Maintaining momentum is very important in business. We use growth patterns to plan out cashflow forecasts, expand the staff roster to handle increased activity levels and to see the future. When growth slows down or plateaus, either due to a sluggish trading period or seasonality declines, it’s easy to begin to panic. However, panicking rarely does anyone any good in business because it stops you in your tracks where nothing gets resolved.
Here are some tips on how to overcome an e-commerce growth plateau.
Increase Promotional Activities
When sales decrease, it’s easy to bury your head and just accept it. Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing and happens every year? Or, maybe it’s not and it is due to other factors. Either way, don’t just accept it as a fact of life because it might not be.
Venture out confidently by increasing your promotional activities. Rather than accept that sales will be lower for the time being, aggressively pursue PPC advertising to drive in additional revenue. While it won’t be as profitable due to ramping up and spend, it will still drive extra profits vs the negative outlook that comes from sitting on your hands.
Use A-B Split Testing with Your Marketing Budget
Wherever possible, split test your marketing budget. Doing so aims to discover which parts are the most profitable, those that provide average profitability and ones that only break even or create a loss.
Not every keyword is profitable to pursue with marketing ads. You’ll also find that bidding up on competitive keywords might become so costly that it’s not worth duking it out with competitors. On the flip side, by split testing between different bid prices, keywords, and advert wording, more profitable ads campaigns can be created.
Consider Whether the Ad Network Is as Effective
It’s quite possible that the present ad network isn’t performing as well as it did in the past or it’s simply become too expensive for your marketing budget. This may aggravate an already difficult situation with declining sales.
Act quickly to consider any alternative ad networks if you’re using an indirect e-commerce advertising platform, i.e. not Amazon PPC when selling on Amazon.com. When promoting through PPC ads on Facebook, for instance, it might be possible to get a better response rate or more conversions at the same or lower ad spends from another ad network. Try Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn or elsewhere where the potential to find new buyers is positive or, at the very least, worth giving it a try.
Improve On-site Conversions with CRO
Outside of advertising, if you sell products or services on your own site, then look at how you can optimize the visitors’ experience to boost conversion rates. This is known as conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Think about what visitors see when they first arrive.
How easy is it to find the products they’re looking for?
Look at the recorded internal search history from previous visitors (if you’re not saving the previous searches, start doing so). Run the same searches to get a sense of what each visitor was trying to find and what they were presented with. Also, look at whether they made a purchase and how easy it would have been to do so given the displayed search result.
Examine the shopping cart process too. Is it streamlined or overly complicated for first-time shoppers? If your customers are not usually net-savvy, then a complicated website is going to lose sales. Also, ensure the site loads in under two seconds and preferably less than one second to avoid losing potential visitors who might have become customers.
Chasing after new sales to arrest the decline in sales volume highlights actions that should have already been taken while times were good. Take the opportunity now to refine the marketing approach across all current channels to lower the cost of customer acquisition and start sales revenue on an upward path once again.