In recent years, the e-commerce industry grew from $1.84 billion in 2016 to the estimated $3.45 billion this year.
Such growth causes a great increase in competition between businesses and motivates e-commerce marketers to look for new and effective ways to attract new clients and retain the existing ones.
Joseph Sugarman, one of the best advertisers from the 1990ies, compiled a list of psychological selling tricks that will help any seller or marketer to efficiently communicate with the customers and encourage them to make a purchase. Though being introduced dozens of years ago, these strategies remain relevant and are widely used in the field of e-commerce.
However, you can make use of them as well if you tune them to your business. Ready to learn how to sell more? The answers are below.
1. Sense of urgency
Let’s start with the most powerful and efficient motivator, which is a sense of urgency.
You can create a sense of urgency by:
- Limiting quantity: only X items left in the stock!
- Limiting time: X hours left until the end of the sale!
- Emphasizing the situation: Hurry up to shop Christmas gifts!
A sense of urgency works amazingly well, especially if applied correctly. The information about the limited sale can be placed on the homepage and the information about limited product quantity will be relevant on the product’s page.
2. A value proposition
Even if a customer knows what he wants, he still needs to be convinced to buy from you. This is why you need to place a value proposition on almost every page of your online store (product pages and catalogs are a must!).
Such value props often come in the form of banners that inform shoppers about free delivery, a discount on the first purchase, or similar offers.
Shoppers trust other shoppers the same as they trust family or friends. Use it for your benefit and incorporate real customers’ reviews to your store.
Place the reviews on the product page so the shoppers can immediately estimate the item. You can also add an option of leaving a comment and/or rating right on the page – that would contribute to the level of interaction between your brand and the customers.
4. Sense of reciprocity
You know that feeling when you receive something for free and feel like you have to give something back? That’s reciprocity and it can be a powerful motivator for the shoppers to buy from you.
If you send them an email with a discount or an incentive in the form of “thank you” for being a loyal customer, they will most likely feel the urge to give you something back. Most likely, it will be a purchase or, at least, a visit to your website.
5. Evoke emotions
Identify your target audience and appeal to their emotions by adjusting the website design and content correspondingly.
Holiday seasons are the best periods for impulse buying but you can evoke emotions with your shoppers in low seasons as well. Incorporate pop-ups with relevant and appealing messages and keep the tone of your store consistent and friendly.
6. Rewarding system
People love to collect items and they love to get rewards for completed actions. This is the reason many online stores incorporated a system of reward points or bonuses that later can be exchanged for the products.
The Bright Star Kids store offers personalized supplies for children and has a system of reward points. The actions that are requested from the customers are really simple: fill in your Birthday date or log in with the social media account. But in exchange, the user receives a significant amount of points which they can use to buy products from the store.
7. A sense of curiosity
Everyone loves surprises but expect them to be relevant and high-quality. This explains the growing popularity of subscription boxes that come in all forms, sizes, and content.
A subscription box works by the following scheme:
- You choose the content that interests you: a bundle of exotic spices or unusual chocolate flavors
- You subscribe for the box and will be charged monthly
- In exchange, every month you will receive a themed box but will not know what’s inside it
This is a good chance for you to cross-sell, help people learn about your products and build a long-lasting relationship with the clients.
8. Sense of consistency
Once someone completes the action, they tend to stay consistent and carry on with the expected behavior. This is caused by a sense of consistency that the majority of people have.
You can benefit from it when asking to sign-up for a newsletter. Once the person signs up, they will feel like the next logical step would be checking your store and, most probably, buying from it.
The big advantage of brick-and-mortar stores is that they offer shoppers to actually try and experience the product. This creates a sense of involvement which may further lead to a completed purchase.
However, modern technologies allow online stores to incorporate the option of “try-on” and delight the users. Augmented reality gives shoppers a chance to “try on” beauty products, footwear, clothes, and even furniture – all that via a smartphone device and with a few taps. Ikea app is a good example of AR use in e-commerce.
Personalization is now a big thing and a must-have for any online store that wishes to sell more and retain the customers. Customers are willing to spend more money and even wait longer for the products that are personalized – so give them a chance to do so!
