Online sales are a growing part of the retail market in the United States and in many European and Latin countries as well, small business owners need to be online to participate. A smart-looking website is a great start, but using the right store solution for your needs – maximizing search power, mobile availability, payment processing, and advertising – will help bring your small business to life. next level.
Wondering how to sell online? We are here to help you get started with this step-by-step guide for your online sale.
How to sell online in 3 steps
1. Decide how you want your online store to look
We hope you know what kind of products you want to sell online.
Next, you have to think about as you want to sell those products. How do you want your online store to look? Answering this question will help you determine what type of e-commerce service you could use, or if you could just work with an online marketplace, such as Amazon.
To seize the opportunity and figure out how to sell online, start by creating a list of what your online store needs – and make a wish list, too – and then choose a store solution based on those items, says John Lawson, CEO of ColderICE, e-commerce educator and author of “Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-Preneurs.”
You may need a powerful large magnifying display, size and color selectable shopping carts, multiple payment options, or the ability to link with your integrated accounting system so inventory data is automatically updated with each sale .
2. Choose the best e-commerce platform for you
After assessing your needs for your online store, compare your needs with what the big eCommerce providers have to offer.
BigCommerce, Shopify, Wix and Miva Merchant are the players in the big store solution.
Get started with BigCommerce
Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so choose the service that best meets the needs of your list. Expect to pay $ 20-200 per month, depending on volume, or over $ 7,000 for advanced custom design. (If you already have a business website, you don’t need to start from scratch – you can add a shopping cart plugin or integrate it with a store solution.)
The good thing about investing in selling through your own online store is that you are in full control of what your store looks like and how it works, as each ecommerce website builder gives you a lot of flexibility.
Not only that, having your own legitimate-looking online store gives you credibility in the eyes of your customers. You want them to feel like they are shopping from a professional and secure website when they go to your business’s online store.
3. Consider selling in the markets
Wondering how to sell online? If you asked online retailers this question, they would probably tell you to get into one of the big markets. Amazon and eBay account for 90% of all B2C sales.
Selling in an online marketplace can be very easy to get started, making a marketplace solution a good option for business owners who don’t want to invest in perfecting their own online store, but do want to sell online and start earning. money now.
In most cases, it’s as easy as opening a seller account, listing your products for sale, then determining how you want your orders fulfilled, how you will accept payments, and how you will ship them.
Of course, there is a bit more. For a deep dive, check out our guide to selling on Amazon, opening an Etsy store, or sell on eBay.
There are challenging sides to selling in the markets. Most notably, standing out from the crowd. Each oline market has its own algorithm according to your business, if you decide to sell online in this way, you will be subject to the structure of said online market. You will need to spend some time optimizing each of your market profiles to be sure that the millions of users of these platforms are actually seeing your product.
9 Tips for Selling Online
If you are fast and you know how to sell online and start making money quickly, then be pleased, but if you are looking for a little more, here are some additional tips on how to sell online and get it right.
1. Be prepared for mobility
Your mobile commerce-friendly site should have a “great friction-eliminating design” for smartphone and tablet users, Lawson advises. Keep it simple so customers can easily add to cart and pay.
2. Flesh Out Every Product Page
Customers can’t touch and feel your product or service, so tell a compelling story with superbly written copy and multiple photos. “Your landing page is the sales page and the gateway to your brand and your stores,” says Lawson, since most people find it through search and may never see your home page. Everything a customer needs to make informed purchasing decisions should be on each product page.
3. Hold the “Buy Now” button above the fold
“Don’t make me look for that button,” Lawson says. To boost conversion rates, an “add to cart” button should clearly stand out on the page.
4. Use site search
Nothing is more frustrating than a bad search. Visit the sites hosted on the same store solution to see how well it works before committing to a service. The search bar should always be in the upper right corner of the page, where people instinctively search for it.
5. Provide excellent customer service
Most cart solutions include order tracking, a must-have for all shipments. Offer a good return policy and free shipping, or at least free after a certain price point. Lawson advises setting that bar at 10-15% of the average cart total to actually see an increase in sales.
6. Build on your wish list
Add-ons to consider include alternative delivery methods, search in order of importance, autocomplete within search, advertising in search results, and determining what appears when there are no search results.
7. Cure and Customize
With another plug-in, make product suggestions based on previous customer purchases or searchable items, especially as customers add items to their cart. “Just don’t try to sell me once I’m in the car and ready to pay,” Lawson cautions. “When I hit the ‘Checkout now’ button, the next thing I need to see is the checkout page.”
8. Be safe
Set up a merchant account and payment gateway (with Authorize.net, for example), or use a third-party payment processor like PayPal, to accept credit cards. An SSL certificate encrypts the personal information of your website users, preventing scammers from accessing sensitive data such as credit card numbers.
9. Effective advertising
“‘If you build it, they’ll come’ is so far off the mark,” says Lawson. “You are responsible for driving your own traffic, and the best way is to pay for it.” Don’t let social sites like Facebook and Pinterest be your whole strategy because “it’s hard to scale it up, no matter how good,” he adds. It is much easier to increase your budget and reproduce good advertising. Before you spend a lot of money on Google ads, test the conversion rates on cheaper search engines like Bing. It will actually cost you less if you target advertising based on keywords, demographics, geographic location, age range, and time of day. Facebook analytics can help you segment your target market.