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2 strategies for maximising your estore over the summer

Expert Advice
For Ecommerce Success
Our team of Ecommerce experts outline effective strategies for increasing and optimising your sales!
Amid the holidays, staycations, beach days and camping trips, etailers often find themselves asking how to keep sales up over the summer holiday season. Unless your products are particulary geared to this period it can be a challenge. Rather than trying everything possible to chase sales over the summer you can take advantage of the quieter period to optimise your site for the end of the year where everything starts to speed up, with sales event after sales event until Christmas. The start of the school year, Autumn, Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day are all great sales opportunities for increasing your turnover and at such close proximity the earlier you can start planning the better they will go.

Follow our experts' advice as they outline 2 strategies that will allow you to capitalise on the summer period and prepare your store to take as many sales as possible during the end of year whirlwind.
1. The summer slow down is a great opportunity to invest some time into optimising your estore.
2. 75% of internet users admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design - make the most of summer to give your site a facelift and increase conversions!
3. 73% of ecommerce site visitors leave after two minutes, if they can't find what they are looking for and 96% of eshoppers say that a good search feature is a 'very important' aspect of their buying process - activate faceted search and don't miss any more sales!
4. Use specialised B2B marketplaces to find new suppliers and products, especially when looking for international suppliers or products.
5. Take into account the specifics of international trading when your are forging new partnerships with international suppliers.

2 strategies for capitalising on the summer season

The summer slow down provides an excellent opportunity to find new suppliers to enrich your catalogue in order to capitalise on the winter sales events that are a crucial time for etailers. In 2014 WorldPay reported a 74% year on year growth for Black Friday Ecommerce sales and Cyber Monday also showed 20.8% growth in traffic (13ten)! It's a period you most definitely want to be ready for!
01 Invest some time into researching new products that will increase your profit margins
Evaluating new suppliers is a time-consuming activity, so take advantage of the summer to start researching.

Which countries should you be looking to for suppliers?
In much of Europe, August isn't a great period to look for new suppliers as many companies shut or have obligatory holiday periods over August. This is the perfect opportunity for you to look further afield . . .
In the Philippines, Thailand or China summer holiday periods are shorter (5-6 days for Thailand and the Philippines and 10 days for China), August isn't 'sacred' as it is in Europe! Our anglophone buddies, America and Canada also take shorter holidays over the summer, Canadians only have 10 days annual leave and 43% of them say the don't always take all their days (Environics Research Group)! Americans generally have 15 days annual leave so you can also look to the other side of the Atlantic for new suppliers.

To identify and contact new suppliers, put the internet to good use!
Certain marketplaces are specialised in B2B or putting suppliers in touch such as, Tradekey or Alibaba. The famous Asian marketplace, Alibaba, can help you research new products and their suppliers thanks to it's large network.

Developing your site through international suppliers will need to approached with care.
Before you dive in, make sure you've checked on the the reliability of your potential supplier: contact details, phone, address, distribution licence, european conformity certificates etc. Find out about the companies' economic health by looking at online resources and professional forums. Make sure you compare a few potential suppliers so you can be sure you've picked the right one for you. Compare prices, the quality of the products, the payment conditions and any other services provided. Like any new supplier, makes sure you get all the important details in a contract; garanties, delivery payment and due to their international nature check customs prices, exchange rates, whose responsible if there are any legal issues, etc.
If international logistics is proving all too tricky, there's always drop-shipping.
To keep your logistics simple, drop shipping consists of selling a product that will be delivered to the customer, directly from the supplier, meaning you don't deal with any stock.
Drop shipping is a good way of testing new products, without getting involved with stock and delivery. No risk of stock you can't shift, no initial investment to make, no logistics and no after sales to deal with as the supplier will be responsible for the aforementioned. If you have a smaller budget then drop shipping gives you more time to manage your finances as you will pay the supplier after you've been paid by your customer and your profit margin depends on the price negotiated with the supplier and how much you will sell the product for on your site. You can find good aulity produtcs at small prices giving you an even more interesting profit margin. Your supplier research can have a real impact on your online success.

