E-Commerce Best Practices: How to Drive Sales & Customer Loyalty

by | Aug 9, 2023 | Blog

Imagine if you could significantly reduce your marketing budget by 80% while boosting your sales by a whopping 67%!

In today’s world, consumers have an abundance of choices when it comes to fulfilling their desires, which makes it a challenge to re-engage them and transform them into loyal, repeat buyers

The good news is, you also have an arsenal of powerful tools at your disposal to ensure the happiness of your current customers and encourage their return.

But where do you begin?

OnDigitalMarketing is here to guide you on this exciting journey. 

Together, we’ll unveil seven highly effective strategies to help you build lasting customer loyalty and drive sustainable growth for your e-commerce business.

You’ll get to learn:

  • The different ways you can utilize social media to drive sales and boost your customers’ loyalty
  • Why a simplified website is the best marketing strategy for customer satisfaction
  • The value of creating a mobile-friendly website for your e-commerce store
  • How promotions and discounts boost your sales and retain your customers
  • And many more!

So, get ready to discover the secrets to driving sales and creating a loyal customer base that will support your business for years to come.

1 – Simplify Your Shopper’s Journey

person purchasing items online using smartphone

The modern consumer is bombarded with so many choices every single day—what to read, where to shop, what to buy…

And what’s even more surprising is despite the overwhelming amount of choices consumers already face, marketers are constantly pushing for more—more options, more products, more features, and so forth.

While finding ways to add value to your customers is not a bad idea, a recent study on marketing strategies by an associate professor at an Australian business school, Richard L. Gruner, reported that nothing beats simplification when it comes to customer satisfaction. 

Consumers are more likely to stick around and purchase from your website if they find their shopping experience easy and hassle-free.

And when you simplify their purchasing journey by presenting them with well-organized categories and personalized recommendations, you help them avoid decision fatigue. This creates a positive impression and encourages them to come back for more. 

There are several tactics you can use to simplify your shopper’s journey:

  • Streamline the checkout process: This will make it easier for your customers to purchase items quickly and efficiently, so they’ll feel comfortable purchasing items on your site.
    For instance, ensure your website’s checkout page is simple and straightforward, with no hidden costs or surprises.

    Expert Tip: Consider offering guest checkout as an option, so your customers don’t have to go to the trouble of creating an account if they don’t want to.

  • Create personalized emails for your customers: By sending your customers emails informing them of new products or promotions, you show that you value their loyalty.
    Make the emails even more tailored to their interests, using customer data, to make them feel special and create a positive association with your brand.
  • Prioritize your customer’s security: Customers will only purchase from your site if they’re confident that their personal information is safe and secure.
    Always use secure payment methods and provide them with accurate information about how their data is protected. This will build trust and make customers more likely to purchase items on your site.
  • Facilitate returns: Ensure that your return policy is clear and that your customers can easily return items if they’re not satisfied.
    This will improve their likelihood of continuously purchasing items on your site, knowing that they can easily return them if needed.
  • Create a user-friendly navigation system: Ensure that your website is easy to navigate, with clear categories and a search bar that works well.
    Your customers should be able to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for. Failure to do this may cause them to get frustrated and leave your site.

The key is stepping into your customers’ shoes and truly understanding what they want and need from your website—what would make their journey more delightful? What features, functionalities, or design elements would improve their experience? 

By addressing such questions and implementing customer-centric improvements, you’ll create a captivating shopping adventure that will capture their hearts and ensure their loyalty.

It’s all about going that extra mile. When you invest in understanding and fulfilling your customers’ wants and needs, they’ll reward you with their trust and repeat business.

2 – Leverage Customer Data

Big Data can yield profound insights into what consumers really want and need. Specifically, what you’re hunting for are actionable insights that you can fulfill better, more easily, or more inexpensively than your competitors can.”

Rachelle Van Soest, Co-owner and Consumer Research Leader, Immortology

Understanding your customers’ preferences and behaviors through customer data is absolutely crucial. It’s like having a secret code that unlocks the power to tailor your marketing efforts and take the shopping experience to a whole new level. 

