If you've been selling for a long time, you have likely learned many tricks and tips along the way that have helped make your business successful. However, you can always learn something new, and if you've come to a stand-still in your business advancement, and you're hoping to improve your online selling even further, the below tips for more advanced sellers might be of assistance.
1. Have decent web hosting.
When you first set up your business online, you were likely excited just to have a website at all, and that's a great first step. However, make sure your web hosting is doing what it's supposed to do for your business. Can you host video and media without slowing the site? Is it user friendly? Can you update it when need be? Do you have secure checkout? These things should be there; if not, start shopping for a new web hosting platform.
2. Ensure you get a merchant account.
Merchant accounts allow you to accept credit cards online. Without this capability, it's almost impossible to grow your business. Being able to accept PayPal is great, and absolutely essential, but some people don't like to pay that way and would rather just use a card. Make sure it allows you to accept at least the top three credit cards, as well as bank transfers or e-checks.
When it comes to e-commerce, the best part is that you can get really creative with how you market your business. Utilize separate email addresses for communication regarding different product lines or services, advertise in as many places as possible, use email marketing, optimize your website for SEO, etc.
4. Utilize and track promotions.
Keep a spreadsheet or some other organizational tool with codes for each promotion you have out there. Track its effectiveness. You can also use Google Analytics for this purpose, or more accurately, Google AdSense.
5. Only keep what works.
If you have a product or aspect of your site that brings in a lot of customers, and others that just don't move, get rid of them. Sometimes as business owners we can get sentimental about our products. Don't. You might be able to find a venue for them elsewhere, but if they aren't selling online, move on.
6. Redesign and reopen.
It may sound cliche, but having a Grand Re-Opening is really a great way to kickstart business if you market it effectively. Perhaps when you first started your business you were a little new, had a bit of a rough start, or just aren't enthused with the response you've been getting. Plan about 2 months, at least, in advance for a Grand Re-Opening. Redesign your website, add new features, get everything really up and running the way you want it, and market the Grand Re-Opening while you're working on it. If people don't know you're there, they won't know to go, so talk it up.
7. Use social media.
This is another item on the list that might seem like common knowledge, and while it should be, many e-commerce sellers do not utilize social media. With Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and scores of other online social media gigs, you should be utilizing them at full force. There are inexpensive guide books available for how to market using these outlets, and you would be benefited greatly by using them. Particularly because your store is online, marketing to the online population through social media is a must.
8. Plan, plan, plan.
No matter how long you've been in business online, this is something that even the most advanced sellers can fail to do. Sometimes when business grows, you get busy, and when you get busy, you overlook the basics and the details. Never fail to plan. In some industries, you have to plan way in advance, like fashion and home decor which usually plans 3 months in advance (for the next season). If you sell a service, like tax consulting, there are likely industry markers, times during the year, where people are more likely to use your services. Know that and plan accordingly for marketing and product availability.
9. Have a blog.
If you're online, you need to have a blog. Some sellers say "Why should I have a blog? What am I going to do, write about products?" Maybe. But you can also write informational material that will help your business grow. If you sell jewelry, write about certain gemstones or the benefits of handmade jewelry. Whatever works with your business. If you sell hardware supplies, write articles or blog posts about how to create your own dog house, the best products to use for patching your roof, whatever it might be, and then add links to those posts to applicable pages on your website.
10. Stay SEO savvy.
Never neglect SEO. It's the thing we all love to hate as online business owners sometimes, but it's absolutely essential in driving business and traffic to your store. Following the above tip on blogging is a great opportunity to utilize keywords and SEO basics to get your customers coming in. If you get them interested, you keep them there, and they're more likely to stay and look around. SEO is always changing, too, so be sure to keep up to date on the latest tips, tricks, and skills.
By following the above tips, you can further develop your online store into a great success. Even if you're already experiencing a lot of success, it never hurts to take added measures to ensure that clients and customers keep coming in, as you never know when business won't be as great and you'll be glad you have those extra customers. Keep time in mind, and always plan to promote for holidays, industry-specific sell dates, and the like. Keep at it, and you will ensure the longevity of your e-commerce business.
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Lina Stakauskaite works at Click2Sell (www.click2sell.eu) Affiliate Programs Network. Sell digital products online and run your affiliate program. Accept payments via PayPal, Google Checkout or direct credit card payments. Get paid instantly, provide easy payment options for customers, recruit and manage affiliates successfully.
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