5 Ways To Sell Better Online (Psst…Make More Money)

Selling online is what was “hot” before social media came along. Remember when we used to rant and rave about shopping carts, browsers into buyers and all those good things?
Well selling is still important, very important.
Of course instead of just using an email newsletter, blog or web site, we now also use social media to find more about customers and sell to them in new ways.
Regardless of the platform, a good web host and well designed web site is still important. Of course Facebook e-commerce applications are on the rise, mobile sales are increasing and local selling sites like Bizzy, GroupOn and more are popping up.
Brian Horakh, CEO of web host Zoovy gives his insight about selling online, ecommerce.

What are some top tips to selling better online?

Selling online is best used with the following philosophy: identify, execute, deliver and obtain feedback. A common mistake that many merchants make is to go into the execute mode too quickly without identifying opportunities. Below are a few Best Practices and tips for success:

  • CRM – create a complete view of your customer. Collecting information on all customer interactions across all channels is a must. Segmentation, repeat business behavior and loyalty are the foundations of your customer base.
  • Comparison Shopping – titles are important. Category names do not perform well as brand names.
  • Optimize your e-mail campaigns – every e-mail campaign should be tied to strong analytics. Tracking a variety of metrics, such as the number of e-mails delivered, bounced-back, opened, placed orders and any coupons associated with an offer is a powerful tool for segmentation.
  • Duplicate Content – same product content on multiple categories actually can hurt your search engine rankings. Using a “do not follow” in the link will help.
  • Search Engine Marketing – Google gives you 35 characters per line; make them count. If your ecommerce platform has A/B testing capabilities, experiment and expect a significant lift in conversions.

What trends is Zoovy seeing in e-commerce?

Besides the obvious trends with social commerce and mobile commerce, there is a lot of movement in marketplaces. Everybody already knows Amazon is blowing up the sales charts. We’re worried that we’re seeing sellers doing the same thing they did with eBay a few years back, which is ignoring other opportunities and just focusing all their efforts on the largest ones.
There are a lot of interesting and reasonably well capitalized marketplaces coming online and growing maturely. Familiar names such as Buy.com, Sears and HSN are following Amazon’s example but much more closely screening their suppliers, which will lead to better long term success once they get through the growing pains.
There’s an uptick in demand for multiple stores, especially from the more savvy merchants who are focused on growth and looking for a way to diversify themselves against a future Amazon bubble. They’re using Amazon as a way to move units, then offer the same products on their own store in higher margin configurations (bundles).

There are many e-commerce solutions. How does Zoovy compare and what are their differences?

Zoovy is well positioned for a company that just wants to use software but not necessarily “be” in the software business with their own developers and IT staff. Zoovy provides better functionality, more tools and the services/expertise that our clients need. Our unique approach to e-commerce is to see ourselves as the IT infrastructure of our clients and to continually be on the lookout for solutions that those clients need. When we find a solution that will benefit our client base, it is baked into the software and then supported by us, effectively giving the customer a single point of contact to manage their website and related technologies. The e-commerce space moves quickly; we offer our clients the world class IT infrastructure and cross-disciplines necessary to create a stable foundation for growth.
Companies in the e-commerce ecosystem generally define themselves by a narrow role – e.g., hosting, shopping cart, design, feed management, marketing/promotions, coupons, CRM, etc. No single vendor is an expert on making all those systems talk and share data, so basically each company sees their role as a cog in a series of non-related companies who might share marketing leads or data interchange points. Zoovy provides many of those components, and for those we don’t, we bring in third parties to make sure they work seamlessly with the pieces we do provide. We see ourselves and our partners as extensions of our own technology – all working together to deliver a compelling end-to-end solution to drive sales and maximize revenue while reducing costs for our clients. We’re not aware of any other company that can match what we offer our customers, which is a complete, end-to-end solution that increases sales growth and minimizes costs.

What changes have there been due to the rise of social media?
Social media, and the associated user-generated content, is interesting because at this point the majority of shoppers don’t realize how much of the “expert content” they consume is actually generated by vendors, manufacturers, competitors, and specialized companies that do what is now being called “social astroturfing.” Social content is undeniably important in influencing customer purchasing behavior.

What about social commerce?

Major brands are using social commerce more effectively than they were able to use traditional media and at a substantially lower price point. However, small companies with limited budgets should avoid spending too much energy on social media. People hear the spam around social commerce and too often decide to neglect the meat and potatoes of their marketing strategies in exchange for some social commerce magic beans. Companies should always try to measure the ROI. Building a community has a long term ROI, but a near term expense. Unless a company has revenues of at least $5m/annually and has some real cash to spend on social commerce, it’s really in its infancy and should be sure not to over-extend themselves by putting too much emphasis on social commerce.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook