To help you get started with Snapchat Ads, we'll give you $75 in free ad credit when you spend $50. Start Advertising
Business
January 3, 2023
January 3, 2023

16 Strategies for Increasing Online Sales (2022)

Selling products online holds the promise of opening the door to exponential growth via a highly efficient, streamlined customer journey coupled with access to a global audience. It also involves a vastly different way of approaching sales compared to conventional offline methods. Conjuring up a product to sell online is one thing. Figuring out how to get people to buy that product is quite another.
How to Increase Online Sales
The wild world of ecommerce has completely changed the business of selling in every market on Earth. While the inherent opportunity in that evolution is easy enough to see and inspiring to pursue, it can be challenging to increase e-commerce sales for a few reasons:
  1. With the availability of a worldwide audience, a business needs to define which part(s) of that population they want to target, then learn how to best communicate with them during the customer journey through constant research, testing, and analytics.
  2. With a clear idea of its target audience, a business needs to establish a solid, comprehensive online presence to support its sales and marketing goals and apparatus — a demanding undertaking that again requires significant work up front.
  3. The vast sea of consumers shopping online is also occupied by myriad businesses competing for their attention and money. So any business engaging in online sales has to develop and execute a plan that turns potential customers into actual customers and maximizes retention by creating an environment that nurtures and rewards loyalty, too.
While that workload might seem daunting, the fact is that with even a basic understanding of online sales and marketing, any business can put itself in a position to thrive well beyond what the previously conventional offline alternatives can offer, let alone sustain.
To increase online sales, a business first needs to get online and establish a functional presence, which it can then market to its choice of target audiences. Here are three options for building out an online sales environment for your business:
1. Build an e-commerce-enabled website yourself
Benefits
  • You’re fully in the driver’s seat in all respects.
  • You can tailor your site to look, read, and behave however you see fit.
  • All site functionality is hosted in one environment that you control.
  • You can use a pixel (including Snap Pixel) to track user activity.
Drawbacks
  • You’re fully in the driver’s seat: If anything goes wrong, you have to fix it.
  • Your e-commerce scenario is limited to your own knowledge, experience, and capabilities.
2. Build your site, then integrate with a dedicated e-commerce solution
Benefits
  • You control your site and your chosen e-commerce partner (such as Shopify or BigCommerce) handles the transactional business component, usually offering deeper functionality than you could on your own.
  • You can tailor your site to look, read, and behave the way you want, up to a point. Your e-commerce partner typically provides their own customizable third-party plugin or widget to handle sales.
  • You can use a pixel to track user activity (in the case of the Snap Pixel, it integrates smoothly with both Shopify and BigCommerce).
Drawbacks
  • You’re now managing two primary components (one of which you marginally control) and a relationship.
  • Your e-commerce partner commands a price.
3. Use a fully self-contained e-commerce solution (eg, Amazon)
Benefits
  • Your site design, development, and functionality are entirely subject to your partner’s environment.
  • Your solution partner’s environment is 100% optimized expressly for sales.
Drawbacks
  • You’re managing two primary components (one of which you marginally control) and a relationship.
  • Your e-commerce partner commands a hefty price.
  • You’re unable to use pixels.
Note: If you can’t use a pixel due to the option you choose and you want to run online ads, keep in mind that you won’t be able to fully optimize your ads for purchase activity since there’s no pixel relaying data from your site back to the ad platform.
Assuming your online sales environment is established and you’re ready to boost sales, here’s what we’ll cover in this blog post:
1. Improve your site's SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
As we touched on in our “21 Effective Ways to Market Your App (2022)” article, search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of preparing your business website to score as high as possible when search engines evaluate it — the better your score, the more likely it is that you’ll be one of the top search results. A handful of considerations to ensure you’re headed in the right direction:
  • Keywords - Do some research to determine the top keywords associated with the kinds of things you sell — words and phrases relevant to your business — and integrate them into your site’s page titles, meta information, and text. When search engines scan and evaluate your site, part of their criteria involves analyzing keyword usage. They also look at the language you use and reward authenticity and conversational expression. So, while you’ll want your keywords to be plentifully represented, be careful not to overdo it.
  • Fresh content - Create and post original content on your site on a regular basis — copy, images, video, even audio if applicable to what you offer. A blog goes a long way toward keeping your site informationally viable, as do catalog updates, testimonials and reviews, and product featurettes. Put together a schedule of updates and be diligent about sticking to it. Your efforts will be reflected in your SEO score and subsequent site ranking.
  • Site structure - Structure your content and your site’s architecture to be easy to navigate and to align with SEO best practices. Whenever possible, include descriptive keywords in your URLs, especially in your slugs — the part of the URL that explains a page’s content, usually at the end of the URL string — using lowercase words and hyphens. For example, if you have an online store that sells shirts, the URL formatting might read:

