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Ways You Can Grow Your E-Commerce Store When Sales Are Slow

When sales are slow, a lot of us tend to get a bit worried, panicky, or stressed. It creates anxiety and sometimes we even freeze up or feel stuck- so we just lounge around watching Netflix and praying that sales pick up. Or (even worse) we dump a ton of hard-earned cash into advertising to get things moving again. (Personally, I hate advertising, and I try to avoid it whenever possible, so I’m biased here, but there’s better ways to handle slow sales.) This article is going to show you how to use these slow times to UPGRADE your store- to grow, to boost your sales, increase your visibility, and more! 

Stress-induced indecision and stagnation are a thing of the past! This is literally a list of ways to make your store better than ever before.

When you don’t know WHAT to do, just scroll down this list and pick something to get busy on! Every little thing you do to grow your business matters, you just need to get started.

Side note- even though I wrote this article with e-commerce stores in mind, there’s a lot of great information in here for businesses of ANY type! Take what you can from this article and then keep going to grow, grow, grow!

Growth Tip #1 – Update Your Listing Keywords

One of the best things you can do for your store when things are slow is to do keyword research.

Often times, we set up our product listings, we do the keyword research during our setup process, and we move on to the next thing.

But after a few months (or even years), the keywords that fit your product best can change!

Taking an hour or two to squeeze in some much-needed keyword updating can be a powerful refresh for your store. 

First and foremost, there’s two things I always tell clients to remember when updating listings:

1. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it! Leave your top sellers alone unless you notice a dip in those particular sales. Whatever you did, it’s working, baby! Don’t mess with success.

2. Start small. Don’t go changing all of your keywords at once, unless it’s a product that has never (or rarely) sold. Change the keywords that are outdated or just not serving the product. Leave the rest alone to preserve what rankings they DO already have. 

That being said, I always use the strategy of starting by updating the worst-selling listings and going up from there. This way, you’re able to use your time wisely to maximize the impact. 

Okay, now on to the best sites for keyword research. These are good for any e-commerce store unless I specify the platform name. For the most part, these are all FREE tools, although some do offer premium/upgraded features. I don’t use ANY of these upgraded versions, and I’m not getting ANY compensation if you choose to do so. These recommendations are all my own, so use them however you wish. *wink wink*

Best Sites For E-Commerce Keyword Research:

#1 – Google Keyword Planner

#2 – Google Trends

#3 – Erank.com (for Etsy)

#4 – Keywordtool.io

#5 – UberSuggest

#6 – Sonar Tool (for Amazon)

Bonus #7 – Google-related searches (& autocomplete) using the Google search bar

Growth Tip #2 – Add A New Selling Platform

This one is pretty straight forward. Now is a GREAT time to spend a few hours (maybe a day or two) and increase your reach! There are multiple places you can sell your products, and some platforms offer better benefits than others, so having your listings in multiple places can REALLY uplevel your store! 

Before getting started with a new platform, however, let me give you two quick bits of advice:

1. Keep your branding the SAME across all platforms. It might be tempting to go with a fresh, new style, but keeping things the same helps buyers feel more comfortable spending money in your new shop, because they can see that you’re an established seller already. (Leveling up your new store with an *As Seen On…* label on your shop header can also help boost a customer’s spending comfort.)

2. Don’t stop directing customers to the store you’re already selling on unless there’s a drastic profit margin increase. Your reviews and customer base is already established, so keep doing what you’re doing! Use the new platform to find NEW customers and don’t confuse the ones you already have.

So what are some great places to expand your shop? I’ll list my favorites below:

#1 – Amazon.com – Amazon allows for LOTS of products to be sold and has their own customer base, minimizing your advertising efforts. This is one of the most expensive platforms to sell on, but since it drives customers literally right to your products, it is hard to beat.

#2 – Amazon Handmade – If your products are handmade, this is a GREAT way to utilize Amazon’s traffic without needing all of the professional things like being a registered brand, having UPC codes, etc. It still has a lot of the same Amazon selling fees, but again, that traffic. Wow. 

#3 – Shopify.com – Shopify is a great place to launch your own store and keep your profit margins higher. Other platforms like Etsy and Amazon take a higher cut with fees, making Shopify an easier place to control costs. The downside is that you have to direct all of your own customers, as a Shopify store works like any other standalone website.

#4 – Etsy.com – Etsy is a fantastic platform for handmade, one of a kind, vintage items, or supplies. They have a built-in shopping base, which means customers find you much faster, with minimal (if any) advertising required. It isn’t as expensive as Amazon, but they seem to be hiking fees up lately. One perk (depending on who you ask) is that they are initiating automatic social media advertising, where they handle all of the ads and drive customers right to you from all the big social media platforms. (But don’t be fooled, they get their cut of your profits for doing this, too.)

