It’s never been easier to sell online. In fact, on many sites, all you need to get started is a camera or a smartphone, a computer, and items to list. While it’s not hard to create a profile and set your price, making that first sale will go much faster if you follow a few simple tips.
Karma is Real.
Even when you interact primarily with customers online or over the phone, you can’t get away with shady business practices or deaf ears. In one extreme case, the owner of an online retailer threatened customers when they complained about shoddy products and eventually served jail time for customer harassment.
An excellent example of service done right is Diapers.com, a company that builds strong connections with consumers through 24/7 customer service, amazing return policies, and over-the-top care for busy families.
In six short years, the company went from operating out of a New Jersey garage to a $500 Million acquisition by Amazon.
Photos, Photos, Photos.
You don’t have to be Ansel Adams, but your images should be well-lit, taken on a plain background, and with a model when relevant. If you’re selling antiques or vintage, show any wear and tear and be honest about the condition.
Use Instagram filters, bright sunlight, and give your shoot some personality – it will definitely be worth it. The worst thing you can do is take bad pictures and waste more time when you have to re-shoot.
Don’t use stock photos of your items, either – your pictures won’t be uniform across your store and your site will scream, “SCAM! Stay away!”
Be Shameless with Your Promotion.
No one is going to toot your horn for you. If you have a passion for 70s VW auto parts, space cat art, or Hello Kitty, chances are people in your community do too. Share to Facebook, post your wares on Twitter, and get creative.
The newfound ease of online selling means that it’s competitive out there. Most sellers won’t sell everything out of the gate. It takes consistent work to develop a loyal following.
Contribute to the Community.
Find other sellers, bloggers, and businesses like yours, and find ways to help them out. If you make custom dog costumes for Halloween, it’s likely that the person with the custom dog bowl store will have great leads for you.
Sharing other businesses you like, posting and commenting on other sellers’ items, and generally being supportive of other sellers will help you grow. Relationship building, referrals, and business connections.
Two Words: Free Shipping.
Take away every barrier between a customer liking your wares and deciding to buy. Making shipping free is an easy step that will help you get more customers down the conversion funnel.
The best part: You don’t even have to lose revenue here. Build the cost of shipping into your price. An item that is $19 with free shipping will sell faster than $15 with $4 shipping, even though the customer is spending the same amount.
Emma Starks is the communications manager at Copious.com. Find Copious on Twitter here: @ShopCopious