Online shopping has boomed in recent years, with retail eCommerce sales expected to exceed $6.3 trillion worldwide in 2024. With more people shopping online than ever before, competition is fierce in the digital space - and with increased competition comes decreased brand loyalty. It's a grow-or-die reality, bleak as that sounds. So, how can you protect your eCommerce store from competition and ensure it stays firmly on the path to growth?

Increasing sales volume is a key contributor to business growth. More sales means more revenue – and more profits for you to reinvest into your store (and take home). There are many ways to increase sales, including ramping up your marketing efforts, optimising your eCommerce website, rewarding loyal customers, and more. Read on for ten strategies you can start implementing today to increase eCommerce sales.

1. Explore new marketing channels

If you only use one or two digital marketing channels, consider using some others to reach a broader audience, raise brand awareness, and generate sales. Each channel suits specific forms of content and ways to promote your store. Here are some examples.

  • SMS and email marketing – emails are great for spotlighting a few products within your catalogue. You can add engaging images, videos, and text to demonstrate each product's benefits. SMS is best for short or urgent messages like review requests and time-sensitive flash sale promotions.

  • TikTok and Snapchat – popular social networks among Gen Z and millennials. Both platforms offer plenty of opportunities to showcase your brand personality and connect with customers.

  • Affiliate programme – a monetisation model where affiliate partners promote your products and drive visitors and sales to your store. In return, you'll pay each affiliate a small commission.

  • Google Shopping – a way to get your products discovered through the Google Search engine, where millions of people are actively looking for products. It's free to set up through the Google Merchant Centre. You can also supplement your organic product listings with paid Google Shopping Ads.

  • User-generated content (UGC) – social proof is critical in attracting more customers and sales. By getting customers to create buzz around your products through content they've created and shared on their own social channels, you can tap into new audiences and increase trust in your brand. UGC can take the form of reviews, product images, video tutorials, microblogs, etc.

2. Revamp your eCommerce store

Many would-be shoppers abandon their online cart before purchasing because of a poor user experience, such as slow-loading product pages or too many steps at the checkout. Optimising landing pages for speed and performance is vital to maximise sales conversions.

This includes opting for a mobile-first design that works on newer devices and ensuring the layout flows logically and intuitively so website visitors can easily find what they're looking for (smart search functionality and filters can help with this.) Your eCommerce store should also be accessible to the visually or hearing impaired. Consider using:

  • Descriptive Alt Text for product images to make them easier to understand.

  • Keyboard-friendly navigation so all elements of your site can be accessed via a keyboard.

  • Optimised fonts that are clear and easy to read.

  • Video and audio content with captions.

  • Colours that allow a strong contrast between text and backgrounds for better visibility.

In addition to the above, show your products off in the best light with advanced visuals like augmented reality and 360-degree rotational views. Don't forget to add a clear call to action (CTA) to leave shoppers in no doubt about how to buy your products.

3. Refresh your content

Search engines look for new content when crawling your website—this is one factor that indicates your store is current and relevant. By creating new content, e.g., via regular blog posts, you'll not only keep search engines happy but customers, too. Starting a blog, if you haven't already got one, is a good idea as it provides a place where visitors can read more about your products and brand and what to expect from your store going forward.

Did you know 96% of consumers have watched a video to learn about a product? Creating video tutorials for both new and older products can massively boost engagement and help customers with their decision to purchase.

Optimise your existing content for SEO to raise its ranking in search results. You can do that by adding relevant keywords and phrases to headings, subheadings, blogs and product pages. Ensure product descriptions are up-to-date and you have high-quality product images (which contain ALT text that accurately describes their content). Fix any website UI/UX issues to ensure visitors have a smooth browsing and buying experience.

