If you want to turn your online store into a successful business in 2021, you need sustained growth. Regardless of whether you’ve got a great product or on-point branding, this all works together to deliver continuous growth over time.
Growth can be achieved in a number of different ways, with each strategy working best for different businesses and industries. If you want to see real online growth in 2021, read on for four essential strategies to take your online store to the next level.
Lean on your existing customers for repeat sales
If you’re looking for growth for your online store in 2021, it’s easy to look to the horizon for new and fresh opportunities. New customers mean more sales, right?
But while new leads certainly help your online store grow, it is your existing customers who offer just as much value at this time.
Not only are these individuals more likely to convert based on their previous purchase behavior, but as their information already exists in your customer relationship management (CRM) system, it’s more cost-effective reaching out to them too.
Increase your focus on customer retention by implementing dedicated email followup sequences that chase up buyers after a sale. Offer discount codes, free samples, exclusive offers, or simply a personalized thank-you is enough to boost customer retention and encourage repeat purchases.
But one of the most simple and accessible ways for e-commerce entrepreneurs to increase customer retention is with a loyalty program. These are employed to great effect by an array of brands, and are highly effective at increasing customer retention.
There are myriad tools and services available to help you easily launch a loyalty program, but for beginners, it’s worth looking into LoyaltyLion as an option. It integrates with most good e-commerce platforms, and it offers a comprehensive array of educational resources to help you get the most from your program.
A key thing to remember with loyalty programs is to prompt your customers with regular email updates telling them how many points they have — this tempts any wavering customers back to your store and keeps your brand at the forefront of their minds.
Use an offline event for online growth strategies
With the coronavirus crisis still happening all around us, a pop-up shop might be the last thing on your mind. But now is the perfect time to strategize and plan your next offline event.
Pop-up shops have the benefit of letting you capitalize on real-world foot traffic to give your sales a quick boost. But crucially, it exposes your brand to an audience who might not have otherwise been aware of it. A successful pop-up store translates into buzz and engagement online.
To get the most online growth from your offline store, turn it into an event in its own right. Offer guided talks, free product samples, photo opportunities, and so on. This increases its value and boosts engagement into the bargain.
Pop-up shops are also a great way to collect customer data. A simple POS system lets you collect information about your customers so you easily load it into your online store. You could even strengthen the online-offline connection further by creating a branded link and sharing it to customers via printed material, directing them to a dedicated landing page they can visit after the event.
Further to this, offline events give you the chance to have real conversations with your customers face-to-face. You can discover what they feel about your brand and industry, plus determine what makes them tick individually too. This helps you fine-tune your strategy for better results going forward.
Offer value through information and education
Perhaps the best, most affordable, and certainly most sustainable way of taking your online store to the next level is to simply offer value.
While this concept is often bandied about, it’s important to understand exactly what value means in terms of your audience. In essence, it is what is useful, informative, educational, or even interesting to your target customers.
This is the crux of content marketing. Create actionable, relevant, and, naturally, search engine optimized content, and you will increase your online store’s customer base as a result.
The most effective way to create informative and useful content is to start with your target audience and work from there. Identify their pain points to determine what issues matter to them that relate to your industry. Then create accessible and engaging content that resolves those issues.
You can use a variety of different content formats to deliver this content. A video might work well for a product walkthrough, for instance, while an infographic is best for conveying data in an easy-to-understand way.
But one of the best and most engaging content avenues worth exploring is online courses.
This is especially pertinent during coronavirus. Now, more than ever, people want to upskill and educate themselves in a bid to create more opportunities at a time when they are few and far between.
And online stores are in a perfect position to deliver this. As industry experts, they can offer a variety of educational opportunities: a food brand might offer an online cookery course, for instance, while a liquor store might provide cocktail-making lessons.
There are several online course creators but Kajabi is a good place to start and, like LoyaltyLion above, it integrates with most good e-commerce platforms. Before signing up, research Kajabi first, as most Kajabi reviews will highlight the vast online user community around the platform — essential for gleaning insights into creating courses that actually resonate with your target audience.
In short, education is value, and value drives growth. Deliver actionable, relevant value that matters to your audience in an easy-to-understand way, and you will deliver growth for your online store continuously and sustainably.
Take your testimonials further on social
There’s not a single business around that hasn’t used social proof to establish a solid customer base. Real testimonials from real people are a powerful way of communicating your business’s value. It is independent praise that shows prospective customers that your brand and product or service can be trusted.
And these are easy to source too. The best time to get testimonials is immediately after purchase — this is when customers still have that post-purchase satisfaction. Offer a freebie or discount code to encourage them to submit a review of your business and service.
But it’s important not to let these testimonials just sit on your website or product pages. A positive appraisal is a powerful thing, so cascade it across all your social channels for maximum reach.
In the same vein, you could even launch a competition on social media designed to solicit social proof, where entry involves the submission of a short video or photo explaining why they prefer your product.
This provides you with a bounty of great social proof, plus added brand awareness into the bargain, all for almost free (prize and promotion notwithstanding).
If you want sustained online growth for your business, you need to get creative. Follow the tips above and start slowly but surely creating a solid foundation that draws sales and engagement in 2021.
By Rodney Laws
Editor at Ecommerce Platforms
If you liked this article “4 Essential Growth Strategies”, try to read this: “How to Generate Leads in the best way“.