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There are really only 3 ways to grow your ecommerce business. Sure, if you search online you’ll find millions of articles containing different tips, tricks and tactics. Likewise, a search on Amazon for books on growing an ecommerce business will deliver 75 pages of results.

At first, this may seem like a good thing as the subject is well covered and you should be able to learn a lot to make your ecommerce business successful. However, the sheer volume of information will quickly become overwhelming and you could easily jump from one strategy to the next for years without really making any substantial progress.

If you however stand back and really look at all the tip, tricks & tactics, you’ll see that they can all be grouped into 3 main strategies. These are:

  1. Get more customers.
  2. Increase average order value.
  3. Increase frequency of repeat purchases.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these three strategies and show you how you can apply them to get fast results.

1. Get More Customers

grow ecommerce business - customer acquisition

Getting more customers is also referred to as customer acquisition. Ecommerce customer acquisition channels can be split into online and offline, although most ecommerce merchants only focus on online channels.

The main online channels for ecommerce stores are SEO/Organic search, paid ads, content marketing, social media marketing, and affiliate marketing. For a closer look at each of these check out our article on Customer Acquisition.

The advantage of online marketing channels is that if you set them up correctly, you will be able to measure not only the number of clicks you get from each channel, but more importantly, how many of these clicks ultimately turn into sales.

In 2019 total online marketing spend officially overtook offline spending, but offline marketing channels can still work well for online stores. Offline channels include radio & TV ads, print ads, events & trade shows. These are more difficult to measure than online channels, and this makes it tricky to determine if your ad spend is effective.

When you are just starting out you should try a few customer acquisition channels to see what sticks. Start monitoring the effectiveness of each channel right from the beginning. This will allow you to very quickly discard or modify those that don’t work for you and double down on the ones that prove effective.

Most ecommerce businesses only focus on customer acquisition, and while it certainly is important to focus on when starting out, there is a lot more that you can do to grow your business effectively.

Read More: Customer Acquisition: How to get more Ecommerce Customers (and when you shouldn’t)

2. Increase Average Order Value

Acquiring new customers can be difficult and expensive. Once you do acquire a new customer you want to encourage them to spend as much as possible with you.

grow ecommerce business - average order value

Source: https://ecomvine.com/increase-average-order-value/

Increase Your Prices

One of the easiest ways to increase your average order value and grow your ecommerce business is simply to increase your prices. To help you determine the best price you can get for your products, look into these three areas:

  • Check competitor prices. Knowing what your competitors charge for similar product will give you a good starting point when deciding what you should charge for your products. Although many business owners intuitively feel that they’ll get more sales if they charge less than their competitors, this is not necessarily the best approach. If your products are of a better quality or have more features, you should definitely be charging more. Charging too little for your products also runs the risk of the market perceiving your products as inferior, and this will have a negative impact on sales volumes.
  • What will the market bear? Any product is ultimately worth as much as what a customer is prepared to pay for it. Experiment to see what prices the market for you product will bear.
  • Charge premium pricing for unique or luxury products. People love feeling special or unique, and they will often be prepared to spend substantial amounts to achieve this.

Upselling & Cross-selling

Two great tactics for increasing your average order value is Upselling and Cross-selling. These tactics are especially suitable for ecommerce businesses where you can display related product on a product’s page.

Upselling often uses complimentary products, such as a belt with jeans, polish with shoes, etc., or the same product in a bigger, better (and more expensive) version.

Cross-selling normally involves offering other products in the same product category or area of interest, i.e. someone buying golfing shoes may also be interested in buying golf shirts, balls or clubs.

Other common techniques to increase your average order value include:

  • Quantity discounts (buy 2 get a 3rd free, etc.)
  • Extended warranties and money back guarantees.
  • Express or free delivery for orders above a certain value.

Read More: How To Increase Your Average Order Value

3. Increase Frequency Of Repeat Purchases

It is much more difficult, time consuming and expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to sell to an existing customer. Hence you can grow your ecommerce business much more profitably by focusing on your existing customers.

Studies show that the a typical ecommerce store gets 43% of it’s revenue from repeat customers, while the best performing stores get up to 75% of their revenue from repeat customers.

grow ecommerce business - average order value

Source: https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/44326851-designing-the-new-customer-experience-what-happens-after-checkout

If you’ve been keeping track of your customer acquisition cost (CAC), you’ll have a good idea of what is costs to get new customers. Your existing customer base in in fact one of your biggest assets and it makes sense to nurture them to get the most out of repeat purchases.

Customer retention can be defined as all the activities a business conducts to increase their number of repeat customers, thereby increasing the profitability of each customer.

There are several strategies you can use to ensure the customers you worked so hard to acquire stay with you. These include:

  • Offering great customer service and customer experience. This is key to the success of any business. Customers will only come back to your store if they enjoy doing business with you and feel that they get value.
  • Create a customer loyalty program (discounts & extra benefits like free shipping or returns). This is a great way to lock customers in and if you get it right, they won’t even think about going to your competitors without checking out what you’re offering first.
  • Personalised email marketing to existing customers. If a customers has bought from you before, they may visit your store whenever they need or want to buy something new. There is however a strong possibility that they would simply search for what they want, and end up buying from your competitor. By letting them know what you’re doing and telling them about your special offers and new products regularly, it will increase the likelihood that they think of you first when they want to buy again.

Read More: Customer Loyalty & Repeat Business for Your Ecommerce Store

So Which Should I Focus On Now?

Which of these three ecommerce growth strategies you should focus on depends on where you are in the business. If you are just starting out, you need to focus all your time and energy and time on getting customers (customer acquisition).

As your business gains traction, your focus should gradually shift to increasing your average order value and increasing the frequency of repeat purchases. Although there should always be an element of getting new customers in your business, the intensity with which you push this strategy will get smaller as you increase your results from the other two strategies. As your customer acquisition cost decreases, your overall profitability will in turn increase.

Summary

  • All the tips, tricks and strategies to grow your ecommerce business can ultimately be grouped into 3 main tactics – get more customers, increase the average order value and increase the frequency of repeat purchases.
  • Although the starting point for any new business will always be to get new customers, this should not be the only tactic you use.
  • Once you have a solid customer base, you should treat it as one of your most valuable assets and devise strategies to build customer relationships and maximize revenue for each one.