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Business
7/10/2020

31 Ways to Sell More Products Online for Free

Written by
Photo of Sophie
Isabel Edwards

Looking to give your online sales a boost, but don’t have the investment for expensive marketing campaigns or paid ads?

Plenty of online business owners are in the same position, which is why we’re providing these 31 ways to boost online sales, without spending a penny.

First of, let’s start with utilising your existing customers...

1. Let your customers sell for you

With 93% of people saying online reviews impact their buying decisions and 91% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, you can’t afford to miss out on collecting customer reviews.

Whether it’s Facebook, Google, Trustpilot or any other reputable review site, create a business profile and encourage loyal customers to share their experiences with your brand.


2. Incentivize with discount codes and sales

77% of consumers spend $10 - $50 more than anticipated when redeeming discount codes online. So although incentivising with discounts may seem like you’re missing out on profit, they are a proven way to increase sales and grow your customer base.


3. Upload your products to a seller network

If you’re looking to sell more stock, grow brand awareness and increase your customer base, selling your products to a seller network such as Mercarto is an easy way to achieve all three. And, it’s completely free.

Sign up, create your store, upload products to our internal marketplace and they will instantly reach thousands of store owners looking for products to sell on their ecommerce stores.

Once a store owner has sold a product for you, you receive the full value of your product and all you need to do is ship it to the customer. If you’d like to become a supplier to Mercarto, sign up here, or contact our onboarding team here.


4. Streamline your checkout process

If a customer has decided they’d like to purchase your product, the last thing you want to do is scare them off with an over-complicated checkout process. During checkout there should be as little clicks as possible, so keep the information you require to the essentials and make it clear at every step of the way where users should navigate to next.


These stats are useful to see where other businesses fail to provide the checkout experience that users are looking for. For example, hiding extra costs, forcing users to create an account with you and long, complex checkouts all contribute to cart abandonment.

5. Take quality product photos

Bad product photos can be the quickest way to lose customers online. 90% of online buyers say that photo quality is the most important factor in an online sale, and 78% of online shoppers want photographs to bring products to life. It’s no longer good enough to photograph your product against a white background under harsh studio lights.

Capturing your products being used in a realistic environment gives customers a better understanding of how they look, feel and perform.


6. Optimize your product pages

Although it may not seem like search engine optimisation (SEO) is directly contributing to sales, it makes a huge difference in the long run.

SEO optimization is how your website will grow in the search listings and will make your business more discoverable to customers online. Here’s a quick checklist for your website:

  • Perform relevant keyword research to find the words and phrases users type into Google to find your products.
  • Use these keywords in your meta descriptions and titles.
  • Ensure every page has an optimised meta description and title, but don’t duplicate them, each one needs to be unique and specific to that particular page.
  • Customise every page URL to make sure it is short and relevant. For example, rather than mywebsite.com/red-burgandy-dress-cotton-bodycon-puffsleeve-embroidery-detail, keep it short and sweet: mywebsite.com/red-bodycon-dress. Not only is it easier for the user to digest, but Google will favour it.
  • Ensure you’ve written alt text for every image on your site. This is an easy way to optimise your website for those who are visually impaired, as their computer software will read out the alt text to give context to the image.


7. Run your own blog

This is a great way to grow brand awareness and open up more opportunities for your business. Offer users value through blog content, and educate them with your expert knowledge, whatever that might be.

If you’re selling hair care products, you could write content about the best ways to look after curls, for example. This will also provide easy selling opportunities to promote your products within your blog posts. And, more optimised content will help with SEO.


8. Look after your existing customers

Whilst it’s easy to put your entire focus on gaining new customers, don’t forget about your existing loyal customers. 75% of consumers say they favour companies that offer rewards, and increasing customer retention by just 5% boosts profits by 25% - 95%.

So build some strategies around treating existing customers to exclusive sales, discount codes and new product launches.


9. Utilise social media the right way

Online stores that have a social presence have 32% more sales on average than stores that don't, so it’s well worth investing into a social strategy for your online business.

