Selling online is EASY – we small businesses have all the tools and services available to get it done. However, it’s challenging as you must do so many things right to sell online.
We’ve asked Carl Waldekranz, CEO and co-founder of Tictail — an online platform that allows individuals and retailers to set up virtual stores in minutes. to share his best practices for selling online – successfully.
Here’s his advice:
Start with your content. I’m honestly surprised at how often I come across an online store only to realize that product descriptions are inadequate, photos are grainy and poorly-lit, and important information like return policy, measurements, and product quality are nowhere to be found.
Make sure at the very least your online presence lives up to the following:
Store description. Be informational – Where are you? When were you established? How can one get in touch? Be emotional – Why did you start your business? What sets you apart from competitors?
Products. At least 3 product images of varied detail, scale, etc. A solid product description highlighting what the product does, the quality of the product, its benefits, and a written description of what the product looks like. Assume the customer knows nothing about the product – written words can serve to amplify the details of images.
Return policy, terms & conditions, and shipping info. Remember that content is also the first step to great SEO and directing more traffic to your store. By adding information about your category and craftsmanship, you’ll rank higher in organic search.
Find your neighbourhood online
Always remember – you’re not alone. There are millions of small businesses like yours to be found online, whether on forums, marketplaces like Etsy and Ebay, or on social media like Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.
The first step is to identify your common denominators. That is, what are the words (or even better, #hashtags) that define your category. Next, start browsing these communities and reach out to your peers. Sometimes it can be as simple as “following” them and hoping your store will catch their eye and they’ll follow back. Other times, it might be a good idea to incentivize – perhaps select followers can get their first purchase for free with a unique discount code to share with their own followers. By interacting with fellow merchants, you have the opportunity to expose their customer base to your own store! Keep in mind, however, to always be personal when reaching out and learn to take no for an answer – a bad reputation spreads quickly online.
Where advertising fails, retargeting can work much stronger. By adding a small script to your website, your retargeting partner is able to serve ads to your site’s visitors after they leave. These ads appear on sites like Facebook, for instance. Retargeting is the holy grail of buying traffic because you already know that they’re interested in your product. I highly recommend Perfect Audience to get your lost visitors to return.
Don’t forget your existing customers
Did you know that existing customers are often four times more likely than new visitors to make a purchase? That’s why it’s important to build a relationship with them, to let them know when new products are available, and to bring them in on your new campaigns before everyone else. Retention Grid is a great tool to communicate with existing customers via email.
Make it personal
Finally, I think that it’s very important to not forget the personal nature of the relationship between your brand and your customers. Small things like including a special gift, using a unique wrapping paper, or including a personalized “thank you” note in the package go a long way in making an online purchase feel so much more enjoyable and rewarding! This is also a great opportunity to ask for feedback and promotion – asking customers to share a new product on Instagram if they were happy with their purchase, for example.