Internet shopping continues to grow in strength each year. Christmas has proven that people are just as likely to order presents for their loved ones from Amazon, eBay and Firebox as from Marks and Spencers and John Lewis. Even the big supermarket brands are fighting for dominance in the online world. So how do you get onto the online stage and starting selling?
It’s actually not as difficult as you may think. The most important thing is having a desire to do well and being realistic about what you have to do. eCommerce is the name commonly given to selling goods online. The great thing about the internet is you can sell anything from physical goods, music, files and even information.
What are you selling?
Ok first question is to be sure about what you’re selling. Once you know this you can do some research and look at who else is selling it and how (trust me, there will always be someone else doing it). Try to look at what they are doing and their strengths/weaknesses. Next think about who you are selling to and what they would want from your shop and products.
Think about your brand
Shoppers prefer to buy online from a trusted brand. So think of a strong brand which people will be able to identify and tell their friends and family about. Think about who it will appeal to (young / old, men / women etc).
How will you sell?
The simple example is people will find your goods on your website, add them to a shopping cart, pay for it and then you ship out. If you sell other things such as music or files then obviously they will download them instead of post. You could also ask people to collect from your shop if the items are bulky.
How will your customers pay?
Your customers can pay cash on delivery such as in the case of a food business. The most popular way is by debit / credit card – in which case you will need an account with a payment provider such as SagePay or PaymentSense. There are usually fees involved with this. Another popular method is via PayPal so you’ll need to set this up, but be aware there may still be some fees to pay.
Any additional charges for your customers?
It’s important to remember things like postage and packaging, VAT, shipping costs or anything else which you will need to pass on to your customer. If you fail to take these into account then you may end up paying for them in the long term.
Dealing with orders
An important aspect of selling online is you can get an order at any time of day. So you need to have a plan as to how you deal with incoming orders. For example, it is most likely you will get an email when someone orders. What then? If you’re selling a physical item you will need to get it, package it, prepare it for posting and then actually post it. This takes time and money. Think about if you had to do this every hour.
What about faulty goods / returns?
It’s very important to consider how you deal with faulty goods and returns. Many people feel comfortable buying from sites where there are money back guarantees and free returns available. This helps build trust with your customer. Making the whole process easy for them (and you) is always a good idea. Buying goods online automatically gives your customers protection under distance selling regulations.
Show great customer service
Selling online is all about building trust with the customer without having a chance to talk to them or sit with them. So show them – customer feedback, reviews, money back guarantees and promises all give your customers more reason to trust your site and brand.
Join the information age!
Finally, if you haven’t already – get a smartphone with access to email! If you have email wherever you go, then you can view your orders, and also customer queries quickly and easily. Reacting quickly to orders and emails shows great customer service and will keep people coming back for more.
Have a great looking website!
Finally, if you’re going to sell online then obviously you need a great website to do it from. At StudioRav we can set up your site for you including things like making it responsive (so it can be viewed on tablets and mobile phones) and having all kinds of functionality such as sorting, galleries, feedback forms, shopping carts etc. All you need to do is have good images and product descriptions which can add on. These last two things are very important so if you do have any problems with this then let us know right from the start!
So if you are serious about selling online and want to take a share of the online shopping pie then contact StudioRav.