How To Sell Products Online Successfully | BRANABEE

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How To Sell Products Online Successfully

If you’re looking to actually make a sale online, you’ve come to the right place. Use this guide as a template for how to sell products online successfully so that you won’t have to waste any more time, effort, and money.

There’s a lot to cover, and depending on your situation, this advice may or may not help. Stick with us, and we’ll go over some basics to hopefully get you started (or restarted).

Jump To:

Selling Your Product
     Getting to Know Your Product
     Do Your Research
     What Sets Your Product Apart
     Why Should Someone Buy It From You?
Identify Your Target Audience
Choose the Right Platform
     Some Popular eCommerce website Solutions
     Some Popular Marketplace Websites by Product Type

Optimize Your Online Presence
     Visibility
     Reviews & Feedback
     Emailing
     Build a Strong Brand Identity for the Long Term
     Provide Excellent Customer Service
     Monitor and Adapt to Market Trends
     Competition
“I Have Tried All of This. I Need to Know How To Sell Products Online Successfully
     Refine Your Product Offering
     Redefine Your Target Audience
     Enhance Your Marketing
     Optimize your Conversion Rates
Conclusion

Selling Your Product

It’s not enough to have a great product. There’s so much more to selling something. You’ve got critically think about who wants what you have for sale. You have to get your offer in front of those people, and those people have to want it. When they don’t want it, sometimes you have to convince them of why they should.

 

Have you ever tried to sell your product to someone in person? If yes, then you might have a better understanding of what you did that landed your first sale, or perhaps what failed miserably before that.

If not, why not try? Don’t be afraid to fail, treat failure as an opportunity to learn. You can go door to door, or you could even ask a friend or family member if they would be willing to hear you out as a practice run. Simply put, you need to know your product if you expect to convince someone to buy it. It’s the same with online sales, except the presentation is digital.

 

Getting to know your product – Whether it’s tangible or intangible, think about it’s features. Compare it to other products like it. What are the pros to it? What are the cons? Start to formulate reasons why someone might want what you’re offering. Focus on the aspects of the product that make it enticing. Best practice is to admit it’s faults, and be honest with the customer and yourself about it.

 

Do your research – Get online and learn all that you can about your product(s). What pain points does it address for customers? Once you get a grasp on your offer, you can clearly articulate how it’s valuable in a convincing way that turns people into customers.

 

What sets your product apart? Do a little bit of digging on your competition. If you have a product that offers a solution to a problem, chances are you aren’t the first one to try to solve that problem. Figure out what makes yours different. It might not always be better, but there are likely features that make it stand out.

 

Why should someone buy it from you? Nothing personal, but what value can you bring that someone else can’t? It could be a number of things such as a solid product warranty, a better return policy, or maybe it’s as simple as the customer having a living person (you) to serve their needs instead of an automated live chat bot.

 

Once you know your product and why someone would want to go with you, you gain the confidence to offer it to the world.

 

Identify Your Target Audience

 

You can benefit greatly by forming a target audience, or rather, a profile of an ideal customer. Honestly you should spend the time to make a few ideal profiles because, well, not everyone is the same. Let’s go over how to create a target audience. Answer the following questions, and by the end, you have your target audience:

 

  1. Problem and Solution – What problem does your product or service solve? (we went in more detail on this above)
  2. Target Audience – Who is currently experiencing this problem?
  3. Demographics – Talk about a specific type of person. Yes you are quite literally profiling, but they won’t get offended. Remember they aren’t real. What is there age, gender, location, income level, education level, religion, or any other specific characteristic that you can think of that might be a factor as to why they might want what you are selling.
  4. Interests/Hobbies – What are the interests of hobbies of the people who might benefit from your solution?
  5. Online Presence – Where do they spend their time online? Is it social media platforms? Forums, streaming services? Go in depth here.
  6. Language/Tone – What tone or language would resonate most appropriately with them? (Formal, casual, technical, funny, etc.)
  7. Communities/Groups – Do they belong to any specific communities or groups that might relate to your solution (online or offline)?
  8. Values/Beliefs – What are their values and beliefs? How does your product or service align with their values?
  9. Pain Points – What are their pain points beyond the initial problem your solution addresses?
  10. Goals and Aspirations – What are their goals and aspirations? How does your product or service help them achieve these goals?
  11. Cultural Considerations – Are there any cultural considerations or sensitivities you should be aware of when targeting this audience?
  12. Decision Making – How do they typically make purchasing decisions? Do they buy based on a friend’s recommendation, do online research, impulse buy, etc.?
  13. Media Consumption Habits – How do they consume media (TV, radio, podcasts, blogs, streaming services) ?
  14. Tech Saviness – Hopefully if you’re selling to someone online they are at least tech savvy enough to make a purchase. But more specifically, are they early adopters of new technology, or are they more conservative in their approach? There’s a lot of insight to gain here, such as how much effort are they willing to go through to buy? More conservative people will often veer away from complex checkout methods, while tech savvy people that adopt new tech might view it as a challenge.
  15. Preferred Interaction Channels – How does this person prefer to interact with brands or products? (Social media, email, in person, etc.)I’ve been coming across target audiences a lot in my marketing, and it’s one that I’ve struggled with in the past. I think some people pick this up right away, but depending on what you are selling, your target audience could be more of a… moving target. You could be selling something that isn’t typically online. Or maybe your audience is busy working in the field they are in. Maybe there’s only a select few people who handle purchasing. There can be a lot of factors, but once you formulate a few profiles you get a clearer picture of the people you are looking for.

