How to Increase Average Order Value

Today competition is bloody enough to give a pause to any maestro of the horror genre. Sums which large corporations regularly invest in increasing conversion are staggering, to say the least. No modern marketer worth their salt would call giving discounts and special offers sufficient measures for sustaining successful ecommerce business. Now you simply must innovate and add to your marketing arsenal certain techniques just to keep afloat, not to mention flourish.

The average order value is one of the key parameters which allows to work with an existing customer base and still raise profitability without spending a lot. Actually, many specialists call AOV ‘need du jour’ for most e-commerce companies. It’s a very underused and underappreciated facet, which when ignored means leaving money on the table.

Let’s take a closer look at the proverbial carrots, with which you can entice your customers to spend more, buy more and transfer your earnings on the whole ‘more’ level. This time we’re going to focus on strategies rather than on the separate tips and tricks.

1. Free shipping and returns

This phrase is the music to the ears of the majority of online shoppers. Researches often comment on the interesting mystery or phenomena. Call it what you like, it’s unexplainable but the truth nonetheless. They note that a free shipping offer saving $X is more attractive to a client than a discount reducing the price by $Y (X is being considerably smaller than Y). Why?

While at the first glance making no sense, the secret lies in that magic word ‘free’. The famous effect of getting something for nothing is a part of that appeal and the second portion is the growing popularity of that offer. In fact, today it has reached the point when people not just like it, but actively search for e-stores offering that sacred ‘Oooh, free shipment!’ and same applies to returns. Just some food for thoughts in the form of numbers:

  • 88% of consumers state free shipping an important factor in their purchase decisions;
  • 81% are hesitant to shop at e-stores that charge for returns;
  • 95% are sure to shop again at a site where they had a positive return experience.

So, we urge you to consider offering those two incentives unless you trade far and wide internationally. Perhaps incorporating the costs into a price or require a minimum amount to spend to qualify, hmm?

2. Upselling and cross-selling

Those two cunning fellows are responsible for up to 30% of e-commerce revenue with the minimum being 10%. Anyone frequenting any fast and street food establishments is probably so used to these techniques, that they don’t even notice it anymore. If you’re not doing it yet, today is probably a good day to start. We’ve already discussed upselling in great details in one of our articles, so let’s see how we can use cross-selling to boost AOV.

Follow-up email marketing

After a certain period of time past purchase of a certain item, you’re sending a client an e-mail with the offer that would make a great set with the purchased item or improve its use. Using a mountain bike as an example of the initial purchase, you can offer him sunglasses, tire pump, gloves, etc.

Personalized additional offers

Taking into account shopper’s preferences and personal characteristics you can offer say a special baking pan for a person looking for anything related to muffin baking. In this case, you’d look at their browsing history and the content would be dynamic with everybody seeing different recommendations.

Other people bought…

This approach deals with the effect of the crowd and shows to the shopper what other users bought alongside their initial purchase. A function of pointing out the products with a slogan ‘usually bought together’ also works well.

Related essentials

A good example would be earphones and a protective case for a smartphone. Something that would be needed for the main product to work or to greatly improve the quality of its usage. Though the profits might be not very significant take into the account the bigger picture with the number of potential purchases and you’ve got a very sweet prospect.

Usually, it all would be manual cross-selling. Fortunately for you, Shopify offers plenty of apps that would gladly shoulder the main tasks of automating cross-selling for you, like Personalizer with a ton of useful features and 15-day free trial.

3. Selling more

In continuation of the previous item in our list let’s see how else we can increase the general volume of the sold products in not-so-standard ways.


Bundles are attractive because they provide the opportunity for customers to get several complimentary products (which they need and would probably buy anyway) for less than they’d pay separately. It also offers wide space for you for tweaking your offers and maximizing the appeal. One of the time-proven approaches is a personalization of the bundles. Meaning offering a collection or mix&match of related merchandise, from which the buyer can select exactly what he needs.


When you donate a share of your earnings to charities and other worthy causes, you work on the emotional bonding with your customers. Checkout charity is one of the most efficient techniques making people willing to spend more as they realize that their money is going to be spent on Cancer Research, children’s health or ‘consumer choice’ category. The cause does matter, so we recommend researching towards which one your TA would feel most sympathetic in advance.


Today many experts state that cash-backing is a growing trend among the loyalty schemes for shoppers. You can use cash back strategy for giving most loyal clients gift cards or vouchers based on the principle ‘Get $X on the next purchase after spending $Y‘, which at the same time would boost your AOV and stimulate repeat purchasing. You can work on expanding the program, forming partnerships with other companies and including the chance to redeem these cards and vouchers at other establishments.

