10 tips to make your online shop succeed

Find out why people might not be clicking to purchase your great products

Setting up a new business is both a terrifying and exciting journey, and setting up a store online is no exception. With an internet that’s bursting at the seams with all sorts of fabulous products and distractions, it can be very difficult to make your product stand out if you aren’t clued up on what you’re doing. That’s why we have taken the time to compile this list of helpful tips to get you walking in the right direction.

1. Be unique:

Perhaps one of the most important things to do is ensure that your product, whatever it may be, is unique and interesting in some way. To do this, you need to think hard about what makes your product special. If, for example, you have decided to start selling lunchboxes, you will need to establish what it is about your particular lunchbox that causes it to stand out. Things like using recycled plastic, designer prints or sustainable materials are all examples of things that could make your product unique. Once you have identified what makes your product different, you can use this angle to promote your shop and reach people who value products of a particular nature.

2. Avoid being out of stock:

There is nothing more frustrating than scouring the internet looking for something, only to find that it is out of stock. If a customer happens upon your online store and finds something they need is out of stock, they will likely continue looking and find another store to buy a similar product from. If you have a product that happens to be out of stock, it is a good idea to remove that item from visibility on your website to avoid frustrating your customers. The only case in which an out of stock item may be left online is when the item is particularly unique and cannot be found anywhere else, in which case it is important to provide as much information as possible on when that product will be available again.

3. “Cash or card?”

Providing multiple payment options makes it a lot easier for people to buy your products. Options such as SnapScan, Zapper, EFT or cash on delivery means you avoid losing customers who, for example, might not have a credit card. This way people can also choose the option they believe to be safest, giving them peace of mind at the end of the day. This links to our next important tip, trust.

4. “Trust me!”

Providing testimonials and reviews of your products allows people to make an informed decision before making a purchase, with the result that they are less likely to be disappointed when they receive their order. Once someone has had a pleasant experience ordering from your store, they will likely mention it to others, building trust in your store. For every satisfied customer, that trust gets a little better and people feel more comfortable ordering from you because there is evidence of a positive and trusted reputation both on your store, and beyond.

5. “Strut your stuff”

Always ensure that you have accurate product images and that those images are shared with other channels to increase exposure. If you are selling clothing or jewellery, be sure to have photos of your products from every angle, and to have images both of the product on its own, and being worn by a model or mannequin. Providing detailed imagery also aids in establishing trust, so it is important that your images are consistent, clean and professional.

6. “It takes money to make money”:

This saying could not apply better to anything than it does to marketing an online store. The biggest mistake people make when starting an online store is thinking that you can rely entirely on social media for all of your marketing. This is not the case. Unless you already have a very large following on social media (which a brand new company most likely will not) you will need to invest in paid marketing to ensure that your posts do not get lost in a sea of social interactions. If you want your store to succeed, you will need to build up a sufficient base of customers, and this process is much faster and easier with paid marketing through the use of specialist techniques such as Google adword campaigns and social media campaigns that truly stand out.

7. “I am not a robot”:

Human connection is a very important aspect of any business. Being responsive and communicative builds a good and trusting relationship with your customer base and makes them feel looked after and heard. If somebody messages your company at 9 PM when they arrive home to find that two of the six Kombucha’s they ordered are broken, you need to be sure that there is someone available to respond to that complaint and rectify the situation, before their frustration turns into negative stories about your company. The more efficient you are at dealing with compliments and complaints from your customers, the more comfortable people will feel buying from your store in the future.

8. “Can I return this?”

Be very specific about the returns policies on all of your products. If products have any restrictions or specifications on returns, ensure that these are disclosed in the product or company description. This way you avoid situations in which a customer gets angry or frustrated with your company for denying them a refund for a product they had no idea was non-refundable.

9. A hidden cost is not a pleasant surprise:

Be sure, if at all possible, to disclose all costs up front. It can be very disappointing filling up your shopping cart only to be slapped at checkout with unanticipated import tax and/or shipping fees. Providing free shipping is always a good idea because it makes people feel like they’re getting a little gift of added convenience. If you can’t give free shipping to everything, set a minimum fee for free shipping- eg. Free shipping for orders over R500.

10. “Have you heard about the new special?”

The biggest challenge for a new shop is to get people to make their first purchase. Therefore, keep in mind your cost of acquisition – in other words, the investment to get a new client. Creating specials and promotions helps to draw people in. Creating specials and promotions helps to draw people in and up your chances of making sales. Not only do people like getting more for less, but if something really stands out to them, they might discuss it with people who share similar interests. Providing a value of percentage off your first purchase in exchange for signing up for a newsletter is a good example. This, in turn, increases their chances of finding something they like and gives you an opportunity to show off your communication and speedy delivery time, which gets people talking and keeps them coming back.

It might seem like a lot at first glance, but all ten of these points feed into and support one another. INKFISH, with our dedicated team of digital marketing enthusiasts, help guide you through these steps, supporting you in your journey towards success.