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Amid the Crowdstrike global outage, we are manually processing transactions and prioritizing clients with urgent disbursements planned for today. We invite our clients with time sensitive transactions to contact their BDC representatives directly for more information.

How to increase your online sales

Discover tips for growing your business by increasing your online sales.

3-minute read

The Internet and mobile devices have revolutionized consumer behaviour. This has changed how we search for products, get recommendations, interact with companies and make payments.

Both retail and business-to-business (B2B) companies miss out on huge opportunities if they ignore online sales.

Offering an e-commerce option can boost sales, give you a competitive edge and improve productivity.

How can online sales help you grow?

The Internet is a powerful tool. It lets you punch above your weight in attracting customers. With a well-designed website, your business can reach as many people as a larger company.

Creating a website has never been easier. And a website lets you sell to a global audience 24 hours a day.

Here’s how entrepreneurs can take full advantage of e-commerce.

1. Deepen the customer relationship

You can include options that will enhance your relationship with customers as they navigate your site, such as:

  • Promotions
  • Free or fast shipping
  • Information about new products
  • Invitations to company events
  • Fun or informative content

These are cost-effective ways to promote your brand and build a community of loyal customers. They may even become ambassadors for your company.

2. Enhance your customer knowledge

An online store makes collecting customer behaviour data easier, allowing you to improve operations and marketing.

Customer knowledge is the information you have about your customers, such as their preferences, behaviours, needs and feedback. Collecting and analyzing customer data can provide valuable insights into your target market. You will be able to tailor your products, services and marketing strategies accordingly.

Here is some information about your customers that could be valuable for your business:

  • How customers interact with your website. You can find out what pages they visit, how long they stay, what products they view or buy and what keywords they use to find you.
  • What customers like or dislike about your products, services or website and how you can improve them. For this, you can solicit customer feedback, testimonials and suggestions.

Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can store information such as contact details, purchase history, preferences and interactions. This information can help you segment your customers into different groups based on their characteristics and behaviour. You can then provide them with personalized offers, recommendations and support.

3. Take advantage of B2B opportunities

E-commerce can help B2B companies automate their order-taking process to save time and reduce errors.

A company can create a web portal, known as an extranet, that lets customers log into their account, view customized product pricing and place orders online.

A web portal or extranet requires a significant investment. However, the advantages are many.

The most obvious is the ability to attract more customers through the convenience of online ordering. An extranet can also reduce costs by streamlining order processing and fulfillment.

How can you maximize sales on your website?

Here are six steps to increase your sales and reap the other benefits of e-commerce.

1. Plan

A lack of planning can lead to wasted money and effort.

If you’re new to online sales, you should begin by planning. Start with an online strategy, a roadmap that guides your next online activities while supporting your business goals.

Your strategy should identify goals for your online presence, your target audience and your content strategy, including key messages, and a mobile strategy to ensure your content is accessible on smartphones and tablets.

You’ll also need an action plan that outlines a timeline, assigns responsibilities, and establishes a publishing schedule for online content.

2. Build your online presence

Your website is your online storefront. You must make a good impression on customers. Make sure your website is attractive, professional and easy to navigate. Use high-quality images or videos, clear product descriptions and a simple checkout process.

Your website should include an e-commerce function that attracts traffic and convinces visitors to buy your products.

There are many options depending on your budget. The simplest solution for those with little experience is to hire a website designer.

If you’re more budget-conscious, you might want to consider various free or low-cost e-commerce services. Examples of free services include OpenCart and PrestaShop, while providers such as Shopify, eBay or Amazon charge a small fee.

These services provide tools to create a basic website that includes an online store with a digital shopping cart and payment via credit card or other methods such as PayPal. They also allow you to offer an online product catalogue, options

for customer reviews and feedback, and sales data to help you track performance.

Generally, the cheaper the service, the fewer features and less customization it offers.

3. Be ready to fulfill orders

Order fulfillment is a key part of e-commerce, but it’s often an afterthought for businesses.

Before launching your website, be sure your company is ready to handle the new business. You’ll need the infrastructure to handle orders, shipping and returns.

4. Be mobile friendly

Make sure smartphones and tablets can access your online shopping cart. Mobile ordering gives you one more competitive boost so your website needs to be responsive and optimized for mobile devices.

You can use tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check your website’s appearance on different screens.

5. Focus on cross-channel marketing

If you offer a promotion on your website or one of your social media pages, make sure your sales teams are aware of the campaign. They should be ready to promote specials, honour coupons and update loyalty cards.

This is called cross-channel marketing, that is, coordinating online and in-store efforts to ensure a seamless customer experience.

Don’t forget to align your business with social media. Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to promote your products, engage with your audience and drive traffic to your website.

You can also use social media ads, influencer marketing and user-generated content to boost your brand awareness and sales.

Next step

Learn how to build your e-commerce strategy, begin selling online and measure your sales by downloading our free guide, Succeed With E-commerce.

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