Online Sales Tips for Newbies

(bringing this one back from the archives as the content is still relevant as we grind into 2022)

Getting sales online when you're a small brick & mortar shop...

Online shopping exploded in 2020. Small Brick & Mortar businesses rushed to get into a game which was already being played. Online gurus pulled out all of their best marketing ideas to stay on-top of consumer choices.

As a small business supporter and wholesale manager for a niche equestrian market, I’ve been in the online trenches. It’s a zoo out there and many businesses are throwing their products up online and praying for the best.

Brick & Mortar businesses have always relied on building face to face relationships. They work in their communities, participate in activities and hire local staff. Moving to an online modal is foreign, and more than ever, people are shopping online.

How do you physically distance yourself from customers yet, stay connected at the same time? It’s a balancing act.

Here are some helpful tips to encourage your customers to hit that ADD TO CART button with confidence…

The Human Factor

You have a powerful online weapon. Up against all those big companies and floating around in the unknown, is the ‘human factor’.

Consumers are inundated with advertisements all day online, offerings of great deals, miracle products and other targeted marketing campaigns to woo them into buying. When I look into these companies, I find 100% of the time, they are not located in my area, or even my continent.

As a consumer, I am focusing on supporting small business. I seek it out and I am part of a trend. (ok, you can tell me I am the trend, I’ll accept your gesture). Use your human connection to gain trust, build a common relationship and share experiences to create a connection with your consumer.

How to Drive Home that Human Factor

The first thing savvy consumers will want to know is where you are located and shipping from.

Businesses are getting smarter at hiding drop-ship platforms and overseas manufacturers are getting into the retail game, so the waters of online shopping are getting murky.

The Footer Makes Friends

You can relieve consumer concerns by adding your location information directly on your home page. The footer is the most common place to have your address and shipping/refund policies.

You don’t have to share your street address to the world, but a sweet town/state will do the trick.

Shipping policies can also be easily broken down into a couple of menu items. This way, consumers can get the information they are looking for.

For example, you could have a Footer Menu that reads:

  • Shipping within the US

  • International Shipping

  • Refunds/Exchanges

  • Local Pick Up

Consumers can probably get the products you sell anywhere, so don’t be afraid to really focus on your local market (by local, I mean online local). Target people in your state! Or choose a radius around your location and connect with customers there.

About Us Page Makes a Comeback

The ‘About Us’ page went stale for a little while, but it’s back with a vengeance and it may just turn a browsing visitor into a customer.

Update the ‘About Us’ page on a regular basis. By updating the page, you are keeping relevant information in there and letting customers know you’re on-top of your website edits. Perhaps you would like to highlight your staff’s achievements, celebrate a holiday or special event, or even talk about your family. What ever the case, your consumers will appreciate the gesture of getting to know them. Include pictures and enlist help to ensure the page is a quick and easy read.

Tell your customer the WHY.

People want to know the WHY factor. Why did you choose to do this for a living? How are you connected to your industry? Why do you love what you do? Give them the ‘Human Connection’ and make it easy to find.

Perhaps you sell a line of dress shirts for large busted women (please tell me you do) and you created the biz after being unable to find a dress shirt that was slim fitting AND kept it’s buttons closed all day (eh’ em… call me). Tell your customers your story!

Ready to Shop

Sell me a SHIRT… (you know, cause I get a lot of shirt ads on social media)

You’re going to need some photos.

Have the basic white background shots of the products, but include lifestyle photos too. Build the emotional connection.

Who is your customer? Show photos of that ‘imaginary customer’ wearing/using the products, living the lifestyle, being amazing.

Without great photos, your consumer won’t bother with the product description. They’ll just move on to another site.

I can guarantee you, photography will sell (or not sell) your products.,

I want the shirt the girl is wearing while having a good time. The one where she’s content and happy. Ya. That shirt.

Take the time to get those photos, and earn more money?, Um... all the yes.

So you have my attention, now what?

Ok.. you’ve got your consumer far enough along in the process to actually stop and read the description.

This is where you are going to turn all the NO’s into all the YES.

I’m getting that frickin’ shirt with the happy girl wearing it — because it will also make me happy, as long as…

  1. I know it’s going to fit me.

  2. I know what the fabric content is.

  3. I know where it’s made.

  4. I know how comfortable/fitted/slouchy/cozy/dressy etc… it is.

  5. I know the shipping is going to be A-OK for me.

You need to dismiss all my NO’s in order to take me to the cart. You want me to go to the cart, right?

It’s as simple as that.

Not sure where to start?

Honestly, we get so caught up in what we are doing everyday, we forget how knowledgeable we really are.

If I was to call you today (don’t worry, I won’t) and ask you about your product, you would be able to tell me all about it. I would be satisfied you know about what you sell.

Take the time to put that knowledge into words and your online sales will soar. Be real. Be authentic. And hey, if your shirt doesn’t fit busty women, say so in your product description. Returns are a pain in the butt.

Need some help paving the way for more online sales in 2022? Reach out to me

xoxo EM

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