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How to Increase Online Sales: A Practical Guide

Proven strategies for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and established e-commerce brands.

In today's competitive digital landscape, driving revenue through online channels requires a strategic approach that includes everything from optimizing your website and leveraging social media to implementing effective marketing campaigns and providing exceptional customer experiences. Whether you're a small business looking to expand your online presence or an established e-commerce retailer seeking to maximize sales, we’ll share key insights and actionable steps that will help you achieve your business goals.

Key Statistics About Online Sales

In order to develop an effective strategy to increase your online sales, you need to have a solid understanding of the current trends and buying patterns. Here are a few crucial statistics about online sales that provide valuable insights into this competitive landscape.

In 2024, 20.1% of retail purchases are expected to take place online.

By 2027, this number is expected to increase to 23%. Now is the time to concentrate your efforts on creating an online store or improving your brand’s online shopping experience to stay ahead of the curve.

34% of shoppers make an online purchase at least once a week.

The frequency of online purchases suggests that subscription-based models and recurring delivery services may appeal to a significant portion of consumers. Businesses can explore opportunities to offer subscription services for products that consumers purchase frequently, providing convenience and value while driving recurring revenue.

The online shopping cart abandonment rate is 70%.

With as much regularity as consumers shop online, the cart abandonment rate is still very high. This means that some features of the brand’s online shopping experience present a roadblock for consumers, whether it’s the shipping costs or time, payment options, or other factors. Brands should leverage abandoned cart email reminders to help recapture some of these lost shoppers.

106.8 million people in the United States shop on social media.

Omnichannel e-commerce is the new norm. Practically every major social media platform now has a native online shop for users to make purchases without leaving the app. Paired with an effective social media marketing strategy, brands can easily boost their online sales and attract new customers at the same time.

91% of consumers make online purchases on a smartphone.

Though this isn’t a new insight by any means, it bears repeating that online sales are primarily done via smartphone. Mobile responsiveness is paramount to improve the customer experience and streamline the shopping process to increase the likelihood of a conversion.

Challenges and Opportunities Surrounding Online Sales

Shifting your focus to generating online sales is wise in the current market, though you’ll likely face new challenges and obstacles, as well as unique opportunities. 

Competition & Market Saturation

The online marketplace is saturated with competitors offering similar products or services, especially in the consumer-packaged goods industry. If yours is a startup, you’ll likely be competing with brands with larger marketing and advertising budgets. Standing out from the crowd requires strategic differentiation and effective marketing. Finding unique value propositions or targeting underserved segments of the market can help overcome this obstacle.

Trust & Credibility

Building trust with online consumers can take time. Many potential customers are hesitant to make purchases from unfamiliar brands or websites due to concerns about security, reliability, or product quality. Transparency and social proof are crucial when building online credibility.


With millions of websites competing for attention, getting noticed by your target audience can be difficult. Effective SEO, content marketing, and advertising are essential for improving visibility and driving traffic to your website.

Cart Abandonment

Many online shoppers add items to their shopping carts but abandon the purchase before completing the transaction. Reasons for abandonment include unexpected costs, complicated checkout processes, or simply a change of mind. Learn why your customers are abandoning carts and make changes accordingly.

Customer Experience

A poor user experience, like slow loading times, confusing navigation, or lack of mobile optimization, can deter potential customers from making a purchase and drive them to competitors with more user-friendly websites. Take the time to create an organized and optimized website for mobile shoppers.

Technical Challenges

Maintaining an online store involves managing various technical aspects, like website performance, security, and payment processing. Technical issues or downtime can disrupt the shopping experience and lead to lost sales.

Resource Constraints

Generating online sales requires investment in resources like time, money, and expertise. Small businesses or startups with limited resources may struggle to compete effectively against larger competitors with more extensive budgets and established brand recognition.

You can counteract these challenges with our 16 Tools for Small Business Growth →

Conversion Optimization

Converting website visitors into paying customers requires a deep understanding of consumer psychology and effective conversion optimization strategies. Experimenting with different approaches and continually refining your tactics is necessary to improve conversion rates over time.

