Selling on the web 101

You need more sales? Well the internet gives you access to the world’s largest marketplace. Seems pretty straightforward doesn’t it?

Selling on the web is the easiest most complicated complex simple task you can do for your business. Reason being, is there is a lot more behind the scenes than you think. That’s why Incyte is here to help. We’ve broken down selling online into several major categories and added some helpful tips along the way! Lets get you started selling online as soon as possible!

The first consideration should always be Know The Regulations. As for anything in the business world know what you’re getting into before you jump. In the E-Commerce world online it’s the exact same. There are a number of regulations to follow such as the Data Protection Act 1998, the Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002, and the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. These ensure that personal data provided by customers is kept secure, goods and services meet quality and suitability standards, and online contracts are legally binding.

Security has to be second on the list because what is your site if it’s not safe? According to New York Daily News, yhere are over 600,000 Facebook hacks alone per day! There’s not much to gain from a Facebook hack, but if someone manages to gain access to your E-Commerce website on the other hand, game over. If you are using a Content Management System (CMS), make sure you configure the security settings and ALWAYS change the default username and password for the safest protection. You should always consider backing up your site as well JUST IN CASE.

It’s extremely important to Market your online outlet. It’s no use having a great online sales channel if no one knows about it. Internet marketing, such as search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and an e-newsletter, are among many avenues that will get potential customers to your site. Free tools such as Google Analytics will help you get more information about what visitors respond to and how they behave on your website, so you can refine your marketing further. Other ways to get the word out is by word of mouth. Social media is all about being social and its the most viral exposure you can have. Getting folks to interact with you via social is like putting your marketing efforts on steroids and really benefit your SEO.

*quick tips–
1. Make sure your SEO is optimized and your website is compatible on all devices
2. Big social sharing buttons on product pages, clean template design, and post purchase sharing are a must
3. If you are confident in your products or services, consider allowing reviews. Nothing speaks more to potential buyers, than other happy customers.

When speaking to your customers, find a way to Be Genuine. There is so much noise out there and consumers are savvier than ever – you have to really believe in your product and have an honest commitment to your customers to find a message that resonates. On that note, it’s also important to Make sure you have something awesome that your friends, family or the general public want. If you are not selling goods or services that people want, it’s not worth doing.

As you combine all these things it is important to think BIG PICTURE and establish your strategy. Will the online side of your business be used as the primary means for selling goods and services, generating sales leads and displaying your product range. Or is it just a supplement to a physical storefront and meant for providing post-sales support? You’ll need to work out every stage of a transaction before pushing ahead – buying from other e-commerce sites will tell you what works well, and what doesn’t.

Build your online shop. Your site may be your first point of contact with customers, so it must project the right image of your business. In particular, customers should be able to view your offer and buy without difficulty. But you should also think also about security, delivery, customers contact, keeping it updated and compliance with distance selling regulations. In short, you want people to be thinking about your offering, and not their concerns with your legitimacy.

Choose an online payment system. You can take money for goods bought online in a variety of ways. You could take card payments via the phone, but most firms now set up a payment facility with their bank and/or use an established online payment service such as PayPal, Stripe or Authorize.net. Each of them have a small cost per transaction, but make buying straightforward and hassle-free. They also relieve the burden of some of those pesky regulations.

Get it right behind the scenes. The way you handle orders has a major impact on customer perception and a trouble-free journey from purchase to receipt of goods can turn a one-off sale into repeat business. An automated system can deliver speed and efficiency to the order process and link up the different people in your firm who might be handling the order. Remember, a repeat sale is always easier to get than a first time one and usually a lot more profitable.

Deliver the goods. Choose which distribution channels to use to get the goods to customers. In the case of software, for instance, delivery could be via downloads; send physical items via the postal service, UPS, FEDEX or private couriers. Consider offering an express delivery service and enable customers to track their order. Fast, safe delivery creates a good impression – as does a transparent returns policy. For those using CMS systems, great plugins exist to automate these processes and give customers real-time information about their order.

*Final tips–

1.Find ways to tell the story of your manufacturers. Spend time getting to know your manufacturers and suppliers, and tell their story when you are telling your story as well. People want to see where their products are made, and it creates a stronger connection with your customer, and builds trust.
2.Always make sure you have plenty of inventory in stock when you have big media coming your way. You don’t want to be back ordered and keep valuable customers waiting. This will make everyone happy and keep your costs as low as possible

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