Ecommerce Growth Playbook:
121 Ways To Grow Your Online Store

Grow without the guesswork. Having worked in ecommerce for over 8 years, from brands in the pre-launch phase to 8-figure brands (and even launching my own little one) I’ve collated a whole range of different tactics that work for different online stores which is what I share with you here.

To be clear, not every one of these ideas will work for every business. Some lend themselves to brand new stores whilst others to much larger 7+ figure brands. So feel free to browse and see what might work for your store.

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    Grow Your Traffic

    Without traffic there would be no sales – this is where it all starts. Explore growth opportunities across an abundance of different channels for your online store.

    It’s inevitable that people will search for coupon codes for your brand.

    Start searching any brand and almost always Google’s autocomplete is “[brand] coupon codes”.

    Whether you offer discount codes or not, this is traffic you should be trying to get on your own site.

    The best practice for this tactic is to create a dedicated page on your own site to target these keywords. This page should look to collect email addresses in return for a small discount on their next order.

    These pages can easily get thousands of visitors a month and convert to subscribers as high as 50% of the time.

    Useful Tool: Shogun
    Useful Example: Zest Tea Coupon Code Page

    Getting interviewed can increase the exposure of your brand, garner greater authority for yourself and your brand, drive valuable links which generates referral traffic and long-term SEO benefits and finally they lead to more opportunities for other interviews.

    Find relevant opportunities by heading over to Google and searching for ‘[product type] interview’ this will pull back all interviews where you product are mentioned.

    Work through the list and pull out the most relevant interview, finding the author and their email addresses.

    Reach out to these authors, say you enjoyed the last interview they did and you are available if they wanted to interview you, you are available. Make sure you make them may want to interview you, mention your achievements and why they are relevant.

    Useful Tool: Buzzstream
    Useful Resource: How to Get Interviewed by Popular Blogs (Even If You’re Not a Big Shot)

    Do you have extremely unique products?

    Utilising Unsplash can be a great way to get your imagery downloaded and posted all over the internet.

    Uploading all of your images and tagging them up correctly can result it thousands of downloads and can also benefit your SEO by people linking back to you.

    As a bonus tip, also add your images to Pixsy and reach out to the people using your images if they haven’t linked back to your site and ask politely for credit.

    Useful Tool: Unsplash
    Useful Resource: Unsplash Offers Huge Brand Exposure, But Carries Hidden Risks

    This is one for the new brand hustlers and one that should almost never be attempted to be automated as you will lose the personal effect it has.

    When you’re starting a brand, creating a personal connection to your fans is crucial.

    One way to start this process is to manually direct message each of your new followers on Instagram, introduce yourself, the brand and offer a personal discount code just for them if they fancied making an purchase.

    To increase the engagement, make a comment in the DM about a recent post in their feed (a recent holiday snap for example).

    A reminder, don’t automate this with tools as this will likely lead to spam and getting your account banned. It’s more scalable to hire a VA to perform this process as you scale.

    Useful Resource: How to Set Up an Instagram DM Workflow

    Newsjacking can be powerful both from a PR perspective and also driving more organic traffic through high authority links.

    You need to monitor live news and spot opportunities to enter your brand into the centre of the conversations through expert commentary and thought leadership.

    You have to be fast and reactive, with timely responses, analysis and newsworthy content of your own and get it in front of relevant journalists and writers on the topic.

    Useful Tool: Mailshake
    Useful Resource: Newsjacking- How this strategy drove authority and over 250 links for our client in 6 months🔗!

    Giveaways can be super important for online stores to help boost sales and grow your business. They can be used to both gain new customers as well as encouraging repeat purchases and referrals.

    The viral factor comes in when you entice people from sharing the giveaway campaign to get more entries to win. The more people sharing your giveaway campaign, the more it gets circulated rapidly – becoming viral.

    Make sure the prize is relevant to your audience (the simplest way of doing this is using your own product) and the first port of call is to promote it to your existing email list.

    Useful Tool: Kingsumo
    Useful Resource: How To Grow Your Ecommerce Business With Viral Giveaways

    Similar to viral giveaways, partnering up with a non-competing complementary brand targeting the same audience can drive a further reach of your of your giveaway.

    The best way to make sure it runs smoothly, choose a partner who has run giveaways in the past as this makes them appreciate the potential of the running these campaigns.

    Plan it out and make it clear to the partner in the introductory email that you have a plan and give an idea of the potential you think the giveaway has.

    Finally, make sure you both send an email to your existing audience about the campaign as this will be the cornerstone of the entrants to trigger the virality.

    Useful Tool: Gleam
    Useful Resource: 21 ways to promote your sweepstakes in 2020

    Affiliate programs are an agreement between a retailer and an ‘affiliate’ who earns a commission for referring sales to the retailer.

    When you create an affiliate program for your store, you give an incentive for the affiliates to recommend your products to their audience. It’s likely to motivate them to mention your products and brand which can grow both your sales and brand awareness.

    They are a great way of rewarding your best performing influencers and referrals to continue to promote your products as the more you sell, the more they make.

    Useful Tool: Refersion
    Useful Resource: Ecommerce Affiliate Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

    Everything is looking for gift ideas in the festive season, so it’s time to get creative with your Facebook ad campaigns.

    Have a go at focusing on your product as a gift rather than the usual benefits you use to sell your product. Buying intent is very high during this period so take full advantage and set up more campaigns.

    During this time, also test out some campaigns which are targeting the other family members for the products that you sell. If your normal audience is women aged 30-50 then try targeting married men in that same age bracket and market the product as a gift.

    Useful Tool: Adespresso
    Useful Resource: 3 Facebook campaign ideas for Christmas

    Getting press coverage for your product is rarely easy. But using a simple process you should be able to get some coverage quite easily and see how worthwhile it for the business.

    Find articles that your competitors have had products featured in (note: make sure its a product feature rather than the brand being mentioned).

    Find the author of the post and their email address.

    Reach out with a short email introducing your product, mention that they have covered similar products before (shows you have done your research).

    Ask if they want to know anything more to reach out.

    You’ll be surprised how often this results in your products getting featured especially if they really stand out.

    Useful Tool: Response Source
    Useful Resource: Hacking the Press: Clever Ways to Get Free Press Coverage with Zero Budget

    Ads with UGC have a 3x higher CTR on average

    Cut through the noise of the typical ads on social networks by letting your customers do the talking

    Facebook and Instagram users are used to ignoring promotional messaging in their feeds. They aren’t on social to hear from brands — they want to hear from other people.

    By including customer reviews in your ads, you can leverage community trust to bring social traffic and sales to your online store.

    Useful Tool: Yopto
    Useful Resource: How to Improve Your Facebook Ads With Customer Reviews

    Launching dedicated international versions of the website to target other countries outside of your founding target market.

    The chances are you currently drive the vast majority of your traffic from just one country. Now look at all of those other countries in that list that speak the same language – these all present significant opportunities for organic growth.

    Launching your site into a variety of same-language markets with a dedicated site could see quick results in terms of additional traffic to your online store.

    Utilising the same content (tweaked slightly for local language variations) on a sub-folder structure, with correct hreflang set up would be the most straightforward way of doing this.

    This tactic has seen results as high as 80-150% increase in organic traffic and 10-20% increase in conversation rate due to localisation.

    Useful Tool: Hreflang Tags Generator
    Useful Resources: Why eCommerce localization matters (and 7 tips to ensure that it works for your business)

    Is your ecommerce business ready to take the next big ste and expand internationally?

    Translating your site can both help you reach new audiences in specific countries but also expand far beyond into other countries speaking that language.

    Theoretically, there are millions more consumers in the world who have access to your website but are unable to read it.

