Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tips to Help Boost Your Online Sales

Howdy Folks,

In today’s (or actually yesterdays) “Tips, Tricks, and Secrets” article, I’d like to talk a bit about some basic tips to help boost your online sales. You know, when we surf the net these days, it’s usually to look for something specific. Especially when we’re buying something, and we all a tendency to just quickly scan a web page to see if it has what we’re looking for, and if not, then we just as quickly move on to the next web site.

Now, there are literally tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands (or even more) people online selling things, and in order to stand out, and not get buried by the multitude of “other guys,” there are some basic tips that we should follow. Ready? Okay, here we go!

1. Titles That Sell

As I said, we all tend to just scan web pages when we’re looking for something specific. In order to really reach out and grab your potential buyer’s attention, you need to have a really good title that is concise, descriptive, and free from useless words and widgets. Avoid phrases like “Ultra Rare”, “L@@K!”, “COOL!” and similar things that really do nothing other than take away from the title itself. Let’s say you have a blue lace edge basket by Imperial Glass. You might say something like, “Katy Blue Laced Edge Basket, Imperial Depression Glass”. This title gives the proper color name, the pattern name, the manufacturer name, and the approximate age (depression era. Imperial actually made this pattern during the 1930’s). Now that you have your title down, you’re ready to move onto your items description.

2. Clear, Concise Descriptions

As you write your item description, try to write it as from your potential buyer’s viewpoint. Think about what you have liked best in the descriptions of items that you have purchased. Keep your information easy to understand, and you might try using bullets to highlight key points such as size, capacity, weight, color, age and so on. Bulleted lists tend to draw the readers eyes, and can be a good selling tool. Also, don’t forget to avoid any and all temptation to sugar coat. If your item has any flaws of any kind, state them for what they are. A chip is a chip. If it is a small chip or nick, you might use the term “fleabite.” However, if the chip can be measured, do so, and include the size of the chip, and it’s location in the item description. The same holds true for cracks, holes, stains, etc. You don’t have to go overboard, but you do want to be as honest as you can. Remember, honesty helps build customer loyalty, which equates to increased sales and repeat customers. It is also important to clearly state your shipping and return policies up front, and always be honest and fair with them.

3. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

With regard to online sales, this is one of the “Golden Rules.” Customers love to handle items they are considering purchasing. Since they obviously can’t do this with an online sale, use as many clear photos as you can. Usually between 4-6 photos is adequate. Make sure your photos are not too large as they can slow down the loading time of the page, and buyer’s will often become impatient while waiting and simply go on to the next site. Remember that golden rule, a picture is worth a thousand words? It is so very true, and good pictures can actually sell a good item, even without a detailed description. However, the reverse is also true. Bad pictures can kill a potential sale. It is vitally important to use only clear, well lit pictures. Avoid grainy or blurry photos. Also avoid touching up your photos in photo shop. Buyers are looking for honesty, and a photo shopped picture just screams out that you are trying to hide something.

4. Encourage Impulse Buying

Have you ever wondered why the candy, and soda, and magazine and geegaw items are on stands at the head of the check out lines in stores? The answer is impulse buying. When folks are done shopping and standing in line, they are always looking at the items near and around them, and almost always, they will buy one or more items from these stands that they really didn’t want. It’s human nature. This same premise also works with online sales. Even though you can’t really put a candy stand next to your check out button on your web site, you can suggest, near the end of your description, related or associated products that you are selling. Using the example above, in addition to the Laced Edge Basket, you may also have candlesticks, a fruit bowl, or platter in the same color and pattern. Remind the buyer that these are also available. Often, they will at least go and look, and quite possibly purchase them as well.

You can also use words and phrases that encourage impulse buying such as “Limited Time Offer!” or “Only 2 Days Left!”. But remember, if you are running a sale, or if your items really are only available for a limited time, then hold to that. Don’t use these phrases just to lure in buyers for items that have been up for sale for weeks and will continue to up until they are sold. You can also offer a free gift with every purchase, or with purchases totaling a specific amount of money. Folks always love getting a deal, especially getting something for nothing, so offering a free gift is a great way to boost sales. And this brings me my last point.

5. Free & Combined Shipping

Shoppers hate paying shipping charges. I know I do. I mean, why buy something for only a few dollars less than the local store’s identical item, when you have to pay extra to have it shipped? Especially when the shipping charges are high. Whenever possible, offer free shipping. This one single tip can really help to boost your sales, and it also encourages repeat customers. Also, avoid “padding” your shipping charges. Be fair and only charge what the shipper charges. Nothing extra. It also helps to offer a variety of shipping options, such as FedEx, UPS, and the Post Office. The Post Office also offers a variety of shipping options such as Express, Overnight, Priority, First Class, Media, and Parcel Post. Be sure to check with your local post office and learn about the different regulations regarding each of these options.

Well folks, I hope you have found these tips helpful and informative. I know that I have used them, and they have worked for me. I hope they will work for you as well. Until next time, take care and have a great Christmas Holiday Season.


Whiskey Jack

Today’s Word of Wisdom: “Genius has its limits. Stupidity knows no bounds.”

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