The start of 2023 is not looking good retail-wise. With the rise in the cost of living in the UK and the increase in energy bills, people across the country are watching what they spend their money on, and how much they spend. So against this financially subdued backdrop, what can you do to increase online sales and ensure your business has a great start to 2023?
Currently, in marketing, the new word on the block is omnichannel. if you haven’t heard of it before, let me explain. Omnichannel marketing and sales is ensuring your customers’ experience is seamless and consistent wherever they interact with your business. So whether they are viewing online, browsing in your shop, reading your latest tweets or watching one of your sales videos – it is to make sure they all work together and provide a consistent and positive experience. This experience happens in the background, as your systems, share your customer’s information so they can continue to browse and choose seamlessly.
By providing a consistent experience and the sharing of data, it is easier for your potential customer to remember you, understand your offering, and easily buy from you. Different messages in different channels can be confusing and when a customer is evaluating who to buy from, they can easily mix up who has said what and become confused with offers.
Set your online sales & marketing targets
Whatever you decide to do from the list below, firstly you need to set your targets on what you will consider a success. And it is plural. Don’t just set a figure of units sold or a financial figure of sales made. Think about the whole process, from the first touch-point through to the final sale. Track how many people are attracted to your marketing message, how many engage and where, and then how many take action on your offer and track the actual sales.
Setting goals and targets along the sales funnel, allows you to see where you have done well, and where you are losing potential sales. Implement your January 2023 sales promotion early enough and you can track these figures and make adjustments as you go along to increase your ROI (return on investment) and lower your acquisition costs.
Potential targets to track in the January sales funnel
Top of the sales funnel
- Increase in website visitors
- Interactions on social media
Middle of the sales funnel
- Download of factsheets
- Sign-ups to emails
- Videos watched
- Added to basket
Bottom of the sales funnel
- Vouchers used
- Sales units
- sales in GBP
These are just a few generic ones you can choose, or choose something specific to you and your business. Just make sure it is measurable, and you can then make changes to your sales promotions to improve them over time. Google Analytics is a great free tool you can use to track what’s happening on your website.
To find what is right for you, think about your customer’s journey, from first being aware of your company, service or product to purchasing. Set targets along that path, so you can see the drop off in numbers and make changes to improve them.
Of course, this is only useful if you know who your customer is. You can use our Persona builder to create your own ideal customer persona.
Ideas to increase online sales in 2023
Here is a list of ideas, in no particular order, you can swipe and implement for your business. Have a read-through and pick a few you feel will make a difference. This isn’t an exhaustive list but it is a good starting point. And as you implement these sales ideas, they will inspire you to create and try more.
Bundle products or services together for a saving
Have a look at the products or services you provide and try and encourage more sales by bundling complimentary ones together. The advantage to the customer is that by buying both together they get them at a better price or they get more for their money with extras included.
Think strategically about the products or services you can bundle. Don’t just go for the obvious ones, but think about ones that do complement one another but are possibly less popular together. Think about how they can work together in particular situations and promote those scenarios.
Saving codes or coupons on your website
Add saving codes or coupons on the website. You can give these away on the website, by displaying them on the website, or you can give them away to potential customers by asking for an email address, and then email the code to them directly.
Asking for an email address, allows you to grow your email list and allows you to follow up later on during the promotion or later in the year with other offers. The downside of this is that fewer people will claim your offer. You have to decide what is most valuable to you at the time.
Discount your current products or services
A pretty obvious one that lots of retailers both online and offline use every year. This is a tried and trusted method that never fails to work. Think about what you want to discount though. Not everything has to have a discount and they don’t all have to be by the same amount.
Think about maybe having a loss leader to attract people to your sale, and then persuade them to upgrade and buy a higher-priced product or service.
Quite popular at the moment is a flash sale. An unannounced sale that is very short-lived. FOMO (The fear of missing out) is a very strong emotion and a flash sale can feed into that emotion and persuade those sitting on the fence to make the plunge into buying from you rather than someone else.
For a flash sale to work successfully you need to have a large email list, which is clean and engaged. You can then send your flash sale to them and watch the sales roll in. An email list that is engaged will also forward your offers ob to friends and family, making your flash sale more popular and engaging than just your initial list.
Don’t forget to promote the flash sale on your website at the same time.
Depending on what you sell, whether it’s a product or service, a free trial to encourage sales could be of benefit. Free trials allow a potential customer to try out your service or product without risk to them. It allows you to engage with them and show them the benefits. Also, it builds trust and connection, so psychologically it is harder for them to say no later.
Pay via a subscription to spread the cost
Have you thought about selling your product or service as a subscription? You have probably seen a lot of these new businesses that now sell a product or a service as a subscription, as opposed to the traditional route of 1 payment. You can now get a subscription for coffee beans, clothes, software and nuts, to name a few.
