Your online store is more than a website, it’s an automated sales representative. The good news is that your automated sales rep never gets tired, never gets bored and will never go to work for one of your competitors. The bad news is that an automated sales representative is not very creative. It can’t think of better ways to sell your products or services. In other words, your online store won’t innovate by itself, it will only follow what you train it to do.
This Ultimate Guide shows you how to train your online store to be the best automated sales rep ever and increase your sales and profit.
A successful online store is built on customer acquisition and retention, with a focus on three important steps:
- Attracting visitors to your online store.
- Persuading your visitors to make a purchase.
- Convincing your customers to buy again
1.1. Attracting visitors to your online store
A new online store is like a new store at the end of a small street. Without advertisement, no one will ever know that your new store exists, or where to find it.
The first step for any online store is to attract visitors with a good marketing plan. Marketing is vital to the success of any new online store. The best online stores in the world are also the best at marketing their stores. And, the best online stores market their products to visitors that are likely to make a purchase.
This is an important point: there are many ways to drive a lot of traffic to your online store. However, you can waste a lot of money attracting visitors who aren’t interested in your products or services. The best online stores attract visitors that are likely to make a purchase.
1.2. Persuading your visitors to make a purchase
The second step after attracting visitors to your store is persuading your visitors to make a purchase. For online stores, this is known as converting your visitors to customers. Your conversion rate is a measurement of the number of visitors to your website that make a purchase compared to the total number of visitors.
Let’s say there are 100 visitors to your website, and 1 of these visitors makes a purchase. This is a 1% conversion rate.
The higher your conversion rate is, the more successful your online store will be. Since doubling your conversion rate means twice as many purchases, you can double your income and multiply your profit by converting more of your visitors.
While there are many ways to measure business success, another key indicator is the average purchase amount for each person who checks out at your store. This is known as the average transaction value.
Conversion rate and average transaction value are two important indicators of the success of your online store. The more visitors who make purchases, and the more they spend each purchase, the more successful your online store will be.
1.3. Luring back your customers to buy again
The third step after converting your visitors to customers is luring back your customers to buy again. Long-term business success is typically built on repeat customers.
One very important rule that is widely known: it’s easier to persuade your existing customers to buy again than to convince a new visitor to make their first purchase! So it’s important to differentiate between two types of customer: the new customer and the returning customer.
There are certain sectors, such as furniture and air conditioning equipment, where purchases are rarely made and returning customers are less important (although the same customers may in fact buy furniture or air conditioning equipment for multiple locations). However, in other sectors, such as consumer goods, books and food, returning customers provide the majority of the traffic.
The more important it is to your business to keep customers returning, the more crucial it is to take care of those customers. It is really hard to lure a customer away from your competition and the marketing to do so is often very expensive. You can be successful even if you disregard your old customers and concentrate only on acquiring new ones, but you will certainly lose a lot of income!
You often hear that customers who shop online are always searching for the lowest possible price, but that is not always true. Most people are willing to pay for quality, comfort and security.
The long-term secret of acquiring returning customers is increasing customer satisfaction, which has two important components:
- The user experience provided by your online store
- The quality of your customer service, including things such as shipping, support, warranty support, the use of social sites and so on.