    There are additional nuances at play to consider when it comes to localisation, beyond simply translating the words. Other cultures have their own standards for design, layout, colours, symbolism and understanding these are essential for your international growth.

    Useful Tool: Bablic
    Useful Resource: How to translate your website into a foreign language

    In Q4, gift guides are everywhere.

    These present an amazing opportunity to pick up some easy links and features of your product from part-time bloggers all the way up to large publications.

    Track #bloggerrequest #journorequest and #prrequest on Twitter as well as PR tools such as Source Bottle to find these bloggers and journalists who put out requests for products to feature in these posts.

    Simply reach out, introduce your product and as long as its relevant you’ll have a great chance of being featured.

    Useful Tool: Source Bottle
    Useful Resource: How to Use Gift Guides to Boost Your Holiday Sales

    If you’ve been thinking about adding a physical presence to your online business but have been put off by the cost and commitment, a pop-up shop could be the solution.

    A pop-up is an accessible way for businesses of all sizes and budgets to test the waters of physical retail before making a large investment. It can also boost localised brand awareness.

    Having a physical space allows you to meet your customers where they live and put your brand in front of new shoppers. It’s also a direct way to encourage sales without pouring more money into online customer acquisition.

    Useful Tool: Appear Here
    Useful Resource: 15 Creative Examples of Branded Pop-Up Shops

    The one type of content that almost always crushes it when it comes to building links. Original research.

    Yes, it’s more difficult and time-consuming than a standard blog post on a certain keyword but can often get over 100x the amount of links.

    Original research wins because its new and unique, the data can support what product you sell, gives you a reason to reach out to journalists and it makes your site the primary source of information on the topic.

    So do some analysis, use your own data, run a survey – it can be easier than you think.

    Useful Tool: Google Trends
    Useful Resource: 5 Examples of Original Research in Content Marketing: How to Be the Primary Source

    Top of the funnel (TOFU) content can be a insanely valuable way of driving high volumes or traffic to your site and also increase your brand awareness.

    TOFU content comes in various forms but one of the obvious topics are ones which end in ‘ideas’ such as ‘bedroom decorating ideas’, ‘hair color ideas’ or ‘valentines day ideas’.

    These types of content can have really high search volumes and relatively low difficulty due to low searcher intent.

    However, when combined with a solid onboading strtegy, such as encouraging the reader to sign up to your email list and sending them a flow of emails around the topic they have shown an interest in before showcasing product ideas, TOFU content can become a large driver of indirect revenue as well.

    Useful Tool: Ahrefs
    Useful Resource: The 5 Best Types Of Awareness Stage Content To Explode Your Lead Generation

    “Facebook Messenger marketing is one of the hottest opportunities in digital marketing today.

    And get this. 2.4 billion people actively use Facebook Messenger, but less than 1% of businesses actually engage in Facebook Messenger marketing. So it remains a relatively untapped channel.

    With Facebook Messenger you can use it relatively similar to email with campaigns such as chat blasts as well as drp campaigns.

    Open and click through rates on Messenger are currently much higher than email – so it’s definitely worth testing out the channel to see if it makes sense for your business.”

    Useful Tool: Mobile Monkey
    Useful Resource: From 0 to 29 610 Messenger subscribers in less than 24h with 6$ in ad spend

    Every single day, business are shutting down, rebranding, removing content and discontinuing products or services.

    When this occurs often there will be pages that will end up with a 404 error having not been needed anymore.

    These pages can often have links pointing ot them and for anyone linking to these pages they will find themselves linking out to resources that no longer exist.

    This is where the ‘moving man method’ comes in. All you need to do is to create a piece of content on the page that no longer exists had on it and reach out to everyone that is linking to the dead page and suggest updating the link to your piece of content.

    Useful Tool: Majestic
    Useful Resource: How To Get High Quality Backlinks

    Microinfluencers (10k-25k followers) have some of the highest engagement of all accounts on Instagram.

    They are also one of the best for conversion rates when utilised for product promotion.

    Use an Instagram account verifier first. Check their audience is relevant to yours.

    Go for 3 stories: two where they talk about you selfie style with audio and one after showing your product with swipe up CTA.

    Useful Tool: Intellifluence
    Useful Resource: How to Tap Into the Rise of Micro-Influencers

    An incredible way to gain early traction for your new brand would be to find buy/sell Facebook groups and share your products in there.

    To find these groups simply search in Facebook: “buy sell“ +[niche]

    As a bonus, try doing this with your Black Friday offer – it’s free promotion for your offer.

    This will also help you generate custom audiences to create lookalikes based on.

    Useful Tool: Facebook
    Useful Resource: How to Monetize Forums and Facebook Groups for Business

    As your brand starts to grow, people will start searching for keywords such as ‘your brand vs competitor brand’.

    These searchers are high intent as they are actively looking for the product that you sell.

    The framework of this content should ojectively compare your product with your top competitors (and obviously yours is better right?!).

    Have clear CTAs throughout this content to your product where it’s clear that your brand is superior and watch the conversions come rolling in.

    Useful Tool: SEMrush
    Useful Resource: Pain-Point SEO: How to Produce SEO Content That Drives Conversions

    Comparison content can be a powerful way of tipping a potential customer into parting with their cash at your store.

    For unbranded terms such as ‘scented candle vs diffuser’ you can objectively compare the two options and give clear pros and cons of each.

    This works best when you sell both product types to maximise your sales potential. However, if you only sell one of the product types it can be leaned in favour of your product.

    Useful Tool: Keyword Tool
    Useful Resource: Pain-Point SEO: How to Produce SEO Content That Drives Conversions

    You may have seen branded comparison content before where you tap into people searching for your brand vs one of your competitors.

    So what happens if you an newcomer in the market and people don’t know about you yet.

    You can still take advantage of comparison content by creating a piece of content about two known brands in the niche and add yours onto the end.

    For example if you were a brand new home fragrance brand you could create a piece of content on ‘yankee vs woodwick vs [my brand]’.

    Follow the same steps in comparison content to start stealing sales from the big boys in your niche.

    Useful Tool: Keywords Everywhere

    A quick last-minute win for Christmas day/pre-New Year.

    Send out an email campaign with a site-wide promotion with the subject ‘Get what you really wanted’.

    Everyone loves to continue to treat themselves over the festive period and with cash and Visa gift cards being popular gift you can get in on this action early.

    Useful Tool: Omnisend

    Launch days are exciting. Visitors flood to your website. Sales roll in.

    Or at least, that is what is meant to happen.

    Sometimes they just fall flat.

    To have a really successful launch to need to run a pre-launch campaign to build a buzz around your new product.

    In the weeks (or months) leading up to the launch you need to seed out information about the product, allow people to sign up for early access, potentialyl even pre-sell the product itself.

    This way when launch day comes, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear with the sales you are making.

    Useful Tool: Shogun
    Useful Resource: 23 Ways to Build Colossal Pre-Launch Product Buzz

    Using long form ad copy can be powerful when:

    • You are targeting a cold audience that may not be problem aware of the product you offer
    • Your product is a more complex than traditional products so needs more background on the benefits
    • You’ve tried short form text and aren’t getting the engagement you want

    Despite conventional wisdom, long form Facebook ad copy can drive very promising results. So test it out and see if it works for your brand.

    Useful Tool: Adespresso
    Useful Resource: 3 Types of Ad Copy to Use for Facebook Ads

    A referral program can really harness the audience you have built if they are raving fans about what you sell.

    To know if your audience are ready for a referral program, you should see:

    • A lot of positive reviews online
    • Existing customers shop with you often
    • Organic referrals are happening without specific effort

    If you have these, you should look to set up an easy-to-use program. Give $X, Get $X has been the most successful campaigns I’ve seen – it needs to be simple to use and to understand the benefits.