Personalization tactics, like recommending products based on their past purchases or browsing history, work like magic to boost sales and make your customers overjoyed with their purchases.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, by collecting data on their behavior and preferences, you’re able to offer personalized recommendations and promotions that are practically irresistible. 

But personalization goes beyond just boosting sales. It’s about creating a special bond between your brand and your customers. 

By showing them that you truly understand their tastes and preferences, you build a genuine connection that turns one-time buyers into dedicated fans of your brand.

It’s no wonder that consumers gravitate towards brands that provide tailored content and products.

A research study conducted by Oracle reveals that an impressive 68 percent of customers are willing to invest more in personalized services

research study conducted by Oracle

Additionally, a significant 57 percent of customers have no hesitations about sharing personal information such as their names and emails, recognizing the value in tailoring interactions to their preferences.

These findings underline the substantial impact that personalization can have in cultivating customer loyalty and enhancing their overall satisfaction levels

But also remember that transparency is key. A recent survey by Stackla revealed that over 90 percent of consumers value brands that are open and honest about their practices when making purchase decisions.

Google itself has recognized brand transparency as a game-changer.

Let your customers know exactly what data you collect and how it’s used. When they feel secure and in control, they’re more likely to trust in you and continue with your brand.

Another game-changer is customer retention. A study by Adobe Digital Index found that while returning customers only make up around 8% of website visitors on average, they’re responsible for a whopping 40% of a site’s revenue.

By analyzing your customers’ behavior and purchase history, you can identify those at-risk customers and swoop in to save the day. 

Sending personalized offers, providing exceptional customer service, and addressing any concerns they may have can make all the difference. Show your customers that you genuinely care about their satisfaction and watch that long-term loyalty blossom

Lastly, you want to make use of behavioral targeting. By analyzing your customer’s interactions with your website or app, you can uncover precious insights and patterns concerning their purchasing decisions. 

For example, if they’re into running shoes, why not surprise them with personalized promotions for new running gear or accessories?

3 – Utilize Social Media

If you haven’t jumped on the social media train yet, you’re missing out!

Social media platforms offer a treasure trove of opportunities to promote your products or services. 

A recent study conducted by Shopify, analyzing over 500,000 orders resulting from social traffic, reveals just how much this field is booming

Here are a few noteworthy figures from the study:

  • Instagram takes the crown among the “big four” social commerce sites, with an impressive average order value of $65, beating competitors like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  • When it comes to conversion rates, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are the true powerhouses, being the only major social platforms with rates surpassing 1%.
  • It’s no surprise that Facebook remains a top contender, as two-thirds of all social media visits to Shopify stores originate from this platform.

With e-commerce sales consistently on the rise, brands that grasp the principles of social commerce are destined to make much more sales than those who underestimate the value of their social presence.

And you’ve got tons of strategies at your fingertips—influencer marketing, hashtag campaigns, social listening, user-generated content, and social media advertising.

For instance, influencer marketing is all the rage these days. Teaming up with social media influencers who have a devoted following can help you reach a wider audience and establish credibility with your target market. 

Brands like Gymshark have successfully utilized social media marketing to drive sales and retain customers. 

Thanks to their effective use of influencer marketing, the leading fitness brand has experienced an impressive 200% year-on-year growth.

They’ve strategically partnered with fitness influencers and athletes, such as David Laid and Nikki Blackketter, reaching a wider audience, building credibility, and attracting a loyal following of like-minded people.

Social media advertising is also a cost-effective way to reach your target audience and boost those sales numbers. 

Whether you’re running paid advertisements or giving your organic posts a boost, this digital advertising method can skyrocket your brand’s visibility and drive traffic to your awesome e-commerce site.

And let’s not forget social listening. By keeping an ear out for social media conversations and feedback, you’ll gain valuable insights into what your audience is looking for. Armed with this knowledge, you can fine-tune your marketing strategy and hit the bullseye.

Don’t let this opportunity slip through your fingers. Embrace the power of social media and start revolutionizing your e-commerce strategy today.

