Selling online has lots of advantages. Overheads are much lower than with a physical store, you don’t have the same staffing issues and you can potentially sell to people anywhere in the world. Despite this, many people still find that when they set up their online stores, nobody visits – or they run into other problems such as difficulty managing orders and payments. What do you need to know in order to work around the problems and sell successfully?
Setting up your own store
If you’re running your own store, you’ll need a fully independent marketing strategy and you will need to design your website as a sales funnel to carry visitors all the way through from being impressed by your landing page – usually the first part they see – to making a purchase. Several online payment companies offer free software you can plug into your site to let customers pay with major credit cards and help you keep your orders organized. You can also use plug-in software to manage stock on your site, so you don’t accidentally sell more than you can produce.
Selling in an online marketplace
If you don’t feel you have the resources to run your own store, or if you want the advantage of selling through multiple outlets, it’s simple to make your products available through online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. You’ll still need to work to make them visible there however. Good keywording in descriptions is essential, but beyond that you’ll have to purchase advertising from the marketplace or promote links to your products elsewhere. Make sure you use professional quality photos so that your listings have immediate visual appeal.
Getting your products noticed
The real art of marketing hinges on developing a coherent strategy to promote your brand so that all your products benefit. When you see automatic targeting explained you’ll understand that this can help by bringing in customers whose personal profiles and general shopping habits mean they’ll be more likely to take an interest in what you sell – Amazon automatic targeting is a great way to get more attention to your products there. Other useful tactics are video marketing on YouTube and Vimeo, and establishing an active, brand-building presence on social media.
Getting repeat custom
Beyond drawing immediate attention to your products, how can you encourage customers to come back for more? Many small businesses find that over half their revenue comes from repeat customers. If you can persuade customers to stay in touch (easier when you offer multiple contact options) you can provide them with vouchers, offer discounts, or suggest new products you think they’d like in order to tempt them back. Good social media work can help you create the sense of a personal connection, enhancing customer loyalty without exhausting yourself.
Getting regular sales takes time as both branding and establishing customer relationships is something you need to build up bit by bit. This isn’t altogether a bad thing as it also gives you time to grow your business to cope with demand. With patience and the right strategy, you can make it a success.