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31 August 2021 • Grow Your Sales

Average order value: 17 tips for boosting this important ecommerce metric

Average order value: 17 tips for boosting this important ecommerce metric

There are two primary ways to increase online sales for your ecommerce store. You can attract more customers, or you can entice your customers to place a larger order. 

Attracting customers to your ecommerce website is hard work, and it often requires a significant investment of time, energy, and money. 

While you’ll always need to see how you can get more customers for your ecommerce business, you can simultaneously work on increasing how much shoppers spend per purchase. 

Increasing the average value of each order is effective, sustainable, and optimal for promoting growth.

What is average order value?

Average order value, or AOV, is the average total spent per order by customers. You can increase your AOV by pulling more value out of each customer who visits your site. 

Because driving more traffic to your website requires more resources, getting visitors to spend more is a smart way to bolster your bottom line.

To increase your AOV, you’ll need to sell more items to each customer or sell them more expensive goods. While both of these prospects can seem like uphill battles, there are actually many effective strategies that you can apply to accomplish these goals. 

These strategies can be applied creatively to suit your unique business model and to appeal to your customers.

Why is average order value important?

Your store’s AOV is one of the top ecommerce KPIs that you’ll want to keep an eye on. This, along with a variety of real-time ecommerce analytics can help you measure how well your business is doing and determine how you can improve. 

If your goal is to drive more people to your site by expanding your marketing budget, your growth strategy may not be sustainable. This is because your growth is dependent on continuing to invest more resources, financial and otherwise, on marketing efforts. These resources are in limited supply.

However, sustainable growth is tied to optimizing the resources that you’re currently allocating to marketing. You’re squeezing value out of each dollar spent driving those customers to your website. 

In some cases, you may also establish loyalty, enhance your brand image, or enjoy other advantages as well.

When you’re successful at increasing your store’s AOV, you can enjoy another important benefit related to operations and logistics. For instance, storing an excessive amount of inventory for a lengthy period of time is unnecessarily expensive. 

However, you may need to store those items because you’ve purchased supplies in bulk or for other reasons. By increasing your AOV, you can move more inventory and decrease the overhead associated with storing it.

How to increase average order value in ecommerce

Whether you aim to sell more goods to each customer or to sell more expensive items, you can work toward your goals in several ways. The actual methods that you use will depend on the types of products you offer in your ecommerce store, your customer base, and other relevant factors. 

To help you get started, here are some of the more effective strategies that you can try to produce amazing results.

1. Recommend products

Online shoppers often search for a specific item rather than window shop. When they find that item, they quickly purchase it and click off of the site. 

Encouraging customers to look around your ecommerce store may inspire them to put additional items into their carts that they hadn’t planned on buying.

The easiest way to do this is to simply make a few recommendations. For example, you can include a “Customers Also Purchased” box or a “You May Also Like” box on the pages that the customer is browsing through.

2. Use upselling and cross-selling techniques

Both upselling and cross-selling are unique ways to recommend specific types of products to your site visitors. 

Upselling is tied to promoting products that are more expensive than the products that the customer is currently viewing on your website. The intention is to encourage customers to buy a product that may better fit their needs, have more features, or be more appealing in other ways.

Cross-selling, on the other hand, involves offering related products. For example, when a customer purchases a men’s button-down shirt, you could cross-sell by suggesting a tie or a pair of nice pants.

3. Suggest low-cost add-on items

Another deviation of recommending products involves strategically suggesting low-cost add-ons. These are usually offered when the customer is reviewing the shopping cart and preparing to finalize the order. 

You can view these suggested add-ons in a similar way to the impulse-buy goods that are located next to cash registers in grocery stores. 

The consumer doesn’t usually need those items. Nevertheless, they’re affordable enough and desirable enough to inspire an impulsive addition to the shopping cart at the last minute.

4. Offer discounts when customers spend a set amount

Shoppers often look for value when they make buying decisions. The ability to save by adding more items to their cart with a special discount can be difficult to resist. 

With this in mind, consider offering a reduction in price when customers spend more than a specific amount. For example, you can supply a 10% concession on orders that exceed $100.

The discount may be most appealing to consumers and most effective at boosting your AOV when the threshold is established just above your current AOV. You can also offer progressively higher discounts when customers meet different thresholds.

5. Start a loyalty program

You can encourage your satisfied customers to shop at your ecommerce store more frequently through membership in a loyalty program. By becoming a program member, they can receive perks like complimentary shipping, special promotions that aren’t available to other shoppers, and other benefits.

You could charge a small monthly fee or a one-time fee to join the program, and revenue would increase as a result. You could also simply use your program to encourage repeat shopping and to build your email distribution list. 

Some of the special promotions that are offered through the loyalty program may be combined with other discounts that have been discussed.

6. Create product bundles

You can incentivize the purchasing of an extra item or two by offering free or discounted merchandise in a bundle package. For example, customers can buy three of one item to get the fourth item at no extra charge. 