    www.yourstorename.com/shop/shirts/long-sleeve-shirts

    And be sure to keep your URLs to 128 characters or less.
  • Mobile-readiness - With an ever-increasing number of consumers operating on mobile devices (many exclusively), your website and landing pages need to work as effectively on phones and tablets as they do on desktop and laptop browsers. Again, efforts to that end will have a direct impact on your SEO outcome.
2. Create blog content
In addition to the ancillary benefit of filling your website’s content coffers, blogs give you the opportunity to convey whatever you feel is relevant about your business in your brand’s own voice. They’re a pragmatic, shareable way to educate customers, provide tutorials, tips, and other insights, and amplify your brand. A blog also helps your business establish an authoritative presence and attracts traffic and leads to your site.
Utilize these tips for maximizing your blogging success:
  • Create customer profiles
    Defining your business’s specific audience up front helps you write content that’s pertinent to their interests and accommodating of their behaviors. As usual, a customer-first approach tends to drive sales.

    A compiled mix of demographics — age, income, physical location, employment status, etc. — and pain points (such as the problem a consumer is trying to solve with your product or service) gives rise to a clear idea of the customer journey. With that insight, you can arrive at a clear idea of how to create brand awareness and differentiation, as well as what questions need answering and what problems need solving. Extrapolate and extend that direction across time and you’ve got a deep well of content inspiration to draw from.
  • Be consistent about quality and scheduling
    Consistency is paramount in blogging. Develop a repository of notes anchored in relevance that you can utilize when composing your blog posts. You want to establish a voice and tone that reinforces your brand and cultivates familiarity within your readership. Be genuine, concise, and interesting in your communication, and always stay focused on the subject of a given piece.

