If your recent sales results have been flat, you might be inclined to chock it up to the winter doldrums or current economic conditions. Seasonal influences, the economy and consumer trends can all influence the growth of your online sales. But it’s important to realize that these factors only play a small part in the success of your online business, they do not determine the outcome. There are many online retail businesses that are thriving in today’s economy, but they aren’t achieving these stellar results by keeping with the status quo. So what is the difference in businesses that are thriving versus those that are simply surviving? It’s their willingness to adapt and reinvent their business in conjunction with the ever changing ecommerce landscape. What worked last year in ecommerce is not what works this year. The market has changed, customers have more choices online and their shopping expectations have become more sophisticated and niche focused. So if you’re selling the same products in the same manner this year as you were you were last year, you can expect to see diminished results. Online sellers who are experiencing growth in sales are doing so as a direct result of their willingness update and improve their marketing strategies, improve their offerings and refine the U.S.P. (Unique Selling Position) that they offer to their customers. Fortunately, this approach to ecommerce is something that every online seller can and should do. And it doesn’t take a lot of time or money either – but it does take a plan. These 5 innovative strategies will get your business back on the track of success in 2009!: 1. Focus on Multi-Functional Marketing. Today’s consumer wants to get value from every purchase. And if there is more than one way for them to use your product, it’s a much easier decision to make the purchase and justify an added expense. When you focus on multi-functional marketing, a bike is not just a bike. It’s an eco-friendly way to get to get to work, a great way to stay healthy, fun for the whole family and a distressing machine. A bargain at twice the price! 2. Banish “Me Too Marketing™”. Me Too Marketing occurs when you send out the same cookie cutter emails to your customers that your competitors do, copy the same 20% off sale week after week and brand your business to “fit in” as much as possible. Look for ways to market your products so that your business will stand out. Make sales an event, not a routine occurrence. What’s the “unique factor” in your business? No matter what you sell or where you sell it, you want to bring a unique twist to the presentation of your products. And that unique factor all starts with YOU! What do you bring to the table in your online business? 3. Add Value to What You Sell. If you’re ready to increase your sales and improve your profit margins immediately, your first course of action is to get out of the role of being a commodity seller and step into the role of being a value seller. Contrary to popular belief, becoming a value seller does not mean taking deep discounts on products and living on razor thin profit margins. Becoming a value seller means providing extra value to your customers at minimal cost to your business. The best way to add value to your products is with information that enables them to maximize their investment in their purchase. Tip sheets, how-to booklets, giving your customers creative ways to use your products, are all ways to add value with minimal expense. Your customers will remember you and come back for more! 4. Wrap Your Promotions Around Spring & Summer Seasonal Selling Holidays. Did you know there are 10 seasonal selling holidays between May & August? Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation season, wedding season, and the start of vacation season are just a few examples of seasonal selling holidays that you can wrap your marketing promotions around. For example, a white garden trellis or the newest solar powered garden decorations are perfect products to market to the thousands of people preparing for a backyard wedding! 5. Be Transparent. Of all the changes that have occurred in the ecommerce landscape over the past year, the trend towards customers wanting to know who they are buying from is one of the most pronounced. In online sales, the “know, like and trust” factor is the determining factor in whether or not you will be their retailer of choice. Let your customers know who you are. Include a personable bio of yourself and your business mission statement in the About Us section of your website. If you sell pet products and are pet lover, let your potential customers know that! By connecting with your customers around common interests or common values, you’ll never have to do the “hard sell” again. Buying from you will be the natural choice! Ecommerce holds an abundance of opportunity for today’s online sellers if you are engaged in being fluid and innovative in your sales and marketing strategies. And keep in mind, when you’re energized about your business, your customers will be too! About the Author: Lisa Suttora is an ecommerce expert and a recognized product trend authority. She is the Founder & CEO of WhatDoISell.com. With a unique blend of more than 15 years of both online and offline retail merchandising experience, Lisa brings a fresh and innovative approach to ecommerce strategies. Since 2004, WhatDoISell.com has provided online entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge and support they need to build unique, thriving businesses in today’s top online marketplaces.

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