5 Ways to Keep Your Store Thriving During Hard Times
TL;DR: How to get your eCommerce store ready for the (possible? inevitable? imminent?) economic downturn.
Surely we are not the only ones who have recently seen the word "recession" come up more and more often, right? Heck, one of our directors swears she saw the word form on her alphabet soup the other day.
It's a word that can stop us in our tracks.
However, unlike all those "experts" who "do their own research" online, and then proceed to write lengthy thinkpieces with the "knowledge" they acquired from their "research", we are not going to pretend that we are qualified to comment on the current state of the world's economy.
What we DO know, however, is that if economic hard times were to happen, then eComm stores would benefit from finding advice on how to deal with it. Well, friends, rejoice, because that is precisely why we have gathered here today. Here are our top tips to keep your store thriving during (potential!) hard times ahead. Let’s jump in:
1. Cut the Stinkers
(Because they STANK)
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Take into account what products are performing well, and which ones are sitting stagnant, then get rid of those as quickly as possible - by all means necessary. Holding on to slow-moving inventory costs you money, so if you’ve already tried a substantial discount, or bundling them up with another product, then consider going as far as lowering the price to the cost of wholesale.
Trust us - it’s better for you and your business to at least get some money back, rather than having these items gathering dust (and storage fees) in a warehouse.
Don’t get caught in a trap of “wanting the product to do well” because you “had a lot invested in it”, and definitely don’t double-down on attempts at selling them for a profit, because if you give up on it it will “feel like a failure”. These are just silly mental games that our brains like to play on us, and if you are going to make it in the cut-throat eComm game, then you are going to have to transcend these silly games. No mercy – cut the stinkers.
2. Guage Demand
This is a more nuanced, technical point…but precisely for that reason, it will often get ignored or neglected by the competition, which opens the door for you to get ahead of them all.
Before you launch new products, or stock more of your current inventory, make sure that you GAUGE DEMAND.
There are several ways to do this. An easy one is to look at the reviews you are getting, and see which products are generating hype. You can also collect customer feedback through email or social media marketing, (we love an instagram story poll) so you can get deeper insights into what your customers think of your products or what they are wanting to see more of.
If you are not getting enough responses, try giving an incentive in exchange for feedback, like a discount coupon.
3. Decrease Cognitive Load
(make it easier for your customers to give you money)
It is 2022, and we are ALL mentally exhausted. The last thing any of us want is to go online for some good old shopping therapy, and feel like it is an EFFORT to buy stuff. We already talked about this in a previous article, but it is worth diving into again.
Your UX needs to be sharp, that should go without saying. But what else can you do? Hope you have a pen ready, because we are about to bring on the gold rain (yes, rain, NOT shower…if that’s what you are looking for, then you are on the wrong website):
- Reduce the number of options, to minimize “analysis paralysis”.
- Strive to have the least number of clicks possible before “purchase completed”. -Improve the mobile experience…most shopping is done through mobile these days.
- IMPROVE MOBILE (this one is really key, so we wrote it again in CAPS, for the slow ones at the back).
- Make your search bar more “tolerant”. Instead of only showing products that are exactly what the customer is looking for, allow for typos, and show similar items to what they are searching for, or complimentary items, etc.
- Avoid decision delays with quicker load times. Over half of customers will abandon a purchase if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load a page.
4. Offer Downselling
(less expensive = more purchases? Mind absolutely blown, we know)
This one is easy. If your customers are strapped for cash…then help them spend less cash! Offer discounts, provide cheaper alternatives, and even give freebies.
Do not, under any circumstances, underestimate the power of freebies. Freebies make the world go round, as Adem very eloquently explained in the accompanying video to this article.
5. Focus on Customer's Lifetime Value
(love the ones you have)
Put your focus on your already existing customers. As great as it is to acquire new customers, the cost of doing so has been steadily going up over the last couple of years, and in a recession it becomes even more expensive and difficult.
Generally speaking, investing money and time in your existing customers will get you way more sales and revenue than putting those resources towards attracting new customers.
What any given customer spends on your store is called customer’s lifetime value (LTV), and especially during a recession, it is important for you to find ways to increase LTV. Here are a few ways to do that:
- We know we already mentioned freebies on point number 4, but did you know that free samples can boost sales by up to 2000%? That is not a typo, two THOUSAND percent. But don’t believe us, believe SCIENCE (or don’t…because you have done your own “research”).
- Again, we touched on this before: ask for feedback. BUT, for the love of reducing abandoned carts, don’t interrupt the shopping experience to do so.
- Use bundles to increase the average order value.
- Build a great loyalty program.
- Try to convert a new customer to buy again through order inserts or a great email marketing campaign.
Let’s hope that the recession never comes, and that news of its arrival are greatly exaggerated. However, if it does arrive, you now have some great ways to mitigate the effects it will have on your store. And THAT, my friends, is what being Nice is all about.
- Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.
- Press the space key then arrow keys to make a selection.