The Secret to Selling Online
Selling online can be easier than setting up a market stall and staffing it all day after being up half the night finishing off your designs and produce. You have the convenience of working from home and reaching the largest potential client base possible to sell your wares.
Here are our picks for the top 5 online selling sites and some helpful tips on maximising your income.
Top 5 Sites for Online Sales
Facebook is a great tool to keep in touch with our friends and relatives but is also a fantastic resource to sell your wares online. Many big and small businesses use Facebook as their main selling outlet or to supplement their existing store.
The great thing about Facebook when selling online is the potential for effective and instantaneous communication with your potential customers.
Etsy is now one of the biggest e-commerce websites on the internet. With a focus on vintage and homemade items, it’s a great resource for people who wish to sell their own goods and perhaps start a small business.
Another advantage to using Etsy is that your wares and your professional etiquette will speak for themselves – the more people like your store, the higher rated you will be and the better references you will receive. This will then lead to a larger and more satisfied client base.
3. Your personal online shopping store
This is essential to have when running your own small business as you ensure that your customer’s first point of contact is you and not a subsidiary or a big business (like Facebook). Having your own online shopping store also serves to lend your business an air of legitimacy and ensures that you have control over the administration of the store and the website.
Pinterest is a little different to the previous examples but is nonetheless a very useful channel to support your online sales. Like Etsy, Pinterest is “Pinning” an image of your products to sell themselves.
Knowing your client base and their interests is crucial and if a potential customer likes your pinned image, they may then visit your website or online store to obtain it.
Quicksales is an online auction site and the second largest in Australia. As with the other entries on this list, a seller’s reputation is vital to succeeding through this channel. You are able to earn a satisfaction/dissatisfaction rating and your goods are reviewed to signal to other potential customers if you are a reputable vendor or not.
So these are the resources, but the question remains. How best to utilise these websites, make your products appealing to the customer and build a reputable online selling business? Here are our helpful tips:
Treat this as you would any other business
It may be easy to forget that online selling is a reputable and legitimate way to sell your goods and make money but that is exactly what you need to keep in mind to be successful at it. Make time for your channels and be active in the appropriate communities such as Pinterest.
If you do not participate, you will be invisible to your potential sellers. Therefore, be productive and efficient, maintain scrupulous records of your sales and customers and treat online sales as you would a real-life business.
Choose the right niche
The size of the potential niche is vital to succeed in selling online. If the niche is too broad, there are more potential customers but likewise more competition who may be more established or have a better reputation than you.
However, if your chosen niche is too specific, the competition may be drastically reduced but so will the customer base. A balance between the two extremes is a sensible idea.
Make it easy for the buyer
We are guilty of maintaining a pitifully short attention span when shopping online so you have to keep this in mind when organising your online shop. Do not alienate your potential customer by making them register before buying or extending the buying process.
Likewise, if selling from a personal website – make sure to structure it so that it is easy to navigate and will not result in lost sales from frustration.
Offer great customer service
The great thing about channels such as Facebook and Etsy is that it gives you a chance as a business owner to engage in effectively online customer service. It will allow your customers to post reviews, comments or complaints directly to you and it is up to you to make good use of that information.
Additionally, be prepared to offer reassurance that your customers are in safe hands when buying from you. Provide a way to track their shipment if the product is physical and offer a complete refund guarantee if the customer is not satisfied.
Advertise your site
As with any other business, if nobody knows who you are or that you exist – you will not make any sales or generate any income. This is where having multiple channels at your disposal works wonders.
A large community of friends and acquaintances on Facebook can easily be used as free advertising if you can get them to share your shop page to their friends. Likewise, if you sell physical goods it might be a good idea to organise events on Facebook relating to your shop such as inviting them to see your stall at a weekend market.
Identify your hook
Generally, people will only buy online if it is more convenient than shopping in person, is cheaper or presents some kind of unique trait or benefit. Therefore, you need to clearly specify what your point of difference is.
A good example is selling homemade jewellery pieces – i.e. there is a unique benefit or a customer can buy an existing product at your online store for less which makes it cheaper AND more convenient for them. Also consider adding some sort of reward to encourage customers to return such as a free gift, loyalty system or % off guarantee for their next purchase.
Maintaining success in online sales requires hard work and dedication as with any other business but following the aforementioned tips and utilising the popular selling channels will allow you to make the most of it and make good money from home.