5 Ways to Increase Average Order Values

Oct 04, 2012 5:41 PM  By

Average order value is one of the most powerful tools in the ecommerce arsenal when it comes to boosting revenue, and it’s one of the simplest to execute.

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Paying attention to what items customers initially want to buy, then offering various purchase options tied directly to those products, goes a long way towards cultivating consumer satisfaction and return engagement.

Following are five effective ways of getting the attention of even the most focused customers, in pursuit of increasing the overall value of your site’s orders.

If you liked that, try this
Visitors often rely on product reviews and customer ratings to gather information on and reassure themselves about their potential purchase. Problems arise when they get so caught up in reading the reviews that they forget to make the purchase, or decide there isn’t time to shop and move on to other things.

A smart way to streamline the customer experience—and increase your AOV—is by providing product recommendations based on the activity of fellow customers:

· Visitors who bought this also bought that
· Visitors who were interested in (A) also showed interest in (B) and (C)
· Visitors who share your interests also purchased…

The emphasis either revolves around the purchase item (item affinity) or common interests between the customer and other visitors to the site (visitor affinity). These product recommendations can be placed in various parts of the site, and different models can be used and tested for each location.

Give your products complements
As previously mentioned, people often come to a site with a particular item in mind. But it’s the rare product that doesn’t have accessories or other items that complement it: cars need tires, turntables need phonograph needles, dresses need handbags and shoes… The list goes on. And oftentimes those accessories cost less than the main item.

Providing a cross-sell via product bundles—where complementary items are offered together at a combined price that’s slightly lower than purchasing each of the items separately—makes the customer feel like they got a bargain while the amount spent on the order increases. Test various combinations and prices to see which ones bring the highest AOV.

Offer free shipping
According to Forrester Research, 44% of customers will walk away from a sale if they think the shipping costs are too high. While offering free delivery seems to be a no-brainer, not all businesses can take on the heavy costs of shipping entirely.

A common-sense solution is to offer free delivery after a certain amount is added to the basket. This is even more effective if customers can see the required amount needed for free shipping, and how much more they need to spend in order to qualify.

Variations on the “threshold” theme include providing a price discount over a certain point and offering cash back after a particular price point has been reached. These options work particularly well when implemented in a tiered structure and placed strategically in the checkout process (usually from the initial moment an item is placed in the basket).

There are website plugins available that can calculate the amounts and display them on the site, and of course it’s smart to test the placement and type of threshold option to see what gives the biggest AOV boost.

Become exclusive and luxurious
Even if consumers come to an ecommerce site with a specific product in mind, they can potentially be swayed by a bigger, flashier, shinier version of that product…and spend more money on it.

It’s a wise move, therefore, to prominently display those deluxe items onsite where customers can see them and make the switch. Introducing new models of popular items that go for a higher price, or first-class items that complement the site’s current range of products, are surefire ways to increase AOV.

Another type of upsell is providing limited-edition products at a premium price to create a sense of consumer urgency and exclusivity.

There’s no shame in taking charity
Often, those of a charitable bent are happy to pay more if part of the proceeds is donated to an organization in league with their spiritual or humanitarian interests.

When going this route, smart marketers will display a cost breakdown at the basket page showing how much of what they pay will be donated. The holiday season is a great time to try this option.

Mark Simpson is president of ecommerce personalization company
Maxymiser.