hot tips for ecommerce success

Avoid the summertime slump: 8 hot tips for ecommerce success

During the lazy summer months, shoppers trade in their keyboards and computers for shades and sunblock. Summertime means vacation time, and that typically isn’t the best news for ecommerce sites.

Online shoppers tend to spend less in the summer, with July being the slowest month of the year for ecommerce activity. Compared to the peak of online shopping during December, ecommerce activity drops as much as 30 percent in the summer months.

To cope with this slump in summertime sales, here are your 8 hot tips for ecommerce success to help promote your brand and entice shoppers during this typically slow season.

1. Update your site’s design based on the season

The aesthetics and design of your site matters. According to studies, 93 percent of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor in whether they make a purchase and 42 percent of consumers base their overall opinion of a site on its design alone.

Seasonality is important to the design of your site, as it plays a role in the overall feel and can encourage shoppers to be more emotionally inclined to purchase something if the design relates to the season.

Therefore, it’s time to drop imagery that reminds us of colder, winter days and opt for summer appropriate design — think lighter colors, blue skies, sunshine, and the feeling of spontaneity.

If your ecommerce store is retail, try featuring products on your homepage that relate to summertime, like: water, BBQs, being outdoors, traveling, summery attire, and so on.

If your brand guidelines don’t adhere to summer motifs, keeping up with your site’s design on a quarterly basis will allow you to continuously improve by keeping its user-focused design in check so your website remains up to par year-round.

2. Have a summer sale

Summertime means vacation time and vacations can be costly. Therefore, having a summer sale will encourage people to buy from your store rather than forgo full priced items.

You could opt to have a sale on useful summer items that might encourage an impulse purchase, or discount items that are out of season, getting rid of extra inventory.

Another idea is to throw the occasional “Fash sale” that only lasts a short amount of time, say once a week for up to 24 hours. This might encourage consumers to return frequently to your site during the summer months to discover good deals.

Also consider a “Back to School” sale or similar summer holiday themed clearance event. You can promote these sales via homepage, email, social, blog, etc. to get the word out.

3. Make it personal

Nobody wants to spend money with a faceless company. According to studies, 86 percent of consumers said that personalization has had some impact on their purchasing decisions. In addition, businesses who offer a personalized web experience have seen an average annual sales increase of 19 percent.

Therefore, it might be time to incorporate some one-of-a-kind experiences into your ecommerce strategy to overcome any drop in sales during the summer months (and ultimately improve the shopping experience year-round).

One common and effective personalization tactic is to give product recommendations to consumers based on past purchases. Studies have found that 56 percent of online shoppers are more likely to return to your site because of product recommendations.

Customized emails and targeted ads are an effective way to achieve digital personalization through tailored product recommendations.

Regardless of what you decide, personalization will help increase brand loyalty, and ultimately lead to increased sales during the summer months.

4. Give something away

Having a giveaway is a great way to promote fun items or services from your ecommerce store. Try giving away a useful summer item to entice people to enter to win.

Once you’ve created a giveaway, you can promote it via blog, social media and email to spread the word.

5. Remove purchasing roadblocks

Have you done all you can to ensure your store’s shopping experience is seamless? Shopping cart abandonment, when the shopper adds a product to cart but doesn’t complete the purchase, occurs in nearly 70 percent of all shopping instances and is caused by a variety of factors.

Before the start of summer, try removing any obstacles that might prevent a shopper from completing a purchase. There are some easy fixes to help counter it. For instance, do you offer free shipping? Does your ecommerce store have a “save for later” feature?

Some estimates have found that 63 percent of shopping cart abandonment should be recoverable, therefore by offering a better shopping experience, you’ll ultimately increase sales during the summer months.

6. Reevaluate product details and descriptions

Are your product images and descriptions up to snuff? It might be time to refresh this part of your site.

Ask yourself these questions (if applicable):

Are products shown at all angles?

Not showing a product at all angles might make the consumer think you are hiding something and cause them to second guess their purchase decision. If possible, opt for a 360 view of the product, or show the image from multiple angles.

Is there a zoom feature to see the product image up close?

Details are important and not enabling a zoom feature might deter a buyer away if they can’t see the product clear and close.

Are the product images consistent with one another?

Backgrounds and lighting should be consistent across images. This consistency is an important part of building your brand.

Do your product descriptions contain catchy, elaborate descriptions?

This is not only important for SEO purposes, but an elaborate description will give the buyer a better idea of what the product is. If applicable, include descriptor words like color, what the item is made of, size, how the product can be used, and so on. Here are some tips for better product descriptions that sell.

7. Produce new content and share it

New content is an effective inbound marketing tactic to attract visitors to your site, which can ultimately result in increased sales.

Here are some ideas for fresh summer content:

Feature best sellers on your homepage

Having a best-sellers page is a good way to attract attention to those products that are already popular. If a product is already doing well, why not feature it? Buyers will be more enticed to buy something if they know it’s a trusted and popular item with your ecommerce store.

Feature a “gift idea” section

You could feature a “Father’s Day” gift section, or provide gift ideas depending on gender and age. This will enable consumers to find what they’re looking for faster, as well as give indecisive shoppers ideas on what to purchase if they’re uncertain on what to buy.

Start a blog

Having a blog is a great way to write about industry related topics, as well as improve your brand’s visibility. Companies with a blog have been shown to gain 55 percent more web traffic and 70 percent more leads. If applicable to your brand, try writing about summer related themes, like travel, outdoors, etc., and if relevant, feature summer related products from your ecommerce store (e.g. “ The Top 10 Must-Have Items For A Killer Pool Party” or “5 Essential Items You Can’t Travel Without”).

Share content via social media and email

After you’ve produced content, make sure to share it to your brand’s social media outlets to get maximum reach, as well as send out your top performing content to your email subscribers. Be sure to include compelling imagery with what you share. Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without relevant images.

8. Implement a loyalty program

There is value in implementing a loyalty program with your ecommerce store. Given it costs 500 percent more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones, and current customers spend 67 percent more than new customers, customer loyalty is crucial to maximizing profits.

Implementing a loyalty program will help you turn new customers into loyal ones by offering benefits and incentives for recurring purchases. Once you have a program in place, 83 percent of loyalty program members say rewards programs make them more likely to continue doing business with you.

This is a fantastic way to boost sales not only during the summer months, but it’s also a long-term investment to your business.

Well there you have it! I hope these 8 hot tips will help your ecommerce business succeed this summer. If you have any questions or have an ecommerce project you would like to discuss, we’d love to hear from you.

About David Zupec

David Zupec is a web designer at the helm of Sailors & Mermaids, a small web design studio based in Michigan. His passion is helping small businesses build a successful online presence.