    A great way to introduce the referral program is just after a customer has left a glowing review. Reach out at that moment and they’ll be more inclined to refer friends.

    Useful Tool: Referral Candy
    Useful Resource: How to Set Up a Referral Marketing Program For Any Industry (With Industry Examples)

    Encouraging your customers to share a photo of their purchase can greatly improve your reach from word of mouth marketing.

    The best form of marketing!

    It can be as simple as adding an email into your post-purchase flow or including a small postcard with the product.

    For even better results, try to incentivise your customers to share. Either via a giveaway or a discount off their next purchase.

    You will also get your hands on an abundance of imagery to use on site to improve conversions.

    Useful Tool: Stackla
    Useful Resource: How to Get Customers to Post Instagram Pictures

    If you are participating in any form of in-person event whether that’s exhibiting at a tradeshow, running a popup, warehouse sale, etc you should look to maximise the return of the spend by getting users on your email list.

    Use a tablet and create a simple sign up form and ask directly for people to fill out their email.

    It’s an effective low-tech way to get new sign-ups for your email list. It drives you to actively seek people out and make a face-to-face case for signing up.

    You can then send them a tailored email flow referencing the event, offering an incentive, and convince them to become a customer.

    Useful Tool: Carrd
    Useful Resource: The Best Way to Grow Your Email List at Events

    This is more for fun and PR than sales. Adding an easter egg to your site to engage users and increase word of mouth can drive crazy viral traffic if executed and promoted correctly.

    An easter egg is a secret feature, message or inside joke that is hidden within a website.

    Easter eggs engage users in a unique and dynamic way while also increasing word of mouth around your site and showing your brand to be exciting and fun.

    A large website inevitably suffers from bloating and this is extremely common in ecommerce sites with a large range of products.

    If you have hundreds or thousands of product and category pages that aren’t driving much in the way of organic traffic, you might be using up valuable ‘crawl budget’ which could be causing lower rankings across your site.

    You should look to prune your site and remove these pages, or at least noindex them and you could see a boost in your more valuable pages.

    Useful Tool: Screaming Frog
    Useful Resource: Delete Zombie Pages – Most Important SEO Tips

    You should regularly perform a content audit of your online store. The chances are you have some gems that you might have forgotten about that could drive more traffic to your store.

    Google generally appears to prefer up-to-date content so now is a great time to find those old pieces of content, update them and relaunch them.

    Useful Tool: Revive by Animalz
    Useful Resource: How & Why You Must Improve or Remove Your Old Content

    This is like guest posts on steroids.

    Co-produce content with an authoriative figure in your industry or non-competing brand, and publish that content to both of your audiences.

    This will result in a greater reach for your content and a more diverse set of eyeballs on your content.

    Research content can generate high profile PR coverage so carefully plan your distribution to maximise your return.

    Useful Resources: Content Marketing Case Study: Attorneys vs. Accountants Data Analysis

    Have a blog for your ecommerce brand?

    Struggling for ideas?

    Interview some influencers or bloggers in your industry.

    This is a great way to build relationships with those influencers without having to directly pay them.

    Ask them questions about their expertise and background and have them give tips & tricks for your readers.

    The authority of the influencer will make the content resonate even more with your audience and the chances are the influencer will share the interview with their audience allowing you to reach even more people.

    Useful Tool: Intellifluence
    Useful Resource: How to Interview Influencers (Even If You’d Rather Curl up and Die)

    You’ve got reviews on your product page (well done!) but you can make those reviews work even better for you by adding some structured markup.

    This can dramatically increase the click-through rate from the search results pages your product appears on.

    Adding the schema mark up for ratings will showcase the average rating from your reviews to tempt searchers to click through and increase the organic traffic to your products.

    Useful Tool: Schema App
    Useful Resource: SEO: Structured Data Markup for Ecommerce Product Pages

    An under-utilised influencer marketing avenue is tapping into their email lists.

    You may have paid for Instagram feed posts or story shoutouts but often you can get access to their most highly engaged audience by working with influencers with email lists.

    Getting a dedicated email or series to these email lists have the potential to be even more lucrative to their Instagram or other social profile posts.

    Offer an incentive to tempt their email subscribers to try out your product.

    Useful Tool: Intellifluence
    Useful Resource: How to Reach Out to Bloggers to Promote Your Brand

    If you’re a new brand trying to make it in the industry, you can get your product in front of relevant potential customers by targeting terms such as “alternative to [competitor]” or “[competitor] alternatives” where your competitor is a more established brand.

    Create a landing page which compares your product vs theirs and highlights why you are different and why the reader should try out your product.

    You’ll have highly qualified audience looking for your type of product in no time at all!

    Useful Tool: SEMrush
    Useful Resource: Pain-Point SEO: How to Produce SEO Content That Drives Conversions

    If you search “best [product]’ the chances are you see a range of articles from bloggers and journalists featuring a range of similar products to yours.

    Using the top 100 in Google as a guide, pull out the writers names and find their email addresses.

    Reach out to them and ask what you could do to get your product featured in the round up if they ever look to update it.

    Show how great your product is, really sell the benefits. The fact you’ve reached out and put your product in front of these writers, they’ll feature you in the list if its updated or in other articles they write.

    Useful Tool: Ahrefs

    Getting coverage for your brand and products can drive both short term sales and have long term SEO and brand awareness benefits.

    HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free service where journalists submit what they are currently working on and give you an opportunity to contribute to their stories.

    You get daily emails of the latest requests. Simply scroll through and see if any are relevant to you and your brand. If so, reach out and try and get featured.

    Useful Tool: JustReachOut
    Useful Resource: How to use HARO to get your company featured in the press in the next 2 weeks

    Expired domain link building is the process of buying old expired domains that have links to them and redirecting that site to yours to reap the benefits of the valuable links for your domain.

    A way to find relevant domains is to track businesses going out of business in your industry. For example, if you are a candle brand, when you notice a different candle brand go out of business then you can try and purchase their domain and redirect it to yours.

    There is debate about how successful this strategy can be, but if the links are relevant to what you sell, then you should see a benefit.

    Useful Tool: ExpiredDomains.net
    Useful Resource: How to pick a powerful expired domain for your next project

    Improve upon a competitor’s link-worthy content and get people to link to your content instead, increasing your organic traffic.

    When producing content for your online store, you need to make sure you are creating the best piece of content that exists on the topic to maximise the chances of driving traffic to your content, this is often referred to as creating Skyscraper content.

    To do this yourself, find link-worthy content and create something even better by making it longer, more thorough, and/or more up-to-date.

    Then reach out to people who are linking back to the original article and let them know what’s better about your version so that they’ll link to you instead.

    Useful Tool: Ahrefs
    Useful Resource: Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days

    A technique used to maximise traffic from Pinterest, which drives more highly engaged organic traffic compared to any other social platform is to automate your posting utilising RSS feeds.

    This is a hugely untapped tactic for most ecommerce brands, especially those in popular topics on Pinterest such as home decor, fashion, beauty, travel, food & drink and wellness.

    Creating various RSS feeds of images with relevant titles and descriptions and be automatically shared on your Pinterest account and drive high volumes of traffic from the channel.

    And the best thing, you don’t need a lot of followers for this to work, in fact you don’t even need any.

    Increase Your Conversion

    Now you have the traffic, it’s time to convert them into paying customers. Improving your conversion rates improves the return of every marketing channel you are investing in.

    Quizzes have one of the highest engagement of any online multimedia.

    Everyone loves a quiz.

    They can also be a very useful method of allowing your customers to self-identify the right product for their needs.

    Whilst this may not work for every niche, for some, such as electronic bike brand Evelo. They use this to help their customers choose the right bike for their needs.

    These quizzes can also be a great way of driving new email subscribers as well as learning more about your audience.

    You’re probably already sending abandoned basket emails to tempt customers to completing their order.

