If you’re an artist or craftsperson who is selling locally and would like to branch out to doing much of your business online, it can seem like an overwhelming and confusing transition to make. Unless you’ve got a parent or neighbor who also owns a business or you’ve gone to a formal school for learning how to run a business, you might not feel confident in that next step! But learning to do online sales isn’t as difficult as you might think. There are thousands of men and women who learn it every year! This means that no matter how unfamiliar, now, it can be a talent you work on gaining! Here’s how to learn to sell your product more effectively online:
Understand the Main Selling Points
In order to figure out who your main demographic is, you are going to have to know your product backwards and forward, inside and out. You need to know what it’s made of, how strong it is, what sort of flaws it can have. You want it to be something you can explain backwards and forwards if asked, but also the main reasons why someone would want to purchase your goods! If you don’t know all the main reasons someone would want to purchase this, you won’t be able to sell it! This is also important for explaining things to your customers later on, who will not be as familiar with your work and products.
Know Who Your Products Are For
If you’ve already been selling in person for a while, you already have an idea of who your target demographic might be! If most of your products are purchased by teenagers 12-18 who identify as female goths, you’re not going to have good luck setting up shop next to a sports bar marketing to 40 and above guys who want a drink. You want to be able to market towards those who are most likely to purchase. This saves your money and your patience when marketing, whether online or off. Knowing which websites to target with ads, or where to send flyers for advertising, is half of your stress! Likewise, it’s important for you to be able to properly brand your company and make it possible to set sales goals which are formulated specifically for your company.
Set Sales Goals
Without a goal, it’s said, an idea is just a wish or a dream. Remember, goals need to be simple, achievable, and have a time limit. Why? Complicated goals frustrate both you and employees. Simple ones, especially those which are supposed to be done during a certain amount of time, are ones where you can see whether or not you’ve reached your goal. Don’t worry if it’s not reached! You’ll get good at setting goals that are a stretch, but not a giant stretch, as you go along. If you set goals too high, and without the ability to reach for yourself and your team, it can discourage everyone! Setting specific goals that are possible to achieve, however, can make it more likely to grow more quickly.
Create the Right Descriptions
Ok, now that you know who you want to sell to, and exactly what your product does, this means that you’re ready to write product descriptions. Yes, this needs to be done for each item you sell, and for every item which will be on your website. Remember, your descriptions will need to match both your product, your general tone, and your brand identification. If you’re not used to writing things like this, find a copywriter! Matching tone and brand image is critical and finding a professional who can do that easily is often the best choice. Then you’re free to do the work you really enjoy, which is creation and distribution of new products.
Partner With Large Retailers
Having a large, retailed mass produce and sell your products is an excellent thing to do, but generally only happens after you are established in business. However, there is a shortcut to that kind of goal. Online retailed Amazon has a small business category, and partners with owners to advertise and sell artisan craft, jewelry, and many other products. Amazon accounts for nearly half of all e-commerce sales. Building your Amazon page and using it for the bulk of your sales is far simpler than, for example, building a revenue stream from scratch from a blog or independent website. Amazon can be a portal to the dream of online sales prospering.
Customers tend to trust those who have professionally done images of their products. This includes all products in your catalog having professionally done portraits, which can be expensive. There are alternatives. Taking photographs of products with an excellent camera, against a plain background in exact focus is a good start. There are apps which can help remove backgrounds from pictures, as well, in case you need to photograph against other than a plain background. These apps can take away the old background and replace it with plan white or black.
Be Honest in Descriptions
As always, online sales depend upon your ability to get and keep both repeat customers and those who can give you good word of mouth. The descriptions have to be clear and concise, but making sure they are also honest will prevent you from gaining a bad reputation. For example, if you are selling a ring which is silver filled, selling it as 925 sterling silver is common, and yet also dishonest. Besides the frustration of customer reviews being less than stellar, and the annoyance of returns, you want to have good descriptions for legal protections.
Depend on Customer Testimonials
As with all business, good word of mouth makes a huge difference in the online business world. You want those who have had a great experience with your products to be able to say so! Likewise, you need to resolve any customer reviews that are poor as quickly as possible. A customer who has had a bad experience with your products or sales is a chance to transform that experience, and turn it into a great testimonial.
Ease of Checking Out
Whether you are planning on partnering with larger sites or not, you want to be able to have your customers enjoy purchasing. Make sure that your checkout process is quick and easy, without vast lag time. Partnering with those who, like PayPal or Facebook, handle the checkout process for you. Making sure that customers can be quickly led through the process of checking out can make a greater number of sales!
Answer all the Questions
If you know your product really well, it can be easy to assume that others will know it well when they see it. But, your customers might not know anything about it, at least not yet. It’s important to double check your copy and make sure that every aspect of what your customers need to know, from size and weight, to how it’s used. They need to know safety needs, and all other aspects of the product you are selling. This makes it less likely for your customers to be unhappy with the product when it comes, because they have already read all about it.
Use Customer Recommendations
When working with finding new customers sometimes the best option is to use the words of current customers. Having someone tell them directly, whether in word or video, about how good your products are can lend an additional weight to their review. You want your individual reviews to be favorable, but also you want them to speak directly to those who are your prospective customers. This gives them a good accounting of your products from those who are similar to those you want to be customers later on. You want each customer to be willing to say radiant things about your products and sales. This makes it possible for new customers to feel more comfortable in the quality and presentation of the products that you are offering and knowing that others whom they perceive to be like themselves had a positive experience, with fast shipping, good products, and great customer service, makes them more likely to trust their own sales to you.
Beginning an online sales business is critical in today’s market! It need not be daunting or overwhelming if you choose to follow the steps necessary for success. Know your product and make it possible to describe it accurately and thoroughly for others. Figure out who your target demographic is, so you can know how to direct your sales. Figure out from whom your demographic is to whom you are advertising, and pair with large retailers if possible. Your overall goal is to make the process, from finding you, to enjoying the images of your products, to checking out quickly and easily. Be prepared to fix any complaints or issues as easily and smoothly as possible. Think about the sales goals you want to work towards.
Check out this article on common business issues you need to be prepared to deal with here!