Five Foundations of Effective Online Selling


Research suggests that in 2018, there will be approximately approximately $2.84 trillion in retail ecommerce sales worldwide. By 2021, that number is expected to climb to approximately $4.88 trillion. Bottom line? As the pace of online sales increases, so does your competition. With so much at stake, it is imperative that you rise above and connect with customers in effective ways.

But how? To navigate a sea of competitors and win customers who are always online and always connected, your online selling strategy must incorporate five basic requirements.

1. Don’t fail your first online selling hurdle — an optimized website.

Did you know that it can take as little as 10 seconds for visitors to decide whether they will stay on your page or not? More importantly, if you can get users to stay on your page for longer than 30 seconds, they are more likely to return.

Bottom line, you need to get the basic website experiences right. If your conversion rates are lower than average, or your bounce rates are higher than you would like, take a closer look at how your site is designed. Every click is part of a journey that leads your customers to the end goal, the purchase. The more waiting, searching, and steps required, the fewer shoppers will cross the finish line — or come back for more. To boost online sales, be sure to optimize your website experience with today’s best practices: a welcome absence of page load issues and dead links, a mobile friendly design that works across any device, clear and meaningful calls to action, quick and easy checkout experiences, and an uncluttered, user-friendly design.



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2. Reach new customers with a comprehensive online marketing strategy.

Once upon a time, simply having an ecommerce site put you ahead of most competitors. However, to compete in today’s online selling market where everyone has a website, you need to reach out and meet your audience where they live, browse, and shop.

At a bare minimum, you should plan regular online digital campaigns and promotions across mobile, web, and social media. Populating these channels regularly will help identify your key audiences, increase brand awareness, and boost online sales by bringing new customers to your website.

In the age of social media, we also recommend leveraging user-generated content, which can help you build brand awareness through real-life testimonials, user-made tutorials, and social media influencers who champion your cause. By showing real people using your products or services, you offer a personalized, relatable experience that is worth a thousand professional photos.

3. Make online selling personal with artificial intelligence (AI).

People have intelligence-driven experiences every day — through favorite apps, product recommendations, face and voice recognition, and more. The connected customer now expects these highly personalized, smart experiences across every brand they interact with, including yours. In fact, more than half (52%) of today’s consumers have said that they are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize communications to them.
By embracing artificial intelligence (AI), you can quickly turn massive amounts of consumer-generated information into clear, actionable insights and personalized experiences. AI can help you generate meaningful moments tailored to each shopper, such as product recommendations and personalized search results, that can drastically improve your online sales. Behind the scenes, AI can empower your marketers with data-driven consumer insights, and take the guesswork out of merchandising with intelligence-automated tasks.


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4. Connect the dots with integrated content.

Although content marketing is extremely effective, its impact relies on how well it is integrated into your conversion path. Did you know that 72% of U.S. homepage user-generated content does not provide a clear path to purchase, and 44% of U.S. brand blogs are not integrated into the company’s commerce site? That is a lot of missed opportunities to drive online sales.
Brands with content deeply integrated throughout the shopping journey see higher conversion rates than their peers, and for good reason — strategically combining content with commerce allows you to use your most compelling messaging to its fullest potential. With every piece of content that you publish, make sure that it fits into the shopping journey seamlessly, and that it includes a clear and easy path to purchase.

5. Find the right tools for your online selling needs.

To truly accomplish all of the above, you need a solution that helps you manage all aspects of online selling across all channels from one place. Beyond the website itself, the ideal would include marketing campaigns and promotion capabilities, embedded artificial intelligence, content management tools, tracking and analytics, and much more.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud gives you control over your marketing and ecommerce efforts, backed by the ability to make smarter, more strategic decisions without any extra effort or skill set required. Even more importantly, you can combine Commerce Cloud with other Salesforce solutions — Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, and Marketing Cloud — to achieve full collaboration across all departments, creating a single 360-degree view of each customer, their behaviors, and their needs.

Online selling requires a distinct brand voice and the ability to reach and inspire customers with intelligent, seamless experiences. Salesforce can help you do this with the tools, technology, and support you need to edge ahead of the rest.

Questions? We’ll put you on the right path.

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