Five critical tips for selling online

Selling online is very similar to selling in a real brick store. Actually, it is not that different at all.

Selling online is very similar to selling in a real brick store. Actually, it is not that different at all.

When you really think about it — you as the online merchant simply want your customers to navigate through your store, find the products they are looking for, checkout and pay. Right? Just like in a real grocery or department store.

Here are five key points for selling online that ecommerce merchants need to remember at all times:

  1. Keep the navigation structure simple

    Navigation is the key that allows visitors to find what they're looking for. Just like in a department or grocery store, it is essential to organise your products and related products into groups or departments. If you do not follow a logical pattern, you will confuse your visitors and they may find it difficult to find what they are looking for.

    Example: If you sell electronics, visit other big name computer and electronic shops and look at how they organize the navigation menus. Use that information as a guide to set up your own navigation structure in ShopFactory. Remember to review your own shop continually and change or update your site when market trends change.

  2. Don’t distract your customers

    Often online merchants starting out see features on a competitor’s website which are just 'bling' or seem to look cool: such as a pop-up video overlay of a man or woman talking as soon as the visitor enters the online store.

    While this may appear to be cool, it is actually just a distraction. You want your visitors to focus on the page or product they are looking at, so they can find the relevant information as quickly as possible.

    Using fancy tricks or tactics like an automated video salesperson or pop-ups distracts from your main goal as seller: to get your customers to add a product to the shopping cart and to complete an order. It’s that basic. Anything that gets in the way will actually reduce your sales.

  3. Cross promote on products

    Many online stores do not cross promote related products. Cross promotion gives you the opportunity to sell other products related to a single product your customer may be viewing on your site.

    Say for example you sell DVD / BlueRay players. They may not come with HDMI cables or cleaning kits. You can quickly cross promote these related products in ShopFactory with the Cross Promotion tool, and increase your sales return.

    You can also promote a related BlueRay / DVD player which has more features at a slightly higher price. Cross promotions also help you with search engines, as related and similar product links are captured on the page by the search engine.

  4. Build informative and accurate product pages along with other written content

    One big mistake many new online merchants make is to just build a product page with an image and very little informative text content.

    Search engines and shoppers alike want to see all the information related to your product. If you do not use enough text information such as features, short and long description details, visitors and search engines will not regard your site or product highly.

    Quite often visitors will leave a site which doesn’t provide all the information about a product, to continue searching the Internet for more information. They may find it in another store, which then gets the sale.

  5. Be available and listen to your customers if they make contact

    Many online shoppers will attempt to contact you as seller before buying, whether through a contact page, email or by phone.

    They simply want to know that there is a real and trustworthy person behind the online store. If they to attempt contact, always be available by phone and return emails as quickly as they come in.

    This helps build confidence with your shoppers. It also gives you the opportunity to ask them questions to find out how you could improve their shopping experience on your site.

    If one customer out of a 100 contacts you and complains about an issue or problem they had with your site — many others who haven't contacted you may not have purchased from your site for the same reason.

    Being quick and responsive will also mean customers will remember their experience, return to buy from you again and, even better, may share their positive experience with others.