    But even the best flows don’t convince everything to come back.

    You shouldn’t end the relationship there, instead you can try and get more information from them as to why they didn’t complete their order.

    At the end of the flow, if a customer hasn’t completed their purchase, ask them to reply to the email (or asking a form) as to why they didn’t make a purchase.

    This offers the opportunity to find out the hesitations that people have with your product or offering and provide valuable insight.

    This insight can help you tweak your messaging and result in even more conversions in future.

    Useful Tool: Qualaroo
    Useful Resource: Shopping Cart Abandonment Surveys

    If text product reviews are great and photo product reviews are amazing, then video testimonials of your product are the pinacle.

    Videos of your customers using the product can make your product pages more engaging and increase conversion rate.

    The content of the video is very important – take care not to make the testimonial look too staged or scripted.

    It should be as natural and honest as possible (even if that means the customer isn’t being 100% deferential to your product).

    Useful Tool: Zoom
    Useful Resource: 10 Proven Testimonial Examples You Can Use To Boost Conversions

    Running a promotion?

    Add a countdown towards the end of the promotion (less than 24 hours to go) and reap the rewards of that added urgency.

    The countdown uses the urgency psychological trigger to induce FOMO, this will great increase the conversion rate of your site during this time compared to now having the countdown.

    The ticking countdown is up to 10x more effective than just saying when the promotion ends.

    Useful tool: Countdown Sales Timer
    Useful resource: How to use countdown timers to increase sales (including examples!)

    Scarcity and urgency is one of the key psychological triggers when it comes to improving your sales.

    And the product page is one of the best places to capitalise on this.

    Stock messaging is a great location to test if this works for your brand. With the right messaging on low stock products the increase in urgency should lead to more sales.

    What defines ‘low’ will often vary by store. An idea could be to set it up that when a product has less than 10 units left in stock, the messaging on the product changes to emphasise that it’s low stock to entice the visitor to make a purchase and not wait in case it runs out of stock.

    Useful tool: While Supplies Last
    Useful resource: How 11 ecommerce sites use stock levels to create buyer urgency

    Having products on your site that are out of stock is a natural part of running an online store.

    No inventory management system is flawless and there will always be supplier delays on occasion.

    Don’t let it get you down.

    But also, don’t let potential sales slip on by.

    By creating the ability for visitors to get notified when a product comes back into stock is a great way to get them on your email list.

    It will keep them happy that they be reminded when it’s back in stock rather than leaving them with a deadend.

    Useful tool: Back in Stock
    Useful resource: Re-engage customers with back in stock emails

    Some subscribers will always go dormant.

    They sign up, open a few emails and then just start forgetting about you.

    They might like the brand but just never got round to making a purchase.

    That’s where your dormant subscriber email flow can come in.

    Using a trigger such as a subscriber who has been on the email list for 6 months and never made a purchase this campaign and activate some of those subscribers into becoming paying customers by offering a small incentive.

    Set up a short flow of emails (3 is fine) to go out when a subscriber has been signed up but not purchased.

    Similar to your welcome email flow, you should offer an incentive for them to purchase to entice them in.

    This flow can have success as high as converting 3-5% of those dormant subscribers, so can bring new customers consistently once set up.

    Useful tool: GetResponse
    Useful resource: An Easy Email Tactic That’s Acquired £5,000+, Transforming Dormant Subscribers Into Customers

    Customers love knowing when they are going to receive the products they’ve ordered.

    A way of over-communicating with your customers to give them more information earlier on is to include the estimate delivery date of the product on the product detail page itself.

    These should be dynamically possible with most ecommerce platforms.

    Useful tool: Delm: Delivery Message
    Useful resource: Additional Delivery Costs & Estimated Dates

    Making your add to cart button sticky as a user scrolls down the page can increase your add to cart rate through making it easier for them perform the action having seen all of the product description and information.

    Executing this to maximise the benefit needs to see different behaviour on mobile and desktop.

    On desktop, it’s best practice to keep the button sticky as you scroll past the add to cart button and keep it near the top of the page.

    However, on mobile, you would need to keep the button stuck to the bottom of the screen to make it easier for the user to press. Having it stuck to the top of the screen makes it difficult for them to press.

    Useful tool: Instant Buy from EggFlow
    Useful resource: Sticky Add to Cart Button Example: Actual AB Test Results

    Social proof can work wonders for boosting your conversion rates.

    Indicating buyer interest gets to the root of what social proof is all about. By showing that a product is in high demand, you’re hitting all the triggers that motivate people to buy based on the idea that others are doing the same.

    Social proof notifications are small un-intrusive pop-ups that display showing other visitors or customers have bought products from your site.

    They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles to suit your brand.

    Useful tool: Fomo
    Useful resource: Social Proof: 7 Powerful Ways To Increase Conversion

    By offering a money-back guarantee on your product can significantly increase conversion.

    It creates a sense of security and trust for potential new customers who aren’t sure about your product.

    A money-back guarantee will encourage customers to purchase with peace of mind, allowing your product to speak for itself and wow them when it arrives and they use it.

    Take a look at most mattress brands, they offer long money-back guarantees to tempt customers into buying. They also know most probably won’t take them up on it as they believe in their product.

    Useful resource: How to Leverage Satisfaction Guarantees for eCommerce

    The chances are your not making the most out of your wishlist feature.

    The simplest automation to build out with your wishlist data is a quick reminder email users who have set up a wishlist.

    Ideally using the data around whether the customer has bought any of the items yet or not, you can trigger an email at the start of the following month (post-payday) to remind them of what they saved.

    You could set up additional automations a month later or test various different length of time to see what works best for your audience.

    Useful tool: Growave
    Useful resource: Shopify Wishlist: How To Get Wishlisted Items To Checkout

    Browser push notifications have come in and out of fashion much quicker than pop-ups but they can be extremely effective.

    You can engage your audience while they browse the rest of the web by implementing browser push notifications.

    Offer an incentive for them to opt-in (similar to your email list), so when they allow notifications they receive the incentive.

    You can segment and personalized your notifications for greater effectiveness to include upsells, cross-sells, delivery updates and more.

    Useful tool: PushAlert
    Useful resource: 7 Major Benefits of using Web Push Notifications in eCommerce

    If you have the ability to ship your products to other countries, then you should definitely look into offering other currencies.

    Shopping internationally from a consumer has been increasing faster than the rate of online shopping.

    Users are much more likely to complete their purchase if they can do it in their local currencies.

    Most platforms allow offering new currencies quite easily with automatic exchange rates which can help you maximise your international sales.

    Useful tool: Shopify
    Useful resource: Multi-Currency E-Commerce: Benefits, Payment System, Pricing

    This may sound like an obvious one for many, but I see it missed all too often.

    Be sure to send an email on the last day of your promotion.

    People respond differently to a situation when urgency is introduced: we suspend normal thought patterns and react to the urgent need.

    A reminder that the promotion they have the opportunity to take is expiring creates a scenario where they are forced to make a decision immediately.

    Useful tool: Campaign Monitor
    Useful resource: 9 Ways To Use Urgency Psychology To Improve Conversions

    For new subscribers, it’s important to let them know what they can expect out of you in terms of frequency of contact, speed of response for support requests, what time to expect emails, and what content to expect.

    Setting these expectations in a welcome email builds anticipation for your future contact efforts while ensuring that they’ll know to expect your emails in their inbox.

    Useful tool: Campaign Monitor
    Useful resource: 15 Types Of Emails To Send To Your Email List (+ 85 Ways To Grow It)

    Product reviews provide online stores with some invaluable social proof to boost conversions on your site.

    Go deeper than product reviews and feature your customers with in-depth case studies of them using your product.

    By interviewing them to find out why they bought your product, what problem it solves for them personally, with a lot of photos of them using the products.