Here are three fantastic tips on how to make the most of social media to drive sales conversion and cultivate customer loyalty:

  • Build meaningful relationships: Take the time to connect with your customers, responding to their questions and comments in a personalized manner.
    Show genuine care and interest in their opinions. This nurturing approach fosters trust and helps create a loyal community around your brand.
  • Spark engagement: Once you’ve built those relationships, it’s time to keep the fire burning. Share content that genuinely resonates with your customers, create interactive polls and surveys to gather their valuable feedback, and initiate conversations.
    Regular and meaningful interactions with your customers will keep your brand at the forefront of their minds and drive those all-important sales.
  • Measure for success: Never underestimate the value of your customers’ feedback. Keep track of their likes, shares, and comments on your posts.
    By leveraging these metrics, you can determine what type of content truly strikes a chord with your customers, allowing you to fine-tune and optimize your campaigns for even greater success.

4 – Develop a Mobile-Friendly Website

Shopify on smartphone screen

Did you know that more than half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices?

It becomes even clearer just how crucial it is to have a mobile-friendly e-commerce store when we dig deeper into these mobile commerce statistics:

  • A whopping 79 percent of smartphone users say they utilize their devices to make purchases through shopping apps or websites.
  • 77 percent of US adults own a smartphone and around 53 percent of them also own a tablet, showcasing the vast pool of potential customers for e-commerce.
  • Nearly one-third of internet users in the US utilize their mobile devices to make a purchase each week.
  • By the end of 2022, mobile commerce sales hit an impressive $3.56 billion, clearly highlighting the significant role that mobile commerce plays in the global shopping landscape.

In today’s digital landscape, where smartphones and tablets have become the go-to devices for browsing and shopping, providing a seamless mobile experience is key to driving sales and nurturing customer loyalty. 

By making your e-commerce store mobile-friendly, you roll out the red carpet for your mobile-savvy shoppers. You give them a seamless and delightful browsing experience, ensuring that your products shine brightly on their screens.

A mobile-friendly e-commerce store brings many other amazing benefits as well: 

  • You can reach your customers anywhere, anytime: A mobile-friendly e-commerce store means breaking free from the limitations of traditional desktop browsing.
    You can reach your customers at any time, wherever they are, whether they’re lounging on the couch, waiting in line, or enjoying a cup of coffee at their favorite café. 
  • It enhances your customer’s user experience: A well mobile-optimized website ensures a smooth and seamless customer experience tailored specifically for their screens.
    When your website is easy to navigate, the images are crystal clear, and the checkout process is a breeze, your customers will be engaged and keep coming back for more.
  • It improves your site’s SEO rankings: Search engines like Google and Bing love mobile-friendly websites, and they reward them with higher rankings in search results.
    When you optimize your online store for mobile, you’re not only making it easier for customers to find you but also improving your chances of standing out from the competition.
  • It expands your customer base: With a mobile-friendly online store, you’re not just catering to desktop users, you’re also capturing the attention of smartphone and tablet users who make up the largest portion of the online population. It’s like widening your store’s doors and inviting more customers to explore and shop with you.

Below are the three major keys to creating a mobile-friendly website:

1 – Embracing a Responsive Design Approach

A responsive design approach allows your website to adapt and adjust its layout dynamically based on the device it’s being viewed on. 

Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer, a responsive design ensures that your website looks and functions flawlessly, regardless of your viewer’s screen size. 

By implementing this design, you eliminate the need for separate mobile versions or dedicated apps for different devices. Your website effortlessly morphs to fit the dimensions and orientation of each screen, providing a consistent and optimized experience for every visitor.

A responsive design for your website goes beyond mere aesthetics. It creates a user journey that feels tailor-made for mobile users

With a mobile-friendly layout, your visitors can easily navigate your site, read content without zooming in, and interact with buttons and forms effortlessly. 

This will foster engagement, encourage them to browse for longer, and ultimately boost their chances of conversion.

2 – Utilizing a User-Friendly Interface

To provide your visitors with a delightful and effortless browsing experience on their phones and tablets, your user interface should be designed in a way that makes navigation a breeze

Imagine a website where every tap on the screen feels natural and intuitive. By incorporating big buttons, you make it easy for users to interact with your site, even on smaller screens—no more squinting or accidental taps on the wrong link. 

With larger buttons, your site visitors can confidently tap on the options they want, ensuring a seamless and frustration-free browsing experience.

On another note, clear calls-to-action play a crucial role in helping your potential customers find what they’re looking for. These well-defined cues serve as signposts, directing your visitors toward the actions you want them to take. 

