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Selling Online – Non Techy Advice

Selling Online - Some Non Techy Advice
So, we’ve heard a lot on this site about all the techy stuff – installing instances, setting up databases, versions of Magento and the like.  All important stuff that we know about and can help you with, but at Shop Made we have learnt much more than that.
Over the last 10 years we have worked alongside loads of internet sellers from all walks of economic life, selling everything from biscuits to beers and high end fashion to training courses.  Here is a selection of that learning in the hope that it can assist with your selling online venture:

Selling Online – A Few Key Tips

1. Analyse your competitors.

Sounds obvious but missed by many.  How does the saying go, ‘know thine enemy as well as they know thine self and you shall be the victor of a thousand battles’.  I think there is even a plaque with this on at Wimbledon, or Anfield or somewhere like that.  It is THAT important.  Really.

Know what your competitors are selling and how much for.  Even a 19p price chip on a bottle of wine can result in 1000s of sales.  Don’t be afraid to charge a higher price for a premium product, but make sure it is quality and is clearly described on your site as such.  Selling online is no different to the high street in this respect.

2. What makes you different?

Why should I buy from you?  There must be something that sets you apart – don’t be shy, make sure it hits your customers between the eyes.  You can call this competitive advantage, unique selling points, differentiators, the list from the text books goes on but you know exactly what I mean.

It is why you went into business.  It’s the gap in the market, your eureka moment.  By the time you get from this point to a webs shop and start selling, some of all that can get lost.  You haven’t forgotten what makes you special a different, it has just become second nature and you forget to go on about it.  Bring it out, dust it off, find new ways to describe it, different angles and then sing about all of it.  Do not be subtle.  Key messages should be loud and up front.

3. Trust is crucial

Shoppers are buying more than ever online, but are concerned about scams.  Create trust in your site, offer a phone number for support & contact, give details of your company, a postal address and details of the staff and Directors.  It makes customers warm to you and feel confident in hitting the buy button.

4. Aim to educate….then sell

Draw customers in with free help and advice.  Offer downloads and information, engage with your customers, start a conversation, invite comments.  Always have a blog on your site to get this ball rolling.  Don’t just be a brochure online, be human, have a personality, come alive on the screen.  Customers warm to that, and warm customers will spend with you.

5. Fulfilment

A posh word for postage and packing, and often an Achilles heel for successful selling online.  Where are you going to store all these products?  Do you really fancy schleping to the post office 4 times a day?  The post office can come to you every day for a small fee, you can rent warehouse space for cheap these days, there are even companies out there who will store your stuff and send it out.  This comes at a price, but most companies will negotiate and the charges aren’t that much more than royal mail delivery charges.  Something to consider when you grow and cash flow is less of an issue.

6. Traffic Building

Don’t build your shop in a desert.  Let people know where you are.  This isn’t just about search engine optimisation, there is much more to traffic building than that.  Traditional marketing and promotions play a big part in selling online.  Get your brand out there, leaflets are cheap and there a huge range of publications that are all offering great advertising deals at the moment.  Know your audience and target your effort, there are plenty of affordable options available.  There are plenty of great advice sites out there, but this is my favourite, check out Demon Demon.  It could well be the best 15 minutes of browsing you do this year.

 

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One Comment

  1. Excellent advice Paul. Going up against some of the big boys like Amazon can be daunting. I think your point about giving your site personality is key. I think there will be a revolt against some of the big players on the e-commerce scene and having that hook or that unique selling point will bring traffic to the new shops. Thanks for sharing.

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