    This content can then be used across your site as well as in your ads to give a real feel for how your products are used by your real customers.

    This may sound like the smallest of changes and surely the word ‘secure’ can’t make that much of a difference.

    In fact, these kinds of microcopy changes can make positive incremental changes.

    I have tested changing the button on the cart page to ‘Secure Checkout’ and saw both an increase in both initiated checkouts and checkout completion rates.

    It might be different on your store though, give it a test.

    Copy matters!

    Useful resource: How Users Perceive Security During the Checkout Flow (Incl. New ‘Trust Seal’ Study 2020)

    Eliminating friction to purchase is something all online stores are trying their best to achieve.

    One of the best ways to ensure anyone who adds a product to their bag starts the checkout process is to redirect the user to the cart upon adding a product to their bag.

    This won’t always be the best scenario – but if you are a one product brand or often only sell one product at a time then this is a great technique to use.

    An alternative is to set an order value at this point this triggers, for example, if a user adds over $200 to their cart, then redirect them to the cart page. However, if it is under $200 allow them to continue browsing.

    Urgency and scarcity are some of the most powerful psychological triggers that ecommerce brands can tap into.

    And the product page is a great way to showcase these principles when products are particularly selling well.

    Highlight these fast selling products with a message like “”Hurry! This product is selling fast”” or similar.

    Note: There are some plugins that ‘fake’ this sort of urgency and should be avoided at all costs. No one likes liars.

    Useful resource: Implementing Urgency on eCommerce Product Pages For a 27.1% Lift [Case Study]

    Pop-ups, everyone claims to hate them, but they get sign-ups so well.

    Is there a better way?

    For ecommerce brands, its obvious that the interruption of a pop up could frustrate potential customers but it also gets new subscribers so it’s hard to justify ever turning it off.

    Instead, you should test different approaches. Such as pushdowns or slide-ups. These are less intrusive and users can more easily ignore these whilst they are browsing so if they want to sign up they can but also don’t feel as interrupted.

    You could see some big benefits from doing this.

    Useful tool: MailOptin
    Useful resource: Entry Popups Could Be Killing Your Conversion Rate (And You Can’t Even Measure It)

    Most ecommerce brands have an introductory offer for new customers, usually displayed via a pop up on the first visit with a percentage discount or similar in return to signing up to their email list.

    What most brands don’t think to do is to test this offer, not only the % level, but the actual incentive itself.

    Sometimes it makes sense to offer a free product if a customer spends a certain value or buys a specific product. Such as a razor brand giving you 5 free blades if you buy the razor today.

    It’s worth looking into offering free shipping as the incentive too, sometimes this can be extremely powerful to tempt customers into making that purchase.

    Useful tool: WisePops
    Useful resource: 6 Popup Strategies That Will Help You Boost Ecommerce Conversions

    They are becoming pretty standard on many online stores these days, the benefit bar.

    The strip across the site, usually just under the navigation menu or somewhere in the header, showcases some of your key value propositions.

    Whether it’s your free delivery threshold, your free returns information or that you only use 100% organic materials.

    The benefit bar is super useful for making your key selling points really obvious to your customers.

    Chances are you have some form of an introductory offer to temp first-time visitors to making their first purchase in return for their email address.

    Another tactic to consider, as so many visitors are on mobile is to try getting their mobile numbers and delivering your offer and welcome sequence via SMS instead of emails.

    SMS has an insane open rate compared to emails. However, users are often more reluctant to give out their mobile number.

    Definitely something worth testing in case it resonates with your target audience better than email collection.

    Useful tool: Privy
    Useful resource: 31 Amazing SMS Marketing Website Pop-Up Examples

    Promotions are a natural part of retail. Whether to boost acquisition or clear poor performing products.

    However, you do need to be super careful with promotions.

    If you run them too often, then your customer will know if they wait a few days or weeks there will be another promotion and they can save money. Some brands even confuse the continued success of their promotions as a positive thing for their brand despite it actually eating into those profit margins.

    Instead, try to be particularly tight in your promotion times. Limit it to a couple of times a year and for very short periods. Targeting known promotional occasions (such as Black Friday) can boost performance as customers are in the mindset to make a purchase. This will also allow you to build hype for your promotion and drive even better performance.

    Useful resource: Ecommerce Promotion Ideas and Special Offers That Drive Website Traffic, Increase Revenue and Build Loyalty

    Form validation, in particular, inline validation can significantly decrease the error rate on your checkout forms and increase the number of customers who complete the full checkout.

    Inline validation checks the field contents as the user is typing and once they switch to a different field will automatically show whether the field contents are valid or not.

    This increases the likelihood of a user taking a quick action to fix the issue when compared with waiting to display the error after the user has tried to proceed to the next step.

    Useful resource: Form Validation: Why It Matters and How to Get It Right

    With up to 80% of potential customers abandoning their checkout, recovering even a small amount of these could see impressive improvements in sales for your online store.

    The classic approach is to create a short email flow to remind them of their cart contents, remind them of why they should purchase from you, etc.

    You can even include an incentive for these abandoners such as a small discount or free shipping to try and tempt them back to your store to complete their purchase.

    Useful tool: Klaviyo
    Useful resource: Abandoned cart email tactics that actually work

    Urgency is such a powerful tool at improving your add to bag rate on your product pages.

    By adding a countdown to the cut off for your express shipping option (if you have one), the added urgency will likely tip a few visitors on the edge of committing over the edge to actually make the purchase.

    It’s shouldn’t be too overbearing but if it can be a live ticker it should see a notable improvement in your key metrics.

    Useful tool: ShipTimer
    Useful resource: How Countdown Timers Can Be Used to Drive Ecommerce Sales

    Allowing visitors to ask questions directly on your product pages can give you many benefits:

    1. Get insight on the language your customers use around the product in question. This will help you write the copy for future products.
    2. Learn what reservations potential customers have about the product. This will help you market the product in ads and emails better by addressing these concerns early.
    3. It adds more (relevant) copy to your product page. This slightly increases the opportunity for the product page to rank better in search engines.
    4. It answers the questions future visitors may have. This will reduce support time from people contacting your support team with questions and enable them to self-serve and find the answers themselves.

    Useful tool: Bazaar Voice
    Useful resource: Why brands should build Q&A into online product pages

    Once you reach a high level of traffic, one of the first things you should test is your product page copy.

    Most people don’t understand the power that copy has on your conversion rate but once you start testing you’ll quickly realise.

    From small copy changes like on the add to cart button, microcopy around the button to increase urgency or even the description of the features of the product – it’s all fair game when it comes to testing.

    Useful tool: Copytesting
    Useful resource: The Power of a Single Word: 161% Click-Through Rate Boost with Copywriting

    Visitors who engage with live chat can have conversion rates of up to 10x those who don’t whilst also having a higher average order value.

    The convenience of being able to quickly ask a question rather than having to email and wait for a response or phone your support means customers love live chat.

    It quickly reduces the friction to conversion with answers available in seconds or minutes rather than hours or days.

    On the flip side, the time taken to resolve a live chat conversation is much shorter when compared to other support channels such as phone and email.

    It’s a win win for your online store.

    Useful tool: LiveChat
    Useful resource: Why should e-commerce companies use live chat?

    This might be a no brainer to some of you, but a reminder is always useful.

    Make sure you have photos and/or videos of your products in use or action where your customers would expect to use them.

    These images give the perception to your users how they might look with your product and vastly increase the chances of them making a purchase.

    It helps emphasise why they should buy your product.

    Useful resource: How E-Commerce Retailers Use Lifestyle Photography to Generate Brand Value

    Getting reviews for your products is a sure-fire way to improve your sales.

    Most platforms have built in functionality or a free plugin that you can get set up really easily.