Whether it’s adding an item to their cart, subscribing to your newsletter, or completing a purchase, the path needs to be crystal clear. 

By removing any ambiguity and providing clear directions, you make it easy for your customers to navigate through your mobile-optimized website and achieve their goals with ease.

The goal is to create a user interface that is so intuitive and user-friendly that visitors don’t have to think twice about where to go or what to do.

They can simply glide through your website, discovering products, exploring content, and engaging with your brand without a hint of frustration.

The video below walks you through the steps you need to create a user-friendly interface on your landing page:

3 – Optimizing Your Site’s Page Speed

When it comes to your website’s loading times, speed is the name of the game. 

Your visitors have high expectations and anticipate your website to load in the blink of an eye. If they have to wait more than a few seconds, they may wave goodbye and move on to another site. 

An interesting study by Unbounce revealed that nearly 70 percent of online shoppers will happily take their business elsewhere if they aren’t pleased with the load time of an e-commerce page. Yikes!

Every second counts when capturing the attention and loyalty of your customers. Slow load times not only cost you potential customers but also give your competitors a chance to swoop in and steal the show.

Luckily, by optimizing your website’s loading speed, you can ensure that visitors are greeted with a seamless and lightning-fast experience

They won’t even have time to consider clicking away. Instead, they’ll be engaged, delighted, and more likely to stick around to explore what your website has to offer.

Here are two useful steps you can take to increase the loading speed of your website:

  • Leverage browser caching: Enable browser caching to store certain elements of your website locally on your customers’ devices. This way, when they return to your site, their browser can retrieve the cached files instead of making new requests to the server, resulting in faster load times.
  • Regularly update and optimize plugins: Keep your website’s plugins, themes, and content management system up to date, since outdated or poorly optimized plugins can slow down your website. Also, remove any unnecessary plugins and optimize the ones you need for improved performance.

5 – Offer Promotions and Discounts

Get ready to boost your sales and show your customers some love with irresistible promotions and discounts on your website. It’s the perfect way to make them feel appreciated while enticing them to make that purchase they’ve been eyeing.

By targeting your customers with special offers like free shipping or reward points, you’re giving them a little extra incentive to make repeat purchases.

To make your e-commerce store shine even brighter, create discounts and promotions tailored to your customers’ needs. Take advantage of their purchase history and browsing history to tailor your offers specifically to their interests. 

For example, if a customer has shown interest in a particular product but hasn’t made the leap, send them a personalized discount code for that item and nudge them closer to completing the transaction.

And for your most loyal customers, treat them to exclusive deals or promotions. This way, you show your appreciation for their trust and loyalty, while also encouraging them to come back to your store for more.

Just remember that clear communication is key 

Make certain to include all the juicy details in your emails or on your website, so your customers know exactly what they’re getting and how they can take advantage of the offer.

Also, try to keep things simple and user-friendly to make your promotions stand out.

Eye-catching graphics and clear headlines that highlight the benefits of your offers will capture your customers’ attention.

Pro Tip: Avoid complex terms and conditions that could confuse or discourage them. Instead, make the redemption process as smooth as possible.

6 – Create a Loyalty Program

A loyalty program is a fantastic way to enhance customer loyalty and foster repeat purchases, while also showing appreciation for your dedicated customers. 

A carefully crafted loyalty program will not only keep customers returning to your e-commerce store but also make them feel valued and rewarded.

Consider implementing a point system to track customer purchases and offer exclusive offers and discounts that can be redeemed using these points. 

This clever strategy encourages your customers to make more purchases so as to accumulate more points and unlock exciting perks and benefits.

Other friendly practices you can follow to make the most of loyalty programs include:

  • Running contests: Engage your customers and reward their loyalty by hosting contests. Consider offering loyalty points or tempting discounts to those who actively participate in these contests.
  • Personalizing rewards: Make your customers feel valued and appreciated by offering tailored rewards based on their individual purchase history or other relevant personal data.
  • Segmenting your customers: Use segmentation to track your customers’ progress and offer rewards that hold more significance to them individually.

Remember to include a referral program as part of your loyalty program. Encourage your customers to refer their friends and family to your store by offering rewards for successful referrals. 

Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.

Chip Bell

By implementing this wonderful approach, you’ll not only broaden your customer base but also have the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate your amazing loyal customers for their invaluable support and advocacy. 

A fascinating study by Nielsen discovered that when a product is recommended by people we know and trust, it works a magic spell that makes us more inclined to make a purchase.

This shows how incredible the power of personal recommendations is in swaying your customer’s purchasing decisions and igniting their enthusiasm for a product. 

7 – Provide Exceptional Customer Service

online customer service assistant

You want your customers to feel valued and well-taken care of at every step of their journey.

By prioritizing your customers’ needs and concerns, you can create a positive and memorable experience that will make them loyal to your brand.

One effective approach is to personalize your interactions with customers. By using their names and offering tailored recommendations based on their preferences, you show that you genuinely care about their individual needs

This personal touch goes a long way in building rapport and trust.

The more personal and unique the digital relationship becomes, the more engagement marketers earn.

Scott Klososky, Principal, Future Point of View

Timely responses are also crucial. When you’re prompt and proactive in addressing your customer’s queries and concerns, you demonstrate your commitment to their satisfaction.

Keep them updated on the progress of their concerns to show that you’re actively working on finding a solution and ensure they feel heard.

Another key aspect of exceptional customer service is solving your customer’s problems effectively. By handling their challenges and working with them to find the best fit for their needs, you show that their input matters and that you’re willing to go above and beyond to meet their expectations.

Also, never underestimate the impact of customer interactions on your business. A previous study by Zendesk revealed that just one negative experience can make close to 80 percent of your customers hesitant to continue purchasing your products or using your services.

A similar study reported that only one in five consumers are willing to forgive a bad experience with a company whose customer service they’ve rated as “very poor.”

We can see just how crucial it is to prioritize exceptional customer service and ensure that each interaction you have with your customers leaves a positive impression; especially in today’s interconnected world, where information spreads rapidly through online platforms and social media.

Having exceptional customer service also requires working with a knowledgeable and well-trained team that’s ready to assist your customers with any questions or concerns they may have. 

Ensure that your customers can easily reach your team through different communication channels, such as phone, email, or live chat, to make interaction more convenient.

And these are just a handful of the ways you can offer exceptional customer service and keep customers returning with smiles on their faces. 

By embracing these steps, you’re on the path to building a thriving e-commerce business that’s rooted in customer loyalty.

Drive Sales and Build Your Customer Loyalty With Effective e-commerce Strategies

As an online retailer, you definitely need winning strategies if you’re looking to amp up your sales, increase customer loyalty, and keep those valuable shoppers coming back.

The table below highlights additional best practices you can utilize to increase your online sales and foster customer loyalty:

Best Practice Benefits
Personalized Recommendations Increase sales by offering tailored product recommendations based on customer preferences
Streamlined Checkout Process Minimize cart abandonment rates by simplifying the checkout process and reducing friction
Customer Reviews and Ratings Build trust and credibility with prospective customers through positive reviews and ratings

Loyal customers are your brand’s biggest cheerleaders. And whether you’re a budding business or a well-established one, you can never have too much positive feedback in your corner. 

Simplifying your shopper’s journey, implementing an engaging loyalty program, providing exceptional customer service, and harnessing the power of creative marketing tactics are some of the essential ingredients you’ll need to triumph in the online retail realm.

And keep in mind that winning in the world of e-commerce goes beyond using these marketing strategies. 

Embrace emerging technologies, adapt to changing consumer behaviors, and constantly evolve your approach to meet the ever-growing demands of the digital landscape.

And when it comes to everything related to online marketing, look no further than OnDigitalMarketing. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve, and take your online marketing skills to the next level.

Bonus: By signing up for our email newsletter, you’ll unlock a treasure trove of the latest insights, exclusive tips, and valuable information about our upcoming digital marketing courses.

Jake Cook

Author

I'm a forever curious entrepreneur that works across ecommerce, analytics, and AI. I've been creating and teaching courses on ecommerce, design thinking, and data science at Montana State University and University of Montana since 2007. Most recently, I've been lecturing and assisting with research and case study development for Harvard Business School.

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