20 Best Incentives for Your E-Commerce Site
On today’s web the user’s attention span is shorter than ever. Consumers have numerous e-commerce sites available to them at any given moment allowing them to shop around for the best deal possible. They can be discretionary about the types of companies they shop with and spend their money wisely, hunting for the best possible product. So when a browser lands on your site, you have to immediately tell them what you offer and how your site and/or company is better than all the rest.
An easy way to accomplish this is providing your customers with simple and reliable value propositions. What is a value proposition? A value proposition is a clear statement of your brand and what you can offer that competitors can’t. A great value proposition is three things:
- Relevant Explains how your product solves the customer’s problem or improves their situation.
- Quantified Delivers specific benefits that are of value to the customer.
- Different Tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition given your uniqueness comparatively.
Be careful though, a value proposition is not a slogan or catchphrase. Rather it is a short, clear statement which defines your product or service to the customer. A great example is marketing automation provider MailChimp. “Build your brand. Sell more stuff.” It doesn’t get clearer than that. They explicitly tell the user what they will accomplish with their product and how that helps the customer achieve a specific goal.
But once you have a clear value proposition, how can you ensure you’re providing the customer with everything they need? This is where value adds, or incentives, come in. Value adds are little things that can help tip the scales in your favor and incentivise the customer to make a purchase with you. An important point given that most consumers will look at a number of different outlets before making a purchase. A study in Adweek suggests that 81% of shoppers conduct research before making a purchase.
Here are some of the best value adds you can implement now.
According to Forbes, free shipping is the incentive 88% of online shoppers want most. The philosophy behind this isn’t necessarily about saving money, but the perception of saving money. Feeling like they got a deal and aren’t wasting money makes consumers feel good about their purchase.
Giving customers the option to increase their shipping speed is key as well, especially if you offer standard shipping free. Consumers are then able to decide what works best for them in both timing and finances.
Free Gift with Purchase
Again, this plays on the consumer’s desire to “get a deal.” Offering a gift with their purchase makes consumers feel valued and appreciated. This uses the psychological principle of reciprocity which is the idea that when you get something you give something in return. Even slipping free samples into the packaging will be a welcome surprise for your consumers.
Free Setup or Installation
If your product or service requires any sort of complicated installation or setup, providing this as a complimentary service to new buyers could be invaluable to the sale. When a consumer purchases a product they are usually excited to use it.
Complex setups slow the user down and may cause that excitement to dissipate and leave the purchaser feeling disappointed and event frustrated.
No Long-Term Contract
Contracts make consumers nervous. What if they don’t like your product or service? Will they be stuck paying for something they end up not needing? Long-term contracts make users feel trapped and hesitant rather than excited about your product. If you must have contracts as a part of your business model, offer a trial period so the user can take you for a test run.
Similar to the above, offer a money-back guarantee to ensure the consumer that you have their backs. This incentive also shows confidence in your own product. You’re essentially saying you know they’ll love it so you have no problem guaranteeing their purchase. You’re putting your money where your mouth is and that goes a long way with consumers.
Allowing customers to customize a product plays into the idea of exclusivity. If the consumer feels like they are getting a one-of-a-kind product and design, they’ll value it more. Furthermore, customization is an upsell that can increase your revenue when executed properly.
Discount on Next Purchase
Reward return customers by offering a discount on their next purchase. The customer will feel like they’re getting a deal and you’ll get another sale. You may even place a time limit on the discount in order to create a sense of urgency around the next purchase.
A traditional bulk discount is provided when a single consumer buys a large quantity of the same item. However, you could also apply a discount when a single customer hits a certain dollar amount in their cart.
The higher their cart value, the larger the discount. For example, you might consider giving 5% off orders of $150 or more and offer 10% off orders of $200 or more.
Appreciation Gift Card
Instead of offering a discount at the time of sale, you might offer a gift card for a purchase in the future. This is similar to a discount on the next purchase, but would likely not have a time limit attached. A gift card may be seen as more valuable to the customer than a discount code despite what the actual value of each is.
Donation to a Cause
Make a donation on behalf of your customer every time they make a purchase. One of the most robust examples of this is TOMS® who have officially tagged themselves The One for One® Company. What started as a promise to donate a pair of shoes for every pair purchased, has evolved into a full program including providing drinking water and vision resources to those in need.
The program was able to evolve as a result of overwhelming success. People like to feel good about what they purchase and by providing consumers with a feeling of generosity while they shop, TOMS® has created a unique incentive.
You could also take a different route and give consumers the chance to win something extra. A contest could be formatted in many different ways. For example, every purchase could enter the consumer in a raffle, or you could require a certain cart value for entry.
Exclusive Sneak Peeks
Reward repeat customers with exclusive sneak peeks at new products, collections, or services. Give them the opportunity to be among the first and only to experience something and you’ll drive them back to your store.
Tutorials and Guides
Providing tutorials and guides on your website will your your consumer do research without leaving your site. You may consider including how-to videos on product pages in order to give the purchaser a complete picture of what the product is like. They’ll be able to educate themselves and feel prepared to make the purchase.
Provide shoppers on your site with targeted suggestions. You have probably seen these listed as “you might also like” or “other customers have viewed” suggestions. You could also provide targeted suggestions via email. The Fourth of July is coming up? Provide suggestions for relevant products, maybe backyard or BBQ supplies. This gives your customer a starting point and can ease the overwhelming idea of sifting through the internet for ideas.
Reward your customers for continuing to shop with you. Give them the option to sign up for a loyalty program. However you want to structure the program is fine, just make sure the rules are clear. Common programs include one point for every dollar spent, points earned for sharing on social media, or points earned for referring friends.
Once customers accumulate enough points, give them a discount on their next purchase. This allow helps to gamify the purchasing process which keeps customers coming back.
Giving customers the option to save their information for later removes future barriers to purchase. Once a user creates an account, their purchasing process will be streamlined and efficient. The faster and easier you make the checkout process, the better.
Providing free returns as a part of your return policy is a game changer. Some consumers may hesitate to buy, especially clothing, if they know they’ll have to pay to return the item if it doesn’t work.
Free Gift Wrapping
Have you ever gone to purchase a gift online and checked the gift wrapping box only to get to checkout and see it’s a $7 upcharge? Unless doing so is going to destroy your margins, consider offering free gift wrapping. Customers will value that you’re allowing them to make the right choice for their specific occasion at no additional cost.
Make yourself available to your customers. Help them answer product questions quickly and effectively. Your availability will show customers you care about their needs.
While at the end of the day much of the success of your e-commerce site will depend upon your product it’s important to take your key incentives seriously because if there is one person that will it’s your customers.