10 Strategies to Boost Online Sales

1. Excellent Website Experience: Your Digital Salesperson

Your website is often the first point of contact with potential customers. An excellent website experience is crucial for boosting online sales, building trust, and encouraging conversions. Here's how to make a strong first impression:

  • Visually Appealing Design: Create a clean, professional layout that aligns with your brand. Use high-quality images and consider adding videos or interactive elements to spark interest.
  • Intuitive Navigation: Make it effortless for visitors to find what they need with these elements:some text
    • Clear menu labels
    • Logical product/service categories
    • Prominent search bar
  • Optimized for User Experience: Prioritize ease of use. Ensure fast load times, mobile responsiveness, and a frictionless checkout process.

Why This Matters:  A well-designed website builds credibility, reduces frustration for visitors, and encourages them to stay on your site longer. This increased engagement translates directly into higher chances of conversion and sales.

Learn more: 9 Must-Have E-Commerce Website Features [+ Bonus Tools]

2. Compelling Product Descriptions and Images: Showcase Your Products

Compelling product descriptions and images play a crucial role in influencing purchasing decisions and increasing online sales. Here's how to create descriptions and visuals that captivate:

  • Detailed Descriptions: Provide clear and informative descriptions about the product's features, specifications, and benefits. This helps set customer expectations and reduces potential questions or concerns.
  • High-Quality Images: Use professional photos with good lighting that accurately represent your products. Include images from different angles, and consider lifestyle shots to show the product in context.
  • SEO Integration: Don't underestimate the power of image SEO. Use descriptive alt text and file names to make your product images more discoverable in image search results.

Why This Matters:  In the absence of a physical storefront experience, product descriptions and images are your virtual sales associate.  Clear, informative content and visually appealing images create a positive first impression, build trust,  and give customers the confidence to make a purchase.

Learn more: 7 Essentials for a Successful Product Landing Page

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Get Discovered

SEO is the practice of optimizing your website and its content to rank higher in search engine results for relevant keywords, making it easier for potential customers to find you online. Here's how to improve your SEO:

  • Relevant Keywords:  Identify the terms and phrases that your target audience uses to search for products like yours. Integrate these keywords naturally throughout your product descriptions, page titles, meta descriptions, and blog content.
  • High-Quality Content: Publish valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that provide genuine value to your audience.  This type of content helps establish your expertise and reinforces your brand's authority in your niche.
  • Technical SEO:  Focus on website elements that search engines prioritize. Ensure your website loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, has a clear structure, and is free of technical errors.

Why This Matters:  Good SEO helps you attract organic, targeted traffic to your website from users actively searching for products like yours.  This increased visibility translates to more potential leads and higher sales conversions.

4. Flexible Payment Options: Smooth the Checkout Process

Offering a variety of secure and convenient payment methods removes friction from the checkout process and encourages customers to complete their purchases. Here's how to cater to different customer preferences:

  • Must-Have Options: Provide major credit and debit cards, digital wallets (like Apple Pay and PayPal), and bank transfers (where applicable) to ensure a smooth checkout experience for most customers.
  • Customer-Centric Options: Consider including popular buy now, pay later (BNPL) services and installment plans. These options can incentivize purchases, especially for higher-priced items, by allowing customers to spread out the cost over time.

Why This Matters:  A limited payment selection can lead to cart abandonment. By providing a variety of secure and convenient options, you cater to a wider audience and remove a potential obstacle to conversion, ultimately boosting your sales.

5. Customizable Shipping Options: Give Customers Control

Empower your customers with a range of shipping options to suit their needs and budget. Here are some ways to provide flexibility:

  • Offer a Range: Standard shipping is a must-have, but consider offering expedited shipping for faster delivery and local pickup/delivery options (if feasible) like Instacart or Postmates to cater to customers who need their products quickly.
  • Consider Incentives:  Free shipping thresholds or flat-rate shipping can incentivize larger purchases and encourage customers to add extra items to their cart to reach the minimum spend.

Why This Matters:  Customers appreciate choice and control. By offering customizable shipping options, you demonstrate customer focus and cater to diverse needs. This can lead to higher satisfaction, repeat business, and increased sales.

