A recession is likely (though not yet certain) in the months ahead. In these periods of uncertainty, it’s difficult to count on things like steady revenue and predictable growth. Instead, leaders are looking for ways to batten down the hatches.
It’s tempting to take an axe to common “expense boogeymen” like marketing or consider layoffs. But these are dramatic activities that can leave your company hamstrung when the dust settles, and business gets back to normal again.
Knowing where your company is bleeding money is crucial, especially amidst economic uncertainty. … [+]
Instead, start by cleaning things up. Here are some ways you can plug leaks and optimize activity to hone your e-commerce revenue.
1. Tap Into Your Data
Every business has access to copious amounts of data. It’s inherently built into most software solutions, both as a primary and secondary feature.
On the one hand, if you use an app like Google Analytics, the entire platform exists to capture data on different e-commerce platforms. From there, it siphons the data into a single place where you can analyze it.
On the other hand, data tracking is often included as an additional feature. For instance, if a company uses Shopify, the website builder has an extensive analytics dashboard that tracks things like website traffic, order quantity and size, and other key customer metrics.
Regardless of its primary or secondary status, businesses should be tapping into this data as a way to improve their e-commerce revenue streams. The digital marketing gurus at WordStream point out that you can use this information to improve a company’s online sales in several different ways, including:
There are many ways data can improve an e-commerce site. Don’t let it sit unorganized and unused.
2. Follow Up on Abandoned Carts
WordStream also suggests analyzing your customers’ carts as a way to target better promotions and encourage more conversions (i.e., close more sales). This suggestion is so important it’s worth its own section.
Consider a physical interaction between a salesperson and a customer in a brick-and-mortar store. In that circumstance, the employee has a chance to win the customer over by proactively asking questions, clarifying features, and tying benefits to pain points.
This is not so in an e-commerce setting. On the contrary, a potential customer can click through to a site, do some reading on their own, add a product to their cart …and then click away at the last second, disappearing into the ethers of the internet, never to be seen again.
This can happen for a lot of different reasons. They might think they can find a better price elsewhere. They might not understand the product. In some instances, they may have simply run out of time, clicked away, and neglected to come back to finish their purchase.
Many of these abandoned cart circumstances present a potential form of revenue — if a business can follow up with them. Fortunately, there are ways to send abandoned cart emails that can remind customers to finish their purchase.
Some SaaS platforms, like those with member accounts and programs, offer this feature for customers who log in while attempting to make a purchase. In many cases, though, customers are anonymous visitors. In those instances, e-commerce brands can use an identity resolution software like Retention.com to gather key first-party customer data like a name and email to follow up with a personalized message in an effort to increase engagement and drive sales.
It doesn’t matter how businesses choose to plug this leak. What’s important is that they invest resources into combatting abandoned cart revenue rather than purely focusing on chasing new customers at the beginning of the customer journey.
3. Clean Up Customer Service
The term “revenue” invokes images of sales, marketing, and other proactive activities at the front end of the customer journey. But the process of plugging revenue leaks should extend beyond the point of sale.
One key area to focus on when cleaning up revenue is customer service. The ability to provide quick, effective, and above all, satisfactory customer service is essential. It keeps your existing customers happy and loyal. It can win over potential customers with questions, too. It can even improve word-of-mouth marketing and brand reputation.
Despite its importance, customer service is often an afterthought that receives minimal attention — especially in smaller businesses with limited resources. Fortunately, there are many sweet and simple ways to improve a business’s customer service (and, by extension, its revenue) without the need to break the bank or open a new call center. For example, according to several members of the Forbes Communication Council, you can:
Customer service should never be an afterthought. Make sure it’s supporting and enhancing your company’s primary revenue channels.
Prepping Revenue Streams for a Recession
It’s difficult to know what kind of ups and downs we’ll see in the months ahead. There could be a modest market pullback sparked by the final stages of the battle to tamp down inflation. Then again, there could be a full-fledged recession that could drag on for a year or more.
Whatever the future may hold, wise leaders should be proactive in their efforts to manage potential damage. Plugging e-commerce revenue leaks is a great way to clean up current operations so that you can survive (and just maybe even thrive) in the year ahead.
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