Can you re-purpose your business to sell via a subscription model? By selling a subscription the initial costs to your customer could be lower, lowering the barrier to entry to begin using your products or services. This increases your potential pool of customers for your business and allows you to lower your cost per sale.
Pay in 3 payments
Another popular method you have probably seen over the past few years is the spread of different payment tools now available. Again, if you sell a product that has a high ticket value, splitting the cost down into 3 or more payments makes it easier for the potential customer to afford your product or service. It lowers the barrier to affording your products and can increase your sales, as your pool of potential customers grows.
Set up an abandoned cart promotion
If you have an online e-commerce store, then make sure you set up an abandoned cart system.
When a visitor comes to your website and places an item or a few items in their basket, then you should have s system in place to follow up with that potential customer to encourage and persuade them to continue their purchase and buy from you. This is very much easier said than done, but with a system in place your sales with increase.
To make this work, you need to know who the person is who has put the items in their basket. So, it’s a good idea to use this along with a promotion on your first purchase, where the visitor gives their email address to receive a promotional discount. This way you can follow up on their abandoned basket with emails to encourage them to return.
Use influencer marketing to drive traffic
The rise of the influencer has been a big part of social media in the 2020s. There are influencers in all industries, and at all ages on all social platforms. To engage successfully with an influencer you need to understand your customer. If you have a persona or a few buyer personas of your ideal customer, then you can start to find the right influencer for you and your business. The one that speaks to and connects with your ideal target audience. Get this right and you can see amazing benefits with influencer marketing on the right social media channel.
In-store or online you can set up an instant win prize draw or competition. There are many ways of running an instant win competition, it all depends on the prize values and the number of prizes you have.
For online, there are many services which can be added to your website that can successfully run an instant win competition for you. You enter the prizes, and the software will spin the wheel randomly and make sure the right number of prizes are won throughout the promotion. Also due to being online, it can track who has entered already and who has not, so visitors can not just keep trying again and again.
Online wheel spins can be set up with discount codes, free products with a purchase and/or one star prize for one lucky winner.
In-store, you can use iPads to run the competition for customers to enter.
Run a sweepstake
Whether online or in-store a sweepstake can be another great way to promote and gain extra sales. Depending on your business, relating the sweepstake to something relevant to your industry or your customer’s interests, can make for a popular promotion.
If there is a sporting event coming up which is of interest to your customers, or a popular television programme, having a sweepstake on the eventual winners will create interest and engagement amongst your customers and their friends. Tie this in with your social media to promote your sweepstake and you can ride on the popularity of the event to increase your brand awareness and sales.
Open-day or in-store event
Think about running an open day or event in-store. Invite past and current customers to view a new range of products or services. Depending on your business you could make it a family fun day, with different activities or competitions in store.
You could team up with the stores on either side of you, so the 3 of you can promote it to your customers and get new people into your shop.
Invite your local magazine or newspaper down to feature the event and think about maybe a local industry celebrity to open the event for you. And it doesn’t need to be just one day. It can be a few days or even a week, depending on what you are promoting and how easy it is for people to travel to visit you.
Ask for feedback and give rewards
In this modern age of social media and Google, positive reviews and feedback are invaluable to any business of any size. Low-rated reviews or poor feedback can easily be found online and turn away potential customers before you have even had a chance to prove your value.
Promote positive feedback by offering rewards to your customers who love you. Send links after purchase to gain feedback.
“Are you happy? Then please leave us a positive review. Something not quite right? Then please get in touch with our after-sales department.”
Simple emails like this, done consistently, can deliver huge benefits and extra sales from those who read your positive reviews.
Partner with other stores
Looking to do a promotion? Then don’t just think about your own products and services and combining them. Think about other businesses related to yours, but not in competition, who serve the same market.
This can help promote your business to a whole new group of people who are ideal for you, and vice versa for the business you partner with. Think about what else your customers are looking to buy and use, and approach businesses that provide those items. Not only can you share promotions in-store, but share the promotions on your website and your email marketing.
Encourage referrals from past customers or clients
Your past customers who love what you do are your greatest un-tapped sales team. If they believe you offer exceptional products and service then make it easy for them to share their enthusiasm and experience of your business with their friends and family.
They probably tell the people they know already, but make it easy for them to do so and receive a reward for doing so. Offer them free gifts, money-off vouchers or discounts for both themselves and their friends.
Whatever you decide to do, they are a truly untapped sales team waiting to tell everyone how brilliant you are.
