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The E-commerce Marketer's Secret Sauce: 13 AOV Boosting Strategies That Work



Hey ecommerce marketers! We all know driving higher average order value (AOV) is crucial for boosting revenue. But where to start? I’ve got you covered. In this post, I’ll share 13 proven strategies and tactics to increase AOV for ecommerce stores. These are the same tactics used by savvy direct-to-consumer brands and marketers to drive bigger basket sizes.


I’ll cover quick wins you can implement today, plus more advanced tactics for long-term gains. You’ll find real examples of each strategy in action. By the end, you’ll have a robust playbook to start lifting AOV at your store right away. Let’s dive in!




Strategy #1: Offer Free Shipping Minimums and Thresholds


Free shipping is like catnip for online shoppers. Here are some ways to deploy it strategically:


- Offer free shipping on orders over a minimum subtotal like $50. This incentivizes larger baskets.


- Set a lower free shipping minimum for subscribers or loyalty members as a perk.


- Provide free shipping thresholds by product category, like $25 minimum for jewelry and accessories.


- Promote seasonal or limited-time free shipping promotions to spur purchases.


- Display progress bars towards free shipping thresholds on product pages to nudge customers.


- Share reminders of any dollars left to hit free shipping once in the cart.


For example, Madewell offers free shipping on orders over $150. Glossier provides free shipping to subscribers. And Sephora runs limited free shipping promotions around the holidays.


Use free shipping strategically to encourage customers to add more items and hit higher order values for bigger baskets. The shipping savings often offset product discounts.




Strategy #2: Recommend Complementary Products


Product recommendations are a classic tactic to increase AOV. Some best practices here:


- Suggest accessories or add-ons on product pages, like batteries with electronics.


- Share items frequently bought together, like shampoo and conditioner.


- Curate themed product bundles around use cases, like yoga outfits or birthday gifts.


- Implement smart recommendation engines powered by data and AI. Tools like Nosto and Reflektion can help.


- Display dynamic recommendations to each user based on past purchases and browsing behavior.


- Refresh recommendations frequently to highlight new items.


For example, Chewy suggests pet toys and treats to pair with pet food purchases. And Sephora recommends makeup brushes and tools with higher-end cosmetics.


Tie recommendations tightly to each product page to make it effortless for customers to bundle and boost their baskets.




Strategy #3: Offer Volume Discounts


Volume discounts incentivize customers to buy more units to unlock savings:


- Offer pricing tiers on multiple quantities like 5-10% off 3+ items.


- Provide steeper discounts at higher tiers like 15% off 6+ items.


- Allow mix-and-match across brands and categories to provide flexibility.


- Highlight volume discounts on product pages, category pages, cart, and checkout. Make them visible!


- Consider automatic volume discounts so customers don’t have to enter codes.


- For consumables, use messaging like "Buy 2, save $X, get 20% more use!" to showcase value.


Brands like Diaper Genie and Honest Company offer tiered pricing on bundles of baby supplies. And contacts retailer 1-800-Contacts provides progressive discounts based on quantity.


With volume discounts implemented broadly across your catalog, it’s a reliable way to lift AOV consistently.





Strategy #4: Optimize Cart and Checkout


A few quick wins to increase basket sizes through the checkout process:


- On cart page, suggest shoppers are X away from free shipping and recommend items to help them qualify.


- Use messaging like "You're $20 away from 15% off your order!” to prompt more spend.


- Recommend items frequently purchased with current cart contents.


- Highlight limited-time sitewide sales or persuasion messaging like, "Other shoppers are buying 2+ to save BIG!"


- Utilize exit intent and abandon cart offers to rescue dropped items."Almost left something behind?"


- Make guest checkout and Amazon Pay options available for faster purchase completion.


For example, Madewell uses thresholds to encourage adding more for extra savings. And Rare Carat highlights cart items other buyers purchased.


Remove any friction through the checkout process and prompt for additional purchases all the way to the finish line.




Strategy #5: Structure Tiered Pricing and Packages


Strategic bundling can also help increase order values. Some examples:


- Offer "Good, Better, Best" package options with ascending prices and value.


- Curate "Starter" and "Pro" bundles with escalating features or products.


- Provide mix-and-match multi-packs like 3 eBooks for $X or 5 for $Y.


- Bundle supplementary products like care kits, accessories, or installation.


- Build bundled subscriptions around different access levels.


- Allow customers to customize their own bundles across items.


For example, Scentric bundles home security packages by tier. Amazon offers Kindle Unlimited eBook packages by quantity.


Tiers and bundles boost AOV by both capturing higher spend from existing buyers and attracting new segments based on pricing range.




Strategy #6: Incentivize First-time Purchases


Getting that initial purchase is key. Some ideas for incentivizing first-timers:


- Offer free shipping, discounts, or gifts on the initial order only to hook new shoppers. Limit to first purchase.


- Provide tiered new customer offers like 15% off $50+, 20% off $75+, 25% off $100+ to incentivize larger basket sizes out of the gates.


- Restrict volume discounts and other specials to new buyers for their first purchase.


- Utilize popups and behavior targeting to offer deals to site visitors who browse but haven't purchased yet.


- Partner with influencers to promote new customer promo codes to their audiences.


For example, Calm provides 25-35% off initial subscriptions for new meditators. And individual influencers create custom codes for followers to score deals on their first purchase with many brands.


Focus on acquisition ambassadors, influencers, and targeted promos that wow new shoppers into making that crucial first buy. The initial AOV often dictates long-term spending.





Strategy #7: Gamify Rewards Programs


Loyalty and rewards programs are a huge opportunity to increase repeat AOV. Consider incentives like:


- Points earned per dollar spent that can be redeemed for discounts on future purchases.


- Tiers like Gold and Platinum members with escalating privileges, gifts, and discounts.


- Bonus points days or double points categories to drive specific behaviors.


- Free shipping unlocked at a points threshold to encourage accumulation.


- Contests and sweepstakes like spend X get entries to win Y.


- Exclusive access to seasonal sales, new arrivals, or VIP events.


- Birthday rewards, anniversary bonuses and other personal touches.


Brands like Sephora, Ulta, and Nike all have tiered programs with compelling ongoing incentives. The key is driving repeat engagement through gamification and VIP treatment.




Strategy #8: Highlight Scarcity and Exclusivity


Leveraging limited-time sales and offers can temporarily increase AOV:


- Promote daily deals or flash sales on select items to create urgency.


- Offer sitewide sales for one day only like 20% off everything.


- Create countdown timers or stock levels on product pages to signal scarcity.


- Limit purchase quantities, time windows, or usage of certain promos to preserve exclusivity.


- Release limited-edition products only available for a short period.


- Share new arrivals or back-in-stock notices to capitalize on pent up demand.


For example, Houzz does daily sales on select home decor items. Gilt and Rue La La built their models on limited-time offers.


When used judiciously, scarcity and exclusivity tactics can drive temporary AOV lifts by incentivizing quick purchase. But don't overdo it or customers may feel manipulated.


Boost your AOV with AI Explore Prooftiles

Strategy #9: Promote Higher-Priced Items


Sometimes it pays to steer customers towards premium products and categories:


- Showcase or advertise the highest end or bestselling items across categories to attract buyers to them.


- Offer incentives that require a minimum spend threshold to qualify, nudging customers to premium tiers.


- Feature or recommend more profitable items and collections prominently on-site and on social media.


- Train sales staff to suggest higher-priced options and share their benefits for customers.


- Utilize on-site messaging to reinforce value over price for quality items. "Worth every penny."


- Share user-generated content and reviews focused on your premium items to drive desire.


- Spotlight influencers and celebrities choosing your high-end offerings to create aspiration.


Luxury retailers routinely steer customers to higher price points through sublte tactics. But it can work for more attainable items too. Just focus on value over cost.