    If writing’s not your strong suit, defer to quality by bringing in a professional resource. Let your audience know what your publishing schedule looks like and follow through. If your timing, execution, and/or personality is erratic, they’ll lose faith in your brand.
  • Distribute your content broadly
    As soon as they’re published, share your posts across your social media outposts and through your newsletter. Link to them within your business’s site when and where it makes sense. Try to get them republished or addressed on any applicable blogging sites and websites you can think of. Take every opportunity to encourage others to share your content — customers, friends, colleagues, the media, partners, and employees are all capable of extending the reach of your influence with a simple share.
3. Use social proof
Coined in 1984 by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence, social proof (also called informational social influence) in the marketing context refers to the instinct to emulate what other consumers do and how they behave based on credibility, trust, and confidence. The result is diminished barriers to sales because purchasers feel better about their decisions than they would without the positive influence of their peers.
In practice, people more often than not refer to reviews, recommendations, and product usage experiences on their way to a purchase decision. So creating an environment of support around your products cannot be overemphasized.
Add a single-click rating function and a feedback link to your product pages, and include the same in your purchase receipts. Follow up with an email reminder inviting your customers to submit a review or testimonial if they haven’t already. Invite user-generated content (UGC) such as video testimonials so people can see your customers’ support in action.
Tout your partnerships, success stories, accolades, and awards, always focusing on the satisfaction of the people you engage with, the enduring integrity and stability of your business relationships, and the successful outcomes that define your brand. Be sure to promote all these vehicles (with permission, of course) on your business website, your social media accounts, and anywhere else potential customers might look along their journey.
4. Lean on influencer marketing
Just like social proof, swaying consumer confidence is the marketing magic behind influencer marketing — a type of social media marketing in which people of influence who command respect and boast large online followings choose to endorse and advocate on the behalf of brands they favor. As far as sales and marketing strategies go, influencers can pack quite the punch when it comes to moving the sales needle.
An example: A popular musician with a large fanbase promoting a boutique clothing brand’s latest product through a social post. The musician might get free items in exchange for the endorsement, while the brand enjoys free promotion to an otherwise unaddressed audience.
Influencer marketing has the power to increase engagement, reach new and broad audiences, and generate robust, relatable content that can be used for various marketing purposes and across marketing channels. Take the time to research potential influencer partners, then approach the best options with a prepared pitch and partnership terms. The more, the merrier, so don’t let any no’s get in the way of finding yes’s.
5. Use affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing continues our influence theme. It’s a form of performance-based marketing in which an affiliate — a person or business partnering with another business — promotes products or services in exchange for a commission from each sale they close. Those sales are tracked using affiliate links from one website to another.
Say you run a book publishing company that just released a new cooking title, and you need help marketing that book to your target audience. In this type of marketing relationship, you would find foodies (or they’d find you), set up an affiliate arrangement with them, and then they’d market to their audiences on your behalf in exchange for a percentage or fixed amount of each sale they’re responsible for generating.
Like social proof and influencer marketing, affiliate marketing enables you to exponentially increase your reach, greatly improving your chances for sales upticks — with minor effort on your part and at relatively little or no cost, aside from the piece of revenue you give to the affiliates.
6. Keep your social media accounts active
For a lot of smaller businesses, social media accounts can drift into various degrees of disuse. Much like exercise machines that find themselves shuffled from living room to garage within days of their unboxing, initial enthusiasm and commitment rapidly trail off when results aren’t immediate.
Avoid that fate like your business depends on it (which in a sense it does). Social media has the power to make or break a business. Choose the former by applying even a mild dose of discipline to the establishment and maintenance of your social properties, and be sure they remain aligned and in sync with your brand and your website content and objectives.
Along with posting, include fundamentals like your business information and add new content to your feeds frequently. If you have a Snapchat Public Profile, for instance, maintain the accuracy of your bio and description, share new experiences through Public Stories, archive content to your Saved Stories, and so on.
Post regularly based on a long-term schedule so that your audience knows when to expect fresh content that exposes them to your latest information and products. Set up sharing across the social media platforms you inhabit so people can share their excitement about their purchases and interactions with your brand. Take advantage of social scheduling platforms to streamline your content distribution, save oodles of time, and preserve sanity.
Along with organic reach, most social platforms — including Snapchat — also afford you the possibility of greatly expanding your reach via paid advertising to target audiences. Many offer pixel functionality, like the Snapchat Pixel, to help you track people’s activity on your website and re-engage potential customers.
7. Remarketing with social media ads
A fundamental component of social media advertising, remarketing (or retargeting) is the practice of engaging people who have already interacted with your brand to inspire them to take another desired action. Social ads are the vehicles that facilitate this intentional chain reaction, providing a means to deliver specific messaging to redeem a missed transaction.
Here are some ways you can use remarketing to bring about sales — all of which are available on Snapchat, too:
  • Target people who added products to their carts but didn’t check out. On this second attempt, encourage them to complete the purchase with a coupon or some other incentive.
  • Target people who have interacted with your ads in some way, or who have interacted with your social media account. Since they’ve already expressed interest in your business, you’re in a strong position to capitalize on their purchase potential.
  • Upload a list of customer contacts to create an audience you can target with ads. For example, create a list of your best customers and remarket to them when you have something new to sell. Or create a list of lapsed customers and offer them a discount or some other enticement to make a purchase again.
8. Use email marketing
Email remains the most reliable digital means of connecting with potential and existing customers, serving as a powerful way to drive sales, especially when you have a special deal going on. For that reason, it should serve as a primary foundational pillar in your quest for increased sales.
Collect customer email addresses through purchases or with a sign-up form on your site, and use them to build an email list. Then plan an email campaign that implements and integrates the five T’s: tease, target, teach, test, and track. From there:
  • Craft email communications using a concise, catchy headline and preview text that conveys the gist of the email’s main message.
  • Make sure your email content and design come across as professional, and that your brand is properly represented throughout.
  • Always use an authentic voice and keep language as simple and clear as possible.
  • Personalize when you can.
  • Ensure your email messages will read and function well on mobile devices.
  • Include compelling imagery.
  • Add short CTAs (calls to action) via buttons or links to drive engagement.
  • Implement A/B testing to improve email results and overall campaign performance.
  • Preview and test before sending.
  • Review analytics to see how your email performed and to inform your future campaigns.
Pro tip: Segment your customer base for email marketing so you can talk to different kinds of customers in different ways.
9. Use a chatbot to help people visiting your store
Chatbots increase conversion rates by providing a means of addressing issues, helping to dissolve the barriers that typically get in the way of purchases. A worthwhile chatbot smoothly supports and maximizes the shopping experience while moving customers toward a purchase. It can uncover upsell and cross-sell opportunities, in addition to wrangling leads that may otherwise pass by. And it can cover other bases, including booking orders, automating sales support, pre-qualifying sales prospects, and scheduling appointments.
When choosing a chatbot, you’ll want to make sure it’s accessible 24/7 to provide instant gratification through immediate responses and solutions. It should also be able to offer personalized recommendations as well as communicate with as realistic conversation as possible.
10. Make the purchase process as easy as possible
Anything and everything that gets in the way of the purchase flow not only has the potential to ruin a sale, but stands a good chance of driving a potential customer to a competitor. If someone can’t buy what they’re after within a few clicks, the chances of bringing them back are scant at best. To prevent that outcome, put these tips to work for you:
  • Simplify the purchase process. Always provide the customer with the information they need at each step of their shopping process. That being said, keep the click path as clean as possible — the faster they get to the ‘buy’ button, the more likely they are to complete the purchase. And pay very close attention to customer feedback as it relates to their journey through your store and make quick work of improving the process as needed.
  • Offer a variety of payment methods. People visiting your site or store typically have a preferred platform that they’re comfortable with and loyal to. Include options like debit and credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and transfers to cover the bases. Also consider ‘pay later’ options, which are fast becoming a standard offering and a preferred method with consumers.
  • Avoid additional charges and minimize shipping costs. Be transparent about fees and other additional charges from the get-go, or risk a frustrated, one-time shopper. Free shipping has become something of a norm — if you can’t offer it, be sure shipping costs are as low as possible and offer options when you can.
  • Provide fast delivery and a favorable return policy. Let your customers know exactly when they can expect their purchase to arrive. If they’re not satisfied for whatever reason, allow them to return the product with minimal effort.
11. Use high-quality product photos and videos
Since customers can’t physically interact with your products and to help them make their way to converting, it’s wise to provide as much visual information about your products as you can via professional-quality photos and videos.
Premium product photos and video will help potential customers arrive at a well-informed idea of whether or not the product is worth purchasing. Substandard imagery, on the contrary, will almost always convince even the most enthusiastic shopper to run the other way. Showcase your product with multiple photos shot at different angles to give a clear idea of the product’s features, form factor, and nuances.
Better yet, use a product video to highlight its features and benefits — across markets, video is considered by consumers to be more trustworthy than photography, so video will often close a sale when photos aren’t doing a product justice. If you’re promoting a service, consider including infographic or explainer videos that elegantly convey the value proposition, and/or showcase user testimonials as social proof. Also, if your product requires the customer to set it up or assemble it in any way, include an instructional video on how to get it up and running (as well as a link to a quick start guide or user manual).
12. Offer fewer choices at any given time
Consumers have a tendency to have a hard time making choices when faced with too many options. A consideration sinkhole where they’re forced to evaluate and compare will invite indecision and often result in a lost sale.