4. Personalization

Providing complete solutions

Let’s face it, people are lazy. Fact? Alas. Why not take advantage of it? Are you familiar with the concept of personal shopper? Personal shoppers get paid to shop for their clients, who are too busy or unable for some reasons to shop for themselves. PSs interview their clients concerning their tastes and preferences and buy for them not just separate items of clothing but ‘complete looks’. Meaning the whole ensembles where all elements are in one style or clash so sweetly that it becomes a style in itself.

Why not take it one step further and go for creating this kind of thematic collections (we’re not talking just about clothing here). To illustrate that, just imagine someone who’s interested in making home ice cream. What do you think that person would say upon discovering an option of buying everything he needs for making the desired dessert from scratch? Like really everything, including the book of recipes, freezing forms, shakers, etc. in one click? Neat, huh…

Browsing history

Before actual purchasing many shoppers are prone to hesitation, going back and forth concerning the product when undecided. Several viewing of same product a week is not the limit. To push them a little towards the buying decision, provide a visual of the recently viewed items for them. If you manage to offer the discount on one of the items, it’d most probably mean sealing the transaction. Finally…

5. Growing

We are positive that you’re the right kind of entrepreneur, the one who’s constantly asking himself the question ‘What’s next?’ or ‘What can I do to get on the next level with my company’.

While there’s a gazillion of the right answers, since there are no two alike companies and every business is unique, we can make several suggestions. We’ve chosen the ones that require minimum investments, frequently underappreciated and can yield great results.

Expanding product offerings

‘Want’ and ‘need’ are not always interchangeable, so aiming to please both is probably a good decision. Stocks which are considered classic helps to keep sales steady, but offering what is trendy and hot at the moment can get your sales to chart to the eye-pleasing peaks. Consider making the photo gallery, where your products would be showcased with classics and ‘It’ trendies mixed in the flattering and exciting ways. Variety is vital in retail.

Another thing which is often underlooked by e-store owners is accessories. Which is kind of surprising, since accessories can do several things for you.

  • Accessories can build up customer loyalty because they prove that you have a clear understanding of your shoppers wants and needs.
  • They can attract new clients. Trending and locally relevant accessories are wonderful attention grabbers and conquerors for people who are interested both in your niche and keeping up with trends.
  • They can smooth cross-sell or ‘down-sells’, which is great for those (grrr!) cart abandoners. Those can be won over by demonstrating cheaper products with just the right accessories.

    Make the most of ALL seasons

It’s sure easy to predict that Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas are big occasions both for spenders and providers of products. It’s equally easy to predict that fireworks and gift stockings are going to sell like crazy just before the end of December. Does it mean that all other seasons are useless and there’s no convenient crystal ball? Nope. It just means that you should expand your crystal ball assortment.

  • Almost everybody at some point faces the problem of the off-season in sales, but that time provides a perfect opportunity for launching new products or unusual seasonal offers. However, you need to make sure the new offer is compelling and/or unique enough to capture the interest despite the seasonal drop.
  • To maintain the steady flow of traffic, consider in advance possible seasonal changes in the design WITHIN your branding canons. How much is going to be changed is of course up to you, but some changes must be made. For example, the addition of seasonal pop-ups to your e-store is a nice option.
  • Offseason is a great time to start some hype in advance. During the summer no one would usually consider the purchase of pet raincoats. Well, take that ‘usually’ and fight it with the early announcement of the early autumn sale. For pet raincoats, pet booties, hooded jackets… You got the idea.

6. Payment Plans

Parting with money is always difficult. Saying ‘farewell’ to a large sum can be pure torture. Especially if the reason is not avarice but the presence of more pressing concerns like loan payments. Or if we’re talking about the purchase of the high-end item.

However, if your e-store provides the customer with an option of paying a deposit first and paying the rest in smaller sums over a certain period of time, it might mean just the right motivation for some clients.

7. Live Chat

Did you know that some companies enjoy a 10% increase in order value? Just by providing live chat function on their site for their customers. What about the increase in conversion by 40%? Yep, the same feature is responsible. Were you aware that live chat can get e-store to an increase up to 48% per chat-hour? And did you know… Whoa, whoa, no need to look THAT irritating, we can explain it all.

There’s no real mystery, just the fact that people love to get answers concerning the product immediately and they like familiarity that live chat provides. Tidio Live Chat is a cool app that provides for you an intelligent bot and supplies you with chat, e-mail, and messenger in one panel. And it’s free. Why not giving it a try?

Wrapping it up

When we talk about increasing the average order value, we also speak about your existing customers. They already know you, buy from you and trust you. Basically, that means identifying the ways in which you can improve what you’re already doing well. Most of our recommendations are rather easy to implement, so why not start now? Just remember that working on improving AOV is not a done-it-and-forget-it tactic.

You need constantly reevaluate, analyze and experiment to keep getting better results. We strongly advise against trying these recommendations all at once. Trying it one by one would provide you with a chance of keeping track of the impact and tailoring it accordingly.

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