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E-Commerce Tips: Ultimate List to Start Selling

Since we published Ultimate List of E-Commerce Tips, we gained a lot of feedback and new visitors. And it passed one year! As dynamics of e-commerce and marketing world changes almost every period, we thought it is best time to update the list, re-examine old rules and add new tips. Be ready for the upcoming times and load your marketing arsenal with these quick and applicable tips in 2017.

Having an e-commerce business is a dream for a lot of people. It allows you to work in what you love. But competition is really high, and you can’t just start without having some things clear. In this article, we want to give you e-commerce tips related to how you can succeed and increase the online sales, with the aim to help both, entrepreneurs that are starting now, and e-commerce managers and SMEs owners that have been working on it for some years. As you are going to find tips mostly related to marketing, we are also ready to hear your suggestions related to dropshipping, logistics, accounting, etc…

Tips to start an e-commerce business

If you are about to start your e-commerce project, chances are you don’t know where to begin. Here are some ideas:

  • Choose a URL domain easy to type and shortest as you can. This will help people to remember and reach your website easily. Use an appropriate domain name extension (usually .com) and protect your brand rights.
  • There are so many ecommerce platforms outside. Do a huge research and choose the one that fits you well. For example Shopify is a great platform for those who don’t have the technical know-how or budget to create a custom website. Don’t forget to our tips on e-commerce platforms.
  • Select a product to sell which has a large demand, high income potential, can be easily stored and shipped. eBay Top Products, Google Trends, Amazon Best Sellers are great initial and reference sources to identify your products. But also, select a product that you are in love. You are going to invest a lot of time and money. Don’t loose your enthusiasm!
  • Evaluate your idea! Assuming you decided what to sell and preparing for establishing the e-commerce operations. Before finalize it, try to evaluate if your product fits to the market or not. For example, you may again use Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner Tool. By using them you will be able to see the how many searches per month are being made for that term, how much competition there is competing for it and related search terms. Try to use different mediums such as Pinterest. There are many different ways to use a product in Pinterest. They will all inspire you and your content marketing efforts. Google search will also help you to find different niches. Make geographic validation! By doing that you will be able to know which countries or states are searching for these terms. So that you can better target your paid marketing efforts.
  • Do a competitor analysis! First identify the top 5 competitors then start gathering the competitor intelligence from websites. Learn their monthly traffic, SEO scores with tools such as Similarweb. Examine your competitor’s customer experience by analyzing photography, product descriptions, CTAs, blog, payment methods, abandoned cart saver feature, promotions, customer reviews. Learn their market positioning and be sure about their pricing strategies. By knowing that information, you’ll be able to respond all of their pricing moves and promotion activities. To conduct this operation effectively, try to use pricing software.