6. Email Marketing: Nurture Leads and Build Loyalty

Email marketing allows you to maintain ongoing communication with your customers and drive repeat sales. Here's how to make the most of email:

  • Targeted Campaigns: Segment your audience based on their interests, purchase history, and behavior. This allows you to send more personalized content and offers that are relevant to each recipient.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery: Use automated emails to remind customers about items left in their carts. Often, a simple nudge with a discount or reminder of free shipping can incentivize them to complete their purchase.
  • Build Loyalty: Reward your subscribers with exclusive discounts, early access to sales, or personalized recommendations to foster a sense of loyalty and encourage repeat business.

Why This Matters:  Email marketing allows you to stay top-of-mind with your audience, nurture leads, and turn subscribers into loyal customers.  Unlike paid advertising, email is a cost-effective way to drive consistent sales and foster long-term relationships with your customers.

7. Social Media: Engage and Expand Your Reach

Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity to connect with your target audience, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to your online store. Here's how to create a winning social media strategy:

  • Engaging Content: Share a variety of content formats that resonate with your audience. Consider product teasers, behind-the-scenes glimpses, how-to videos, user-generated content, and relevant industry updates.
  • Social Commerce: Capitalize on social commerce features, such as shoppable posts and in-app storefronts, to streamline the buying process for customers who discover your products directly on social media.
  • Community Building: Interact with followers by responding to comments and messages.  Run contests, polls, and encourage sharing to foster a sense of community and brand loyalty.

Why This Matters:  Social media platforms allow you to engage with customers on a more personal level.  By building an active community and offering convenient ways to shop directly from social media, you can boost brand awareness, drive traffic to your online store, and ultimately increase sales.

8. Customer Reviews & Testimonials: Build Trust and Credibility

Positive customer reviews and testimonials provide powerful social proof that helps establish trust with potential customers, particularly for online stores. Here's how to leverage reviews and testimonials:

  • Showcase Reviews: Prominently display customer reviews on product pages and your website to demonstrate the real-world experiences of satisfied customers.
  • Encourage Testimonials: Ask happy customers to write testimonials, share them on social media, or feature them directly on your website.
  • Address Feedback: Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Thank customers for positive feedback, and address negative concerns promptly, demonstrating that you value customer satisfaction.

Why This Matters: The vast majority of consumers rely on online reviews before making a purchase decision.  By showcasing positive reviews and customer experiences, you build credibility for your brand and give new customers the confidence to choose your products over the competition.

9. Subscription Services: Drive Recurring Revenue

Subscription services offer a way to build customer loyalty, stabilize revenue streams, and meet customer demand for convenient product replenishment. Here's how to explore subscription models:

  • Convenience for Customers: Provide automatic delivery of consumable products or curated boxes on a recurring basis to increase customer convenience and satisfaction.
  • Predictable Revenue for You: Subscription models generate recurring revenue, that can help stabilize cash flow and improve financial forecasting. It also makes it easier to forecast sales and manage inventory.

Why This Matters:  In addition to the financial benefits, subscription services create a consistent touchpoint with customers, increasing their engagement with your brand and fostering long-term loyalty.

Learn more: What is Sell-Through Rate and How to Improve It

10. Buy Online Plus: Maximize Omnichannel Success

Grappos' Buy Online Plus solution takes your omnichannel strategy to the next level. This innovative tool helps increase your online sales by doing the following:

  • Increased Visibility:  Help customers quickly find your products at nearby retail locations or online, giving them the flexibility to choose how to make their purchase.
  • Real-Time Consumer Insights:  Monitor consumer searches and trends to stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Why This Matters:  A unified omnichannel experience allows you to serve customers at every stage of their buying journey and on their preferred purchase platform. Buy Online Plus provides invaluable insights to help you refine your sales strategy and drive even greater online sales growth.

Request a demo today →

Final Thoughts

By implementing the tips and tactics discussed here, you can optimize your online presence, engage your audience effectively, and drive more revenue through your digital channels. Remember, success in online sales requires continuous experimentation, adaptation, and a customer-centric approach. Keep refining your strategies, listening to your customers, and staying ahead of industry trends to achieve sustainable growth and success in the dynamic world of e-commerce.

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Eric Kunisawa

Founder & CEO

Eric Kunisawa is the founder of Grappos. He's been successfully helping businesses connect customers with their products since 2008.

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