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Retail & E-commerce

How to Get More Customers to Shop Online

Written by 
Brad Davis
February 18, 2021

So, you’ve got a well-stocked online store and now you want to know how to get more customers to shop online? Your timing couldn’t be better! With such a sharp increase in online shopping over the last few years (particularly 2020 for obvious reasons), e-commerce has become an essential component of even the most unlikely businesses.

From multinational house furniture retailers to your local pet shop down the road, customers increasingly want to shop for products from the comfort of their own home.

And while there will always be a place for brick-and-mortar stores, it’s crucial that you put some strategies in place to consistently drive traffic to your online shop. Learn how to get more customers to shop online, with the following tried-and-tested tips.

Tip 1: Reward customers for shopping with you online

How to Get More Customers to Shop Online with rewards
Rewards for customers who shop online

Whether you are looking to acquire new customers or increase online sales from your existing customers (or both!), an e-commerce loyalty program is a sure-fire way to boost engagement, increase sales and foster an emotional connection with customers.

Aside from the traditional “Buy X, Get Y” rewards structure, you can also incentivize customers’ first online purchase with free shipping, a complimentary sample of a similar product or some other perk that is only available to online shoppers.

E-commerce loyalty programs also make it extremely easy to automate the process of rewarding customers for referrals, reviews, user-generated content and a whole host of other desirable behaviours that benefit your business.

For example, numerous online businesses use Stamp Me to reward customers for repeat transactions, and to foster brand loyalty without having a face-to-face relationship with their customers at all.

Many of these businesses use the platform to create exclusive “online only” promotions that motivate new and existing customers to sign up for their e-commerce loyalty program, and earn rewards for online shopping.

Tip 2: Create a fantastic social media presence for your brand

How to Get More Customers to Shop Online with social media
Social media presence is essential for online stores

When asking yourself how to get more customers to shop online, there is no better tool at your disposal than social media. And no, I’m not talking about paid advertising (although, if you have the budget and resources for paid social media advertising, it’s definitely not a bad idea!).

While many businesses treat their social media pages like digital message-boards to convey important updates and promote new products or services, the reality is that social media is a community.

From a marketing point of view, your brand’s social media pages are a place for customers to:

  • Find information (opening hours, address, services list, etc.)
  • Review your products
  • Vent their anger or express their delight in regards to customer service experiences
  • Get in touch via instant messaging
  • Book reservations
  • Discuss your brand with other customers

This means you must promptly respond to messages and comments (both negative and positive), as well as posts that the brand is tagged in. It’s also important to display all necessary business information in a clear and succinct manner.

That’s the bare minimum.

But to utilize your social media pages to their full potential, there’s no limit to the techniques you can employ. Platforms like Hootsuite allow you to schedule posts and content days or even weeks in advance, across multiple channels.

By creating a content calendar and devising “themes” that work for your business (i.e. What’s On Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays, Fun Fact Fridays and so on), you can consistently engage your customer base with quality content that doesn’t feel branded or salesy.

Not only does this help to rapidly expand your social media following, but you can use these posts to drive traffic to your website.

When a customer posts a positive review of their online shopping experience with your brand, thank them and post a screenshot to your socials –this provides people with peace of mind that they can make convenient, hassle-free purchases from your online store.

You can also use these posts to subtly encourage followers to sign up to your e-newsletter for exclusive deals, and promote your e-commerce loyalty program as well.

In regards to leveraging social media for experiential rewards, gamified competitions, user-generated content and other enticing campaigns, we’ve written a whole other article on using social media to improve customer loyalty for you to check out.

Tip 3: Here’s how to get more customers to shop online, with exceptional email marketing

How to Get More Customers to Shop Online with email marketing
Email Marketing

Posting cool stuff on social media is one thing, but sending it directly to customers’ inboxes in well-curated and sleek-designed emails is quite another!

Generally, when a customer makes an online purchase, they are required to provide their email address for a digital receipt, and to stay updated on the status of their order.

This list of email subscribers is a direct line of communication with existing online shoppers – so use it wisely!

If you already have an in-store loyalty program that isn’t yet optimized for e-commerce (in which case, we can help with that), make sure that an email address is part of the signup process.