Another way to add new content and gain social proof at the same time is to acquire customer reviews and publish them on your eCommerce site. Use other mediums to gather feedback, such as social media platforms and Google Business. If you also sell on different marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, build up reviews there too.

eCommerce - taking high quality product photos with red smartphone

4. Collaborate with influencers

Influencer collaborations have grown in popularity in recent years. This marketing strategy involves getting an influencer with a large following to promote your products. Examples of collaborations include unboxing posts, contests or giveaways, an account takeover or brand ambassadorship. You could also partner with an influencer via their podcast or newsletter.

An influencer collaboration can amplify your brand and expand your reach to new audiences. Influencer-generated content can be shared across many marketing channels to extend that reach further. Here are some best practices to follow to ensure a successful campaign:

  • Choose an influencer whose values and audiences match your brands. That way, the influencer's followers will likely be interested in your offering.

  • Use platforms that resonate with your specific audience and drive high engagement and conversion rates, such as YouTube and Instagram.

  • With any sponsored content and collaborations, you must state somewhere that it's a paid-for collaboration. However, ensure the influencer can promote your products naturally and authentically. (For best results, pick an influencer who genuinely likes and uses your products anyway.)

  • Assign a unique discount code for each influencer collaboration so their audiences can benefit from a reward. Set up affiliate tracking to monitor clicks, sales, and commissions.

5. Reward loyal customers

Customer retention should form a vital part of your eCommerce strategy because it's much easier to boost online sales via existing customers than through first-time customers. Consider creating a loyalty program for repeat customers and rewarding them when they spend over a certain threshold. Why not offer free shipping, a complimentary gift with their next purchase or a personalised text coupon with a 20% discount? You could also provide free store credit on their birthday and early access to sales and new products.

Don't just reward loyal customers, though. Also reward anyone who spreads positive messages about your business through word-of-mouth. Set up a referral program so people can tell their friends and family about your brand. If a third party makes a purchase, reward that person and the referral partner with a commission or discount.

6. Sustainability

Sustainability is an important and trending topic. Many shoppers would now rather buy from a more expensive yet ethical and sustainable brand than one that prioritises cheap goods made possible with a huge carbon footprint. Since 2016, there's been a 71% rise in online searches for sustainable goods worldwide. And businesses of all types and sizes are ramping up their efforts to be eco-friendly and socially responsible.

Focusing on sustainability can give your marketing campaigns a refreshing twist and offer peace of mind to customers wanting to be 'greener'. But whatever you do, don't fake or exaggerate your sustainability messages. Audiences can tell which brands are paying lip service to sustainability from those who genuinely care about their impact on the planet.

Express genuine solidarity with climate change organisations and take meaningful action to ensure your business practices are sustainable for the long term. For example, avoid animal testing and cruelty and offer eco-friendly, minimal packaging. Ensure your entire supply chain is socially responsible. Publish educational blogs and social media posts on sustainability issues and what your eCommerce business is doing to help the environment and future generations.

7. Expand into new markets

Expanding your eCommerce store into new markets brings multiple advantages. You'll reach a wider audience, diversify your customer base, and benefit from economies of scale. Some crucial first steps are to assess your store's readiness for expansion and undertake market research to identify any untapped markets your product could fit into. Do:

  • Ensure you fully understand your target audience in both your current and new markets.

  • Check your unique selling points still work for other markets and adapt your product if needed.

  • Check whether your supply chain and business finances can cope with expansion.

  • Ensure you can meet international legal and regulatory compliance before taking the leap.

  • Optimise your eCommerce store or app and localise it for other countries you want to expand to.

You may need to make your website, marketing materials, social media posts, paid ads and customer service communications multilingual. One last point to note: your marketing campaigns should be region-specific and include relevant promotions, deals, offers, and discounts.

8. Upselling and cross-selling

Customers are more faithful to brands that care about them. In a study by Wunderman, 79% of consumers said that brands need to demonstrate that they understand and care about them before they'll consider purchasing.

