears recommending a newer and better version of the item of a higher value.
- Offers: When a shopper has a basket with a value of £60, for instance, remind them of discounts and offers available only if they increase the value of their basket to £75 or £100.
Automate this process as much as you can, to focus on high-value leads at the right time and effectively!
5. Gamify seasonal online store promotions
Believe it or not, consumers today have a shorter attention span than goldfish – meaning brands have a mere 8 seconds to catch their interest.
With such a limited amount of time, the pressure is on you to prepare your peak season eCommerce strategy and create campaigns that really engage and convert them to online shoppers.
Gamifying your online store and building interactive sales-focused campaigns can provide the kind of engagement you’re looking for.
It increases the interactivity of your campaigns giving that extra push to speed up your sales cycle.
Creating interactive campaigns has the potential to increase conversion rates and drive weekly newsletter subscriptions by four times.
It works exceptionally well as a way to gather more data on your customers, allowing you to segment and personalize your offering further.
A great tool for refining and building your database.
Best practices for your next peak season campaign
- Tap into Black Friday by gamifying your discounts. Create a quiz on your website, where visitors can play to win free shipping or an even better discount. Make the experience fun and personalized, while encouraging them to purchase.
- Publish an advent calendar for your Christmas campaign on your website. Provide a new promotion or discount code that can be claimed by a visitor only on that particular day. This can help drive traffic to your website and promote your seasonal products!
- Use quizzes to generate more newsletter subscribers or to build your mailing list. Quizzes work as data collection points to segment your customer base for personalization.
Find out more about how to use gamification in Halloween marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness and engagement!
And understandably so – it can feel overwhelming if you don't have the right tools in place. Consider investing in a platform that lets you take matters into your own hands.
Using tools that require no coding, means you don’t need IT or a marketing agency in order to launch your new campaigns.
This gives you flexibility to build your holiday campaigns, make changes on the fly and adjust them as you go along.
6. Optimize your offers with A/B testing
Even with all of last year's data and learnings, you can't expect to hit the nail on the head.
Sometimes the market changes, your business goals might evolve, and what worked previously simply might not be the best solution this year.
That’s why A/B testing is such an effective tool, helping you learn more about what resonates with your audience and drive better results.
And it's not just for your email campaigns — it's also a great way to improve the conversation rate of your interactions. You can experiment with elements such as pop-ups, live chat, chatbots or even quizzes or games.
A/B testing is all about iterating changes that drive results and marketing ROI.
Here's how to A/B test interactions on your eCommerce website:
1. Define your goal
First, start with the goal of your campaign - Are you promoting a specific seasonal product, aiming to increase order size, or growing your mailing list? Use this to determine the goal of your A/B test and as a guide for what you want to adjust.
2. Choose what to test
Secondly, you need an idea of how to reach the desired goal. This is your A/B testing hypothesis. A/B tests are done by experimenting with one specific variable like your heading copy, banner visuals, or CTA placement. Why not try testing one of the following?
- Offer a free delivery pop-up vs. without it
- Show a discount code in a pop-up vs in a proactive live chat message
- Provide live chat on your check-out page vs. without it.
3. Traffic and timing
Finally, for reliable results, you will need enough traffic on your site to split the traffic between the two alternatives. That’s why peak seasons are ideal times for A/B testing, with all that traffic you're already driving onto your e-Commerce website!
Also, consider the running time of your test - it should really be as long as is needed to gather enough data for you to draw conclusions between variations.
Once you have the data, make your changes accordingly and move on to test other elements!
7. Stand out with interactive ads
For retail businesses, peak sales seasons are one of the most competitive times of the year for advertising.
Avoid banner blindness and cut through the noise by promoting your campaigns across channels with rich media interactive ads. These will allow you to provide unique ad experiences that increase conversion rates.
Interactive ads differ from static display ads by encouraging consumers to interact with ads, often including forms of media such as video, images, audio, or animation.
Interactive video ads can extend the number of time consumers spend with your brand’s ads by 47% more than static non-interactive ads.
Interactive ads typically react to a user’s movements i.e. widening when a user scrolls down the page, playing a video when clicked on, or expanding as a user hovers over it. It's a powerful way for marketers to prolong the time consumers spend with their brand.
With giosg, designing and publishing interactive ads is easy as they work with advertising platforms such as Google Ads, Adform, Xandr (AppNexus).
The benefits of interactive ads for eCommerce success:
- Improve your shopping experience: Unlike static ads, they don't force the visitor to a publisher’s website and hence don’t interrupt a visitor’s browsing experience.
- Increase lead capture: Interactive ads will allow lead capture to take place outside of your e-Commerce site with lead form extensions within the ad.
- Increase CTR: Rich media ads have been proven to deliver a high click-through-rate, outperforming banner ads by 267%.
8. Retarget and re-engage your customers
When it comes to selling products online, it is very important to gauge the customer’s attention in the early stages of the buyer’s journey.
An easy way to do this is retargeting relevant content on your customer’s feed or search results, based on their previous actions on your website.
Retargeting helps to reach the potential customers, who didn’t convert yet.
This is usually done with the help of specific URLs and in retail this enables you to track certain products or product categories. But what if you could do more?
Giosg helps you retarget audiences based on various interaction triggers.
