In earlier articles, I have discussed in great detail why an online shop is a great supplement to your local shop and how you can get started. If you are already a business owner, you know a thing or two about selling. You know how to attract customers and make them purchase the products you sell. Now, once you shift your business to the internet, things may get a bit complicated as selling online is nothing like what you have known till now. There are several factors that are completely different than what you have experienced selling at your physical store.
Unlike local shops, products on online shops need to be more presentable. In a physical store, the consumer sees, experiences, analyses and then purchases the product. But, at an online shop — the consumer has only two options of four – see & purchase. So, the look totally matters. You need to make your product listing as much presentable as possible. Only those products that make a good first impression — are sold more viably.
When I say “You need to make your product listing as much presentable as possible” — this applies to both multiple products listing and single product pages. More than half of the customers add products to cart on listing pages just by looking at product thumbnails. These product listing pages which contain more than a single product are called ‘index pages’. If you are selling on Amazon kind of sites, the number of products listed on index pages can be in thousands from hundreds of sellers like you. So you must know how important a thumbnail is. The better the thumbnail, more the chances of your product going to consumers’ cart.
Let me explain this with a simple example. Following are two listings of the same product. Which one would you prefer to buy?
In this example, first image is less appealing than the second image. The second image has better product angle, clearer colors and much needed breathing space.
Now let’s add another image to the comparison.
Third image is nothing but only the second image with an added basic label of discount offer. Such labels work as great calls to action and boost the chances of the listing being clicked. Ecommerce giants like Amazon – do not allow adding such labels to ensure equal competition among sellers & products, but there is nothing stopping you from using these on your own online shop.
So next time you upload a product listing, make sure you add the best thumbnail possible.
In addition to the thumbnail factor, there are several other factors that can help you sell more products on your online shop. I will be discussing the important ones in this article.
Use Presentation Banners
While talking about product thumbnails, didn’t I mention how presentation can improve the chances of a product being sold! Presentation banners or simply, banners — can add more perk to this and help you gain more sales. Every ecommerce site out there – hires good graphic designers to create powerful banners & other such graphics to lure in the customers and make them feel that this is the product they would ever want to buy.
To be honest, such banners product better leads than any other conversion method available online as these include powerful CTAs, image thumbnails, star ratings (if needed) – which are the three instruments that are key to any product’s sale.
Hire a good graphic designer and facilitate him with a good content writer. These two can deliver a conversion ready set of graphics and other assets that you can use to promote your product for like forever.
Explain your products, in detail
Of course, people will come on to your site to buy products or services and so these should be the best they can be. Make sure any photographs or graphics are high quality and clear, with several angles for potential customers to see. Ensure that the titles are clear and simple with keywords that explain exactly what the product is, and that the description goes into more detail. Cover specifics such as sizes and colors, and if there is a chance of any variance, make sure you include this too. The more detail, the better, but it should be easy to read and understand by your potential customers.
Use the power of Facebook & Instagram
Social networks, especially Facebook & Instagram, are pretty useful in promoting your products and leading to more sales. You can list your products on your Facebook page or Instagram profile – and make your shop open to millions of customers. Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest like sites are other useful social networks that can help you sell your products.
- Sign up for a Facebook account and create a page for your business. You can use Facebook advertising to gain more followers. Generate eye catchy posts and use various methods to lead as many clicks as possible.
- On Instagram, you can use hashtags to generate more reach. You can also follow more people to increase your own followership. This method works with almost every social network.
When you are working on promoting sales, you can not just ignore Emails. Email Newsletters are the most used instrument to promote any update about your products, lead more sales and let your subscribers know about new schemes that you’d be providing. Every business uses newsletters to keep in touch with its customers and you mustn’t miss it well.
Sign up for a newsletter service like Mailchimp and create a list. You can either import a database of emails to this list or start afresh & generate subscribers from your website. Either way – make sure that your subscribers are genuine and also that your emails are directed to only those who deserve it. For example, you can’t female only products to male subscribers and vice-versa. Try sorting your subscribers according to location, gender or any other sort that you think is good for your business.
In this era of WhatsApp, Telegram & Messenger – SMS may have lost its charm but it hasn’t lost its importance. WhatsApp like services may be on over 40% of the devices but SMS’es are universal and every device is facilitated by this. Using SMS marketing can boost your sales by huge margin. You can start by buying bulk SMS services to reach more people at once and make more people visit your website.
