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How to outsell your rivals in the online retail business

February 02, 2009

The ultimate goal of every online retailer is to improve the online sales and eventually to outsell its rivals in the online retail business. But with the decline in retails sales – especially during the recession- it is a real challenge to entice people to shop. Moreover, the internet retail industry is crowded with too many online merchants making it more and more difficult to stand out.

Reaching a larger segment of prospects is crucial in this ultra competitive world. The only way to achieve it is by utilizing different channels and strategies to promote your products. Here are some tips that could help your online store get more traffic and sales:

Promote your online store by employing search engine optimization strategies

Organic search engine optimization, commonly known as SEO, must be one of the primary sources of generating qualified leads and bringing in potential customers. Search engine marketing, when is applied properly, can deliver targeted prospects to your online store at low marketing cost to the company.

One of the most effective ways for retailers to improve search engine optimization is through the use of long tail search terms. It is believed that the long tail key phrases can represent over 80% of all sales made through organic search. Knowing how your competitors conduct search campaigns is just as important as to research carefully the keywords you are going to optimize for your store.

Pay Per Click marketing is another proven method to get targeted traffic to your web store. It is advisable to conduct PPC campaign not only for your new products, but also for your top selling products, gift items and so on. You can start your PPC campaign either with Google Adwords, or Yahoo Search marketing. Free coupons for Google Adwords are available all over the Internet. You may consider getting them to test your campaign.

But before starting a PPC campaign do your homework and track your competitors which keywords they are bidding for. In case you find out that most of them are bidding for a particular keyword, you need to figure out what is driving this trend and whether it is worth for you following it.

Get Listed In Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs)

If you sell online then your products should be well represented in comparison shopping engines (CSEs).  Why? More than ever, today’s web-savvy consumers use comparison shopping engines to research products before they make buying decisions. Experts believe that visitors coming to your site vie CSEs convert at a much higher rate in comparison to those who are coming vie organic rankings and PPC.

And so, to start with CSE marketing campaign, you should list your top selling products to some of the free comparison engine websites like Google product search, live product search, etc.

Since CSEs post your products, descriptions and prices head-to-head with your competition, you need to be creative and make your products stand out. Advertising free shipping or a gift with a purchase might be the decisive factor whether or not the shopper will choose your products instead of another merchant’s offerings.

Offer Comprehensive Product Information

As it has been already mentioned, online buyers conduct careful online research about the product before making a final purchase. It is up to you to provide them with as much information as possible about the products you offer. Never forget that the lack of product information gives the shoppers a chance to immediately leave your site. Another key factor is availability of an effective call-to-action.

Your product’s copy need to be informative enough covering all of the shoppers’ questions that might rise. Its purpose is to convince them of buying the product.

Provide Product Reviews

As part of the whole process of gathering information about the product, online shoppers tend to look at user reviews to find out the effectiveness of the product. Customers’ product reviews allow shoppers to see not just what the merchant think of the product, but what other real customers tend to think of it. Having negative comments alongside with the positive ones will gain additional credibility to your site and products. That is why you have to let your customers review the products you sell.

Offer Unique Benefits

Today’s online shoppers are always on a lookout for better deals, better offers and other benefits. To entice them to shop more, you will surely have to offer unique benefits: like product price, discounts, coupons, free gifts, free shipping, etc.

Company info

Providing information about your company is a great way to gain additional trust. About Us pages are frequently visited by people who need to know just a little bit more about who they are buying from, and the information here can help them have confidence in your company.

Some marketers believe that the most fruitful campaigns include every type of marketing available, but it is also true that different marketing approaches have no equal success. For this reason it is advisable to test different ways to see which of them works best for you.


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