Offer free postage or delivery
Another popular sales technique and one that is easy to implement and makes you stand out from competitors is free postage or free delivery. Delivery and postage costs are the no.1 reason for checkout abandonment. This is a great opportunity to change the way you sell your goods or services online. By incorporating your delivery costs into the product in the first place, then you can offer free delivery. You may be surprised at how many people are happy to pay more for the product if there is free delivery or postage.
Buy 1 get 1 free offer
A buy 1 get 1 free offer works online and in-store. This can also work for buy 2 get 1 free, buy 3 and get 1 free, or buy 3 for the price of 2 (where you only pay for the 2 highest items). Or any combinations that work for you and your business.
Free gift with purchase
Buy this item and get this other, complimentary item, for free. An example would be a notepad with a free pen or a bottle of polish with a free applicator.
If you have a lot of stock of 1 particular item and need to turn that stock into cash in the bank, then giving the item away free with a purchase can help realise that goal.
Think about what gift you can give away. Maybe it’s on a particular item you are selling, a group of items or a brand of items or it could be if you spend over a certain amount. The last one can be good if you know what your average order price is. You can then set the free gift to be available when you spend just over this amount. Say your average order value is £27, set it at £30 to encourage visitors to buy more.
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Depending on what you sell, customer loyalty cards are a great way to offer something special to your regular customers and to get them to return again and again. 84% of people who have a loyalty card have used it to make a purchase.
Loyalty cards nowadays can take many forms. From a simple card and ink stamps to mobile phone apps which electronically collect digital stamps.
Whichever works best for you, a loyalty card engages with your shoppers, it rewards them for their loyalty and creates a conversation around your business that they can talk to others about. Promoting you and your services to a wider audience of potential buyers.
Encourage app use
Now not many businesses have an app, but those that do see huge benefits to their marketing and communication. Amazon is the largest mobile shopping app. Unlike other forms of marketing, with an app, you can cut through all the noise and speak directly to your customer. No more emails being buried in the other hundred received that day. Or your ad lost in the other ads they have seen and come across on websites that day.
With an app, you can send messages directly. Tailor them to what you know about that customer, so it’s more pertinent and also easier to act upon with codes, links and offers.
An app is a large investment and requires further investment to keep up-to-date and working, but if you have a large customer base, it can be a great way of communicating clearly with online shoppers and be a lot more efficient than other methods.
To encourage people to act now and to evoke the psychological motivator of FOMO (Fear of missing out), time-sensitive offers are a must. A time-sensitive offer gives the recipient only a certain amount of time to act, otherwise, they miss out on the woofer, voucher discount etc.
This works well online, with a large timer counting down the amount of time left. And the voucher or discount code expires at a certain time. A countdown counter can also be added to an app or an email so potential customers can see they need to act sooner rather than later.
Another version of this is a special price for an item, but limited supply. I.e. you only have 10 items at this special 50% off discounted price, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
To capture sales throughout the year and at Christmas, gift cards or gift vouchers are a great way to boost sales. The no.1 reason why people buy gift cards for friends and family is that it allows the recipient to choose exactly what they want.
For existing customers who love what you do, a gift card or gift voucher can be an excellent present. Please make sure you let your customers know they exist, so their friends and family can buy them as gifts.
Also, don’t forget to put some effort into making it easy for a friend or relative to buy them. They don’t know your business and how you work. Make it easy for them to buy in-store or online and make sure they look great when they collect them. No one wants to give a gift that is printed on cheap paper and looks cheap as it got creased in a bag on the way home. An investment in creative design and high-quality printing will pay dividends here.
Run a competition
Running a competition in-store and /or on your website, not only engages with your existing customers it also brings in new potential customers. it helps grow your email list and allows you to continue to market to potential customers in the future.
A good rule for running a successful competition is to make sure the prize is relevant to your business. Giving away a hamper or wine can get you a lot of entries from new people, but if you sell a niche product, most of those people will not be future customers and your competition just becomes a wasteful cost.
Entry can be via free entry, answer a question correctly or when you buy. Think about which way will work best for you, and how you are going to keep track of the entries. GDPR rules also come into play here, so make sure you are compliant.
You can use PPC (pay-per-click) to bring more traffic to your website. There are lots of pay-per-click services out there. The biggest ones are Google Ads, Google Shopping, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads plus other social media ads, such as Twitter & LinkedIn.
With PPC you can target digital buyers on those platforms. Facebook can put you in touch with similar people to the people that already follow you. Or they can show your advert to people who have been looking for what you sell on other websites. Google Ads can show your ads to people who are looking for your products or services, based on the keywords and intent they type into Google. If you are more B2B then Linkedin can show your ad to people in certain industries and job titles, as an example.
Whatever you sell there will be a platform that can put your advert in front of the right people.
Integrate your offer with social media
Whichever offer, campaign or promotion you decide to implement, make sure you don’t forget to promote it on your social media channels. Put together a social media marketing strategy for the promotion. Think about which channels will work best for you, based on where your ideal customer for this promotion is.