This – along with e-receipts and consistent reminders on social media that loyalty program members and/or email subscribers gain access to a wealth of exclusive deals and promos – will rapidly expand your email marketing audience.

Why is that a good thing? Because now you can build hype around your online store and your loyalty program simultaneously, with exclusive VIP perks and benefits such as:

  • Early access to online sales before non-subscribers
  • Invitations to product launches, workshops and other industry events
  • Birthday gifts, instant prize draws and other spontaneous surprises
  • Complimentary upgrades, add-ons, samples and more
  • Free shipping
  • Increasingly personalized experience via tailored rewards and product recommendations

It also allows you to engage lapsed customers with abandoned cart emails, as well as:

  • Check in with customers to ask if they are enjoying their recent purchase
  • Attain valuable feedback via surveys and other resources
  • Offer helpful tips and advice on how to get the most from your brand and products – which brings me to my next point...

Tip 4: Produce high quality, targeted SEO blog content on a regular basis

How to Get More Customers to Shop Online with SEO content
Produce high-quality and regular content

It’s hard to put together a guide on how to get more customers to shop online without dropping the “SEO” bomb.

While those who are new to the concept can often be daunted by the very technical sounding “search engine optimization”, it’s really quite a straightforward process. And if you’re a business owner looking to drive more traffic to your online store, it’s essential.

I’ll use Stamp Me as an example. We provide digital loyalty solutions to businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries – from our own “out of the box” Stamp Me Loyalty App to fully customized rewards platform solutions for enterprises and brands.

As such, we regularly create informative content around customer retention, brand loyalty and engagement. This content helps to equip our readers with the tools they need in order to perfect their rewards programs, and to help those seeking loyalty solutions to find us.

A hardware store, on the other hand, might create content around:

  • D.I.Y. Projects – “How to Build X” or “A Step-by-step Guide to Building Y”
  • Product Choice – “Which Type of Circular Saw Best Suits Your Needs?”
  • Health & Safety – “How to Correctly Use & Store Power Tools”
  • Definitions – “What is a Cordless Drill?” or “Complete Guide to Power Tools”
  • General Info – “10 Essential Power Tools for Any Household” or “X Reasons Why Regular Household Maintenance is Crucial”
  • Theme-based Content – “Why You Should Get Your Dad the New Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level this Father’s Day” or “X Reasons to Get Dad a Drilling & Driving Kit this Christmas”

By creating quality content around your company’s area of expertise (and which follows general SEO guidelines), you can ensure that your website is found by people who are looking for the solutions that your business provides. Aside from driving traffic to your website, this also builds brand credibility.

Tip 5: Make sure your online store is easy on the eyes (and the brain!)

How to Get More Customers to Shop Online with a quality website
Online stores across multiple devices

The final thing to consider when devising how to get more customers to shop online, is the online store itself.

The best way to keep customers on your website once you’ve managed to lead them there, is to provide a simple, convenient and user-friendly experience.

No cluttered item listings, poor quality product images, or clumsy navigation that will test people’s patience. Your online shop design should be sleek, stylish and minimalist – less is more!

As for information, you want to answer every question the customer might have about a product, before they ask it. Break up the text into bite-sized chunks, so as not to overwhelm people.

And then there’s the technical stuff – ensuring your webpages load quickly, optimizing them for mobile devices and tablets, and so on.

Did you know...?

1. It takes the average internet user less than a second to form an opinion of a webpage, and this will determine whether they stay or leave.

2. To prevent users from backtracking off your webpage, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller recommends no longer than 2-3 seconds’ load speed.

3. More than 55% of global internet traffic now takes place on mobile devices –so there’s a good chance your digital customers are browsing your online store in their phone.

Now that you know how to get more customers to shop online, have fun with it!

Once you start getting creative with the process, there’s no limit to the ways in which you can apply these five tips to your business. As e-commerce continues to grow (particularly on mobile devices), so does the importance of having a well-designed digital marketing plan for your online store.

I’ll leave you with one final thought though – the techniques discussed in this article become remarkably easier to implement when you introduce an e-commerce loyalty program into the mix!

Email Course: 7 Days of Customer Loyalty

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We’ll also send you loyalty tips, trends and resources from time to time (which you can opt out of whenever you like).

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