    Make them prominent on your product pages and it will increase your add to bag rate.

    An extra bonus, if you add some structured mark up on the reviews. These will then appear in Google SERPs and could drive even more organic traffic to the products too.

    Useful tool: Junip
    Useful resource: Why and how to use product reviews on Bigcommerce (spoiler: they increase sales)

    First impressions count. Especially for your online store.

    A welcome email sequence is the first point of contact with your customer after your website.

    It can make or break your relationship.

    Your welcome series should introduce the user to your brand, what you stand for, your mission.

    It should highlight your best products and give a reason for the subscriber to head back to your store and find out more.

    It’s easy to set up within any email service provider, to trigger when a new user signs up for your email list.

    At the very least, have 3 emails with the following:

    1. Thank you for signing up and an introduction to the brand
    2. Some best sellers with deep information about the products
    3. A introductory offer, even if it’s not a discount, maybe a free shipping over a certain value

    Useful tool: Klaviyo
    Useful resource: Lessons from 21 of the best welcome emails in the ecommerce business

    Sometimes, less than 5% of your traffic actually makes it to your checkout.

    And that’s when you use your cart abandonment emails to try and get them back.

    But what about the visitors who browse, maybe even add something to their cart but never reach the bag.

    By targeting these visitors (if you have their email) you can try and entice many more visitors back to your site to make their purchase.

    Add personalised elements such as what product they added to their cart, what types of product they were browsing as well as your key value propositions like free shipping or returns to bring them back.

    Useful tool: Smartmail
    Useful resource: Browse Abandonment Emails: The Ultimate Guide to Converting Window Shoppers Into Buyers

    Some online store fail to capitalise on the homepage traffic and see it as a purely navigational entry point for a potential customer.

    Both new and returning visitors will likely visit your homepage at least once during their shopping journey, making it the perhaps, the best opportunity to convert non-subscribers into subscribers.

    And with people on your email listing being almost 10 times more likely to shop a second time than those who aren’t – its a chance too important to miss.

    Whether its a email form or an obvious CTA to a landing page. Make the most of your homepage!

    Useful tool: OptinMonster
    Useful resource: 7 High-Traffic Ecommerce Pages to Add Your Email Signup Forms to Grow Your Subscriber List

    A content upgrade is bonus piece of information that elaborates on or complements a piece of content the reader is already interested in.

    The bonus is both highly valuable and in context with the page’s content so we gate the bonus by asking for an email address.

    In other words, a content upgrade is a valuable offer created to get a visitor’s email address.

    For example, you have a piece of content around the lifestyle trend Hygge. You then create a checklist on the steps needed to achieve the trend.

    It’s a perfect content upgrade because it fits perfectly with the users needs, they are looking for more information on the topic and then you offer an easy way for them to achieve it with a simple checklist.

    Content upgrades can improve your sign up rate 5x if executed correctly! 

    Useful tool: Attract
    Useful resource: How to Create Amazing Content Upgrades for Your Blog 74

    Love them or hate them, when it comes to building your email list, popups are always one of the highest converters.

    For online retailers, offering an incentive on the users first purchase can be a game-changer for conversions as well as returning customers (customers on your email list are up to 3x more likely to make a 2nd purchase compared to those who aren’t).

    The most popular offer is usually first-time discounts of around 10%, but I have also seen great success in gift with purchase offers and free shipping.

    A lot of email tools have the ability to create these pop ups, but some dedicated tools such as JustUno allow you to target users based on a variety of factors such as landing page, traffic source, etc to maximise your return.

    Useful tool: JustUno
    Useful resource: 9 Ecommerce Popups You’ll Wish Were Yours

    In the ongoing efforts of online stores to decrease the friction to purchase, quicker payment methods are often heralded as a big win.

    Google Pay gives your customers an easy, secure, and private way to pay online (and any stores or pop ups you may have). They can use the devices that they have with them every day.

    Accepting Google Pay is faster than accepting traditional credit and debit cards and other payment methods and often possible within a single click.

    A bonus test of this is to add it directly to your product pages, be careful though as this may decrease your average order value.

    Useful tool: Google Pay
    Useful resource: A Guide to Mobile Payments in Ecommerce

    It’s never too late to sell!

    After your last delivery dates, run a campaign offering instant-delivery digital products as a last-minute gift idea.

    Products like digital gift cards and sell brilliantly to those who have naively left it too last minute to get gifts delivered.

    Useful tool: Drip
    Useful resource: 7 Ideas for a Last-Minute Gift Voucher Campaign this Christmas

    If you get frustrated with pop ups and refuse to put them on your own site you’re losing out on money.

    There is another way!

    Most tools offer the ability to utilise a slide up rather than the pop up.

    The slide up usually appears in one of the bottom corners of the browser and attempts to do what the pop up does, get a visitors email address.

    The key difference is that this is usually much less intrusive compared to the usual pop up and can even be ignored by the user if they are not interested and not interrupt their browsing.

    Made.com have a great example of this.

    Useful tool: Privy
    Useful resource: 20 Effective Email List Growth Tactics for E-Commerce

    In the ongoing efforts of online stores to decrease the friction to purchase, quicker payment methods are often heralded as a big win.

    Apple Pay gives your customers an easy, secure, and private way to pay online (and any stores or pop ups you may have). They can use the devices that they have with them every day.

    Accepting Apple Pay is faster than accepting traditional credit and debit cards and other payment methods and often possible within a single click.

    A bonus test of this is to add it directly to your product pages, be careful though as this may decrease your average order value.

    Useful tool: Apply Pay
    Useful resource: Five Ways Apple Pay Changes Ecommerce

    Even if you are not ready to translate your site or launch fully into new overseas markets it can be easy to test the waters.

    Simply put, open up some international channels. In reality it’s not quite that easy, as you will need additional custom declaration forms, be clear in who pays duties & taxes etc.

    Speak to your logistics or fulfilment provider and find out what you need to open up a few additional international lanes and see if there is already some organic interest in your brand.

    Useful tool: Global-e
    Useful resource: Your Customers Don’t Care Where Your Ecommerce Business Is Based, So Be Ready to Ship Anywhere in the World

    Over communication to your customers can build trust and brand affinity. In the lead up to Christmas, include your last order dates for before Christmas delivery in your checkout to make it as clear as possible to your customers.

    This is also a great way to create urgency to increase sales in the peak season of Q4.

    For Shopify users, rename your shipping rules to include the last delivery dates for Christmas. See this great example from Leno’s Garage.

    Useful tool: Shopify
    Useful resource: The Definitive Guide to Shipping During a Seasonal Rush

    Pull 5/7/10/20 actionable pieces of advice from the article and turn it into a multi-day email course that customers can subscribe to.

    This tactic will take already popular piece of content, repurpose it in a way to drive further email sign ups for your brand. It showcases your authority and expertise to potential customers so they learn to trust you and what you sell.

    For existing customers it builds on the experience they already had as a shopper further building trust which can lead to additional purchases.

    For example, a brand selling productivity planners could have a detailed article on habits of productive people. This could be easily turned into a short email course teaching the reader about a habit each day.

    Useful tool: ConvertKit
    Useful resource: How to Create Your First Email Course in a Single Weekend

    Hat tip: Adam Watson of Hollywood Mirrors for this tip.

    Want higher open rates on your abandoned cart recovery customer communications?

    Try SMS (instead of or as well as your email flow)

    Using Sms for cart recovery it gets over 90% open rate and is a great reminder for your customer to finish there purchase.

    It works well with email abandonment reminders just change the timing of them both so they work together not against each other.

    Useful tool: SMS Bump

    Drive Higher Average Order Values

    Your profit will thank you for improving your average order value. An often overlooked area of improving your online store but a potentially powerful avenue to pursue.

