Online sales is a great way to reach a huge market demographic while drastically reducing the cost of storage and inventory usually associated with a shop on an expensive high street. If you are a traditional sales business owner, or an online sales newbie, here are a few tips that can help you grow your business on the internet.
Why Should You Own an Online Business?
The idea of online selling was introduced more than fifteen years ago, and it took some time to reach India. Initially, there was a lot of flak against it, particularly because a typical customer liked to touch and feel a certain product before they decided to buy it. With time, the idea took off, and a few brands of online sellers became trustworthy household names. So, If you own a traditional sales business and operate out of a physical store, why should you put up your business online? There are a lot of great reasons why, but let’s look at a couple of really good ones – first of all, having an online selling option means that your store can be accessed from anywhere around the world. This is especially great for business owners who manufacture niche products by themselves, for example handicrafts, exotic beverages, clothes, customized accessories, the list is endless. Now you don’t have to wait for customers to come into your shop, but rather take your product right to their home, without thinking about extremely expensive and risky ventures like opening physical branches or chains for your store. Secondly, what this means is that you are saving up so much on the money you would have spent on inventory and storage of your products. Since your shop is online, your product and its information will be stored in virtual bits and bytes. Its a revolutionary way to do sales.
A Few Tips for Transition to Online Sales
1. Starting out – No upfront investment required
If this is your first foray into the world of online sales, don’t worry – its very easy. There are a few things you must take care of. Firstly, you need to choose your online sales channels, which is not so much of a difficult choice. When people think of starting out on online selling, they think that they need to have their own website with a store. Well that’s not true. You don’t need to invest all that money upfront to set up your own site. Neither do you need to spend in order to generate traffic coming to it.
2. Setting Up Shop
The next step is to actually put your products on display. The biggest step here is to digitse your content, that is, have photographs and well written descriptions of your products. A small downside of going for online selling is that you are up against nationwide, sometimes worldwide competition. Hence, make sure that you have a professional outlook in the endeavor. Again, start small. Put your most popular products up for sale first. Upload clean, good photographs of your products and write detailed descriptions without exaggeration. Good product descriptions feature your listing (especially in ebay) higher in search results, both on the marketplace and on Google. If you are selling electronics or home appliances, make sure to put up the right specifications. This is how you will build trust. You can also suggest smart product pairings with a small discount that will entice buyers. This way you will push up your average order value and save on shipping.
3. Use a Free Order and Inventory Management Software
To effectively handle your sales, you need a good order and inventory management software. There are aspects like collating orders from all your marketplaces into one place, keeping track of which orders to fulfil and ship, updating inventory numbers on the sites you sell on, etc. You might be inclined towards thinking that it would be easy to pull off inventory management with traditional methods or excel sheets. Although that might be ok to start with, but soon things will start getting unmanageable (trust me, speaking from personal experience). When selling on multiple marketplaces, overselling due to incorrect stock number is commonplace, or missing out on orders that needed to be fulfilled also happens. Its best to go for a free tool that provides multi channel order and inventory management so that all your orders are consolidated to one single panel, that allows your business to be scalable without any interruptions later on. Test the software before you buy and make sure you are paying only for the services that you would exploit. Browntape.com, for one, offers a free, simple and very intuitive multi-channel order and inventory solution that is free for small businesses. It allows you to manage orders from multiple marketplaces in one place, that is, it pulls in orders from stores on various online marketplaces into one place automatically.
4. Billing, Packaging and Delivery
Once a customer buys a product from you, the real work starts. Now its your turn to print an invoice, notify the customer, pack the product safely and deliver it. Most online sales channels have strict protocols when it comes to doing this, to make sure of the service standards. We advise you to uphold them to the fullest. You can even add a few tricks of your own to help your customer have a satisfying online shopping experience. This is where you will realise the power of a good inventory management system, because it will make most of your job extremely easy. With a great inventory and order management system, you can manage incoming orders, notify your customers, print customized packing labels, barcodes and invoices, add SKU tags and a whole lot more, hassle free.
5. Preserve and Build Your Online Reputation
Your online reputation is everything when it comes to sales via the internet. A prospective customer is going to look at your seller’s rating and read the reviews for your product and then make a decision to buy. This is the virtual word-of-mouth, and it is very powerful. The only solution to this is being professional. Make sure to fulfil all your orders in time and don’t miss any orders, best to ship them within 24 hours of the order being placed. Make sure that you don’t over sell your products because this will lead to cancellations or delayed deliveries. Use an automated email service to mail your customers about the status of their orders. Provide your customers with a phone number that they can call on during working hours to find out about prospective buys and existing orders. This build trust even if they never call on the number. Print customized invoices with your brand name and logo. Make sure that the content on your product page is to-the-point and respectful. Promote your product, but don’t over-promote it.
6. Selling Through Your Own Website
Once you get a strong footing in the online market and are comfortable with the systems, you can think about creating your own website. Managing your website is a bit different from managing your products on an online sales portal. This is mainly because you now have to advertise for yourself through various social media marketing strategies. Secondly as an independent seller, you have to handle product transit yourself. So this is only advisable if you realise that you are getting an overwhelming response from your online channels and can afford to break free. Make the most of your multi channel inventory management software, its going to help you a long way in growing your online business.
You just need a few expert tips and a few smart services, and you are on your way to make amazing profits!
Get in touch with us at Browntape.com to find out more about how you can start out now and build a successful online business. If you would like to outsource your entire online sales generation, we’d be happy to that for you as well. Book an appointment now to get a call back from us!