5 Ways to Increase Your Ecommerce Business Sales Cross-selling. Eliminating abandoned carts. Spending on social media: Don't be satisfied with what you've got when you could have so much more.

By Thomas Smale

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Your ecommerce store is up and running, and you're getting some sales. Congratulations! But, if you thought you could squeeze every bit of profit out of your business without optimizing your store and using the right strategies to engage customers, you thought wrong.

Generating new business is one way to increase your ecommerce sales, but there's a good chance you could be doing more with the customer base you already have.

Related: 9 Tips to Make Your Ecommerce Business Wildly Successful

Here are five ways to increase your online sales.

1. Upsell and cross-sell products.

You buy a brand new guitar, but within a few short years, you're looking to upgrade. That's when you could be upsold to a better, more expensive guitar.

So, you buy the guitar, but you soon realize you need strings, a capo, a tuner, a case and other related accessories. Cross-selling happens when a business knows you're going to need other items to go along with that shiny new guitar.

Another great example is a broadcast quality microphone. If you're interested in a product like that, it's probably for one of three reasons: 1) You're a podcaster; 2) You're buying it for your radio station; or 3) You own a recording studio or home studio.

What else are you going to need to go with that mic? An XLR cable, a stand, an audio interface? Cross-selling isn't hard to do when you know what other equipment your customer is going to need to go along with that new purchase.

Upselling and cross-selling make up as much as 35 percent of Amazon's total revenue, and that's reason enough to put a priority on it.

2. Eliminate abandoned carts.

For every 100 customers visiting your website, as many as 60 to 70 will abandon their shopping carts. This is where a lot of ecommerce businesses are losing money, or at the very least leaving money on the table.

Let's say, for example, that you're selling $200 products to 40 customers on a monthly basis. That's $8,000 in revenue. But if you were able to reduce abandoned carts and convert at 60 percent, your sales would jump to $12,000 per month, and you would be into five-figure revenue.

One of the main reasons customers abandon their carts is because of price and additional fees. If they can find the same product for a cheaper price elsewhere, they will leave your site. If shipping fees or other unexpected costs are added to their order, they will find another store.

There are many ways to curtail abandonment rate, but one of the most straightforward is with follow-up emails. A simple automated sequence can help you reduce abandoned carts for platforms like Magento.

Related: Overwhelmed by the eCommerce Solutions Available? Here Are the Top 4.

Here are several tips for optimizing emails that go out:

  • Remind customers of what was in their cart. What product was abandoned? Show them.
  • Grab their attention. Use great headlines, attention-grabbing copy and photos to draw them back in.
  • Send them a discount code. Get them to commit to the order.
  • Hold their items for them. Were they about to order a popular product from your store? Hold their items for them, even if -- or especially if -- your stock is low.

3. Spend on social media.

Not surprisingly, one of the top drivers of social commerce is Facebook. The rest of the breakdown may surprise you. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit are among the highest-performing sites. Yet, depending on your business niche, other sites may prove to be more worthwhile. It's worth experimenting to find out.

Using Facebook ads, SA Company was able to boost sales by 37 percent. Amazingly, SA also grew its business from one to over 50 employees as result.

Owners of many small-to-medium-sized businesses balk at the thought of spending on social, as proving ROI can be difficult. But social media is driving sales more than ever, and not jumping onboard could mean missing a significant opportunity to increase sales for your business.

4. Find affiliates.

Affiliate associates can help you move more of your product, as affilliates are incentivized with commissions to do so. While this does mean giving away a percentage of your profits to your affiliates, the increase in sales can make it worthwhile. In essence, it's free marketing for your products and business, and you only have to pay out when a sale is made.

Here are several steps you can take to ensure success with your affiliate program:

  • Do your research. Determine whether to join and leverage a network like Commission Junction, or start your own tracking system.
  • Find affiliates. By leveraging pre-existing networks, you can easily find affiliates selling products in your niche.
  • Pay your affiliates well. The cost of paying your affiliates will generally be less than your advertising budget.

Make it easy for affiliates to sign up with you and implement tracking links on their blog, landing page or website. The less hassle it is to get up and running, and the easier it is to promote the product, the better things will be for your affiliates.

Related: 5 Keys to Building Your Ecommerce Site

5. Be creative.

Improve product descriptions and presentation. Avoid the use of standard descriptions pulled from a database, and create concise, human, SEO-optimized copy for your products. Use attractive product photography to build trust and improve the visuals of your site. This much should be fairly obvious.

What else can you do? Other businesses are:

  • Experimenting with Instagram. The average order value from Instagram is $65, which is higher than just about any other social media platform. It's not hard to see why businesses are trying it out to see if it works for them.
  • Implementing a store on Facebook. You can use the Facebook Store app to sell directly on one of the most popular sites online.
  • Allowing users to create wish lists. You can send an individualized email when an item on his or her list goes on sale.
  • Generating more customer reviews. Don't forget about the importance of social proof.

Final thoughts

No matter what you're trying to accomplish, plenty of tools are out there to help you put the above strategies into motion. You can achieve greater profits for your ecommerce store without having to grow your customer base, which can be a more expensive route. Is there anything you aren't doing right now that you could be doing to generate more sales for your business?

Click here to see how Shopify can help grow your ecommerce business.

Wavy Line
Thomas Smale

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder of FE International

Thomas Smale co-founded FE International in 2010. He has been interviewed on podcasts, blogs and also spoken at a number of industry events on online businesses, exit strategy and selling businesses.

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