    If you sell a product made to fit the human body, realize that new shoppers don’t know how they fit into your products. This leads to size confusion where shoppers may abandon carts at a higher rate or order many sizes of the same product, only to ship back most of them. This wrecks havoc on your bottom line. Offer a size and fit recommendation solution to take the guesswork away from your shoppers and make their size selection experience more seamless. Studies show that shoppers that get the right size on their first experience are 89% more likely to return to purchase more products from your brand. Useful tool: WAIR Fit Advisor

    I’ve never seen this idea actually done. It probably has it’s flaws and is likely difficult to actually execute, however the premise of it works so well.

    This is designed to be used in conjunction with a free delivery threshold.

    Within the cart page, if a customer is quite close to the delivery threshold. Tempt them to purchasing a gift voucher for the exact difference (or maybe even round it) so they can meet the threshold and get free delivery.

    What you now have, is an increased average order value, but also a customer that now has a voucher so is primed to come back and shop again.

    This can trigger that habit formation that of shopping for your type of products from your brand and will likely see them shop again and again.

    The subscription business model has gone from strength to strength in recent years. It works in so many industries and can be extremely powerful at driving a much higher lifetime value from your customers.

    If your product is one that gets used up, any food, drink, candles, cosmetics, etc. Anything that is used regularly can work well here.

    It should be easy to set up within your platform, with plenty of plugins and apps on the market to get things started.

    Tempt your customers with an option to save if they subscribe, such as save 10% if you subscribe. This can further encourage your customers to become subcribers.

    Bonus tip: Make it easy for customers to cancel their subscription online, don’t make them have to ring you up. That’s just creating a negative experience and you might end up losing more customers in the long run.

    Useful tool: ReCharge
    Useful resource: How Can A Subscription Model Help Your Ecommerce Business?

    Product bundling is one of the best ways to improve your average order value and lifetime value of each customer.

    Look back through your orders and see what products are often bought together. Then make these even easier to buy together by adding the bundle to the product page.

    Better yet, some tools and plugins can dynamically do this for you.

    If you’re just starting out then think what might work together. For example, if you are selling clothes then the bundle might be a top to go with those jeans.

    Useful tool: Bundles by Bold
    Useful resource: Product Bundling Strategy: How to Get It Right

    Having a free shipping threshold is a great way to tempt customers to spend more and increase your average order value.

    A great rule is to try to set your free shipping threshold to approx 20% higher than your current average order value – this way its within reach for your new customers to add something else to their cart to take them over the threshold.

    Don’t neglect the power that free shipping can have on conversion as your customer will feel they’ve got a great deal!

    Useful resource: How to Take the Guesswork Out of Your Free Shipping Threshold

    Free shipping thresholds can work insanely well at giving your AOV a little boost, but to make the most out of it you need to show it to your customers at the right points in their journey.

    One of the best locations is within the cart.

    Creating a dynamic message within the cart page highlighting how far off the customer is off getting free shipping.

    The temptation for the customer to get free shipping will tempt them over the edge and you’ll sell even more.

    For the extra edge, include some options in the cart page to make it extremely easy for the customer to add something that just takes them over the threshold.

    Useful resource: Dynamic Shipping Message

    Having the option for customers to add accessories to the product directly on the product page (or in a subsequent pop up following adding the product to their cart) can help improve your average order value.

    The main focus should be that the accessory will enhance the product use in some way. For example, if you’re selling cameras you should be actively encouraging a case, strap, additional lenses, etc.

    There will be plenty of accessory opportunities for you to add onto each product but make sure they are super-relevant to maximise your gain from this tactic.

    Useful tool: Bold Upsell
    Useful resource: How to Use Upsells, Cross-Sells and Bundle-Sells to Increase Revenues

    Want to both increase your conversion rate AND increase your average order value?

    Of course you do. Everyone does.

    This is what offering a finance solution on your site can do.

    Using solutions such as Sezzle, Afterpay or Klarna. You can easily start offering these to your customers as most plug in to most ecommerce platforms.

    The key to maximise the potential of finance options is to make sure you are promoting it, particularly in your retargeting campaigns.

    Useful tool: Klarna
    Useful resource: Ecommerce Financing: How to increase AOV 15% with Consumer Credit Options

    A lot of upsell opportunities pre-checkout can feel like they are interrupting the users journey and potentially cause frustration and therefore lead them to abandon their order.

    The non-intrusive way of running an upsell include it after the customer has placed their order.

    On the order complete page, add a prominent box is an offer too good to refuse to tempt the customer into the upsell that automatically adds it to their existing order with just one click.

    Useful resource: The Secret to Increasing Average Order Value that Nobody is Using: Post-Purchase Upsells

    Free returns will be a contencious topic at most brands. Higher returns can lead some brands to become unprofitable, especially if you already have low margins.

    However, if you are confident in your product and have done everything possible to ensure the customer buys the correct version then offering free returns can see significant growth in your conversion rates and also repeat purchases.

    It adds trust in the decision the user is taking to place the order from your website. The higher the trust, the higher the user will complete their order.

    Useful tool: Return Magic
    Useful resource: Should You Offer Free Return Shipping (Data-Driven Calculator)

    Product recommendations on product pages can be power up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

    But too often they are too basically implemented to really make a notable difference to sales.

    To make a real impact frame your recommendings more clearly with as cross-sells label them as such.

    For example as a fashion retailer you can frame your recommendations as suggesting pairings with the heading “wear it with” to help the customer build up a full outfit.

    Useful tool: Limespot

    Underused by most ecommerce brands who send a generic thank you email series post-purchase, using this time to try and upsell customers can further improve your profitability as a brand.

    Dynamic emails, whilst sometimes tricky to set up, can become extremely lucrative when utilised for upsells.

    Suitable for stores with a small or large range of products (smaller ranges are easier to work with but larger ranges can be more lucrative) setting up one-click adds for additional products to the order can see your AOV skyrocket.

    Useful tool: Magnet Monster
    Useful resource: How to Create a Post-Purchase Email Sequence

    Having a wishlist feature on your website can help you get additional data points on your existing and potential customers.

    By tracking what they are adding to their wishlist you learn more about the preferences and can use this within your email marketing and other promotional activity.

    Additionally, you can trigger dedicated emails to these users who have wishlist personalised with products they have already shown an interest in to entice them back to make the purchase.

    Useful tool: Wishify
    Useful resource: Should You Implement A Wishlist On Your eCommerce Website?

    When a customer adds a product to their cart, they are in prime shopping mode. This is a fantastic time to try and tempt them to add something else to their order.

    There are many plugins/apps that can help get this set up really quickly and many will use your existing orders to create them dynamically for you.

    As a bonus, include a free shipping progress bar if the customer is below the threshold, to further entice them to add something else to their order.

    Useful tool: Optimonk
    Useful resource: How to Sell More – Cross-Selling and Upselling Examples

    Improve Your Retention

    Improving the loyalty of your existing customers will greatly improve the profitability of your online store. It’s also a lot cheaper to get a customer to shop a second time compared to the first.

    Similar to handwritten notes, plain text emails from the founder of your brand can improve the emotional connection between the customer and your brand.

    The emails should be personalised with the basics such as their name, what they’ve bought, etc but should also include a thank you and tips on how to get the most out of the product.

    You could even get some early feedback by asking for their first thoughts of your brand or why they decide to buy your product. This will make them feel even more valued as a customer.

    Most email tools will allow you to easily set this up to come from the founder’s email and be in plain text. Alternatively, you can set up a Zapier Zap from most ecommerce platforms that send an email from Gmail.

    Useful tool: ConvertKit
    Useful resource: Why you should send more plain text emails from your eCommerce store


    Email marketing performance (whilst high ROI) has seen a drop in clickthrough rates in recent years.