It also provides a platform to interact with potential customers, answer questions, showcase what products you have to offer and increase brand awareness.


10. Give customers the information they need

In an ideal world, users would click on to your website, see a product they like, purchase, and job done. But consumers are inquisitive and want to know exactly where their products are coming from, how long it will take, how much it will all cost, what they can do if they’re not happy with the products, and a lot more.

The simplest way to address the concerns and queries of your customers is to set up an FAQs page. Also provide some contact information for users to get in touch if they still have unanswered questions.

Think of it this way, if a customer has an important question, but they have to wait for your customer service team to email them back, they’re likely to change their mind or find the product on another website. Having an FAQ page provides quick access to the key information that users need.


11. Build a trustworthy website

With more than 20 million ecommerce websites, why would a user trust your website to make their purchase?

Give website visitors plenty of reason to trust your business and brand yourself as a trustworthy, reputable online store.

Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more, and displaying these reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%.

Setting up your business on Google My Business, social media and directory sites will give users more information and peace of mind when researching your brand online.


12. Create a sense of urgency

When items are scarce, they’re often perceived as more valuable. This can also be said for services, such as free delivery or special offers.

Creating a subtle sense of urgency can be the little nudge your website visitors need to close the sale. There are loads of ways to create a sense of urgency without coming across like a scam or untrustworthy, like the clever 23 tactics in this article.


13. Check your website is mobile-friendly

82% of internet users have used a mobile device to shop online, and 35% of consumers use only their mobile device to buy online, so making your website work just as well on mobile as it does on desktop is vital for boosting sales.

This means making sure the loading time is fast, changing font size and images to fit on a smaller screen and optimising the layout of your site for easy navigation on mobile.


14. Speak your customer’s language in your copy

Jargon-filled copy is a sure way to alienate potential customers and create a disconnect between them and your brand. The way you speak online can shape how users perceive your brand. If users read copy with the kind of language they’re familiar with and use on a frequent basis, they’ll automatically feel more comfortable with your brand and be more inclined to purchase.



15. Create an easy returns policy

67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase, and 92% of consumers will buy something again if returns are easy.

So although you may be tempted to charge high rates for returns or make the process a little difficult to discourage costly returns, it’s actually much more profitable in the long run to make returns a breeze for customers.


16. Offer a money-back guarantee

You could take your returns policy a step further and offer a no-hassle money-back guarantee for your products. This takes away the anxiety from new customers who may not have purchased from your site before and gives them the reassurance that if they aren’t happy with the product they can get their money back.


17. Make browsing your website easy

Better UI could raise your website’s conversion rate by 200%, and better UX design could yield conversion rates of up to 400%. Clear product categories are essential for easy user navigation. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with product choice, and when users get frustrated with not being able to find the right products, they’ll go somewhere else.


18. Provide as many payment options as possible

It’s clear why it’s advantageous to your online business to provide as many payment options as you can. The more you offer, the more potential customers you’re opening up your products to.

People like choice, and if they’re forced into using one specific payment gateway that they aren’t comfortable with, they’re more than likely to take their business elsewhere.

When choosing what payment gateways to use for your ecommerce business, it’s important to consider that 37% of users say they have abandoned an online purchase because they did not feel their payment would be secure, so opt for some well known, secure payment gateway options.


19. Try a UX analysis tool like hotjar to see where you’re losing customers

If you’ve tried every tip in the book, optimised your entire website, added special offers and filled your store with 5-star reviews, but you’re still lacking in sales, a UX analysis tool like Hotjar might just be the answer.

It records user sessions on your website (anonymously), so you can see exactly what visitors are doing when they land on your site. If you see that lots of users are clicking through menus but not landing on any actual product pages, perhaps your navigation isn’t as straightforward as you thought it was. If they’re dropping off at checkout, you’ll see exactly what stage they exited at.

Hotjar also provides heatmaps of your website, so you can see the most and least areas of your website.

It is a paid tool, but it’s well worth testing the 7-day trial to get valuable data.


