The fact that Amazon surpassed Walmart in 2019 as the world’s largest retailer makes two things clear. First, more people than ever are making their purchases online. Second, the staggering amount of online consumers is bringing more retailers to the internet every day, fueling fierce competition in every product category. How can you set yourself apart, and increase online sales, when so many retailers are selling similar and even identical products?
Most articles on increasing online sales offer advice that is very basic and often obvious: write strong sales copy, offer limited-time discounts, etc.
In this article, we’re going to give you some lesser-discussed tips and strategies. Let’s jump right in.
1. Use the tools each online marketplace offers you.
Let’s say you’re selling on Amazon. If you want to list a product from one of your suppliers, and the product detail page has already been created, all Amazon lets you do is add your offer to the existing list of retailers on that page. Not much opportunity for differentiation, except for price and shipping options. And if you’re abiding by your supplier’s Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) or Minimum Resale Price (MRP) policy, you won’t have much flexibility to stand out by dropping your listing price below all of your competitors on the page.
But you can use several seller tools Amazon offers to help you stand out from the crowd.
For example, you can use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With this program, Amazon stores your inventory, then pulls, packages, and ships orders as they come in. But as helpful as it can be to have Amazon’s world-class logistics process working for you, that’s not why we’re suggesting it can increase your company’s online sales.
We’re suggesting FBA because the algorithm that Amazon uses will give points to retailers who use the FBA service when determining which retailers to place higher on the list of offers for the same product (and even which will earn the coveted buy box).
However, we strongly recommend labeling your products before sending them in and ensuring that your inventory is NOT commingled with the inventory for other vendors. This ensures that you don’t run into gray market or counterfeit product being tied to your account, which could involve you in a wide range of legal issues you’d be best to avoid.
2. Add trust icons to every product listing and ad.
Research has shown again and again that consumers are more likely to make a purchase online if they see some sort of trust icon. These are the little badges or seals on an eCommerce page that indicate the site is secure or that the seller has earned high marks from a third party like the Better Business Bureau.
Another great example is a trust badge on your website (this doesn’t apply to marketplaces like Amazon, eBay or Walmart) indicating that you are an official resale partner of the brand or manufacturer. This gives consumers comfort in knowing they’re not buying a knockoff product and that the brand itself has vetted you and determined you’re a reputable seller. A consumer won’t have to worry, for example, that you won’t honor the manufacturer’s warranty.
If they don’t already offer it, ask your suppliers to create an Authorized Dealer Badging program, so you can quickly establish trust with consumers on all of your eCommerce pages and ads.
3. Set up your logistics processes for success.
Let’s talk about Amazon’s algorithm again. When determining which retailers’ offers will get preferential placement on a product listing page, Amazon looks at a number of factors. Which retailers have the item in stock right now? Which retailers have the most shipping options, and which can promise delivery the soonest? What are each retailer’s average ratings from consumers?
And, as we pointed out earlier, which retailers have signed up for Fulfillment by Amazon service?
The more of these boxes your company has checked, such as making sure you have inventory ready to ship immediately, for example—the greater your chances of showing up as the top offer on Amazon.
4. Post a video of the product.
One drawback of selling online is that your customers don’t have the option of examining your product in person, as they can in a brick-and-mortar store. This is why online shoppers love product videos. And it’s why creating and posting videos of the products you sell can help you sell a lot more of them.
A Forbes article on video marketing cites a study (from HubSpot) finding people are 64% more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it.
Create a review video of the product, or a tutorial on how to use it, or just a step-by-step walkthrough showing its main features. The data strongly suggest you’ll increase sales.
5. Make sure you’re competing only against other authorized sellers.
One of the biggest threats to retailers’ bottom lines today is the proliferation of gray market sellers and other types of unauthorized retailers saturating the internet landscape with the same products.
Worse, because these are unauthorized sellers who have no official relationship with the supplier, they won’t think twice about advertising products at below-MAP levels. That means you and the other legitimate resellers lose sales over and over because you can’t compete on price.
Learn how to
stop unauthorized Amazon sellers
So, our final suggestion for increasing online sales is to help your suppliers keep the market clear of these rogue sellers. That means monitoring the internet at all times for unauthorized listings of their products, and aggressively pursuing the sellers when you find them.
The best way to do this? Recommend to your suppliers that they sign up for an automated online brand protection solution. It’s easier to roll out and less expensive than you think. It will protect their brand. And it will help you increase online sales.