How Successfully is selling Online
Deciding to open an online store is exciting. The overhead is relatively low and you can manage everything from a home office, at least at the beginning. With free and low-cost methods for advertising, you’re more than ready to jump in with two feet and start selling!
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There are several things that you need setup ahead of time, like a website and a marketing plan. You also need to know how to figure out if you’re performing as well as possible. Here are a few things that you need to know about how to sell online.
Setup an Online Store that Converts
The first thing you need in order to sell products or services online is a shop that will convert visitors to customers. There are several options for setting up an online retail store. You can create a website yourself using something like WordPress or Squarespace, but if you don’t have experience designing websites, this isn’t the best option. You can hire a professional website designer to create a website for you, but be prepared to spend quite a bit.
Depending on the type of product you sell, you can setup an Etsy shop. While Etsy will take a portion of your sales and charge you a small amount to list items, a lot of people peruse Etsy daily and people really love buying from the platform. Alternatively, you can use a platform like Shopify, which has retail shop templates from you to choose from. You can quickly get a great looking shop setup, list your items and start driving traffic to your store.
Market Your Shop
Once you’ve setup your shop, you’ll need to market it. There are a few ways to do this using both inbound and outbound marketing. Inbound marketing means that your customers will find you. The best way to increase inbound marketing is by using the right search engine optimization. In a nutshell, you want to figure out which keywords and terms your customers are using to find your products online. Then, you want to make sure that your website, blog posts and product descriptions use these words and terms in order to increase your odds of showing up in Google search results.
With outbound marketing, you seek out your customers. You can do this for practically nothing by connecting with potential customers on social media sites. Instead of creating a profile on every single social media platform out there, pick one or two, get them up and running, and gather an audience before adding another platform.
Stay Connected to Your Customers
Once you begin to make sales, you’ll want to find a way to stay in touch with your customers. While it’s always great to get brand new customers, a big portion of your sales are going to be from returning customers. Building customer loyalty is a wonderful way to continually increase your earnings.
There are all sorts of ways to stay in touch with customers. You can have them signup for your mailing list during checkout, then send a weekly or monthly email newsletter with your latest products. You can send a “thank you” note after each order and encourage them to connect with you on social media. You can also use customer relationship management software to store contact information for each customer, along with sales history. This is a great way to figure out who is buying what, making it easier to target them with customized offers in the future.
Encourage Positive Reviews
Online reviews are becoming more and more influential. Shoppers often check reviews before making a purchase, particularly if they don’t have any prior experience with a brand. The more positive online reviews you have, the more trust you’ll build with your audience. Getting those reviews isn’t always easy though, because a lot of people are more likely to leave feedback after they’ve had a bad experience, not a good one.
You can simply ask your customers for a review, but that may not be enough to get them to actually leave one. The best way to get reviews is to offer some kind of incentive. For example, you can email a customer 10 days after their order has shipped to check in and ask if they’ve had a good experience. You can then ask them to leave you a review and offer them a coupon code in exchange for their review.
When it comes to negative reviews, don't ignore them. This is a great opportunity to learn more about what your customers want and need. You can also take the moment to offer stellar customer service and possibly make an unhappy customer happy.
Track Your Stats
Even the most skilled business owners and marketers tend to make the same mistake over and over: they don’t track their stats. If you’re not keeping an eye on your data, it’s impossible to know how well your shop is performing and where you need to make adjustments. Google Analytics is a great way to keep an eye on traffic. When you know where a majority of your traffic is coming from, you know where to invest most of your time and ad budget. Each social media profile will also have built-in stats that you should track monthly to see how well your profiles are performing. Additionally, keep track of which products are selling and which ones aren’t. This will help inform your inventory orders so that you don’t end up wasting money on items that aren’t selling.
While you’ll want to have your ducks in a row ahead of time, don’t wait too long to get your shop up and running. There will always be room for improvement. As your shop expands and grows, you’re going to need to tweak your marketing strategy, among other things. Getting off on the right foot is an excellent start, but be flexible when it comes to making changes in the future.
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