Are you a successful offline retailer looking to sell online?

Do you understand the process, the pros, and the cons, well enough to succeed?

Have you evaluated if going online is the best move for your business, financially, logistically, and from a marketing perspective?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, this article on how to sell online is just right for you. Let’s start with the basics.

How To Sell Online: Use A Different Set Of Skills!

If you’ve been seriously considering taking your business online, you probably know that

  • your website must be competent from aesthetic, tech, and security perspectives. Slow-loading sites are a big NO-NO.
  • there is a time gap between making a sale and the delivery, and the longer it gets, the more unhappy a consumer can be. Order fulfillment is everything.
  • simply being online is not enough, and you need to market your store
  • you need to have the right assortment of products and put them out there via the right channels
  • having a handle on your target audience personas is very important
  • today’s consumer can take to a variety of social media platforms to voice their concerns, and you need to manage your reputation online to sell sustainably
  • you need to do everything to garner positive reviews as a seller and learn how to manage negative ones.

Want to be up on top in searches? Getting your keywords right is key!

Most consumers looking for specific items find what they are looking for by means of search engines like Google. Or on a website like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay.

For search engines, keywords matter a lot. The right keywords help a search engine present the most relevant results to the user.

Here’s how you can gain some visibility on sites like Etsy or Amazon using the right keywords for your product.

  • Study the competition. See what keywords they have used. Look for both short keywords and longer ones and make a list.
  • Use your own keyword research tools (and a host of them can be found with a simple Google search) to determine which keywords are trending or have the maximum traction.
  • Use these keywords in your product title, description, and even in the images. Don’t stuff the copy with keywords though. Let it look as natural as possible.

Know who will buy your products and why. Then target them strategically.

As a brick-and-mortar retailer, you probably have a good grasp of who your customers usually are. When you expand online, it may be worthwhile to do a buyer-persona exercise for your product category.

Remember, online buyers are buying through that specific channel for a variety of reasons, and interest in the product itself is just one of them. Factors such as what friends are buying, offline vs. online price expectations, geographical location all come into play.

Therefore, try this approach to understanding your customers, this time in a different context:

  • Consider who your ideal target audience is. Preferably, they should buy from you repeatedly.
  • Understand where they are (online) and figure out how you can target them.
  • Never advertise for the world at large. Instead, customize your listings and descriptions for those people who are likely to buy from you.
  • Most importantly, ask people and understand if there is scope for sustained, growing interest in your products over a period of time. Read our guide to doing your market research right, here.

A Product Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

This age-old mantra is oh-so-true when it comes to modern online selling. Product pictures need to be good.

And by good, we mean very, very good.

Your product pictures are the only chance you’ll get to make an impression on your customers. Even descriptions are likely to be read-only when the photo itself is attractive. If you haven’t already, invest in professional services and give your products some much needed visual TLC.

And couple them with accurate, attractive descriptions for a winning combination!

Sell Online Better: Promote and market your online store

The amount of money you make is directly proportional to the exposure you get online. And to make money, you sometimes need to spend money too. Enter- digital marketing.

Today, digital marketing services can deliver everything from targeted ads to delivering ads via email, retargeting customers who have expressed intent, and identifying distribution channels with maximum traction.

When you set up your online store, be sure to enable analytics. This way, you always have a basic understanding of what is and isn’t working for you.

Some commonly used advertising tools

  • If you’re looking to get your website to rank higher in search, you can invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website. Using the right keywords on the website gives you a better chance of being noticed. A well-maintained blog also helps you rank higher over time.
  • Google’s Adwords service is one way of featuring on page one of the search rankings. Using the right headlines based on what your consumers might be looking for, you have a good chance of showing up as a sponsored result. You can set up conversion tracking to monitor whether your ads are leading to conversion.
  • Facebook also offers a variety of sophisticated tools to advertise to your audience. You can customize everything from your audience and location to the placement of your ad itself. More recently, Instagram too has started to allow paid promotions, which in turn can boost your product sales. Here are some great tips to market your business on Instagram.

Sort the Basics of How to Sell Online

Payment Gateways

A payment gateway is a portal where your customers will pay for the product they buy from you. Not all payment gateways are created equal, though. A payment gateway securely processes your customers’ information, accepts the payment from them, and generates a confirmation number. A good payment gateway does all of these without ever creating a problem.

  • Consider how much it costs you. A classic gateway costs lesser but requires that you set up a separate account. A gateway like PayPal can be linked to an existing account, but the transaction fees are slightly higher.
  • Start with a gateway that charges a lesser fee from you and upgrades as your sales volume grows.
  • Checkout page optimization is important to prevent losing any sales at this critical point.

Shipping Partners

When going online, a unique problem crops up – that of delivery. As opposed to the instant gratification of buying a product in-store, a customer now has to wait for their product. Several things can happen if the delivery goes wrong, doesn’t arrive on time, or arrives in a shabby state. This is why it is so important to choose the right delivery partner.

  • Always go by their past record. Consider how many people in the same domain as you are using this partner’s services.
  • Be firm about your delivery expectations. This is especially true for perishable homemade goods that you ship to far-off locations.
  • Talk about who will deal with packaging. Set your packaging expectations on the table so you don’t have disappointed customers. You can also discuss an arrangement where you will do the initial custom packaging and the delivery partner will ensure it arrives in spotless condition.

Customized Packaging

If your delivery partner is looking after the bubble wrap, you may want to consider customized packaging. A customer’s brand recall depends heavily on how they were ‘treated’ by the brand.

  • Include personalized messages or handwritten notes expressing your appreciation for the customer.
  • Throw in a coupon for a discount on the next purchase.
  • If you’re selling cosmetics, beauty products or lingerie, consider adding in a bit of fluff. Use stuffing material that will add some extra appeal to the box.
  • Let your box speak for your brand- your company colors and a logo can work well.
  • Keep the entire package light, else you will be paying out more for the weight of the box itself while shipping.

Good Inventory Management

While selling across multiple channels is a great way to improve sales, the inevitable issue of stock management often crops up. How do you make sure you don’t continue to receive orders when you’re actually sold out?

  • A good inventory management system can help you keep track of what you’re selling.
  • At Primaseller, we’ve built software that can take care of your inventory woes. Our automated inventory management system ensures that your stock levels are dynamically updated across your sales channels, throughout the day.