TOP 10 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL ONLINE SELLING

11:01Berna V


PAST VS PRESENT

Commerce a decade ago and today is significantly so different, if a man was to time travel from the past, will have no idea how today's world work.

We now buy things with a piece of plastic card, and your smart phone is 100x more powerful and has a faster connection than a computer you had a decade ago. You can do absolutely everything just on your little hand held mobile device, from watching a movie, talking on the phone, sending messages, pictures, music, make videos to banking and shopping. It literally is your mobile office/secretary/personal-assistant.




Common technologies drives people's behaviours, and the way we shop definitely have changed dramatically since smart phones are getting better and better. With everything at the control of your finger-tips, it's not hard to see why.

The fact that huge amount of high streets stores are closing every day across the country, is a testimonial that online market has taken a big chunk over. We have witnessed most of the stores in towns have survived are either the big chain stores, or the one-of-a-kind stores. The reason for that not only lies with the type of products they sell, or their quality, it is mostly based on their online appearances, often accompany with online selling facility along with their shop front.

In another word, to ensure a business to be successful continually, 
your potential buyer must able to search for you and your products online! 
They want to read a review from other customers about your products and services too! 

In most cases, a big department store is successful is because they hire a team to see through all their advertising campaigns to make huge impression, and have a specialist team to take professional photos for their products. Basically the bigger and noisier bang gets more attention. And we argue why couldn't individual sellers achieve the same?

VIRTUAL REALITY

As a business owner, we all know that just about everything you can imagine is available online, from regular items at your local supermarket to rare items from a specialists shops, there are countless numbers of others selling the same type of stuff.

The secret is, how to make your products look better than your competitors? How to impress your potential customers? and How to drive your sales?

Below we have collected a few pointers from online marketing experts, we hope it will help give you some inspirations.



1. DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE:
First step of getting a business kick started is to have a good name! Register a business name that accurately reflects on your product niche. And most importantly, register ALL your social media accounts under that one name that is easy to remember, clever, and clean. So your potential customers can search for you online easily.

Advertise your business heavily online and off. This means you might need some leaflets or brochures to send to potential buyers, and some promotion images for both online and offline use. This will take many hours of work and linking all the social media sites to yours.

The most common social media sites and online selling sites are:
- Facebook.com (online shop, online promotion, & connecting to customers directly)
- Instagram.com (news updates with pictures, online promotion)
- Etsy.com (online shop)
- Twitter.com (news updates, promotion updates)
- Amazon.co.uk (online shop)
- Pinterest.com (online gallery, online promotions, can add direct link to your individual items at your online shop)


2. CHOOSE A GOOD NICHE:
What sells good online? There is no simple answer. But if you must sell, it's always best to sell something you passionate and interests about personally. Because without even try, you already know what's best about the product, and you will know what's the specific point to promote about it. For example, if you are a prolific baker, you will naturally knows what's the best tools to make certain bake without spending time to do research about it. When it comes to promoting your product, you will know exactly where to point out to encourage a sale.



3. BUILD A QUALITY WEBSITE:
If you create your own product, and wish to sell through your own online shop, first and foremost is the need to present your brand and your products with quality graphics that accurately reflect the soul of your business. Your site will need data encryption to ensure your customers' data won't be hacked, and you will need a service that processes credit card payments since most customers prefer to pay with "plastic".

These days it's very easy to set up a simple, and modern looking online shop 
without being an IT expert, with the help of website templates sites 

Just a few hours of playing will allow you to understand how to set up an online shop and a website. If you are not sure how to do it, you can always hire a website engineer or consultant, where you will have a great control over how your website runs, with regular updates without paying extra fees. But of course, if you are looking for a unique shopping experience for your customers online, it is still best to hire a web designer to design and create exactly what you need.




4. MAKE SHOPPING EASY:
Your site must be easy to navigate. Things need to be lined up neatly to be clear and easy to read, also to be aesthetically pleasing. Imagine your customers keep going around in circles and could not find what they are looking for? You will lose your potential customer straight away.

If you are not sure how you should approach your site, spend a couple of hours to do an online search of your biggest competitors. The higher goal you set for yourself, the bigger and better outcome will be achieved. Say if I sell home-made skincare products, I will want my site looks as good as (or almost) like the website of Lancôme or Estée Lauder for example.


5. UNDERSTAND THE ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE:
Visit your competitors' sites, or try to shop on them, and notice what you like or dislike about them. Once you get an idea, you will have ideas on how to make your site more attractive for your products (don't copy everything from head to toe because you will impeach copyrights), and you will also know what prices to sell your goods at.


Salon International, London

6. OFFER GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE & RELATIONSHIP:
You want your customers to feel at ease shopping on your site. Therefore, you must state what your customer service policies are, and what you are willing to do to ensure satisfaction. Maintaining a good relationship with your current existing customers will also attract new customers.

Many of our clients run a monthly prize draw, or giving out discount code for their existing customers' families and friends. This is equivalent of doing a small discount when a group of friends buying a few things from your shop, and you wanted to attract them to come to shop with you again.

Remember we were talking about building your social media appearances earlier on? Customers around the world these days loved to take pictures of their good buy and share it on social media. If you have an account on Instagram, for example, your customers can tag you when they post a picture of them using your product! This is free promotion for you, and equivalent of the good old days "words of mouth".

Got a bad review online somewhere? To rectify it, quickly address and apologise to your customer professionally and respectfully. If someone is being unreasonable, it is apparent to other potential customers that it is not your problem. And this will not affect your sale. But if you choose to ignore it, it'll turn into a silent agreement, and it might affect your sale. The key is, how you handle it.


7. MAKE YOUR SITE KNOWN:
Promoting your site is vital to increase your chance of sales. This means registering your site with search engines as Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite, MSN, Lycos, etc.

Commercial campaign for fine jeweller - Natalie Khor

8. BRING YOUR PRODUCTS TO LIFE:
Well photographed images of your product will make a huge impact on potential customers. Provide images that allow them to 'experience' your product online. In another word, have a model to demonstrate a product, even just a hand holding it with great lighting, will create a huge difference from just a photograph of a product sitting on a white background. Try to bring the feel to it.


L'Oréal Trends Report - Press Conference & Demonstration

9. ENJOY THE RIDE:
If you have fun, your followers/customers will also have fun, and will want to support you and your store. Make your sale about creating new relationships, not just making money or getting rid of extra inventory. You don't need to get bogged down in social media in that respect, go out and talk to real people too!


10. MAINTAINING & UPKEEPING:
Like running a normal shop, you will need to keep updating the look of your website, or social media so people know you are an active seller, and there are things going on. Keep the information up to date always, and try new sales tactics through your social media, soon you will know what works and what doesn't work. The key is to have patience, any new business will take some time to build up a following (of customers) and it is important don't give up too soon. If the business has been in idle for too long, that means you are either promoting yourself not correctly or at the wrong place.






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