Ecommerce Survival in a Tough Economy – 6 Tips

Written by  November 13, 2008

As many of you have no doubt found out it’s hard to sell during tough economic times. However, keep in mind it’s not impossible.

I’ve heard a number of store owners say their sales have dropped and they are wondering what they can do to recover some of that.

Here are a few tips that can help you get through the tough times. In most cases you simply need to be willing to adapt and change a bit as well as broaden your methods of marketing and exposure for your store.

What you do not want to do is stop marketing. Many facts about past recession periods have been kept that prove marketing during down time will win out in the end.

6 Survival Tips for Selling in a Tough Economy

  1. Tap into your current customer list. You should be doing this anyhow, but in down times this can become a good resource to generate sales. The 80 / 20 rule says that 20% of your current customers provide 80% of your margin.
  2. Find your main products that drive sales and push them. It has been said that approximately 85% of all profits come from just 4 main products. This may be different for various companies, but the point here is that you need to find those products in your store that always seem to be the best sellers and bring them to the front.
  3. Give your customers additional options. During tough economic times your customers are even more price aware. They may take more time to make buying decisions and might be looking for additional payment options or perks to get them to buy. Let them know you understand their pain and offer them a solution to overcome it. For example, in tough economic times you might want to consider offering a “buy now pay later” option such as Bill Me Later.
  4. Tap into your networks … this includes Social Media. Although some of your potential customers may not be completely ready to buy right now, doing some extra leg work and getting yourself in front of them will ensure that when they are ready, they think of you first. Social Media provides you with a low expense overhead to a target group of closely related individuals with a common interest in what you offer.
  5. Keep an eye on your competition. Again, something you should be doing anyhow, but during tough times you might be able to take advantage of this even more. Watch the offers your competitors are presenting and if you can, one up them by making your just a bit sweeter. If they offer Free Shipping on orders over $50 then you could offer free shipping on ALL orders – no matter the dollar amount.
  6. Tighten up your PPC campaigns with lower CPC bids. Providing you have done your homework in setting up your paid search campaigns, you can instantly save money without losing position by paying attention to your quality scores (named differently for various engines). Higher quality scores reduce your paid search cost without sacrificing position. Finally, turn off any campaigns or keywords that have only cost you money and have not converted to sales over the past 6 months or so – at least temporarily.

Most importantly, plan a strategy during this time and be patient. You’re not the only one seeing lower sales volume. But you can be one of those that survive with the right mix.

Keep plugging away.

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