One sure strategy for increasing profits in any business is to find more customers. But what if you could grow by encouraging more purchases from your customers who are already clicking the "buy now" button?
Instead of pushing for more orders, many online retailers have found great success by boosting the dollar amount for each purchase made. This is called the average order value (AOV).
A higher AOV isn't just about pulling in more money every day. It's about making each order work harder.
Every order is a positive event for your business, but it's easy to forget that it also costs you money. It takes people power, shipping supplies, software costs, warehouse rent, and other overhead to get each order out the door, so the more you can piggyback on that base cost, the greater your ROI.
Use the strategies below, and you can take your AOV higher, increasing sales every day.
1. Offer minimum order incentives
Amazon discovered that it doesn't take much to encourage a higher AOV. Offer free shipping or a small gift with each order above a certain threshold, and many customers will toss in an extra item or two.
Make sure the dollar amount is in a sweet spot. If you set the dollar amount too low, you won't make enough profit to offset your shipping costs. If you set the minimum order amount too high, people won't be tempted to add in another item to feel like free shipping was really free.
2. Offer a discount for minimum orders
Giving customers a price break of $10 on a $50 order -- or something similar -- is another successful technique for boosting sales. Here, your customers are incentivized to reach that $50 order level. Again, set the discounts and minimum order amounts at levels that guarantee more income for you.
3. Bundle related products together
When customers choose a main item, make sure you suggest that they also purchase accessories that allow them to enjoy their product even more.
If they're buying a camera, recommend a bundle product that includes backup batteries, a case and an SD card. You'll bump up the AOV, and shoppers will feel like you're doing them a favor since you just saved them a lot of time hunting for the right sized case or memory card.
If you're selling information or services, you can also offer a small discount on a few of your best sellers if customers purchase them together.
4. Upsell other products in your store
Here's another angle on helping your customer think about spending more money at your store. If they purchased shoes, show them coordinating socks or a handbag that matches. If they're buying a computer, offer them a warranty, installation or maybe support services.
None of these items adds to your fulfillment costs, but you increase the likelihood of a larger order.
5. Upgrade products in their cart
Many retailers offer a few items at a low price to attract customers, and once the buyer is in the door, they feature a higher-quality version of the same item, which increases AOV quickly.
For example, if you sell a simple t-shirt for $10 as an impulse purchase, make sure you feature a $20-$30 shirt alongside it. Some people will still choose the cheaper shirt, but for another $10, a lot of customers will want the higher-quality piece, especially for just a few more dollars.
This tactic works well because the customer is already sold on the item. The usefulness or value is obvious, so dangling a few higher-end features or another quality upgrade in front of them will feel like you're doing them a favor.
6. Give a bulk discount
For products that need to be re-ordered on a regular basis, give your customers a volume discount if they order several items at once.
For example, if you carry toothpaste or diapers or some other items that are used on a regular basis and have a long shelf life, offer a 5-10% discount if they order their yearly or seasonal supply all at once. Customers won't run out of necessities, and you'll save time and money by sending out more product efficiently.
Pick one or every option to increase your Average Order Value
Choosing one of these options to increase your AOV doesn't just mean money in the bank, it gives you a better way to communicate with your customers. Special offers make them feel like you are trying to give them a bargain or find the merchandise they need most.
As you try these strategies, make sure you keep data on them. Know exactly how much your shipping costs are, see which tactics work best, and see which changes give you the biggest increase in profits. Keeping tabs in this information will help you decide how to create the best offers for your customers -- and for your business.