As I help my clients sell their products online, I find ways to help them increase their profits by lowering their expenses, expanding their reach, and creating reusable assets. In the cluttered online shopping environment, small shops must use these tactics to compete with larger stores. My top tips to sell online help small, local stores lower their costs and boost their visibility.
Tips to Sell Online
Whenever you sell an item on your website, the sales price reflects several numbers, including the overhead for managing your website. Ideally, that cost of managing your product listings in your eStore is as low as possible — maximizing your profit.
The longer content lives online, the more search engines start to recognize them. So, you need to think long-term with regard to your content. This includes product listings, page content, and category descriptions.
- In-Store: Typically, you want to see products fly off the shelves as quickly as possible. You tend to balance the quantity against the opportunity to sell.
- Online: By contrast, you want to create listings that can stay up for a while with variations that change over time.
For example, you can list a ceramic mug as a single listing. It can be a specific size and shape. The variations could be colors. You can swap out the colors (including the related images) on a regular schedule and remove these options when you sell out. But, the main listing for the mug will stay the same for a longer period of time.
Overall, you have a better chance of building backlinks and generating social media shares if your site content is stable.
While shoppers do an impulse buy online, it’s hard for small online stores to get in front of these customers. You’re competing with the big brands with large ad spends. Instead, you need to build a narrative over time that draws your customer into a sale. You’re targeting the Pinterest planner — not the Amazon budget shopper.
- In-Store: It’s not unusual for stores to change their window displays monthly and rotate their shelves weekly. Also, you may run a promotion that lasts a couple of days — just to increase foot traffic.
- Online: You need to focus on your niche to see a benefit in your ad spend. Keep your visibility high at the beginning of each season and taper off as you sell out.
As an example, you can start teasing spring patterns on your most popular products. You can add these variations to your listings (see above). Also, create a page and posts on your website to explain these new products — linking them inside the content. Make sure all the content includes sharable rich media.
Invest in Visuals
Since you are following a quarterly promotional calendar, you can invest more in the visual aspects of your campaign. All of your products need beautiful product photos, including lifestyle shots. Also, you’ll want featured images to promote on social media and use in your advertising.
- In-Store: You invest in displays at the point of sale, in your windows, and throughout the sales. They often promote sales, announce new inventory, and dispense coupons.
- Online: You must create this same kind of visual assets — formatted appropriately for the online space.
For example, you might hang bright umbrellas from fishing line in your large display window with glittery, cardboard raindrops, and hand-lettered window paint. Recreate the look of these items in flat-lay photos — featuring your products just like you would in your display window.