Know that retaining customers is more important than gaining those. Unlike every other instrument mentioned here, SMS alerts hold the power to facilitate every customer of your business with useful offers and much more.
Make this connection personal and wish your customers birthdays & anniversaries to make them feel special.
You can use landline texting to both call & SMS your customers from the same business number. This obliterates the need for more than one numbers – one for texting and other for calling.
Online advertising is another useful tool to boost your sales. In addition to Facebook Ads — that I already mentioned — you can use Adwords & Chitika like ad services to target more people. If possible, you can also try print ads to boost your sales locally.
Some companies run referral programs in which affiliates engage more customers by promoting your site for a commission. This is currently the most favorable instrument of promotion as it doesn’t just boost your business but also helps your customers earn some more money by gaining you more customers. Affiliate Marketing works like word of mouth — the more the affiliates, the merrier the results.
Give Legal and Professional Touches to Your Online Shop
Giving legal and professional touches to your online shop is essential not just for compliance but also for earning trust from customers and stakeholders. A professional online shop is one that adheres to laws and regulations, protects customer information, and provides transparent information. Here’s how to give your online shop legal and professional touches:
Terms of Services
- Terms & Conditions (T&C): This legal document outlines the rules and guidelines users must follow when using your website. It will cover areas such as usage restrictions, intellectual property provisions, and disclaimers.
- Disclaimers & Disclosures: If you use affiliate links, have partnerships, or any other potential conflict of interest, disclose this information transparently.
Return & Refund Policy
- Clearly state the conditions under which products can be returned, the process for returns, and the period during which returns are accepted.
- Ensure the policy is easy to understand and transparent.
Secure Payment Systems:
- Use trusted payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, or Square. Ensure all transactions are encrypted.
- Display security badges to assure customers their payment information is safe.
Business Licensing and Registration
- Ensure you have the necessary licenses or permits to sell online, particularly if you’re selling specialized products (e.g., alcohol, prescription medications).
- Register your business according to your local regulations, and display your registration number or equivalent on the site.
- If you’ve designed unique products, consider protecting them with patents or design rights.
- Trademark your brand logo, name, and tagline to protect your brand identity.
- Respect other people’s intellectual property rights. Ensure you have licenses for all third-party assets you use, including images, software, and music.
Professional Design & Branding
- A clean, cohesive, and user-friendly design is a hallmark of professionalism.
- Your logo, color scheme, and website layout should be consistent and reflect your brand.
- Set yourself up with a custom domain, a tagline and a logo that represents you and your brand.
- These will set your online shop apart from the rest and give it some credibility as well as some personality. You don’t have to pay a lot for a logo, there are some online tools that will help you create a simple and professional-looking logo, without ending up out of pocket.
- A custom domain is a must and will really give your website a professional look and will feel more trustworthy and official to people visiting the site. Again, this doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money, if you shop around for your options.
- Always provide a clear way for customers to reach you. This might include a phone number, email, physical address, and contact form.
- Consider adding a live chat feature for real-time assistance.
- Customers buying online want to know that if there are any issues, they will be able to get in contact with someone for customer support.
- By having a live chat feature, you can increase your site-wide conversion by around 10%! This should be accessible on all pages, and the support given through it should be consistently helpful and polite, to keep buyers returning.
- If you can’t offer 24/7 live chat support, make sure other contact options such as email, ticket support, or telephone, are very clear.
Certificates & Badges
- If you belong to any trade associations, chambers of commerce, or have received certifications related to your industry, display them on your site.
- These act as trust signals, assuring customers of your credibility.
- Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption is vital for any online store. It ensures that data transferred between your site and users is encrypted and secure.
- Many customers look for the padlock symbol in the address bar as a sign of trust.
- Make sure your website is accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. Adhere to web accessibility guidelines and consider tools that improve accessibility.
Feedback & Reviews
- Allow customers to leave reviews and feedback. This transparency can be a sign of trustworthiness.
- However, never fabricate reviews. Authenticity is essential.
Regular Legal Checkups
- Laws and regulations can change. Regularly consult with a legal expert to ensure you remain compliant.
It can be a big risk for consumers to purchase goods or services from a new website, and this is where reviews can be very useful. Encourage your past customers to leave an honest review after purchase and have these visible on the site. The more reviews, the more convincing they will be, however, it is important to only use real, genuine reviews.
Be sure to take onboard any feedback from customers about the types of products and services you offer, as this may give you ideas for new directions.