Choose the Right Platform

There are many places online that you can sell your product. This will likely vary depending on what you are selling. Choosing the right one is a crucial step, whether it is an eCommerce website of your own, a third party marketplace, or a social media platform, they all offer unique advantages and challenges. They also offer unique integrations, automation, customization, and value to you and your customers. Again, you’ll need to do your research. Pro tip: Go over to your favorite search engine and type in “Mercari vs” and see what suggestions you get. Try an eCommerce platform or marketplace that relates to your situation. You can find some real gems this way, and you’ll learn a lot about each.

Click here to view a pie chart of eCommerce Usage in the top 1 million sites – from Builtwith.


Some popular eCommerce website solutions:


WordPress/WooCommerce
– a popular website Content Management System that allows users to easily create websites, blogs, eCommerce Stores and more. It is considered easy to use and it powers WooCommerce is an add-on (plugin) that gives you the capability to have a store on your website. It is open sourced, and you can purchase a hosted site or you can get hosting and create your own the way you like it. Be sure to do your research. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are similar, but different.

Shopify – This is a popular third party service built on it’s own coding language (Liquid) that allows people to build an online store. They offer a wide variety of tools for online, brick and mortar, and in person sales. Here’s more about Shopify

Wix – A popular website builder that allows users to have an eCommerce store and more.

Squarespace – Another popular option that boasts ease of use and resources to grow your online business. Here is a review of Squarespace from Techradar.

BigCommerce – This is a top rated eCommerce website for bulk inventory items meant for robust operations. It’s commonly known to have some nice pros and some significant cons as shown here.

Adobe Commerce/Magento – a powerful solution for a lot of major brands like Walmart, T Mobile, Coca Cola, KrispyKreme Doughnuts, and more. Here’s their introduction.

Weebly – Weebly is eCommerce by Square, which is a popular option for in person sales. They offer easy solutions for business owners and customers alike.

Some popular marketplaces by product type:

Clothes – Mercari, Poshmark, OfferUp/LetGo

General Merchandise/Miscellaneous – Craigslist, Ebay, Shopify, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace

Handmade – Etsy, MakerPlace by Michaels, Amazon Handmade

Fashion – Depop, ASOS

Electronics & Gadgets – Newegg, Swappa

Collectibles & Antiques – Ebay, EBTH (Everything But the House), Ruby Lane

Food and Gourmet Products – Mouth, Goldbelly

Books and Media – AbeBooks, Amazon, Alibris

Digital Products – Envato Market

Hopefully this list will get you started. You’ll likely find additional niche marketplaces catering to specialized products. Ours currently is catered toward oil field supply, surplus goods, and more. If you’re interested, check out our article on why we think you should give Branabee a try.

If you’re interested in listing here for free, check out How to list a product.

Optimize Your Online Presence

 

Visibility – In a crowded online marketplace, visibility is sometimes hard, but is key to your success. Try to optimize your website or your position on your chosen platform for search engines to get you that organic traffic. You may have heard about search engine optimization (SEO) to raise your listings to the top of viewer’s search results. If you have your own website, spend some time setting this up correctly and thoroughly. If you are on a third party website, just make sure not to hinder your listings in any way. Upload clear product photos, go in great detail  on your product descriptions, and be sure to thoroughly list your products in every way possible.

Reviews & Feedback – For each sale, be sure to check back in with the customer and ask for reviews along the way. This can help gain future buyer’s trust. You can also get an email list going to send surveys. I try to leave a coupon code for those that finish the survey, just to kind of pay them back for their time on it. You can use an email integration to automate this for you, though a personal touch sometimes sets you apart long term.

Emailing – You’ll want to find a way to get in touch with customers to tell them about unique offers, coupon codes, updates, and to build a brand identity. Email is still worth the time. You have to advertise, or choose a platform that is good at advertising.