Also, don’t forget to use hashtags, so it can be found by new people and encourage your followers who do see it to share it.
We have a calendar of social media days, which you can use to tie in promotions with relevant days, so more people get to see your offer. You can find out more and subscribe for free on our social media days 2023.
Use promotional literature
Now, your customers are different people, as I’m sure you know, and not all of them are brilliant on social media, the internet and digital technology. So don’t forget to back up any promotions and sales with printed literature. This makes it easy for your customers to share your offer or promotion with friends and family. It also allows you to distribute your offer to new people through leaflets in other related stores or hand-outs in the town centre.
They can also then be distributed by specialist firms around the neighbourhood, or in the local magazine or newspaper.
Ads in local magazines and newspapers
Again, not everything has to be digital. Depending on what you sell and to whom, an ad advertising your offer, sale or promotion in the local newspaper or magazine can gain a lot of eyeballs and new visitors to your store or business.
When putting your ad together don’t try and tell people everything – they won’t remember. Select the best offer or 1 thing that makes your offer special and focus on that. Think about the people you want to attract and put yourself in their shoes. What’s the biggest benefit for them and why should they make the effort to visit you in-store or online?
Don’t forget your window display
If your business does have a storefront and window, then creative window displays work brilliantly to attract new retail sales. You can do this on a budget and with creative thinking, or use signage and windows graphics from a professional company to create a professional look and feel.
Use email marketing
Email marketing is still one of the best, most cost-effective ways of communicating with potential customers, current customers and past customers. Whatever you decide to do for extra sales in 2023, don’t forget to include email marketing.
You can produce an email and send it to your list telling them about your offers, sales or promotions, or for even better results you can segment your list and send different emails to different types of people. This could be split on age, what they bought previously or where they live. By splitting the email list you will get an overall better return on your marketing. And if your list is big enough you can use A/B testing to test subject lines content and imagery, to see what resonates best with your target audience.
Don’t just send 1 email as well. We are all busy people and even those customers with good intentions and who have decided to buy from you, may forget and not get around to it. A few gentle reminder emails work a treat and bring in extra online purchases towards the end of any promotion you may be running.
Also, as a tip, keep using your email marketing. Keep staying in touch with them. Don’t just use it for special offers and when you are trying to sell something. Use it throughout the year, whether it’s weekly, every 2 weeks or monthly, just to keep in touch, show the human side of your business and remind them you are still here.
Marketing automation can be used to make keeping in touch via email quick and easy. Set up systems and rules and emails can be sent to the right people at the right time, 24 hours a day. Making your business supper efficient and working hard even when you’re asleep.
Reskin your website
Don’t forget to put your promotion on the home page of your website, or a popular appropriate internal page. Those people who find you by Google search and are not past customers will also need to know about your current sales promotion.
Make sure the design of the graphics in your promotion all ties up. So the graphics in the shop, the design of your email marketing and the design on the website and any adverts all look like they are part of the same promotion. When they don’t it rings alarm bells in the viewer’s brain and they interpret the offer as a scam. It sows doubt in their mind if it is the same thing and if they don’t trust you – they won’t buy from you.
When putting the design together on the website, think about your sales funnel. If people have come to you from Google search, then they may well be at the beginning of the buying cycle, and so offering alternatives to the sale may work. Such as signing up for a newsletter to keep in touch, with an extra discount on their first order if they do this.
Create a marketing buzz
When you have decided what promotion, offer or sale to market in 2023, you will then need to plan out what you are going to do where and when. Thinking how the different social media channels and sales channels will work together over the course of the promotion and how you are going to collect data to see how it is going and remaining on track.
What you can also do is think about creating a pre-sale buzz.
You will have seen this before – Apple with the launch of a new iPhone are master of this. We see people queuing up outside stores the night before to wait all night to collect the latest device. They do this through pre-sales promotion. Getting people excited about what is new. Tesla, took deposits for its new Model 3 before it had even started to build them. These deposits were thousands of dollars, but people still gave them money for a product that did not exist.
Can you do something similar, with your customers? Maybe not on such a grand scale, but something to get people excited and talking about with family, and friends and on social channels.
Xposure & Online Sales
We work with business owners & marketing directors to build creative and results-driven marketing campaigns that deliver an ROI. Based between Mansfield & Newark in Nottinghamshire our boutique marketing agency services provide hands-on experience and knowledge to businesses throughout the East Midlands.
If you need help with your marketing. If you feel your current supplier is not delivering for you or you are ready to proceed to the next level, then please get in touch. We work with businesses on a monthly bases to help them identify potential markets, create exciting online marketing campaigns and deliver leads and sales to the bottom line.