The Basics of Selling Online

When it comes to selling online you may be forgiven for thinking there is not much difference selling online to selling on a market stall or in a high street shop.  In truth, online selling is a complete niche on its own and a world away from the hustle and bustle of running a shop or stall in real life.

If you know anything about the online world then you will probably have heard of eBay and Amazon.  These two platforms are currently the two biggest online marketplaces for internet sales.  You can think of these metaphorically like the biggest boot sale or market in the world.  They attract a huge amount of visitors looking for a wide variety of items and have a huge amount of sellers, some competing against each other on the same product ranges.

Having your own online shop is a whole different kettle of fish from selling on a marketplace.  What makes eBay and Amazon work well is the fact they already have a large online presence and a massive audience hitting their websites.  Not to mention they also cross-promote sellers items automatically through Google Shopping as well as put in advertising methods to bring buyers back to complete sales.

With your own website instead of selling ‘on the market’ you have your own expandable shop unit on the high street.  Everything from how it looks to how it operates is completely down to you, whilst attracting an audience to visit your shop is also down to you.  So why would you get your own online store?  Simple… better profits!

With the online marketplaces such as eBay they often charge a 10% selling fee as well as take additional commission per sale for promoting items, monthly shop fees and PayPal fees for receiving the money itself.  By the end of paying those pesky fees out you can often be left with a really tight profit margin which is hard to sustain unless you have a large quantity of sales.

By having your own e-commerce website, you can be in charge of the fees.  Of course at IRC Direct Website Services we do charge a fee for designing and launching an e-commerce store, but if you do make a success out of your store our website design fee will seem like a drop in the ocean.

Customer Mentality and the difference between a marketplace and e-commerce store.

The difference between customer mentality on the marketplace and being on your website is quite different.  If you were to picture the customer on eBay – they are likely to source the product they want, and then compare different sellers until they find it at the right price.

On a website their mentality is actually quite different.  The shoppers that visit your website will obviously be concerned about price, but probably more concerned about quality and whether the website is ‘real’ and the business is reputable.  They are more than likely going to check your company’s reputation and inspect your terms and conditions than leave your website to visit somewhere else.

This is where a fluid, responsive and attractive design works well.  Not only does it reinforce to the seller you are a genuine company, but gives them the confidence to complete the sale all the way through.

It is not always about being the cheapest on the internet!

There is a common misconception about selling products online that in order to succeed you need to be the cheapest.  People seem to think because there are so many sellers online it is hard to compete on price and make a profit.  Although there are a certain portion of the internet shoppers who do their homework to find the lowest price, many buyers actually buy completely through impulse. 

The key to high conversion is by ‘selling’ the product.  Now obviously you are already selling the product, but what is meant by this is actually convincing the customer to add the product to their basket and checkout right now.  The key to this is not only a good website design, but also an enticing copy of the product and quality product images.

Getting quality product images can sometimes be a challenge, but believe it or not with a cheap ‘light box’ and an iPhone you can actually take some pretty decent photographs.

When it comes to writing the copy for the product you want to make sure the product is well described and answers any question the buyer might have.  If you can give the buyer a clear idea of exactly what they are buying you will often get a higher conversion rate.

Remarketing, targeting and getting your products found.

As well as getting the initial website designed, don’t just think you are going to launch a website and the customers will come calling. Not unless you already have a list of thousands of targeted customers who are interested in your product are you going to hit the ground running.

You can have the best online shop in the world, but if nobody knows about it then you are not going to sell a thing. 

This is where external advertising methods come in.  From advertising on social media, to including your products individually on Google Shopping, there are many different and varied methods of advertising your store, and unfortunately there is not a standard way which works for everyone.  Every store is different and every store needs a different approach depending on the products they are selling, who they are targeting to buy them and many more factors.

If you are interested in getting an e-commerce store set up then speak to us at IRC Direct Website Services.  We will be able to sit down with you to discuss your e-commerce website and work out the best strategy to help you succeed online.

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