Get ahead of that eventuality by structuring your product presentation so visitors at any time see as few different products as possible. Arrange your products into increasingly narrow categories to prevent overwhelming shoppers and to help them have an easier time finding exactly what they’re seeking. Or start the shopping experience with emphasis on fewer individual products. Either way, with limited options to weigh, customers will be in a more favorable state of mind to decide on and purchase what they want.
13. Provide a great customer experience and even better customer service
Treat your customers like gold. The days of mediocre customer relations are long gone at this point, so if you’re not on top of the business of taking the best possible care of your customers at all times, you’ll lose the sales they might have brought and, more importantly, you’ll lose them outright to the competition.
Interact with your customers at every phase of their journey with your business. Answer their questions and solve their problems. When it comes time for them to weigh in on their experience with your business, you want them fully on your side. The better your reputation among your customer base, the more likely new potential customers will trust you enough to pay you an online visit and purchase your goods. Search for your business on Google to get an idea of what people are saying about your brand, and take a look at sites like TrustPilot or HostAdvice.
Rather than subject people to forms and help-line hunts, offer live chats or chatbots to handle their high-level questions and issues, to convey that you respect their time, and to provide them with a firm level of support convenience, all of which build trust.
To make sure your customer experience is up to the challenge:
  1. Make sure your website is easy to navigate, user-friendly (including mobile-ready), and quick to usher people to the point of purchase.
  2. Be intentional with your branding and put your best professional foot forward. People react much more kindly to organization than chaos.
  3. Prioritize exemplary customer service so that your organization can accommodate, manage and resolve any issues a customer might surface.

