Imagine having your own online store, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Online shopping is increasingly popular, and now is a great time to think about how you can get on-board.
Ecommerce websites or online stores are a great way to make extra money or to expand on sales and reach a broader market.
This article will talk you through 5 essential steps to get you started selling products online and to ensure the success of your online store.
What could I sell online?
There are lots of options to consider for your online store such as:
- Downloadable products e.g. ebooks, resources or music
- Online training material or interactive courses
- Handmade arts and crafts
- Clothing, jewellery, shoes, electrical goods…
Perhaps your business already has a range of products that you would like to sell on your website and post out when individual orders come through Or
Perhaps your business requires an ecommerce website – complete with a shopping cart process, automatic invoicing, packing slips, and an up-datable inventory.
Step 1: Your products and your business
Think about what information your customers would want to know about your products and your business in order for them to buy your products.
- What makes your products worth purchasing e.g. price, quality, range of options available etc
- What makes your business stand out from competitors e.g. customer service, experience, guarantee etc
Step 2: Making sure your website is people friendly
Your customers need to be able to find information on your website quickly and the product order process needs to be as smooth as possible to avoid confusion.
Think about how to categorise your products so people will easily locate products.
Over complicated website navigation and shopping cart processes can result in customers leaving the website to find another supplier.
Step 3: Your website copy
The content on your website needs to read well – not just a sales pitch – the copy should contain relevant key words and should read like a conversation to be search engine and customer friendly.
There needs to be enough relevant text on your website in order for search engines such as Google to index your website for relevant search terms.
The text content needs to be consistent in terms of relevancy (what the page and products is all about) throughout your website and keep the content unique – try to avoid copying and pasting across pages as Google disregards duplicate content and this can result in reduced SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
It is highly recommended getting some keyword research and analysis done by someone who knows what they’re doing – this research will let you know how high the competition is and what keywords to focus on throughout your content for optimal results.
Step 4: Marketing your online store
Marketing your online store to reach target groups is essential.
It is often an assumption that when you launch an online store, thousands of people will all of a sudden find your website and start buying products – unfortunately things don’t always tend to work that way.
Getting sales online, like with any offline store – your ecommerce website requires strategic marketing to reach your target groups.
Example marketing strategies to reach broader markets could include:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – such as Google Adwords (pay-per-click advertising) can be a great way to drive more targeted traffic to your website.
- Customer referrals – you might like to consider offering existing customers incentive rewards to purchase more products or for referring your business to their friends. Having testimonials on your website of customers experiences buying from your business can also be a great way to encourage word of mouth sales.
- Coupons or vouchers – consider running discount sales or offering coupons or vouchers to encourage sales – everyone loves a bargain.
- Online marketing – build up links to your website from other relevant websites to encourage traffic to your website.
- Social media networking – build up a community following through a blog or through social networking sites such as facebook, instagram and twitter to keep customers up-to-date and notified of any special offers, new products etc.
- Offline marketing – posters, brochures, flyers, letter-box mail outs can all help to get your business known.
Remember marketing is an on-going process and should become a fundamental part of running your business.
Step 5: Monitor, Review and Refresh
It is important to monitor your website and keep your content fresh and up-to-date.
- Using tracking statistics such as Google Analytics is a great way to monitor how people are finding your website and which pages are most popular.
- Keep your product information up to date to avoid unhappy customers who may order a product no longer in stock.
- Keep your content fresh and relevant to keep customers coming back for more.
By following these five steps you will be on your way to having a rewarding online business.
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