The Do’s And Don’ts Of Online Selling

2 years ago
The Dos & Don'ts of online selling

Peak online shopping day Manic Monday is due to take place on 12 December. How can you make it a day to remember for your business?

Ecommerce expert Phil Rothwell, Managing Director of ecommerce website agency Sellerdeck, shares his key dos and don’ts on how to promote your online store and stay ahead of the competition.

1. DO find ways to be special…

“It’s a very crowded market place. Online spending in the UK is expected to exceed £120bn in 2016, with about £25bn spent in the run-up to Christmas. So many businesses and individuals are now selling online, you must stand out in a way that’s meaningful to your customers. It’s called market positioning. Give customers a clear reason to trust and buy from you – just being the cheapest isn’t the answer.”

2. DON’T think having a good website is enough…

“The look and functionality of your website is only part of it. You must also highlight your specialist knowledge to encourage visitors to know, like and trust your business. Effective use of digital marketing will attract customers. As well as optimising your site for search engines, you might run a Google AdWords campaign. You should have integrated marketing which could include using social media, of course, possibly blogging, email marketing and PR.”

3. DO be clear about your business objectives…

“An example might be, I want to increase sales of product X by 30 per cent in the next 12 months. Once you know what key objectives you’re trying to achieve, you can decide on tactics for how best to achieve them. This can help you to grow your business.”

4. DON’T lose sight of your performance…

“Being able to judge whether you’re on target to achieve your objectives can help you to learn from your successes and failures, so you can achieve better results going forward. You can also stop wasting time, effort and money on things that don’t work. Change is not to be feared. Successful businesses remain agile and open to change when necessary.”

3. DO seek expert advice if you lack knowledge…

“The idea that you can start and run an online business and grow it all by yourself is unrealistic. Ten years ago, creating a reasonably decent website was pretty straightforward. Now it must be responsive so it looks good when viewed on PC, tablet and smart phone – many people now buy online using their phone. Seeking help from reliable experts on design, architecture, content, selling and marketing, where you lack knowledge and experience, can make a big difference.”

6. DON’T do stuff that you don’t understand…

“Stay focused on areas where you can offer most value to your business. Stay focused on what you need to achieve and make sure others you work with know exactly what you need and want. Trying to do everything yourself can mean that quality suffers, while you waste time and money on things that bring little or no benefit to your business.”

7. DO constantly try to find ways to improve…

“Successful businesses evolve. Willingness to change is essential. Not change for change’s sake, of course, but being prepared to change where and when necessary, often guided by changes in your marketplace. If you stubbornly refuse to change, you risk becoming irrelevant. Don’t get stuck in a rut; be open to new ideas. Go out and speak to people – especially your customers. Learn from and be inspired by others.”

8. DON’T ever neglect your customers…

“This is true for all types of businesses, of course. You must give your customers the products and services they expect. Respond to enquiries and complaints quickly and professionally. Deliver goods when promised. And don’t be scared to invite customer feedback – valid criticism provides the opportunity for your business to improve. If criticised on social media, respond quickly, because resolving issues can be turned into customer loyalty and even endorsement. Exceed customer expectations where possible. ”

9. DO manage your business – don’t let it drift…

“I read Sir Alex Ferguson’s book on management recently and in it he says there are only two times when you can make decisions – too early and too late. Making decisions too early creates fewer problems. You have to make important decisions when necessary, however difficult they might be. Be guided by thorough knowledge of your market and your main business objectives.”

10. DON’T just try to imitate others…

“Be yourself and find your own identity and niche. Have your own story to tell and be authentic. The softest and easiest claim to make is that you offer great customer service. Don’t just do this because others do. Genuinely offer great customer service. Getting the hard stuff right can really set your business apart. And never rest on your laurels. Just because you were successful last year, doesn’t mean you’ll be successful this year.”