WEB & TECH / OCT. 31, 2014
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How to Sell Your Products or Services Online

Online retail has greatly enhanced since the pioneer days of the Internet. With PayPal, digital currency, a credit card and other simple methods of payment, a customer can purchase their goods and services conveniently and even more affordably online. In fact, a considerable number of conventional brick and mortar stores face the possibility of extinction in favor of e-commerce and mobile commerce. 

Amazon, eBay and Overstock have already made their mark in the world of e-commerce, but independent retailers continually attempt to sell their products and services to the consuming population, which can often times prove to be a difficult endeavor because of the vast competition and paucity of utilizing the Internet to their fullest capabilities. 

There are many errors that novice Internet entrepreneurs make when starting out, such as offering the exact same product that Amazon or AliBaba sells for cheaper, not thinking outside the box with innovation and essentially moving forward with the wrong marketing techniques. 

The key to any business, whether online or in-store, is to stand above the competition with unique products, creative websites and maximizing social networks. It’s also important to remember that there is no accounting for the people’s taste in today’s marketplace. 

Here are eight ways to sell your products or services online and being successful at the same time: 

1. Niche 

Are you selling artistic smartphone cases? Do you want to promote specialty dog treats? Is your business centered around independent books? Before even launching a WordPress website or opening a professional Amazon account, it’s crucial to first outline your niche and what you wish to sell. Also, research your market and think if there are numerous copies already available all over the Internet. 

2. Online Provider 

Will you go the route of selling your suite of products or services on your own website or will you utilize Amazon and eBay or both? Some suppliers like to forego using a website like Amazon because they subtract a certain percentage from the final sales numbers, while other suppliers will immediately jump onto the website because it’s access to a wide marketplace with millions of consumers per day. Others, meanwhile, will select various providers in addition to their own website. 

3. Payment Method 

PayPal remains the standard bearer of online and mobile payments as well as MasterCard,Visa and American Expresscredit cards. In the past year, the biggest entrant into the payments market is peer-to-peer decentralized digital crypto currency bitcoin. To get ahead of the competition, it’s best to incorporate a wide variety of payment options, because a website like Amazon has only limited selections. Also, note that there are transaction fees, though bitcoin has very little or nothing at all. 

4. Analytics 

An Internet-savvy entrepreneur will use an array of analytics programs, such as Google Analytics or Crazy Egg Analytics, to research how consumers imbibe a website, what they research and what they avoid entirely. This allows the webmaster and business owner to see what consumers are interested in and what they simply don’t want to buy or even peruse. Analytics are enhancing the business experience. 

5. Social Media 

Besides just advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Instagram, it’s still crucial for retailers to use these social media avenues for different purposes. Audience engagement has become one of the norms for brands all over the world, whereby the company answers questions, asks for feedback and provides discounts. In order to remain competitive and stay ahead of others in your niche, social media will be one of the key tools in your arsenal. 

6. Content 

Blogs are gradually becoming an integral element to a corporate website. Content is king in the business world, and by publishing blog posts that give the customer information pertaining to your industry, they are better informed, view your company in a positive light and will likely browse your products. The content should be engaging, subtle - avoid being promotional and salesy - and consist of a call to action. 

7. Advertising 

Every Internet entrepreneur uses Pay Per Click services such as Google Adwords and even Facebook advertising venues. If you’re on a tight budget, Google allows you to set a budget for number of clicks, views, etc. There are a couple of tips to incorporate in your marketing plan, such as producing different ads, inserting images in ads and tricks ( for example, a woman smiling converts the best). 

8. Reviews, Referrals and Testimonials 

When you’re an independent retailer, your product should always be depicted as the best product since sliced bread. This can be achieved by maintaining a review page on your website and publishing an array of testimonials from real customers (don’t fake it). Furthermore, intermittent referrals can give a customer an incentive to refer your products or services to friends, family members and colleagues. 

The online retail world is intense and highly competitive. At the same time, it’s also a rewarding experience because it allows you to learn on the job and potentially create a new lucrative career. Remember, evolve and adapt to your customers and pay attention to what the changing industry. 



Image: istock

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