If you aren't at the stage in your sale strategy were you need to integrate new suppliers, you can still use any sales downtime over the summer to optimise your site for the winter sales events that are around the corner.
02 Prepare yourself, and your site, to sell more!
If you're taking a holiday, to rest and reboot, when you come back full of energy and ready for action, the next step in optimising your Ecommerce site is to take a closer look at your marketing strategy to improve your results.
Here are some points to check and areas to improve over the summer so that you're ready to start hit the ground running when it comes to the winter sales events!
75% of internet users admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design. (Standford). In just 50 milliseconds, a first impression of your site design is formed (Google) and it doesn't take much longer for a visitor to decide whether or not to stay on your e-store, meaning the repercussions of your design are almost instant. To increase your sales opportunities and transform your visitors into buyers, your site desin and organisation play a key role.
With more than 10,500 clients, across 21 business sectors, the Actinic design experts know all the best practices for creating a site design that sells. Start preparing your SEA campaigns over the summer to increase the number of quality visitors to your site, greet them with a professional and high performing deign to really see an impact on your turnover.
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    "To really take advantage of the end of year sales events and give ourselves the means to sustainably increase our turnover, we invested in a new design and an SEO campaign. Six months after our new design was in place and our SEO campaign launched by the Actinic experts, our turnover has doubled: we've gone from €15,000 to €30,000 in monthly sales!"
    Guillaume Desportes - GD Bô Balcons
Your site's tree structure must be optimised in order to facilite yoru customer's buying experience.
73% of ecommerce site visitors leave after two minutes, if they can't find what they are looking for and 96% of eshoppers say that a good search feature is a 'very important' aspect of their buying process (Marketing Sherpa)

Online stores, created with the Actinic solution, have a predictive search engine integrated into them, so make the most of it! This powerful feature can be seen on sites like Google, Amazon and eBay for example. As soon as a site user enters the first letter of their query, the predictive search will suggest a list of items from your catalogue that correspond to the query. An excellent feature for increasing your conversion rate as users can find items really quickly and the buying funnel remains fluid.

To optimise your search engine results, it's vital that your product pages are well detailed.
Ensure that your product titles are clear as your catalogue items are the first stop for the search engine. After that it will search through items that contain the search terms in their description (short or detailled description).

The must-haves for a product page that converts!:
> Titles that get you hooked and descriptions that are neither too long or too short. You must strategically integrate key words into both your titles and descriptions to optimise your organic SEO. Use synonyms and a particular lexical field for each product page. Obviously, you need to highlight the product benefits in order to convince your site visitors to become buyers.
> A selection of good quality photos Photos that show your product from every angle help with conversions. 54% of etailers increased their sales thanks to good images (PackshotCreator).
> Customer Reviews Adding just one Customer Review to a product page can increase your orders by 10% (Bazaarvoice). TO find out more read our Expert Advice 5 tips for boosting sales with customer reviews!
> Make use of cross selling Offering complementary products to those that have already been bought by your clients can increase your revenue by 10-30% (Forrester Study). Presenting the customer with complementary products can be done at any point throughout the buying funnel (from the product page to the cart confirmation page).

    "Our homepage is a great success; the 8 products showcased bring in more than 20% of our revenue! Our product pages were also customised by the Actinic graphic studio which has definitely helped our conversion rate which is now more than 3%. Our product descriptions are detailed and our trust elements integrated into the ensemble of our site which makes the site look even more professional."
    Mathieu Benoit – Paella du Sud
The summer also presents an opportunity to identify new sources of qualified traffic.
With Actinic you can export your catalogue to price comparison sites and marketplaces in order to attract new visitors to your site and increase your sales. Take a moment to identify the channels that correspond to your sector so that you can offer your products and take new orders.

    "Marketplaces (Amazon, Cdiscount, Price Minister or eBay) and price comparison sites (GoogleShopping and LeGuide) significantly increase our monthly sales. Being able to rapidly export our catalogue by selecting specific categories or types of articles is a valuable asset, when developing our sales through these channels. Segmenting our catalogue makes it easier to highlight the products that are better priced than those of our competitors. The tracking tool that gives us statistics on our visits and orders, means we can see, at a glance, the items that perform and those that don’t so we can adjust our offers to increase profits."
    Eric Silici – SportOutdoorShop

To go even further, reread our Expert Advice 9 solid customer acquisition strategies to find new clients.
Increase your Ecommerce skills to develop your business further.
Every year Actinic carries out more than 800 training sessions which give our etailers the chance to learn best practices for developing sales, increasing profit margins and generally improving your Ecommerce skills and knowledge. It's time for Summer school!
Find out more about our bespoke training sessions, carried out via webconference. With 14 years experience of creating Ecommerce sites and more than 10,500 sites, Actinic has developed an efficient training formula to share the knowledge gained to efficiently manage your estore and quickly generate sales. Get in touch to find out more!
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Analyse your statistics to improve your site's performance.
Your statistics dashboard holds a host of precious data that can assist you in developing your site. To get the most out of these stats find out which stats you should be analysing thanks to our Expert Advice, 5 KPIs for boosting your site's performance and put into practice these 3 tips for using Big Data to increase your sales!

Over to you!