Strategy #10: Offer Payment Plans


Offering payment plans can enable larger purchases:


- Provide installment plans that break payments into chunks like 3 or 6 month periods.


- Utilize services like Affirm, Afterpay, and Klarna that handle installment billing.


- Allow financing for bigger purchases to make the cost manageable.


- Clearly explain payment schedule options and total costs so customers understand the plans.


- Promote payment plan options at checkout, cart, product pages, and category pages. Make them visible and clear.


For example, Casper allows monthly installment payments on mattress purchases via Affirm. This can enable $800+ orders that buyers may not be able to do in a single payment.


When customers can pay over time, they may be willing to spend more overall. Just be transparent about any additional costs.





Strategy #11: Highlight Free Shipping Incentives


As we covered earlier, free shipping is highly motivating. Here are some messaging tactics to emphasize it:


- Call out current free shipping threshold and how much more needed to unlock it, like "Spend $35 more for free shipping!"


- Show savings amount for free shipping in cart, like "You save $5.99 on shipping with this order."


- On product pages, flag items that would individually unlock free shipping if added to cart.


- Use "Free shipping unlocked" messaging on qualifying items. Customers love seeing those magic words.


- On category pages, highlight products currently under any promotion-specific free shipping minimums.


For example, Sephora displays dollar amount progress bars toward the next free shipping tier as customers browse and shop.


Don't keep your free shipping incentives a secret. Make sure customers know exactly when they've earned free delivery.




Strategy #12: Optimize Mobile Shopping Experience


As more shopping has gone mobile, the mobile experience is key for increasing AOV:


- Streamline mobile navigation and checkout with fewer clicks/taps to purchase.


- Present easy mobile payment like Apple Pay and Google Pay to expedite checkout.


- Adapt on-site messaging and promotions for smaller screens.


- Ensure seamless linkage between mobile web and app experiences.


- Provide fast, optimized, seamless browsing experience - don't let tech issues complicate mobile usage and purchases.


- Offer location-based notifications and personalized offers via mobile app.


For example, Seamless makes food ordering and payment a breeze on mobile. And apparel brand Shein adapts its promotions and recommendations expertly for the smaller interface.


With a top-notch mobile experience, customers will convert and purchase hassle-free wherever they are. Don't neglect optimizing for mobile's quirks and strengths.




Strategy #13: Test, Test, Test!


The beauty of ecommerce is everything can be tested:


- A/B test product recommendations by placement, algorithm, content, etc. to find what resonates.


- Experiment with different discount offers and minimums to determine which drive highest AOVs.


- Test checkout page copy, promotions, design, etc. to maximize effectiveness pre-purchase.


- Iterate across device experiences to improve mobile, tablet, etc. performance.


- Try various email/retention offers to identify what messaging converts best.


- Shift and customize free shipping thresholds, banners, and reminders to lift AOV.


Companies like HubSpot and Mailchimp use their on-site personalization tools to constantly experiment and tweak based on performance data.


Don't stick to one rigid AOV playbook. Flexibly test and refine approaches to determine what moves the needle with your unique customers and catalog.



There you have it - 13 proven ways to increase your average order value and revenue! I know that was a lot of information, but now you're armed with an extensive toolbox.


The strategies with the fastest impact are typically free shipping incentives, discounts, recommendations, and cart/checkout optimizations. But look for opportunities across the entire customer journey.


Don't get overwhelmed trying to implement everything at once either. See what moves the needle in tests first. Then roll out your AOV successes more widely.


Let me know if you have any other questions! I love brainstorming new tactics to grow ecommerce revenue and average order value. This is an evolving art.


Hopefully these tips provide a springboard to start maximizing AOV. Just pick a few strategies to start experimenting with this week. By steadily layering and optimizing tactics over time, you'll be amazed how much lift you can achieve.


I want you to absolutely crush your revenue goals in the year ahead. Let's grab coffee sometime and swap ecommerce growth strategies. Wishing you continued success!


Boost your AOV with AI Explore Prooftiles

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