How to increase your online sales

Person in a pink shirt holding a credit card while using their laptop for online sales

Traffic to your ecommerce website may be flowing freely, but are you converting that interest into actual sales? Gemma Haggarty explains how to increase your online sales, turning web visitors into customers.

It's entirely possible for websites to rank highly in search engines and get lots of traffic, but achieve low conversion rates when it comes to selling online. There are many potential reasons for this, from pricing and product features to navigation and security. Two websites offering the same products at exactly the same price could get different amounts of business, because of issues such as ease of use and trust.

Improve your website navigation

To encourage site visitors to purchase, your website needs to be very well laid-out, clean and clear. Make sure your ecommerce website designer understands this from the start.

  • Easy navigation is essential. If people find your website awkward and can't find what they want, they will go elsewhere - and won't come back.
  • Keep everything simple, professional and consistent. You can't afford to make spelling errors, for instance.
  • Keep things as intuitive as possible. Use obvious section names and remind the user where they are in the site.
  • Use a strong call to action to encourage visitors to buy.
  • Minimise the number of clicks from landing page to checkout. The whole purchasing process has to be as quick, intuitive and easy as possible. Don't force users to open an account in order to buy something.
  • Don't ask customers to provide lots of unnecessary information. Make it clear why you need any information that you do ask for, and how you will use it.

Build trust with website visitors

It's much easier to build trust than to have to rebuild it. If possible, get all the elements right from the off. If you already have an online presence and aren't getting it quite right, do something about it now. Talk to yourwebsite developer or designer about what changes you can make to increase sales.

Online-only businesses do not have face-to-face contact with customers, so they have to find other ways to convey the fact that they are trustworthy.

  • Get as many accreditations as possible, including association and trade body memberships. Join local business groups to show you are part of the local community.
  • Include endorsements, testimonials and case studies from customers on your website.
  • Personalise your site as much as possible and feature real people. A human element on any ecommerce website builds trust.
  • Security is an important part of trust. Display the payment providers you work with, such as PayPal. It's good to have a Verified by Visa sign and an SSL certificate.

Be transparent about extras

Honesty and openness are vital. Always be clear about all your costs and delivery prices - no-one likes a shock at the point of purchase. Include full details about deliver and your returns policy. FAQs are a good way to pre-empt customer questions.

At the same time, make sure you are easy to get hold of and that you supply all of your contact details. A phone number is always best.

Know who you're selling to

Think about your target market. Always remember who you are selling to. Younger clients are likely to be web-savvy, but older customers might need more help to navigate the sales process and feel comfortable. Tailor content to the user.

Track and analyse your website - and your competitors' sites. Ask customers for feedback and run user surveys. Build a customer database and contact them with relevant information, not spam. Aim to establish an ongoing process that lets you find out what your customers like and dislike.

Written by Gemma Haggarty. Ecommerce content edited by Chloe Thomas of eCommerce MasterPlan.

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.