Once a shopper becomes a customer, continue to pay close attention to them, their needs, and their feedback. That kind of customer care begets brand evangelists of the fiercest kind who will continue to support your business with their wallets and their mouths. Think about offering them something for free on the heels of their purchase. Send them a grateful, useful follow-up email with incentives to buy from you again. Engage with them on social media (more on this shortly). Think in terms of relationships rather than transactions.
Include a FAQ on your website to handle common inquiries. On your site’s contact page, clearly show how and when to reach you and include a phone number, email address, and chat link if you have one to avoid guesswork and frustration. Most importantly, respond promptly when customers reach out so your customers know they’re heard. A solid relationship will follow.
14. Upsell and cross-sell
Upselling and cross-selling represent two often overlooked opportunities that tie into the purchase funnel. Upselling involves the offering of upgrade alternatives, whereas cross-selling involves offering a package of products that to one degree or another complement products a customer has either investigated or purchased within an online shop. Both can happen during and after the purchase process.
Most everyone’s experienced examples of this tactic through an Amazon shopping experience. You peruse a cheese grater or two, and next thing you know your browser’s filling up with suggestions for kitchen utensils, platters, and cracker options. The next time you visit Amazon, you see more of the same, although maybe presented differently than your previous experience.
Being algorithm- and AI-driven, upsells and cross-sells can determine within a few clicks and with a surprising degree of accuracy what a shopper is likely interested in, or suggest what they could or should be interested in. The result? Shoppers will often act on the suggestions and invest in purchases they originally had little or no intention of making, boosting the average order value for the seller.
15. Create a loyalty program
Once a shopper becomes a customer, the business/customer relationship migrates to a retention phase in which holding their attention and nurturing their loyalty becomes job #1.
Since it costs more to acquire new customers than to continue selling to current customers, curating a loyalty program is a smart business move from any angle. Loyalty programs motivate more spend by facilitating a points-based reward system associated with repeat purchases. Once you can get your customers to join your loyalty program, you’re able to promote impulse purchases and develop customer loyalty like few other mechanisms can.
Building your own customer loyalty program involves a handful of steps (review this article for details):
  • Determine the objectives of your program.
  • Create rewards that generate incentives.
  • Choose a program structure that fosters loyalty.
  • Decide how you want to run your program (software automation or manual application).
  • Brand your program.
  • Devise an acquisition strategy.
  • Train your employees.
  • Monitor and adjust.
16. Offer freebies or free trials
Impulse buying has become a major phenomenon in this age of accessibility, consumption, and convenience brought to you by businesses on the Internet. Online shopping, in turn, has evolved into an environment perfectly suited to support real-time indulgence in actionable whims.
Enter gotta-have-it-now urgency. As shoppers sprint almost by habit toward their favorite digital checkout counters, the opportunity arises to ensure they complete purchases using motivational tools like time-limited offers, samples, countdown timers, free shipping, and the like.
Zero-obligation free trials present a prime opportunity to convince customers that they need to get their hands on what you offer. Free product samples can also be pivotal in getting customers to buy the real thing. Shipping brings its own bag of tricks to the table as well. Totally free shipping always feels special and handily removes the final hurdle in many purchase decisions — and if that’s not doable, price thresholds that induce free shipping have proven to be a tolerable alternative while driving additional sales to meet that requisite.
At worst, offering a flat rate on shipping at least lets customers know what their final tab will look like, and they tend to react favorably when that kind of clarity and transparency is provided.
No matter how you cut it, free has the power to bring about considerable boosts to conversation points and overall conversion rates.
Eager to see your online sales flourish? We can help you get there. Visit our Online Sales page to find out how Snapchat can help you tap into our global, deeply engaged young audience and grow your business, from your customer base to your bottom line.

Snapchat can help your business grow.