#5 – Bigcommerce.com – Let me tell you why Bigcommerce made my list- even though it is a standalone shop (like Shopify) that requires your own marketing efforts to gain customers. It is by far the easiest one to set up AND it has the most options in terms of design, product listing variations, etc. It is a bit more expensive than Shopify but it has a lot more benefits and add-ons. While I have one of our brands on Shopify (and I love it), one of our other brands needs a LOT of variation options (size, color, design, personalization notes, etc) and using Bigcommerce for that one has saved me countless hours of frustration, and didn’t force me to limit consumer options, making it well worth the extra cost. 

Growth Tip #3 – Boost Your Online Visibility & Rankings

This is something that doesn’t often come to mind for most e-commerce stores. But there are EASY ways to boost your online visibility, SEO, search rankings, and domain authority all at once! 

Surprisingly, you can do this by setting up profiles for some of the internet’s most powerful search boosting sites, like Google My Business and Yelp. By getting these sites to link to your shop, you can quickly boost your search rankings, popping up higher in search algorithms and driving MORE customers to your site! 

An added bonus: this helps customers to see your shop is an established, safe place to spend money, which helps with conversion also!

5 places to set up profiles to boost visibility and rankings:

1. Google My Business. Check out our article about how many benefits this has for your business, regardless of your niche, and even if you’re 100% online.

2. Yelp. Any business of any sort should have a listing on Yelp. They have an INSANELY high Google domain authority and a ton of search traffic.

3. Bing Places For Business – This works just like Google My Business, for everyone who’s not searching on Google (hello, iPhone users!)

4. Foursquare. Even if you just set up a super basic page for your business, having a presence on Foursquare is crucial for every business- especially if you’re selling online. They have over 50 million users and can be a great way to direct traffic to your shop’s website.

5. Yellow Pages online directory. YP is trying to reclaim some of their former, offline glory and giving Yelp a good run for their rankings. Setting up a listing here will also boost your domain authority and takes less than 5 minutes.

BONUS Growth Tip #4 – Create New Products & Expand Your Offerings

Here’s my favorite way to grow- sell MORE stuff! Since a lot of our brands are products that I design myself, and I absolutely LOVE designing, this is my go-to way to increase our sales, literally every time I find myself bored. 

Here’s some ways to find new products to sell for YOUR shop:

1. Look for products that you can drop ship (via Alibaba, Oberlo, etc) that you can sell as compliments to your current products.

2. Create new designs (tees, jewelry, and other handmade items) based on current trends (NOT the Covid-19 trend! Choose something that will last longer than -hopefully- a few weeks.)

3. Look for alternative products to things you already sell. For example, if you sell shoes, maybe you can expand into boots or sandals!

4. Create an (affordable) related digital product to sell as a cart upgrade. You only have to create digital products once and they can sell over and over again! One of my favorite digital product upgrades I’ve seen clients come up with is a printable Letter From The Tooth Fairy that sold as a $1 upgrade to their cute little handmade Tooth Fairy pillows. Get creative, there are so many ideas!

Okay, y’all, I think I’ve given you some GREAT ways to kill some downtime and boost your store’s potential!

I hope you find these suggestions useful, but there are SO MANY more things you can do to upgrade your business! 

As a quick summary, in case all of this information was a lot to process at once, here’s the list of things you can do to grow your business:

1. Update Your Listing Keywords

2. Add A New Selling Platform

3. Boost Your Online Visibility & Rankings

4. Create New Products & Expand Your Offerings

Any time you find yourself with time to kill, jump back to this article to see where you can grow! And don’t forget to brainstorm NEW ideas, too! 

The important thing is to use your time wisely, and don’t get too caught up in the worry that slow sales can bring- look at it as an opportunity to get to all the things you can’t normally get to on busier days! This, my friends, is how we keep moving forward. 

I can’t WAIT to see how much you can grow! So go, get busy, and have fun! 

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our other helpful work+life articles, case studies and how-to’s to optimize your business and life!

4 Comments

  1. Anshul

    Useful article!! Although i don’t have my own products to sell and i mostly do affiliate marketing. I agree that keyword research has to be tweaked from time to time to stay on top of things.

    Reply
  2. Eureka Girl

    Good tips! I’m currently using WordPress AND Etsy. So we shall see how it goes! Just started a month ago.

    Reply
    • Larry Lathrop

      That’s great!! I know you are gonna crush on those platforms!

      Reply
  3. Kopal

    Great post!

    Reply

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