Messente's Head of Revenue, Marcus Kallavus, shares some ways to do that. "Monitor customer behaviour and past purchase history and use those insights to show customers you understand them. Cross-sell and upsell through intelligent product recommendations based on customers' past purchases. For prospective customers who've yet to make their first purchase, offer a discount on something in their wish list. And always follow up on people who add items to their cart but never make it through the checkout process with an enticing abandoned cart notification."

You should also utilise strategic positioning to differentiate your store from the competition. This is all about finding a way to make your brand stand out in the minds of customers, such as by offering excellent customer service, higher-quality products or a more extensive product range than competitors.

9. Adopt AI

AI tools offer increased productivity, efficiency and personalised experiences, which can help increase online sales, so adopt them where possible for your eCommerce store. Here are some options to explore:

  • AI-powered product recommendation engines – these encourage customers to scroll through a 'recommended for you' section (see how Amazon does this below) and add any items of interest to their cart. Even if they don't buy immediately, they may choose to buy in the future.

    Amazon screenshot showing 'recommended for you' section
  • AI-based text chatbots – a powerful automated chatbot can improve your service function and increase customer satisfaction. Some can not only deliver super-fast responses to customer support queries and requests but also anticipate customer needs and provide next steps or recommendations. You will still get customers waiting to speak to a human agent; however, many people appreciate an instant response, especially if their problem or question is resolved right away. By routing FAQs to a chatbot, you can eliminate repetitive responses and free up customer service agents to focus on more complex queries.

  • AI-driven data analytics – such tools can collect and analyse data to extract customer insights, which can be used to inform more targeted and personalised marketing campaigns. They can also boost operational efficiency and reduce costs by detecting fraud and predicting market demand.

10. Create an omnichannel customer experience

An omnichannel customer experience is about delivering a cohesive and valuable experience across all online and offline channels. All customer data is centralised to ensure seamless interactions at every touchpoint—your website, social media channels, instant messaging, SMS, contact forms, phone, email and your brick-and-mortar store.

An omnichannel platform will help you unite all channels and achieve consistency in branding, messaging and product offerings. For example, once set up, customers can reach out on any channel and their message will be delivered to a centralised inbox, where you can see previous conversation history and context. Even if customers switch channels during an interaction, you can pick up the conversation without friction.

Of course, the omnichannel experience shouldn't just be limited to communication. Consumers today want to shop omnichannel and enjoy a seamless experience across physical and digital stores. Consider leveraging geotargeted advertising to attract local customers with personalised offers that foster brand loyalty and deeper connections.

Here's an example of an omnichannel customer experience that starts with a marketing campaign:

  1. You send an email newsletter to your entire customer database to promote a new product range.

  2. Around 20% of email subscribers open the email and click through to a landing page with more information and consistent branding.

  3. Next, you send a bulk SMS messaging campaign to those email subscribers who clicked through to the landing page. You know they're interested, so you include a time-limited special offer on their first purchase of the new product.

  4. Some customers purchase immediately, using the discount code in the text. Others call or message customer service with questions.

  5. A chatbot fields the questions you've already anticipated.

  6. For more complex queries, customers are routed to a human agent who's armed with all the details of the products and an overview of the customers' interactions so far. They're able to answer the questions quickly and successfully.

Omnichannel customer service - person wearing headset and talking on phone

Boost eCommerce sales with proven strategies

The retail eCommerce industry has grown substantially year on year for over a decade. Competition has also increased in response. To ensure your online store is geared up for long-term success, you'll want to do everything you can to increase your eCommerce sales.

We've covered ten tried and tested strategies to increase the number of people moving through your sales funnel. These include exploring new marketing channels, optimising your eCommerce store, refreshing content, rewarding loyal customers, utilising AI tools, and more. You don't need to implement them all at the same time. Start with one or two and then move on to the others.

The trickiest one to implement is developing an omnichannel customer experience, as this will take time and investment. However, omnichannel is the future of eCommerce. Customers want that connected shopping experience no matter which channel they use at the point of enquiry or purchase.

Discover why an omnichannel customer experience is becoming a necessity for business survival.