Increase Sales by Improving Overlooked Pages in your Online Shop

When people setup an online shop, in their haste and excitement to start the business, many people tend to overlook a few of the crucial details. If you have your own online shop or you plan on setting one up, make sure that you do not neglect to follow the tips given below.

No matter how great your product or service is, they generally don’t sell themselves. People are more demanding and so before they make a purchase, they like to know more about the company and the people behind the product or service being sold. Establishing your online shop’s credibility is just as important as the credibility of your products or services.

Here are some online shop pages that your website should include to help establish credibility:

About Us – Tell them about yourself

This page is very important and most online business owners tend to overlook it. But far from it, this page is crucial to you making sales online.

Look it from this angle – when a customer goes to a physical shop – the customer can see who he or she is dealing with, or have a heartfelt conversation about the products before purchasing. But online – there is no face, no voice, and communication can be to a minimal; the customer may not even know where you are located. This is your opportunity to allow your customers to gain a sense of who you are and what you stand for.

Thus, this is one place where you could establish your presence and your credibility. Let the customer know who you are, where you are from and a bit about your business. Research has shown that setting this page up correctly could result in an increase of sales by up to 30%.

Contact Us (with telephone number) – If they need to get in touch

This is equally as important. Sales are not enough. Your customer should know how you can be reached after the purchase has been made. This makes the sales process a lot easier as the customer knows that in case anything goes wrong with the purchase – you are reachable. Include your reachable phone number and an email address. Contact information goes beyond your own words of what you feel your company stands for; it shows that you are by the reigns waiting to prove the words you convey.

Return Policy – Information about refunds / exchanges

You should be extremely transparent about this. Hide no facts here. This helps in many ways. One, customers are clear about where they stand. Two, putting up such a policy on Returns will save you a lot of money when it comes to returns. Three, this helps you establish a sense of trust with your customers and where your values meet reality.

Facebook Page – Build a relation with your customers

Depending on the kind of industry you are dealing in, you could perhaps do well by setting up your very own page on Facebook. This is free and this will get you a lot of advertising as when customers buy from you and like what they get, they will share this page with people they know.

As an online business, your customers have no idea as to who you are at all. You could be the next biggest online scam. So, in order to get your online business up and running in the right direction, be sure to follow the above tips and make sure you never forget to set up the above pages – like most people do!

The Consumer Buying Cycle Explained

Any good salesperson will be able to tell you for a fact that almost every buyer goes through various stages which can be predicted in what’s referred to as the Buying Cycle.

What’s this Cycle all about?

The first step in this cycle begins with the customer enquiring about something and the last step ends in the purchase being made. If you have your own online business or for that matter, if you own any other kind of a business that entails you selling any kind of product or service, then it’s very vital for you to get a thorough grasp of what the Buying Cycle is all about.

Why is it important?

You must understand the kind of process that is involved with every buyer when they are considering buying anything and what it is that actually leads them to the product or service that they are planning on purchasing.

It is only when you understand this, will you really be able to understand your customers. And when you understand any kind of customer, you will then really start to make more sales and have a flourishing business.

So, the Buying Cycle consists of 5 stages and this is what is involved in this entire process:

Stage 1: Awareness

The first step is all about Awareness. The customer becomes aware of his or her needs. At this stage, the customer realises that they have a need of some kind of product or service. For instance, if Mrs. Smith breaks the heel of a shoe, she needs a new pair of shoes.

Stage 2: Consideration

This is the stage where the customer begins to Analyse the options that are available. Mrs. Smith has now come to the conclusion that the heel of her shoe just cannot be repaired and so she needs another shoe.

She begins to think of the options that she has for her with regards to buying a new pair of shoes. She thinks of the various shops she can go to, the different kinds of brands she could buy, the colors she may like and dislike and various other features of the shoe that she wants to buy.

Stage 3: Risk Alleviation

In this stage, Mrs. Smith has made up her mind as to the kind of shoe that she is going to get for herself. But, she still is very keen in knowing the various risks that are involved in her buying of that pair of shoes. For instance, she has decided on the shoe shop she is going to buy the shoe from, but she needs to know what kind of a guarantee or warranty they have on the shoe.

Stage 4: Purchase

At this stage, Mrs. Smith has reached her decision as to the pair of shoes that she is going to purchase, as per her narrowing it down in Stage 3. So she decided to buy the pair of shoes from that particular shop.

Stage 5: Achievement of Results

This is the stage where Mrs. Smith will now evaluate her buying decision and decide as to how satisfied she really is with her purchase. For example, Mrs. Smith uses the pair of shoes and likes them and she decides that next time she needs another pair of shoes; she will go back to the same shop and get one.

This is what is what is referred to as the Buying Cycle and could really help you grow your business, if understood well by you. Take time to read over this article and fully comprehend this cycle, each step has its own style of marketing requirement and a lot could be learnt from each state of mind a buyer is in.

Build Your Brand Online to Increase Sales

Whatever your line of business, you have to make sure of one core factor – your online branding has to be strong and stand out from your competitors.

Online branding is a vital part to the success of a business

It doesn’t matter whether your product is offline or online, what really matters is the branding of that product. Branding can make or break your product.

The brand that you create is not just a brand but it’s actually an identity that you’re establishing for yourself. And you have to make your brand identity strong, if you want yourself to be differentiated from the millions of websites that exist in cyberspace.

How do you get the right brand message across to your target audience?

How do you create an identity for yourself online? How do you get people online to sit up and take notice of your brand? How do you make your brand identity so strong that people online recognize it at once?

