“Average check” is a term used heavily in the restaurant industry – it’s basically a calculation of the average transaction amount. The idea being the bigger the average check, the better. From fast food joints to Michelin starred restaurants, average check is one of the most important metrics in the hospitality and catering industry. It’s also one of the most important metrics to you as an ecommerce business owner, you just don’t know it yet.

Why spend tonnes of money marketing to new customers and trying to pull fresh users on-board if you’re not taking maximising the revenue earned from your existing clientele?

From this day forward you should make it your mission to increase your average check. Don’t settle for customers buying one product on your site – make sure they fill their boots with as much of your range as possible. The more they order the better.

Amazingly, increasing an average check isn’t all that hard – here are five ideas to get you started:

1. Introduce free shipping on orders over X amount

It’s simple but deadly effective. Set a reasonable threshold for customers to hit in order to obtain free shipping with their orders – then sit back and watch as your visitors cram their baskets full of products in order to make that threshold. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and do you know why? Because it works!

2. Offer free expedited shipping on orders over X amount

A little twist on the free shipping model is free expedited shipping. So if users spend X amount they don’t have to wait 5-7 days for it to arrive – they get free expedited shipping that takes just a couple of days instead. Again, sit back and watch as customers order more to hit that threshold and get their goods in super-quick time.

3. Cross promote

Ecommerce giants like Amazon and eBay have complex algorithms in place to cross promote items that users are likely to be interested in. Unless you’ve got deep pockets or an in-depth knowledge of developing algorithms that track user behaviour, you’ll have to decide yourself on what items to cross promote. Find your top selling items and cross promote them on all pages on your website. The more products you expose visitors to, the more likely it is they’ll add them to their basket. Where possible cross promote relevant products, so if you’re selling tins of paint, be sure to cross promote things like dust blankets, masking tape and paint brushes.

4. Give customers a free gift

We’ve all seen those websites that offer a free gift when you spend $35 or something similar. It usually turns out to be something rubbish like a pack of mints or a pen that doesn’t actually work. Either way, it’s deadly effective – it gets people curious and stokes their natural instinct to spend, spend, spend!  Why not give your customers a free gift when they spend a certain amount?

5. Make discount vouchers widely available

Customers love discount codes and coupons because it makes them feel like they’re getting a great deal. Make sure you place a smattering of coupons and vouchers on popular discount websites. That way if people do a Google search for “<your website> discount code” they’ll find what they’re looking for – and they’ll then be likely to spend a lot more than they’d intended to! You don’t even have to leave big discount vouchers lying around; sometimes codes for just 5% off a basket can work really well. Voucher codes that enforce a minimum spend (say spend $35 and get $5 off) are also a sure fire way of bumping up that average check.

Sometimes website owners get so caught up in trying to attract new customers they don’t make the most of the customers they’ve already got. Put your expensive marketing plans on hold and implement at least one of the above changes. With very little effort on your part it’s possible to see sales grow exponentially as well as your marketing ROI. Why made a couple of dollars ROI on each sale when you can make three or four times as much?

Nick Whitmore

Nick Whitmore


Nick is a published journalist, freelance blogger and small business owner.