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How to improve sales through your e-commerce site

How to improve sales through your e-commerce site – Part One

All companies want to improve their web sales. To achieve this, their eCommerce stores need to cover the following points well:

1. Deliver a great overview of the brand and range
2. A slick route through the store, minimising friction and increasing sales
3. Not to lose any potential customers
4. Match the correct product to the customer
5. Keep existing customers informed of developments and new products
6. Offer advice to customers
7. Be connected to warehouse stock to minimise overselling and unhappy customers
8. Account for all sales, refunds and costs correctly

To achieve the best result, use the best platforms. These must compliment the business practices of the brand and be simple to integrate into the day to day running of the business.

An idea of a good platform for each of the above points is as follows (with links to examples):

Deliver a great overview of the brand and range

A well-designed website has replaced the printed brochure in delivering the correct message to customers. The classic example is Apple, although they have lost their way recently and are presenting prices too quickly. Google now does a slightly better job of presenting their philosophy first and then products.

Here are the 3 main purchaser types:
“I know what and I want & wish to purchase quickly”
“I know the brand and want to see the range / find the right product”
“I need a product and have seen the brand but need to know more”

Each type requires their own journey catered for, from external marketing, landing pages and then well placed CTAs throughout their user journey. Most of type 1 customers have seen the products around, read articles or most probably been type 2 or 3 customers previously.

A slick route through the store, minimising friction and increasing sales

There are many good looking stores, but all of them need to be fast loading and have great UI/UX, enabling the easiest route to each sale. Reducing clicks and offering the correct information at each stage with relevant CTAs will help. Examples of good design are https://www.rei.com/. Many of the new product clubs have very slick journeys eg: https://ca.dollarshaveclub.com/how-it-works or https://www.pactcoffee.com/

Not to lose any potential customers

Onboarding is key to all sites, quickly getting all potential customer to the correct place and grab some details. Slack is great for this when you start using the app; the chatbots appear to help at each stage. For a more traditional example, Tumblr is very immersive, with a super easy sign-up. All new customers need fast loading sites, any delay, even a second, can cause people to look elsewhere. Digital marketing now even talks about a ‘pre-bounce’ which is where a user clicks the link in a search engine but doesn’t fully allow the page to load due to slow loading, current GA cannot track this if the script hasn’t loaded.  All homepages and landing pages should be lightning fast to load – bathandbodyworks.com is super fast loading, with some wholly immersive content. An enterprise-level platform or a bespoke site always loads the quickest.

Match the correct product to the customer

You need to get the customer to follow a path to their perfect product. Financial services have been working on this for years. A good example is https://www.wealthsimple.com/en-us/You wouldn’t ask for details upfront like this site but once you start the process, it should be really simple to click through the questions. The more gamification that is used, the better. It should be fun! Also allow people to drop out or save their progress, grabbing an email or adding some cookies might help recognise or follow up the lead the next time they arrive. Recognising the customer is crucial to onboarding.

Keep existing customers informed of developments and new products – Blogs, membership, social media

Sharing similar content can be very time-consuming. The old method was to duplicate the content across all platforms but that is now replaced with sending the correct message for each platform. Tools like Hootsuite and Mailchimp CRM can help, Sage and Netsuite have their own powerful CRMs.For e-commerce, Email marketing is still hugely important, Mailchimp is a leader here. It is possible to have a digital marketing department using a couple of CRMs but they will need to have a central database that feeds back to the main ERP, providing an overview of customer sales patterns.

Offer advice to customers and the wider cycling community – How to videos

The explosion of video is not to be underestimated. The most popular sites include as much video content as possible (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook), the growth of mobile makes browsing/learning by video much simpler than scrolling through a page. A great example of this is Made Good and Instructables. A YouTube channel would be good to organise and promote more around social media

Be connected to warehouse stock to minimise overselling and unhappy customers

No one wants to buy something that either doesn’t exist or is going to be delayed for weeks. Any ERP can work with a webstore, they will all need to have additional attributes added to provide a good portrayal of the product (Images etc). The most important choice for an ERP is ‘Does it allow our company to track and manage goods through their lifecycle, within our business practice?” If it has a good API, then it can help populate the webstore. Sage 200, for example, has the following fields for each product. Netsuite has more, but we only really need the SKU, price, name, availability and lead time to cover most functions in the store. Sales, refunds and promotions will feedback to all ERPs.

Account for all sales, refunds and costs correctly – Accounts platform / BOM software and ERP

These each need to fit your daily business practices but also be based in the cloud and provides flexible APIs to share relevant information with each other and the website. Most larger ERPs include the accounting side, which makes a lot of sense. Some very large ERPs can help manage the BOM but this is not totally necessary as this blog article makes clear (https://www.arenasolutions.com/blog/post/manage-boms-erp-system/)

If the above sounds interesting and you would like more details on how to make eCommerce work harder for your business, then we are here to help. Also, look out for our second part of ‘eCommerce best practises’, where we will look more closely at the connections between various platforms.

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