20. Build an email list

Building an email list will be one of the most lucrative strategies for your ecommerce business. It does take a lot of work, and won’t happen overnight, but over time you’ll build a list of engaged users who look forward to receiving your content, who are ready to buy what you recommend to them.

Building an email list allows you to build your own little community who get exclusive deals, access to sales and new product launches before anyone else.

21. Use pop up offers to seal the deal

Have you ever browsed a website, added a few products to your website, then thought ‘I’m not sure, I’ll come back later’, but received a pop up with an offer too good to miss? I certainly have.

The average pop up conversion rate across all pop-ups is 3.09%, with top performing popups reaching a 28% conversation rate.

Pop up offers are also an easy way to build your email list, by requiring the user’s email to send them the discount.


22. Expand product offering using dropshipping

If you want to increase sales and you think your limited product offering could be restricting your profit margins, dropshipping could be a strategy to consider.

Dropshipping works by the seller adding dropship products to their store, and once a product has been sold the supplier of that product sends it straight to your customer.

So you don’t have to buy products in bulk, store them or worry about whether you’re wasting money on a new product which won’t sell. There’s no risk involved, and it’s an easy way to bulk up your product offering to boost profitability.


23. Set up Google Analytics

As important as it is to use strategies that will increase your sales, it’s just as important to analyse your efforts to see what’s working and what isn’t.


24. Send out a survey to ask for feedback

If your customer retention is pretty low and you’re not seeing many repeat purchases, reach out to past customers and ask them about their experience.

Survey Monkey is an easy free way to send out quality surveys, and you can entice people with a voucher or discount reward for completing the survey.

This kind of feedback on how they found shopping with your website will highlight pitfalls in your customer experience that you may not have even considered.


25. Network on industry forums

Small business owners want to help other small business owners. Entrepreneurs have a strong community, and there are plenty of online forums you can join relevant to your industry.

Networking on forums like Linked In, Facebook and industry-specific forums will help you build relationships, get free business advice and grow brand awareness.

The inside knowledge shared on these forums is invaluable, and you’re bound to pick up tips and tricks that will help your business grow.



26. Build the right relationships

The kind of relationships you want to build online to boost sales could be with:

  • Bloggers
  • Influencers
  • Other business owners
  • Suppliers
  • Website owners

The more well connected you are in your industry, the more likely you are to receive recommendations, invites to showcase your products, promotional deals and other exciting opportunities.



27. Run a contest or giveaway

You’ve got great products, and you know people would want to buy them, but only if they actually knew they existed.

This is where you might look to run a contest or giveaway to boost the reach of your business online. Surprisingly, an average of over 34% of new customers are acquired through contests and giveaways online, so they’re definitely worth running every now and again to boost your exposure and sales.


28. Use product overview videos

A whopping 73% more visitors who watch product videos will buy, and 58% of shoppers think companies with product videos can be trusted.

Not only will product videos increase sales, but they will also improve the trustworthiness of your website and lower returns, as 57% of customers are less surprised with the product they receive after watching a video.


29. Include customer photos on your product page

Ikea nails this strategy. Showing users what products look like in a real home not only makes them more familiar with the product and more likely to buy, but it also encourages customers to share their product pics on social media. It’s a win-win.

{insert ikea screenshot pic}


30. Be competitive on prices

If you’ve really tried anything, and you still can’t shift your stock, it may be worth reviewing your prices. According to this 2017 survey, the majority of consumers said ‘the lowest price I can find’ is the most important factor when deciding where to buy a product.



31. Offer flexible delivery options

65% of consumers want greater flexibility for deliveries and 76% of shoppers say having multiple fulfilment options influences their purchasing decision, up from 64% in 2017.

So having multiple delivery options, such as click and collect, next day delivery, nominated day delivery and pick-up lockers will have a direct impact on your sales.



Go forth and prosper fellow business owners!

I hope you found these tips useful for increasing your online sales. If you’d like to share your thoughts about this article, reach out to us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

If you like the sound of creating your own online store and selling quality dropship products, all for free, sign up here.

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