Social media marketing tips

  • Add shop section to your Facebook fan page to increase your sales and popularity.
  • Have an option to share the purchase in social media when it is done.
  • If you have chosen Instagram, integrate it on your site. It is great that customers can see other users with your products.
  • Don’t forget to add remarketing pixels to your Facebook account. You can increase your sales and decrease your new customer cost with retargeting ads.
  • To increase awareness, choosing a right image in social media platforms is one of the key factors. You can check Canva, to have an idea about popular post templates.
  • Don’t forget to you use hashtags on your Instagram and Twitter posts and use industry-related hashtags to gain traction from users searching for those words specifically. This is a great way to gain new leads from people who may not have heard of your company otherwise.
  • If you don’t know your social media account metrics, it’s not going to be an effective usage. Use Facebook insights, Twitter analysis and tools like Social Rank to follow your metrics.
  • Don’t just leave your paid ad in front of the mass. Create custom audiences for your Facebook ads. Once you figure out your ideal ideal customer, you can try to use targeting options by deciding different targeting options based on location, demographics, interests, device type, etc. You can also use lookalike audiences that have similar interests with your customers. Using these targeting options, you will be able to reach qualifies leads with less cost and engage them more effectively.
  • To track your visitors’ sources, don’t forget to add utm tracking codes to your social media post links.
  • Find influencers on your market and try to send them free products to review. Once you have produced a piece of content to share on social media, try reaching out to influencers. Influencers are people who can promote your brand to a similar audience in order to gain more exposure.
  • Videos are getting more and more popular everyday. Make short and fancy how-to videos related to your products and share them via Youtube and Facebook. If you are selling a home appliance, show your audience how to use it effectively. This will show you as an expertise of the product!
  • According to researches, millennials like companies that are transparent. So, try to use stories feature of Instagram and Snapchat to share your culture.
  • Pinterest is one of the channels that you should try. You can increase your sales via sharing photos on Pinterest too.
  • Gifs are so trendy on these days. You can use Gifs on your social media posts. Giphy is a great source to find what to use.
  • Don’t forget to set-up facebook conversion pixels!
  • Add some human touch and personalization! People like to find direct contact. Talk to them directly with some personalized messages such as by mentioning their first names. If they know that they will find somebody who is ready to answer them, the loyalty will be much more stronger.
  • Try to reply the social media messages rapid as you can. Social media is a new way of customer support. Also don’t forget to look your Instagram DM.
  • Start creating community by starting conversations on social media platforms. Shoot questions to get conversations started, like asking their feelings on news story in your industry or one of your freshest content. This will be also another great way to strength the loyalty.
  • Keep your eyes on trends and instant events! Follow trends and big moments and try to put the messages in the right places at the right time. Look at Oreo example. Oreo shoot a tweet at the moment when the lights had gone off during the one of the most important sport event Superbowl 2013. It created huge buzz and virality. So be aware of big events. Don’t forget; life is always full of surprises.
  • Automate your social media shares! When you put all the Facebook or Twitter posts in schedule, you no longer have to think about it for the rest of the month. The rest is just analyzing the performance of your social media performance and optimize it. Also, picking the right time while scheduling to send a post is also crucial. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can assist you.
  • Get your audience involved! Try to publish posts including your real customers using your product. Or you can try to get some testimonials from them. This will boost your credibility.
  • Use social media as a hiring platform! Social media posts are easily shared and can reach a great number of people. So it is a great way to promote a open job positioning. Besides of that, this will make your company more transparent.

Email marketing tips

  • Create an e-mail database of customers and don’t forget to segment customers according to number of products they buy, their age, gender, country.
  • Create different campaigns to each of them to increase sales. Such as, don’t send women apparel campaign to men. And try to use different wordings. Another issue that you should be care; keep your list clean. There may be some subscribers who signed up many times ago, may not be intereseted receive mails from you now. In order to not to loose them permanently, remove them from the list.
  • Use drip campaigns to send automated emails related to user reactions.
  • Try to use more friendly tone to grab the attention of the customers.
  • To reduce shopping cart abandonment, don’t forget to send emails to those who abandoned to learn their problems.
  • Use an email pop-up tool to collect leads. This can be a sign-up bar also. Optimonk and Sleeknote are the ones that you can use.
  • Launch a contest/promotion/discount in exchange for e-mails.
  • To increase the number of clicks don’t forget to A/B test your email campaign time, subject and Call to Action button.
  • Your CTAs is one of the most important pieces of content in your email. Assuming you achieved that your subscribers to open your email (thanks to a catchy subject line), your next mission is to get your subscribers to click on the CTA to return your online store. Delivering an actionable CTA is your biggest content opportunity in your email.
  • Don’t forget to send an email:
  • When a user sign up to your e-mail newsletters.
  • To let the user know the order has been received and started.
  • To get his/her feedback after the shipment and she/he start to use the product.
  • Send him/her discount on his/her special days. Ex: Wedding anniversary, Birthday.
  • Add some interactivity to your emails. This is one of the significant marketing trend in 2017. It is a proven fact that if it is used well, it can increase email engagement and click-through rates.
  • Aim holidays to generate more sales through marketing campaigns. Your audience is already on the lookout for deals leading up to the major holidays, so try to stand out from your competitors and get creative with your offers.

