How to Combat Declining Ecommerce Sales

Across the globe, experts predict ecommerce sales to hit as much as $4.5 trillion by 2021. Year after year, more purchases move online and ecommerce sales grow to new heights.

Here’s the thing: that growth hasn’t been spread evenly across all online sellers. Plenty of store owners are still feeling the sales squeeze.

If that sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone — but it might be time to take a closer look at your declining sales. Whether you’re anticipating a sales drop after the busy holiday season or tracking a lengthier downward trend in sales, nobody likes to make less money than yesterday.

So how can you combat dropping sales numbers? The good news is there are several tried-and-true ways you can reliably grow sales for your ecommerce store. Let’s talk about the four most effective ones.

Analyze Your Marketing Funnel for Leaks

If a full tank of gas is giving you less mileage than it used to, you check the tank for leaks. The same goes of your marketing funnel. Declining sales typically mean fewer people are emerging at the bottom of the funnel as customers—but that can mean a lot of things.

  • Are you getting fewer leads into the funnel at the top?
  • Are prospects leaking out as they move through?
  • Are they all falling off at the same stage?

Analyzing your entire sales funnel is the only way to find out what’s going on with sales and how best to fix it.

If you can identify a particular product that isn’t converting like it used to, it might be time to optimize your product description. If you can find a marketing channel that isn’t sending enough leads into the funnel, you can double down on your efforts there.

By letting actual results lead your strategy, you can attack declining sales at their root cause.

By letting actual results lead your strategy, you can attack declining sales at their root cause — instead of just throwing spaghetti and marketing dollars at the wall and hoping something sticks.

Build a Post-Purchase Email Campaign to Drive Repeat Business

One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs and business owners make when sales numbers sag is looking for the solution in new customers. If you’re thinking in terms of customer acquisition only, it might be time to switch up your mindset.

Fact: Your existing customer base is your most reliable source for increased sales.

Of course you need to grow your customer base by attracting first-time customers — but long-term customers cost less to market to, and they’re worth more in terms of customer lifetime value. That’s why the most successful brands (like Apple and Sephora) are built on loyal customers.

Fact: Your existing customer base is your most reliable source for increased sales.

And the most effective way to get your current customers to buy more is through smart email marketing — it isn’t just for lead nurturing, you know.

If you’re already using automated emails for order management and winning new customers, it’s time to up your game a bit. Use your existing post-purchase emails (like order and shipping confirmations) to upsell customers and get them more engaged with your brand.

Once their order is complete, your job is to keep them engaged so your store stays top-of-mind. Post-purchase emails can include:

The key is to build a post-purchase email flow that’s tailored to your customers and their needs and preferences. Then automate the whole campaign so it runs constantly — without you having to remember when and what to send.

Revamp Your Digital Presence

Here’s the thing about doing business online: it changes every single day. The most effective copy, the communities where your target customers hang out, even the backstage architecture of your online store — all of these can be cutting edge one day, and completely outdated the next.

That’s why it’s important to make a habit of constantly updated and revamping your digital presence. Declining sales might be telling you it’s been too long since your last remodel.

Here are a few ways to ensure your online store is keeping with the times:

Punch Up Your Product Images

Product images are the primary (and often the only) way ecommerce customers can get a feel for your product before they buy. Despite the explosive growth of ecommerce shopping, this is still a hurdle for online seller and customers alike. If your photos are outdated or poorly done, they could be what’s costing you sales.

88% of ecommerce shoppers say detailed product content is “extremely important” when they make a purchasing decision.

A/B Test for More Effective Copy

Product descriptions are one of your prime opportunities to sell—dull or shrimpy product copy squanders that opportunity. A whopping 88% of ecommerce shoppers say detailed product content is “extremely important” when they make a purchasing decision. That means it’s an extremely important area for your store to get right, and the best way to get the most from your product descriptions is to test, test, test in search of the best conversion rate.

Be More Active in the Digital Discussion

Now that your store and product content is well-optimized and ready to convert visitors, it’s time to get more of those visitors clicking around. Being more active in the digital discussion around your industry is one way to do that. That can mean getting more involved on social media, creating thought leadership content or weighing in online groups and forums.

Get Creative with Your Marketing

If you’ve followed the first three tips above but your sales are still trending down, it might be time to get a little more creative. When you find a marketing mix that works for your store, it’s easy to just stick with it — especially when trying something new can eat away at your marketing budget.

Doing the same old things to market your ecommerce store can easily land you in a sales rut.

But doing the same old things to market your ecommerce store can easily land you in a sales rut. If your store’s going to continue to grow and reach new audiences, you need to experiment, test and get creative with where and how you market.

Here are a few ideas for how to mix up your marketing mix:

  • Experiment with new digital marketing: Put your business in new places online. That could be Google Shopping ads, getting active on a new social network and even guest posting on blogs your target customers love.
  • Sell your products in more places: When your brand’s small, it can be an uphill battle to get people to your store. Instead, meet customers where they are by selling on Amazon or Facebook or testing out shoppable Pins on Pinterest.
  • Partner promotions: Work with another brand (online or otherwise) to see how you can both benefit from tapping into each other’s customer bases.
  • Host an event or create a pop-up store: More and more ecommerce brands are experimenting with IRL events and brick-and-mortar stores. Dip your toes in by buying a booth at a local festival or creating a pop-up shop in an existing retail store.

Beat Declining Sales

Ecommerce is growing as both a category and in sheer sales dollars. If your online store isn’t seeing that growth, too, it might be time to take some decisive action to win more customers. With the four tactics above, you have all you need to fight off declining sales and earn more money.

Have any questions about tackling declining sales? Ask away in the comments!