One of the most popular and efficient forms of personalization is the section with personalized product recommendations. It will show recommendations based on the shopping behavior of the users and their preferences.
11. Limited choice
There was a famous “jam study” that revealed: customers buy more if presented with a limited number of options to choose from.
Keep this in mind when arranging the product catalog and product display. As well, do A/B testing to see what’s the best option for your store and what motivates the customers to engage.
Everyone loves a good story and every business has a unique story behind. Help people learn about it by incorporating a video into your homepage.
The use of a video proves to greatly increase conversions and contribute to the customer experience. Just make sure that the video is not too long and is engaging enough to make the user watch it till the end.
Before the customer pays, they need to know exactly what they are paying for. So it’s your responsibility to provide them with accurate and descriptive information about the products.
Keep it short and informative and include a value that the user will get from purchasing this item. As well, you can add credibility via your blog where you can explain the aspects of creating your products and why they are worth paying attention to.
This technique is really popular among e-commerce marketers. Anchoring is putting a lower price next to the initial one, which was higher. This way, the customer learns that the product is now more available and thus, be more likely to buy it.
It is important though not to do it too often – otherwise, shoppers will doubt whether you really offer a discount or just trying to attract them by any means.
15. Proof of value
We already spoke about the importance of incorporating the value proposition and statement on the product page – and you also have to justify the price.
This is a good opportunity to upsell and raise your sales. If you incorporate a side-by-side product comparison, it will help the customers choose the most suitable product specifically for them. And it may turn out that the purchased item is more expensive than the one they intended to buy.
16. Speed of service
Customers are generally impatient and online customers expect lightning-speed service. The average site load time is 3 seconds or less, otherwise, users leave it.
In order to keep up with the customers’ expectations and deliver high-quality service, optimize your store to load faster. There are numerous factors that impact the site load speed, from UX to server load. Consult with the developers and run a test on PageSpeed Insights to identify problematic areas.
Even in the 90’s honesty was considered a significant competitive advantage. A brand that was honest about its flaws stood out among the competitors that did their best to hide them.
Be honest, transparent, and straightforward. Such an approach builds credibility and right away establishes a trustful relationship with the customers.
18. Wiliness to belong
Being extremely social, the majority of people love to belong to different groups. So when displaying a group of products on your store, you can place a message like: “Are you ready to join the X team?”
When naming a group, specify why a customer should become a part of it and what benefit it brings. You can offer an incentive like a discount or regular secret sales to encourage the shopper to take action.
19. Build authority
Support your product offers with an authority: testimonials, an involved influencer, or a list of your awards.
Shoppers need to know you are credible enough to trust you. As well, incorporate the security badges to the store to show that all transactions are 100% secure.
20. Minimize the pressure
Shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores tend to wander around and “shop with their eyes”. Give your online customers the same opportunity by implementing wishlists and “save for later” buttons.
Wishlists are awesome because they help manage the purchases, eliminate the pressure of shopping “right away”, and can be shared in social networks or via an email. They also help you out if an item is out of stock: the user will be notified once the item appears in the store and will most likely buy it.
The marketing strategy that you will build also depends on the e-commerce platform that your store runs on.
Shopify is considered the best option for small or medium sized businesses that do not require extensive functionality. However, if we speak about extensive marketing options, Magento is the platform of choice.
It is well-known for its customization and flexibility and allows you to do almost anything to your store. As well, the platform has over 5000 free and paid third-party extensions (like social media integrations). You can learn more about Magento customization and hire a developer here.
Summing up, every business requires different marketing and selling strategy based on its products, target audience, and set goals. What’s essential for any marketer to remember is: keep all your marketing efforts aimed at the customer.
Everything you do should bring value to the shoppers – and happy shoppers, in return, will gladly bring value to your business in the form of sales.
Irina Linnik a marketing specialist at Onilab– a Magento troubleshooting company. Being a savvy e-commerce observer she always keeps abreast of innovation and covers the latest industry trends.
Her goal is to inform the readers in a clear, understandable and enjoyable manner and help them navigate through the vast and ever-changing business environment.
Irina has over 5 years of experience in freelance writing and has helped numerous companies communicate their message across various channels.