I assume that if you’re looking to increase your sales, you already know the three key factors to a successful shop as they’ve been repeated a million times. (1.) Take excellent photographs; (2.) Write detailed, descriptive listings; and (3.) Use keywords that will help your customers find you.
Now it’s time to fine-tune the inner workings of your small business for maximum sales potential.
Perfect Your Proposal
Online storefronts can be very successful, but you must first realize that the internet may as well be as big as the universe. It’s vast, ever-expanding, and so much more than we will ever fully comprehend. Every day, people are uploading products, pictures, information and more onto the same web space where you sell. It’s hectic, and you need to stand out.
The first thing you want to determine is where you are getting your sales from right now because you can enhance what’s already working. Next, you can double the effectiveness of your listings so your views lead to more sales. With this approach, you understand that each potential customer has an important decision to make when they visit your listing: Should they buy?
Every view that goes without a sale means that they answered, “No.” Obviously, you want them to answer, “Yes!” So, here are five ways to turn every “no” into a great big “yes!”
- Engage Your Customer. Create a catchy title for your listing and make sure the description sings the beauty of the item and/or lists its attributes. Then, close strong. Your title needs to catch the customer’s attention in two seconds, so ensure that it does that with powerful description (words like: soft, cozy, brilliant, trendy) or service of the product (words like: convenient, priceless, holistic, organic, natural). The listing should help the customer imagine what they’ll feel like when using your product. This can be difficult, because once your product goes to listing, you’ve dealt with it a lot and it’s become an ordinary sight. Remind yourself how extraordinary and unique the piece is by imagining your customer’s reaction to it upon arrival. What will they think when they see the color, feel the texture and weight, and use it for the first time? Visualize the impression they are going to have, and describe that in your listing.
- Explain the Value. Believe it or not: people don’t care about price. EVERYBODY wants value. What value does your product have? Insert that into the listing! If it’s a knitted scarf, it might be softness guaranteed! If it’s jewelry, it might be affordable luxury. As creative artists, we have to ensure that our customers know they are getting unique products. Your listing must convey that the customer will receive unmatched, custom-made quality at an incredible price.
- Feature Feedback. That last positive feedback you got from that customer who couldn’t stop raving about the amazing order she received from you? Yeah, go ahead and put that across the top of your next listing. Word of mouth is HUGE, and don’t think that we need to know whose mouth is producing that word! If you hear how great a product is, you know you have to check it out! As will your customers.
- Insert a Call to Action. If you have created a piece of pottery, jewelry, art, knitted cloth, etc., and you know that’s the only one that exists on this planet—SELL THAT. Make sure your listing reveals that the item is the only one of its kind, and it may not be there next week. Sellers use the phrase, “one of a kind” and “only one in stock,” but don’t forget high-quality phrases such as, “limited edition” or “elite.” You are original, so be sure to market your uniqueness.
- Up-Sell. Do you gift-wrap? Up-sell. Do you have a matching sweater to go with that scarf? Up-sell. Do you have a pair of earrings that compliment that necklace? You guessed it, up-sell. Frequently leave a link in your listing to another listing. When I shop a brick-and-mortar store, I usually don’t check out unless I have found two things that I both want and need. If I can only find one thing from the whole store to buy, I question if that retailer is really my style and I usually put the one item I found back on the rack. Help the customer shop your store by leaving convenient links to like products.
Ensure Repeat Business
Once a customer finds and follows you, HONOR THAT BOND. Finding new customers can be difficult and expensive, but appreciating the people already shopping your online storefront is simple and cheap. Here are three ways to do just that:
- Offer After-Purchase Discounts. You can buy a cheap box of business cards from Vista Print or MOO with a discount code printed on them. Include this card with every order you pack for returning customers to use on their next visit, as it’s an ingenious marketing strategy. I once ordered from an Etsy pottery seller who included a discount coupon in the package. I normally toss business cards right away because I can’t afford the clutter. However, this coupon sat on my desk for months, right in front of my computer—which led me to the seller’s shop often! Discounts are irresistible, so offer a good one, and your customer will keep your shop name front and center.
- Make Exclusive Offers for Previous Customers. When you are communicating with your buyer post-sale, make sure that they know you offer exclusive discounts to returning customers. Encourage them to sign up for your email notifications, Twitter feed and Facebook fan page. Leave links to make it easy on your customers, and then make those special offers count. I have a policy in my shop: I don’t contact my customers through email with anything less than a spectacular offer. I won’t waste their time with 10% off or free shipping sales because I know that only amounts to a few dollars off the purchase. But every once in a blue moon, I’ll host a 25% off sale in my shop and send my previous customers an exclusive code for an additional 10% off. That’s a total of 35% off their order! When I contact my customers, I make sure to let them know that they are valued, and that I respect their time and consideration.
- Honor Your Best Customers. At the end of my first year of business, I sent handwritten “Thank You” cards and a free product to my five most valuable customers. Their huge purchases and repeat business seriously contributed to my business’ bottomline. They not only shopped my store, they gifted it to their friends as well—giving me exposure to people I would not have reached otherwise. The bond that I created with those customers increased my shop’s success. I was so grateful for their business, I couldn’t help but express it. That’s one of the ways you can separate yourself from the big retailers, such as Old Navy. You’re not big business, and that’s one of your shop’s assets. I can bet Old Navy doesn’t know the name of their best customer or recognize the value of that person’s business, but you can! Recognize them for their value to your personal and professional bottomline.
Perfect the customer-shop interaction so that it becomes as effective as possible, and later you can focus on increasing your views. This will guarantee higher returns whenever your site traffic increases.
You CAN increase your sales this month, so go get busy with it!