Adwords tips

  • Setup ads for your brand name and its probable misspellings. Your competitors can try to give an ad to your brand name too. Don’t lose clicks.
  • Remarketing is crucial in Google Adwords. Don’t forget to add remarketing tags on your website.
  • Callout and sitelink extensions can increase your CTR. Give these a chance.
  • You can schedule your ads in Google Adwords. Ad scheduling lets you specify certain hours or days of the week when you want your ads to show so that you can reach your customers while they’re awake and online to see your ads.
  • Before you start to create your ads, do a keyword research and find their estimated monthly traffic. Keywordtool is a useful site to find keywords. And also don’t forget to check your competitors via tools like Spyfu.
  • To see the performance of your ads, don’t forget to setup conversion tracking.
  • Test your texts and try to optimize them.

Google analytics tips

  • Be sure that your Google Analytics is working properly. Create your analytics code and put it on the right place in your website.
  • In order to observe audience demographics and interests better, you should enable it first. And if you want to share these metrics with your colleagues, don’t forget to create reports.
  • Don’t forget to create goals to learn the number of sales your sources have.
  • To follow your metrics, you should have performance dashboards. There are so many templates outside, but the one that PrestaShop has is our favorite.
  • Don’t forget to filter your spam traffic and your IP address. If you don’t, this might fool your Analytics.
  • Install e-commerce tracking to see the sources of your sales. This will help you to understand where to focus on.
  • We shouldn’t underestimate mobile traffic at these days. So check your mobile traffic daily.
  • Set up site search and understand which products are searched most.
  • Having an idea about product performance and product list performance is crucial to learn what to focus on. Check them daily.
  • Don’t forget to enable search console to find the keywords that people click on Google Search.

Conversion rate optimization tips

  • Offer the option to upgrade your products. Offer a basic product, but also a more sophisticated version with greater value and appealing.
  • Giving detailed product information is one of the things that increase sales. Effective wordings and using bullets to show benefits of the product are necessary to have a detailed product description.
  • Don’t forget to show related products to the user, so he/she can add it to his/her basket also.
  • As online shoppers can’t touch the product or feel it, try to choose the high-quality images related to product so that the customer knows exactly what they are getting. Video is a bonus, but believe that it will increase your conversion rate. High-quality and large images are effective to grab visitors’ attention quickly. If you can’t achieve to catch them in the first 3 seconds, then you probably have lost them.
  • Recommendation is so crucial, as WOM is one of the key factors to buy a product. Thus, don’t forget to add product reviews on your product details page.
  • Show the delivery cost and final cost very clearly.
  • Create coupon codes that customers can use at checkout to get a specific discount of the purchase. After setting code for discounts in your order form, explain how to get the codes. Give a brief information related to their usage.
  • Offer free shipping! That will make customers feel like they are getting a deal. If you won’t be able to do that, increase your prices to cover the shipping cost.
  • Show a shopping cart icon with a link to get to it after the user has entered an item into the cart. If they can’t find the cart they can’t checkout.
  • To increase the conversion rate, try to eliminate the unnecessary checkout steps.
  • Allow users to checkout without signing up for an account. Forcing them to register with their emails will increase the chance to leave your store.
  • Include a breadcrumb(navigation) in your product pages. So, visitors can easily see the previous steps.
  • If your landing pages differ from the others, this will increase your conversion rate optimization. So try to create specific landing pages for each product.
  • Have a FAQ section. So, visitors can easily find the answers of the questions they want to ask.
  • To help returning visitors, write “NEW” above/below your product image to emphasize it’s new.
  • Show evidence that your site is safe and trustful (but don’t over emphasize in it).
  • Remove obligatory registration for buying (but promote it with a deal).
  • Allow the most common payment options such as PayPal.
  • Put product details below the product image and CTA.
  • Adjust your prices! Price has been named as the most important factor affecting the online purchasing decision by the 60% of all online shoppers worldwide and they are really enthusiastic while finding the best deal. So, monitor your competitor prices strictly and respond every single of pricing move. Try Prisync to track your competitor prices automatically and adapt dynamic pricing.
  • Measure your conversion rate optimization success and optimize it continuosly. Try to use Mixpanel to get the exact rates or track the customers on-site behavior with Hotjar.