They could also receive a small, relatively affordable item for free if they buy two or more of another type of item. This method can help you to move inventory faster and increase your AOV simultaneously.

7. Set a minimum spending threshold for free shipping

Online shoppers love free shipping, but providing this on small orders is not a very cost-effective strategy unless you have a sizable profit margin. Shoppers understand the value of complimentary shipping to them, so they may jump at the chance to save money with a special offer.

One way to execute this plan is by setting a minimum spending threshold, such as $50 or $100, to qualify for complimentary shipping. This encourages customers to spend more, and it makes it more affordable for you to offer this perk.

8. Make use of price anchoring

With this psychological marketing strategy, you give customers a price point to refer to when they’re trying to decide what to buy. It encourages them to compare different products and can have a major influence on their purchasing decisions.

For instance, you could display a discounted product adjacent to comparable items that are being sold at the regular, or anchor, price. Customers see that they’re getting a great deal with the discounted product, which can push them in the direction of clicking that “Add to cart” button!

To further emphasize the savings, you can even show exactly how much the customer will save by buying the product that’s on sale. This may even make the customer want to purchase multiple items, further increasing your AOV.

9. Offer gift cards

Shoppers often view a gift card as free money, so gift cards are a great incentive for customers to spend more. 

For example, you could give a $5 gift card on a purchase of $50 or more. A customer that was only going to spend $30 or $40 may put another item or two into the shopping cart in order to receive the gift card.

This approach offers extra benefits. One of which is that it encourages the customer to come back to the online store before he or she may have otherwise done so to make another purchase with the gift card. It also encourages faster movement of inventory.

10. Provide first-purchase discounts to new customers

Regardless of the age of your ecommerce store, a first-purchase discount can drive sales. When the discount is offered as savings on a purchase above a specific dollar threshold, you can increase revenue. 

Furthermore, you have the opportunity to turn new customers into repeat customers when you offer follow-up promotions.

When your ecommerce store is new, a first-purchase discount may be particularly beneficial at driving pricier orders right away. As a result, this method can bolster revenue.

11. Feature time-sensitive deals

If your goal is to increase AOV and to motivate customers to buy something immediately, offering a time-sensitive discount is a smart option. You can incorporate many different types of discounts and promotions with this strategy. 

One idea is to give 20% off an order of $50 or more for orders placed within the next 48 hours. You can also provide a similar deadline for free shipping over a specific dollar amount, for a bundled deal, or for other promotions.

12. Incorporate a game or contest

Hosting a game or contest is an excellent way to generate interest in your store through social media marketing and other forms of digital marketing. There are various ways to create a boost in AOV through your game or contest. 

For example, you can offer free entry into a contest or a giveaway for customers who buy two or more of a specific item. You could also provide this benefit to people who spend more than a minimum amount.

13. Offer payment plans and financing options

If your store sells expensive items, establishing financing or payment plan options could yield exciting results. While many consumers may be interested in your products, they may not be able to afford to pay the full price up-front. 

When you provide a flexible payment option, the customer may be thrilled to take advantage of that offer and make the purchase today.

14. Make your return policy flexible

Having a flexible return policy may seem counterintuitive to boosting your average order value. However, it actually plays a significant role in inspiring consumer confidence. 

When consumers are uncertain about how easily they can return a product that doesn’t live up to expectations, they may be hesitant to purchase. On the other hand, a flexible return policy can help consumers feel more comfortable making a larger purchase or buying more items.

15. Target customers according to how they browse

If your store appeals to a diverse customer base, you may discover that some of these strategies are only moderately effective overall. However, with thorough analysis, you may learn that contests, free shipping, or other strategies are very effective with select customers. 

Analytics can be used to strategically target customers with special discounts, upsell offers, and other strategies based on their behavior on your website and past purchases.

16. Utilize chatbots for customer support

While chatbots may seem impersonal, they provide customers with a sense of confidence that support is immediately available from your store. Chatbots can be used strategically to increase AOV by offering suggestions, such as for upselling and cross-selling. 

They can also answer questions about products to improve conversion rates. An important side benefit of chatbots is that they can keep your overhead lower by reducing the need for a large customer service department.

17. Engage in split testing to adapt your marketing strategy

Some of these approaches may be more effective with your customers than others. How can you know which strategies will produce the best results? 

Conduct a split test to measure the results of two different strategies. Continue testing different strategies, messages, and products so that you can determine which ones your customers respond well to.


Developing an effective marketing plan is vital to the success of any ecommerce business. However, marketing is not the only driver of sales that you should focus on. 

Optimizing the value of each visitor to your website is essential if you want to grow your business strategically while conserving limited resources. 

Try the various strategies described above to increase your AOV and be sure to check out our other ecommerce tips to reap exciting returns for your ecommerce business!

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