 

The thing about email marketing is, a lot of times you’re looking to get a purchase from a percent of a percent of people. Check out these email stats from MailChimp from December 2023

What I mean by that is, it’s kind of like setting up a lemonade stand on the busiest corner of a city. Stick with me here.

Lemonade Stand

If you live in a city of 100,000 people, you hope that everyone comes by and sees your stand and that they are ready for some lemonade. But is that really what would happen? No. You should be realistic in your expectations. You should set a goal to be seen by half of the people in that city over a stretch of some time. (often even that is high). How many of those that see will stop? There’s a lot of factors at play, like your stand’s appearance, how hot it is on an average day, are you next to a popular snow cone stand, what days are you there, etc. but you’re generally going to notice that less than half of the onlookers will stop by and purchase. Many times you’ll get somewhere between 1% to 5% of the people that see you to hand over their money (for example, see the email stats linked above). So, when you’re looking at realistic projections:

100,000 people sounds like a lot of potential buyers.

Say 25,000 to 50,000 see your stand,

This results in a realistic number of 250 to 2,500 people are likely to be a customer over that stretch of time. Think about that for a second. That number ranges from .25% to 2.5% of the total population. That’s why it’s so important to get out there and be seen. The more you’re out there, the higher everything is.

That might sound less than ideal, perhaps even fruitless (pun not intended) when you think about it. However, emailing is hardly for convincing new buyers. You’re trying to keep those you entice and previous customers aware of your existence, engaged with your brand and offers. If you can get them to think of you when it’s time to buy again, it’s going to be worth it. It’s way easier to keep a customer than to gain a new one.

We Suggest You Research These Email Services
MailChimp
Constant Contact
MailerLite
Activecampaign
Flodesk
ConvertKit
Klaviyo
Brevo (formerly Sendinblue)
beehiiv

Again, what you choose is up to you and your situation, these will hopefully point you in the right direction to begin.

Build a Strong Brand Identity for the Long Term

If you want to set yourself apart from the competition and foster customer loyalty, focus on your brand’s identity. Develop a distinct brand voice, visual appearance, and resonate with your target audience. Be consistent across all touch points – from your website design and social media posts, to your email marketing and your logo. This helps reinforce your brand’s identity to those that see you.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

If you’re in online sales, this has to flow. Responding promptly to customer’s questions and concerns via email, live chat, social media is so important. It’s all about making it easy for the customer. You’ll want to offer multiple ways to communicate, because frankly, not everyone is on their email. Creating a seamless experience from start to finish makes customers happy, and happy customers are return customers.

Monitor and Adapt to Market Trends

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, with new technology, trends, and consumer behaviors that emerge constantly and often.  You’ll want to stay informed on industry developments, monitor your competition, and be willing to adapt. You might have to take on a new social media platform, or change up your sales techniques to stay ahead. Just as an example, Artificial Intelligence has been out only a few short years and It’s changed how people work tremendously already.

This should get you started. Below I will go more into what happens when you’ve tried this, and you’ve come up short.

 

Competition

We briefly visited this before, but it’s worth repeating. There’s an old proverb, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer” and that is very relevant when it comes to understanding and dealing with marketplace competition. If you study your competitors it can help you understand the market. You can identify what is trending, get pricing strategies, figure out what customers prefer, and find potential gaps that you can fit or exploit to better serve the customer and give you an edge.

 

“I Have Tried All of This. I Need to Know How To Sell Products Online Successfully”

 

If you’ve tried it all before, and had little to no luck, it’s okay. It’s frustrating, time consuming, and can be expensive. Like I said previously, treat the failure as an opportunity to learn.

It sounds like you need feedback in order to figure out where you can improve. It’s time to reassess.

Briefly touching on feedback: Send out surveys, get traffic reports, and try to determine if there are any areas you could improve. If traffic is low, you’ll want to advertise either organically or through paid methods.

Refine your Product Offering

Consider what you can improve or expand on within your product’s context. Are there additional features or variations that might better suit your target audience? Is there anything your can change about it? Try once again to get feedback, even those that see your offer and turn away. Negative feedback is more powerful than positive, because it shows you how to improve. Send out surveys with coupon codes, or even pay someone outside of your inner circle to give you honest feedback.

Redefine your Target Audience

Perhaps you aren’t quite hitting the mark when it comes to your target audience. This is why it’s important to make a few profiles in the beginning. By doing so, it broadens your scope of people while still focusing in on designed factors that will draw buyers in.

Enhance Your Marketing

Evaluate your marketing strategy to ensure they are effectively reaching your target audience. What does that mean, though? Like I said before about the lemonade stand, you’ve got to get out there and in front of a lot of people to make that sale happen. If you’re marketing online, Experiment with different channels and messaging to see what resonates best with your target audience. Invest in targeted ad campaigns on social media platforms, search engines, blogs, podcasts, and more. Get creative with your marketing, and go where the people are.