Here are a few tips to help you…

That all important Ecommerce Storefront of yours

When was the last time you shopped online? What do you recall of that shopping experience? Do you remember anything of that store from which you made your purchase?

People are just like you when it comes to shopping online. People shopping online will only have a memory of online stores, based on the memory of the shopping experience they had with the store online.

A big lesson to be learnt on online branding

There is a very big lesson for you to learn over here. If you want repeat sales and new sales, then you want your customers to keep coming back to you. And one way that you can get customers to come back to you is by getting them to have a great online shopping experience. This just does not happen by magic. You cannot sit and expect it to happen.

You have to strive hard to make it happen. You have to build that unique shopping extravaganza for your customers. You can do so in many ways.

A good website template is the very essence of online branding

One way to ensure that your customers never forget you is to make use of a good web template – one that will never fail to get attention and will always be remembered by your customers.

On the website, you should make sure that your customers find it easy to navigate their way around. They should be able to find things easily and not keep searching and searching and never ever finding it – even though it does exist on your site!

Be sure to get a good domain name

A good domain name really helps a lot in good branding. If you have a domain name that is relevant to the product or service that you are offering, people tend to relate such a name and it thus becomes easier for them to remember it.

Getting the right domain name is no doubt a very effective strategy for powerful online branding.

Create a good logo for your site

Have you ever noticed how all the big brands – offline as well as online – always have great looking logos? Logos that you always will recall without fail?

Have you ever stopped to think why they have such logos? Simple – they all want you to remember them. They are all creating a unique identity for themselves with this logo. They are all building a strong brand identity with the aid of their logo. Thus, you should also have a very strong and memorable logo so that people can identify you and remember you online.

Online branding is very important if you want to convert your visitors into sales.

6 Tips for Choosing the Right Products to Sell Online

Great! You’ve made a decision that you’re going to have your very own online business. But, have you decided what to sell online?

Before actually venturing online, you need to give this some serious thought. These 6 questions could help you a lot in determining what you’re going to sell on the World Wide Web.

1. Is what you are planning to do legal?

This may seem obvious, but you need to first determine whether what you are planning to sell online is legal or not. If you know that the products you intend selling are illegal, there’s just no point in taking it further. So, make sure you do your research and find out whether you are planning to sell legal stuff, before you open your online store.

2. Will you be able to make money?

What’s the purpose of your online store? Is it going to be your main source of income, your bread and butter so to say? Or is it just a secondary income to you? Try to figure out some numbers. Calculate your potential profits in terms of six months down the line, one year and so on.

Find out which products have the profit margins you are seeking. You can sell almost anything online, but you need to figure out how much you’re going to invest, how long it will take you to recover that investment and when you will start profiting.

3. What’s the most effective ways to buy and sell?

Even though you can sell almost anything online, you need to get your research right and understand the different processes that are involved in selling different products.
You need to get the buying and selling process right. Do your research and collect all the relevant details.

Find out everything about what customers are looking for and learn from others mistakes. Remember, you’re not the only one looking to sell things online; there are many other people too. So, there are loads of resources out there to help you manage all aspects for your online business

4. How much do you know about what you plan to sell?

The best thing you can sell online is something that you are knowledgeable about. However, with some research, you are still able to sell something that you have had absolutely no knowledge of. And, as time goes, you will pick up more information on what you are selling. But, you have to be willing to put in the time and the efforts to learn how to sell these products.

5. What’s your Unique Selling Point (USP)?

It’s always good to be first at almost everything in life. But online, if you’re not first, there are some advantages to that too. You can get all the information you want on anything you want to sell because someone else is already selling it. Make use of all this information and put it to your advantage.

But, this also means that you have competition. Thus, this also means that you have to analyze your competition and figure out what you can do to make your brand stand out from the crowd. This will be your Unique Selling Point, or USP for short.

6. How passionate are you?

You and only you are the one who is in a position to tell if you are actually interested in what you are going to sell. The best way to get interest in what you are selling is to sell something that is close to your heart!

Follow these 6 tips on what to sell online and it is sure to help you achieve your online goals.

Is your business harnessing the power of F-Commerce?

F-Commerce (Commerce over Facebook), can be a powerful sales channel if integrated practically into a marketing plan. It allows the marketing message is spread by friends rather than via traditional marketing channels such as advertising, allowing this marketing approach to be perceived as a more credible resource.

A recent example of this marketing approach can be seen by Heinz who are selling a special edition of “Get Well Soup” to its followers on Facebook, allowing them to send a personalised tin of soup to anyone they know that is ill, allowing customers to write a special message, in exchange for their details.

“What social media allows our brands to do, is to activate advocates and get the advocates of the brand speaking on your behalf which is obviously a lot more convincing hearing a friend of yours talking about how great something is than hearing a brand shouting it at you through the TV add or a poster”.

Robin Grant – We are Social

But research about this from KPNG and Grant Thornton, suggest that businesses in the developing world are more better at harnessing the chatter of social media than the companies in the Western world. Latin America, Brazil and China all use LinkedIn and Twitter more effectively than businesses in Europe, one reason is that they need to infiltrate foreign Markets very rapidly in order to succeed.

“Loads of businesses that were traditionally looking at their own domestic markets and are now looking to expand as they have grown to sell their products abroad and if you were setting up and developing a marketing mix, these days, would you put people on the ground and have representatives there as perhaps traditional nations did fifty to a hundred years ago or would you use social media?… You will use Social Media”.

Mark Henshaw – Grant Thornton