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Building Profitable Sales in Online Shopping

Unlike a baseball diamond in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, if you build an online shopping marketplace, customers might not simply come to play.

When a store first launches online shopping, a few customers will be ready to jump on board right away. Everyone else, however, will need some coaxing as they’re asked to change long-held shopping habits. The general rule is to get a customer to make three online grocery purchases to make them a regular online shopper. Beyond general marketing of the program, how else can you encourage online purchases?

Find online shoppers where they’re hanging out: the internet. Through online targeted advertising, retailers can advertise to a specific demographic on specific websites such as Better Homes & Gardens or Men’s Health. Highlight special online-only sale or even a certain item. The same can be done on Facebook. While a store’s general posts may be seen by its Facebook followers, you can pay to have your post shown to the people you want to see it, adjusted by age, gender, location and interests. Include a call to action to shop the online store.

Take a look at the analytics and see how many customers fill an online shopping cart, but don’t check out. These abandoned carts represent a lost opportunity unless they’re given a nudge to complete the purchase. Many online shopping providers have built automated systems to send an email to customers who added items to a cart but didn’t complete the purchase. These automated emails can also be sent to users who create an account but don’t make a purchase or when a customer doesn’t make a purchase for a certain number of days.

Once an online sale is made, the most important aspect of the sales process begins: the pick. It is imperative that the freshest meat and produce are selected for online orders. Double check to make sure every item is correct. Customers need to be impressed in order to give the program another shot and earn those repeat dollars

Nationally, the average online grocery basket is a $120-$130 purchase while AWG stores average slightly less than $100 per online basket. One way to boost basket sizes is to set up spending thresholds. A few examples:

  • A store with an average basket size of $80 can offer to waive the pick-up fee for orders over $100 – set the limit to encourage higher than average spending
  • Offer $5 off a customer’s 5th online order over $100
  • Give away a free item with any purchase over the targeted basket size

As online grocery gains popularity and market share, CPGs and other brands are taking notice. CPGs are working with online shopping providers, wholesalers, and individual stores to highlight and promote its products in online stores. In some models, retailers are paid for each time a promoted product is clicked or added to a cart. Other times, a retailer can be paid for simply promoting the product on the website through a pop-up or banner ad. While the opportunities to monetize these promotions vary by the online shopping provider, they can be used to offset a store’s online shopping costs, increase sales of specific products, and increase profits.

Why do I work at AWG? “I love being a part of a fun team that creates unique ways to help independent grocery stores grow their businesses. It combines a few of my favorite things: marketing, food, and fun. Who doesn’t want to talk about food all day?” -Jimmy