    SMS marketing sees much higher open and click rates but users are often much more protective of their mobile numbers.

    Especially at peak times of email sends, it can be both hard to cut through the abundance of emails sent by competitors as well as some ESPs can’t cope with the pressure so your emails might be delayed or worse not go out at all.

    Start an SMS waiting list for your next promotion (Black Friday for example) and send an SMS when it launches to capture more attention and sales.

    Useful tool: Remind Them
    Useful resource: How To Use SMS Marketing To Grow Your Ecommerce Business

    By segmenting your customer by various actions they’ve taken it will create more opportunities for you to maximise your LTV per customer.

    A few examples of how you can segment them are:

    • customer places order above $xxx
    • customer lifetime spend exceeds $yyy
    • customer leaves a review of 4*+

    This then gives you an opportunity to speak to these segments in different ways.

    For example, customers who have left you a glowing review are probably much more likely to refer a friend so you can encourage that if you have a referral program in place.

    Useful tool: Klaviyo
    Useful resource: Customer Segmentation: How to Grow Your Revenue by Segmenting Your Customers

    If you have a perishable product or a product that gets used up over time. The replenishment email is an absolute no brainer for your brand.

    However long the average time for your product to be used up is, just before this point, you can trigger an email along the lines of “running out of X? Stock back up…”

    For example, if you sell supplements and the product is a 30 day pack. After 25 days, you can send a check in to see if they want to order more so they don’t run out.

    Useful tool: Vero
    Useful resource: Why Replenishment Emails Are The Easiest Way to Earn More Recurring Revenue

    Customers love the small touches that some brands do. When starting out and you don’t have many sales, writing a personal note in every order can create your first biggest fans.

    The note, thanking them for their order with a quick bit of advice on using it can do wonders for them looking to come back and buy the product again when they need to and also increase the chance of them recommending you to others.

    Useful tool: a pen 
    Useful resource: The ROI of Handwritten Thank You Notes on Retention

    Send free surprise gifts to your customers to get them coming back and singing your praises.

    Motivating customers to come back for repeat business is what every seller wants to do — but it’s no easy feat. In fact, it’s even harder for online sellers than it is for the high street.

    A surprise-and-delight strategy has three core purposes:

    • Make customers more loyal
    • Create higher-spending customers
    • Motivate word-of-mouth marketing

    Send a small token of your appreciation (ideally one of your products or an accessory to one of your products) to your highest value customers to keep them coming back again and again.

    Useful resource: Keep your customers coming back with ‘surprise and delight’ technique

    Including dynamic content within your thank-you email series can significantly increase the retention rate of new customers.

    By offering valuable information tailored to what your new customers have just purchased, for example, if they have just bought a candle, send them a candle burning guide to ensure they get the most out of their candle.

    This type of retention-based content (and more importantly distribution) is rare amongst a lot of brands so by doing this you can really stand out.

    Useful tool: Sendinblue
    Useful resource: How to Use Dynamic Content in Emails for Higher Engagement

    A growing trend amongst ecommerce brands is the need to have memorable packaging. I remember the first time I received my Harry’s razor and the attention to detail in the packaging blew my mind.

    Now I’ve been using Harry’s for the past 3 or 4 years. These little touchpoints really add up so don’t skimp on your packaging design.

    It can have a significant difference in retention rates as it creates an initial sense of joy when they open their delivery.

    Useful tool: The Packtory
    Useful resource: Create the Best Unboxing Experience: Build Brand Loyalty Through Packaging Experiences

    Your first port of all with launching any new product should be getting your existing customers to buy them.

    Not only should they be easier, cheaper and more primed to make a purchase but if your new product is complementary to the product they’ve already bought from you it should almost be a no brainer.

    For example, if you sell standing desks – then launching a new standing desk to your existing customer base is going to be difficult. However, launching a desk chair is complementary and will likely result in a lot of initial sales when you launch.

    Tailor your emails to remind the customer what they bought before and show the new product in conjunction with what they’ve already purchased and you’ll see your new product sell out before you’ve even started your marketing.

    Useful tool: Klaviyo

    Creating a Facebook group for customers of your brand be a powerful tool if your products need to be used in different ways.

    The group will allow you to build a community of passionate brand ambassadors who share ideas on how to use your product as well as helping you get feedback on new products and content much quicker.

    You’ll learn the language you customers use, your customers get to meet each other and form relationships and this can lead to improved referral marketing.

    It also make launching new products a dream as you have a highly engaged customer group.

    Content is often used for customer acquisition, but not always used to its maximum potential when it comes to retention.

    One small part of this content strategy is to create care guides for the products you sell.

    Adding more value to your customers and helping them post-purchase shows that you value them for more than just their money.

    By helping them take care of their product to keep it performing to the maximum potential will increase the chances of them coming back and make another purchase and also the potential of them referring others to your brand.

    Useful resource: This is Why You Need a Content Strategy for Your Ecommerce Site

    Creating guides on how to use your products can improve retention because you are showing users how to get the most from your product.

    How-to guides help users solve any issues that may arise without needing to contact support or just giving up.

    Create the guides in various forms, including video, text+images etc to cover the demand from your customer base.

    Create multiple guides if your product has many features and use cases – your customers will thank you.

    Useful resource: Growing Content for Your Ecommerce Blog [The Advanced Guide]

    Asking your customers WHY can provide incredible insight.

    Why they chose your product, why they needed the product, why didn’t they shop elsewhere.

    By adding a post-purchase survey will lead to you understanding why people are choosing you. You can then use this to inform your messaging, your targeting, your ads, everything along your customer journey.

    This also shows your customers that you care and you want to improve their experience, increasing the chances of them returning to shop again.

    Useful tool: Hotjar
    Useful resource: How to set up an e-commerce post-purchase survey in 7 steps

    If you run a subscription business or offer a subscription product as part of your offering. Consider setting up an email flow to send thank you emails are various milestones.

    This is a great way to keep your customers engaged and know you still value their business rather than just take their money each month.

    As a bonus, at these milestones, send them a little extra gift at these milestones to increase the brand affinity to decrease the chances of them churning.

    Useful tool: Klaviyo

    As an ecommerce brand, you likely run a variety of email campaigns around various gifting holidays.

    These events such as valentines day, mothers day, fathers day, etc can be extremely lucrative for many brands providing giftable products.

    However, these occasions can also be a sensitive time for many and they would prefer to not receive multiple emails about these occasions.

    Before you start, sending an email to let them opt-out if they want to would mean they don’t get any additional stress at this time and you can keep them happy and on your email list after the event.

    Useful example: Florist Bloom and Wild praised for letting customers opt out of Mother’s Day emails if they find it a ‘sensitive time’

    Creating a Facebook group for customers of your brand be a powerful tool if your products need to be used in different ways.

    The group will allow you to build a community of passionate brand ambassadors who share ideas on how to use your product as well as helping you get feedback on new products and content much quicker.

    You’ll learn the language you customers use, your customers get to meet each other and form relationships and this can lead to improved referral marketing.

    It also makes launching new products a dream as you have a highly engaged customer group.

    The speed in which you reply to your customer’s queries can directly impact how likely they are to shop again.

    The customer service team plays a key role in building relationships and trust with customers.

    You will need to take responsibility for the entire experience of your brand, from before they land on your website and see your ads, all the way through to the delivery and unpacking of your products.

    Always follow up, solve their problems FAST and accept a small margin loss for the potential of future sales and referrals.

    Useful tool: DelightChat
    Useful resource: What is ecommerce customer service?

    Did any idea catch your eye? Some may make a small improvement but there could be a gem that really changes your business.

    If you have any ideas I have missed, let’s be honest there are way more than 121 ways to grow your online store, feel free to hit me up and I’ll get it added with full credit to you.

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