Here are some ideas:

Let users get interactive – Create interactive content such as quizzes, polls, or surveys related to your product or industry. This will engage your audience and give you some valuable insight into their preferences and interests.

User-Generated Content Campaigns – Encourage your customers to create and share content featuring your products. User generated content such as photos, videos, or testimonials can be a powerful tool for building trust and credibility with prospective buyers. Also try Groups and Hashtags on social media. Make it fun!

Influencer Collaborations – Partner up with influencers or micro-influencers who align with your brand values and target audience. Influencer marketing can help increase brand awareness and reach new customers through authentic endorsements and recommendations.

Webinars/Virtual Meetups – Host virtual events or webinars to educate and engage your audience on topics related to your product or industry. Yes, get behind the camera and start talking! This not only positions your brand as an authority, but also it provides an opportunity to interact directly with potential customers and address their questions or concerns.

Content Partnerships – Collaborate with complementary brands or organizations to create co-branded content or promotional campaigns. This allows you to tap into each other’s audiences and leverage shared resources for mutual benefit. Podcasts that bring in celebrity guests do this all of the time.

Interactive Advertising – Experiment with interactive advertising formats such as shoppable ads, augmented reality experience, or gamified ads. These immersive and engaging formats capture the attention and interaction with your brand.

Localized Marketing Initiatives: Tailor your marketing efforts to specific geographic locations, regions, or local communities. This could include sponsoring local events, partnering with nearby businesses, or running targeted advertising campaigns focused on local audiences.

Storytelling Campaigns – Use storytelling to convey the value and benefits of your products in a compelling and relatable way. Share customer success stories, behind the scenes glimpses of your operation, or share narratives that evoke some sort of emotion to resonate with your audience.

Social Proof/FOMO – Leverage social proof such as sharing customer reviews and ratings to demonstrate the satisfaction associated with your products. Incorporate limited time offers, flash sales, or exclusive discounts to create that sense of urgency and give a sense of urgency to incentivize purchases.

Community Building – Foster a sense of community around your brand by creating dedicated social media groups or forums where customers can connect, share experiences, and provide feedback. Engage with your community regularly and cultivate relationships to build brand loyalty and advocacy.

Optimize Your Conversion Rates

Analyze your website or platform to identify potential barriers to conversion. Is the checkout process intuitive and user-friendly? Are there any technical issues or performance bottlenecks that could be affecting load times? Some other variables to consider here:

Website Design and Navigation – Evaluate the overall design and navigation of your website. Is it visually appealing, easy to navigate, and intuitive for users to find what they’re looking for? Make sure that important information, such as product descriptions, pricing, and shipping details are prominently displayed and are easy to access.

Mobile Responsiveness – With an increasing number of users browsing and shopping on mobile devices, it’s important to optimize your website for mobile phones. Test your website across different devices and screen sizes for seamless transitions for mobile users.

Page Load Speed – Slow loading times can impact customer experience and lead to higher bounce rates. Nobody wants to wait on your site to load, so make sure it’s optimized. This isn’t much of a concern typically if you’re on a third party platform. Here’s a link to a free tool, Google PageSpeed Insights, where you can check any website’s speed on mobile or desktop, and get information on how it can improve.

Clear Call to Action (CTA) – Your website should have very clear and compelling calls to action (CTAs) that guide users towards desired actions. I’m sure you’re familiar with ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Click Here’ buttons. Be sure that they stand out visually, using persuasive language that are strategically placed throughout your site to encourage conversions.  Again, we want to make it as easy as possible throughout the entire process for the customer.

Product Presentation – Pay close attention to how your product(s) are presented on your website. High quality images, detailed product descriptions, and customer reviews can help users make informed purchasing decisions. Consider incorporating videos or interactive elements to showcase your products in action and provide additional context.

Trust Signals – Help people trust shopping with you by displaying trust signals such as secure payment badges, SSL certificates, and third-party security verification. Clearly communicate your privacy policy, return policy, and any guarantees or warranties to reassure users about the safety and reliability of their transactions.

Streamlined Checkout Process – Simplify the checkout process as much as possible to minimize friction, steps, and reduce cart abandonment. Offer guest checkout options for users who prefer not to create an account, and provide multiple payment methods to accommodate different preferences Consider adding features such as auto-fill for shipping and billing information to expedite the checkout process.

Continuous Testing and Optimization – From the beginning, you’ll want to establish a culture of continuous testing and optimization to identify areas of improvement and refine your conversion rate strategy over time. Conduct A/B test to gather data driven insights into what resonates best with your audience.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article helped you in figuring out how to sell products online successfully. If you still have questions, you can feel free to reach out to us at the support team for Branabee, we’d be happy to assist.

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