Just remember to provide engaging and personalized interactions at different touchpoints first. This will help you get unique information about your visitors which can be used to further customize your retargeting ads.
For example, a visitor is shown a campaign pop-up quiz on your site, but before leaving their contact information they’ve abandoned your website — unconverted.
Instead of losing the potential customer, you can use all the insight on the visitor to build a targeted and specific retargeting audience.
Who & how to retarget your eCommerce customers:
- Quizzes or surveys with lower engagement barriers compared to traditional fill-out forms
- Visitor demographics
- Visitor interests based on their conversation path with your bots
- Visitors who chatted with you or clicked on a form
9. Provide sales-focused support for effective eCommerce
With increased website traffic, support inquiries regarding your promotions, delivery times, and returns etc. are bound to go through the roof.
Providing your customer service team with the right tools will ensure your site is ready for the sales season rush.
Take live chat for instance – when automated and targeted correctly, it doesn't only provide customers with proactive real-time support but can help increase conversation rates and boost sales.
10. Automate FAQs with chatbots
Having an online store means sales 24/7. But your team can’t be there to answer customer queries around the clock.
That’s where a dedicated FAQ bot comes in handy — providing support outside of your working hours when your well-deserved customer service team is asleep.
Building an FAQ bot makes targeting visitors that require help possible and allows visitors to self-serve and find answers immediately.
On the other hand, during retail opening hours, FAQ bots free up your team's time and resources.
Which eCommerce FAQs to add to your bot:
- Delivery charges or times
- Payment methods
- Product availability
- Promotion running times
- Promotion terms and conditions
- Returns and refunds
FAQ bots educate novice shoppers about your checkout journey and reassure them that it’s safe and secure to make a purchase – in turn helping your online sales grow!
11. Think mobile-first
Over the past decade, mobile usage has grown significantly and the share of mobile commerce or “m-commerce” in all eCommerce was even expected to rise to over 62% by the year 2027.
This can be accredited to the quick adoption of new smart devices and an ever-growing screen size that makes browsing and purchasing online easy.
This means that more and more customers are using their smartphones and tablets to shop online.
Clearly, not optimizing your eCommerce website for mobile can cost online retailers a loss of market share!
For your peak sales season eCommerce strategy, it’s worth thinking mobile-first not just in terms of marketing and sales, but customer service as well.
Mobile devices now account for over half of the time spent on the internet and a 56% share of all web traffic. That’s why it’s crucial to shape the experience accordingly.
Ways to improve your mobile user experience
Integrate instant messaging apps
89% of consumers use messaging apps each month.
Offering support and even up-selling via messaging apps could be the best way to reach your target audience and grow revenue.
For a seamless experience and efficiency, make sure you can integrate messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp into your existing platforms before implementing more channels into your mix.
This way, customers get to use their preferred channel while your customer service agents are able to monitor and handle all customer interactions in one place.
Optimize your interactions
Finally, whether it’s your pop-ups, chatbots, banners, and live chat windows make sure that they don’t intrude on your visitor’s mobile experience. It’s simple but super important.
Sometimes certain interactions work better on desktop than mobile, so either create responsive interactions or consider creating different versions for each device.
12. Gather meaningful data for your ecommerce platform
Data has become the new gold and is absolutely vital for eCommerce businesses to improve marketing ROI and determine the success of their peak sales season campaigns – we can’t stress this enough.
From analyzing last year's successes and personalization, to A/B testing and optimizing your campaigns – data is the common denominator.
But for it to have any kind of value, data should be examined throughout the entire lifecycle of your campaigns. Thankfully today, data can be viewed in real-time in almost all analytics tools.
Real-time analytics offers online retailers actionable insights that provide accurate, timely and effective decision making.
Leveraging real-time data will enable you to refine your eCommerce strategy and enhance your online sales efforts accordingly.
When deciding which metrics and data you want to follow, first start by considering your goals.
Focus on the end goal and look into what metrics should be measured and which KPIs should be tracked. Think about the different data that influences and affects your goal both indirectly and directly.
Let’s take a sales-oriented live chat as an example
If your goal is to increase conversions on your eCommerce website using live chat, there are some factors to keep in mind that can affect conversions.
- Traffic - your visitor amounts and visitor times
A good benchmark is that 0,5% of all website visitors chat or interact with you. Also, look at the timing of your traffic - when are your visitors visiting your pages?
- Autosuggest conversion
Different kinds of autosuggest significantly affect what kind of conversations you get - proactivity also increases the number of contacts.
- Response times
How quickly are you able to respond to your customers? Quick and efficient service helps improve your overall customer experience and reduce shopping cart abandonment.
A happy customer is more likely to buy and up to 78% of customers will bail on a transaction after a poor customer experience.
Finally, even with all the data in the world if you can’t make sense of it, it’s essentially worthless.
That's where unified dashboards and data visualisation come in handy, by displaying your data in a simple and actionable way, it allows you to take out what is meaningful and useful to your business.
So throughout the highest sales period, make sure you have the right tools in place in order to be able to analyze your data.
As the holiday season approaches, we want to help you optimize your eCommerce website for the most hectic time of the year.
If you're interested in implementing any of the strategies mentioned in this guide, book a demo with us today!