Tips to improve user experience in an online store

  • The search box should be prominent, so visitors can easily search what they are looking for. Using autocomplete is a plus.
  • Don’t forget to allow user to filter their product search in your site (by product category, price range, size, brand, color, user ratings).
  • When you are out of stock, don’t forget to get the email of the customer. So, you can inform them when the product is available.
  • If you have so many products, let them create a wishlist so they can find what they want easily when they come back. And also, let them know when the products prices’ decrease.
  • Check the performance of your website in every browser and every mobile phone. Tools like Browserling give an useful results.
  • Offer first time buying discount. Think this is going to be your marketing expense and believe that it is going to worth it.
  • Use free delivery deals over a specific amount.
  • If you sell products abroad, try to have multilingual website as visitors can understand the product in their native language.
  • Provide links to return policy, customer service, shipping and privacy pages.
  • Give the option to choose a range of times for delivery (morning – afternoon).

SEO tips for e-commerce

  • Do a keyword research and find specific keywords for every page.
  • Do a huge research for what to emphasize in categories part of the navigation menu. As navigation part is important for SEO, choosing the right ones to include can increase your organic traffic.
  • Have a blog and publish new content frequently related to your market. You can again do a keyword research and share contents related to those.
  • Use the title and alt options of the images to write your keywords. So, people can see your images, on google images results.
  • Check the load time of the page, as it should remain less. Pingdom is one of the tools that you can use.
  • Add a both sitemap and an image sitemap.
  • Use a pyramid structure for URLs. If you don’t have a structure, it’s going to be hard for Google to increase your ranking.
  • Write unique product descriptions, don’t use the one from your suppliers. So, customers can easily understand that it’s not pasted.
  • Have different titles and metadescriptions for each page.
  • Use just one H1 per page. And try to add H2 and H3 also. If H1 – H2 – H3 include your keyword, your ranking is going to increase.
  • Use internal linking to increase your page views.
  • Remove empty pages and links that are not working to protect your SEO score.

Tips for a great customer support

  • Try to be 24/7 available. Visitors would like to reach customer support anytime they want.
  • Show them you have understood the problem they have and don’t forget to use their name while you are talking to.
  • Try to communicate with customers on social media. Don’t forget that your audience is so active in social platforms. Try to support them and be responsive.
  • Have a live chat for customer support, so they can easily reach you. Intercom is one of the tools that is recommended.

Other tips related to marketing

  • Loyalty and referral programs are so crucial as they can increase your sales. Referral Candy is one of the tools that you can use.
  • Prepare special promotions for your worse-selling products. You can combine them with the best selling ones.
  • Don’t forget to announce campaign in special days like 11.11 as Alibaba does.
  • Package design is a great way to improve your customer experience when unpacking.
  • Be punctual and try to send the product as soon as possible.
  • Give omnichannel experience. If a customer buy a product from your online store and want to change it through your offline store, accept his offer and change his product.

Pricing Tips

  • Prices ending in 5 and 9 perform better than the others.
  • It’s proven that prices that are shown in smaller fonts convert better than larger-fonted versions under the same display values.
  • It’s said that the number of syllables, in the text version of a price tag, i.e. how we read and pronounce a price, affects the decision-making process of an online buyer.
  • $27.82, or “twenty-seven-eighty-two” vs. $28.16 “twenty-eight-sixteen” will convert better every time.
  • If you want to increase your profit margin, give a chance to pricing software like Prisync.

We hope you find all these tips useful. The most important here is that you try things and check how they work for you. This way you will improve more and more and eventually will reach excellence.

If you have anything to add related to ecommerce tips, don’t forget to share with us via comment section.



Bonnie Porter

Awesome stuff! Thanks so much for including Buffer, levent! 🙂

Judit Pal

I agree with Bonnie, such a great list of ecommerce tips!! Thank you for including OptiMonk as well!

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