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Ecommerce Forum

Seeing a downturn in sales?
This is what we have been doing to increase sales and it works!

 11:03 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

We all know that the economic downturn has been affecting all types of businesses. So, if you manage an ecommerce site what can you do? Well, we are sharing some things that we have done recently to increase sales.

1. Add products- That is the number one thing we have been doing. Instead of selling 1000 products start selling 2000 products! This will naturally increase your sales overall then just wait till the slower economic times are over and you might pleasantly find you doubled your bottom line.

2. SEO-By adding new product lines make sure you SEO all your new pages real well while constructing them. Additional content will mean additional traffic and possibly higher ranking in valued keywords or high rankings in new targeted keywords.

3. Email Newsletters- Offer weekend sales, cut prices on inventory that is not moving. Get people to your site via newsletters to make purchases.

4. Start a forum or blog- This is something new we have tried and it enables customers both past and present to share ideas, photographs, talk about how they used your product and even write reviews.

5. Send out a print catalog- Print catalogs are relatively cheap to produce, pick your top 10 products and use your customer database to mail out catalogs. People change their email addresses, so emailing newsletter does not reach 100% of people. Sometimes people move as well, so if your catalog delivers to an address where a new person is living you might have just picked up a new customer.

6. Write additional technical details about existing products-Make some how to do videos, post them to You Tube. Not only will your customers love the videos but you will also find traffic on You Tube as well. Make sure you link your videos to how to do pages and to product pages as well. The past month we have picked up 4000 additional referrals from people watching four YouTtube videos we made alone. Plus, if you make good videos people might blog about them giving your website extra links. Extra traffic means extra sales, extra links means an increase in Search engine rankings.

7. Get busy on message boards in your industry- Become the subject matter expert and the go to person on message boards that discuss products like you sell. Answering questions will help bring in traffic and sales. A good example is helping someone on a "Do it yourself" project. Help the person to your own "Do it yourself" instruction page and make sure that page has links to product pricing.

8. Make a lot of "Do it yourself" instruction pages for products that are complicated to install. Remember, if someone can save $1000 from hiring a contractor verses doing it themselves, that might make or break a sale.

9. Keep an eye on your inventory- If it slows, move it out. Customers like sales.

10. Last but not least, expand your marketing. If you are not taking advantage of free marketing things such as Google Base then you should spend some time there. There are other free shopping engines you can submit products to as well out there and may be even expand is some pay per click marketing.

Does anyone else have other things to share? If so, please do share the wealth of knowledge.



 11:17 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Nice post TNL


 1:54 pm on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

11. Take advantage of tough times. Buy merchandise from failing competitors.


 2:15 pm on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

12. Keep an eye on your competitors- If one of your competitors goes bankrupt and they let their domain go, buy it up when it becomes available and 301 redirect it to your site. We just found two today and did just that. This should bring some of our competitors repeat traffic to us.


 4:14 pm on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

13. A/B Split Testing. It seems that few Web sites take an experimental approach to their conversion rates. I have found that many times you can increase sales/leads by changing, testing and analyzing seemingly small elements on Web pages.


 6:49 pm on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Whatever you do, this failing economy is an opportunity. Push hard and build. Those that make it through tough times generally are the industry shakers on the other side of the recession. The weak fail, the strong end up being stronger than ever. So whatever you've got to do to keep going, do it.

We don't have a storefront, but we're picking up the phone and calling people all the time now - whenever I have the opportunity to do so. We don't sit around and wait, we're following up hard on people we've spoken to in the past for orders - and getting some just because of the contact.

If you've spoken to someone in the last 90 days that didn't buy, call them now. In many cases people don't buy right away but they do after 90 days. You may have been their first contact, but if you're still there in 90 days to touch them again you may get the sale then.

For all the geeks out there, get over it. Pick up the phone and call. All you have to do is say "Hi, it's BT from WebmasterWorld. We spoke a few months ago? I was just following up to see how things were going." And let them talk. Some may not buy, some may. But you can make a lot of phone calls and make a lot of sales that way.

Also always a good time to send out an email to previous clients. Never know what'll shake out from that.


 8:32 pm on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Find new angles or uses for your products. Most products have unexplored angles, or other possible uses, market to some of those new uses.


 2:39 am on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do better customer service to keep your old customer.


 5:18 am on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

All good tips. For #2 I would add - Go back and check your OLD products. I just did that on a few random ones that have been stables for years, and nearly all needed some improvements.


 7:03 am on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Beef up your crosslinks to make it easier for users to locate accessories or related products that match what they're already looking at.


 10:09 am on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

we are in travel.

we've contacted all suppliers to come up with special offers and discounts.

we've then splashed these all around the site and created an extra product search, limited just to special offers.

they are having a good effect. it does mean our average sale value has gone down, but better than nothing.

the newsletter is an area we have not done enough in, some good tips above.


 9:01 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Great post. A nice short read -- now to spend the long hours acting on solid advice!


 6:43 am on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

14. When the economy goes south adjust your advertising budget down to keep pace with sales, not up as sales decline.


 2:01 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

"14. When the economy goes south adjust your advertising budget down to keep pace with sales, not up as sales decline. "

I have a friend who is a marketing guru who says the complete opposite of this. When the economy goes south, you should keep advertising up or even increase. Two reasons, you want to keep your name fresh in the minds of the customers so WHEN they spend you are at the tip of their tongue and second, as competitors go under you are capturing their fallout of customers.

Granted, if your sales are so low you cant afford to advertise then I guess you need to trim just to keep from being one of those competitors going under.


 5:02 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Agreed with ssgumby on the advertising front. For our Y! ad account, traffic has more than doubled because the majority of our legitimate competition has stopped advertising on the same keywords, presumably because they can't afford to pay the same bids anymore. For some phrases, we are sometimes now the only relevant advertiser that appears :D


 11:53 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have a friend who is a marketing guru who says the complete opposite of this. When the economy goes south, you should keep advertising up or even increase

This is breaking the cardinal rule of ROI. If you are not making money or converting, this is hard to justify.

Spending above ROI gets into the area of speculation and chasing sales which may or may not exist. OK to dabble in but it would be a deadly strategy in the long term, overextending.

[edited by: MrHard at 11:58 pm (utc) on Mar. 4, 2009]


 3:48 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Mrhard, I think you missed my final statement.

"Granted, if your sales are so low you cant afford to advertise then I guess you need to trim just to keep from being one of those competitors going under"


 10:09 pm on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

15. Pay attention to your competitors when they go out of business, may be increase advertisements in their area of products to see if you can get new business.

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