With increasing eCommerce platform providers, How to Sell products online is no more a complex question. Start an eCommerce business and sell online.
How to Sell Products Online India – A Newbie’s Guide
Building an online store is no more a hurdle, it’s an activity tailored to be carried out in the comfort of your home. To sell products online in India, the marketer/ entrepreneur needs to understand customer base. In a price sensitive country like India what inspires a customer to navigate through the shopping cart and place an order.
The increasing internet penetration has questioned almost all entrepreneurs, Few questions that baffles Indian entities are, How to reflect their brand values in a dynamic world. How to understand and anticipate the customer needs in view to offer a personalised experience, and how to build strong relationship with customers.
- The Industry/ Market is Where It All Starts
- To Sell a Product – Understand the Market Pulse
- Find a Profitable Niche Segment
- To Sell Online – Establish Around Your Customers
- Create an Exciting Digital Presence to Sell Online
- Deliver More than What the Customer Anticipates
- Content that Resonates with your Customers
- PPC Strategy – A Wild Chase
- Is Dropshipping the Right Solution To Start With
- Ecommerce Business – An Army of Brand Advocates
If you are fairly new to the digital world and doesn’t know how the virtual world operates, then it may seems like a bit inundating task in the initial days. As a digital marketer myself, at times my expertise are tested to the limits. Competing with fresh and innovative ideas seems a bit overwhelming. With digital channels are getting more refined and optimised to cater an exciting experience to the end customer, it gets a bit tricky to position your brand identity on platforms like Google. After all, nobody said selling online is going to be easy.
Top eCommerce Business Strategies to Sell Online
#1 The Industry/ Market is Where It All Starts
Admit that you are not a polymath. The best starting point for any project is the industry. Regardless of what kind of products you sell, it’s important that you need to have a fair idea of the market/ industry that your business is related to.
To sell products online you need to understand the industry in which it operates.
Let’s consider that you want to start an online grocery store. Wow! what better business model than an online grocery shop to nurture the society with fresh and healthy grocery. Grocery falls into the category perishable goods, and the shelf life of groceries are comparatively lesser when compared to any other commodity goods.
Article published on OneSpace “What will the Grocery Industry Look Like in 2020” clearly shows the importance of keeping an eye on the industry. How individual components are contributing to the growth, and what pitfalls to avoid. The digital transformation demands change, and the grocery industry is changing.
To Sell a Product Understand the Market Pulse
The significance in accommodating change is predominantly visible in the apparel/ fashion industry. If you are not able to understand and anticipate the market trends then as an apparel store you may not be able to stay relevant and meet the market demands. Constantly monitoring the industry will help gain deep insights and stay competent. The industry knowledge gives you a fair idea of what products seems to benefit you in the long run.
The stats seems a bit alarming, that from 2014 around 18 major grocery stores slipped into the wild clutches of bankruptcy. Which contemplates the idea that an entrepreneur needs to keep the business model relevant to meet the industry needs. Following traditional business model is not going to guarantee any success. With eCommerce business models dynamically changing the landscape of retail industry it’s important that you decide to own a virtual store. Every customer wants to be felt by the brand, than an only then you will be able to sell your products.
A gamut of niche segments are are dominated by well established brands who are ready to invest huge sums on their customers. Most business entities are incentivising people, just to bring them to the store front. Brands are ready to absorb the initial cost they invest, and synergize to capitalise on the long run. The market place is crowded with competitors offering smarter and better solutions. If you step yourself back in identifying the key differentiators and the value propositions that gives you an added advantage to a business, how do you think you can position your startup in a complex marketing world.
How well you know the industry and market, will be your spade to ace the game.
Find a Profitable Niche Segment
At times, we prioritize our career over passion. Not that we lack the enthusiasm to stir to the gallore, just that the niche doesn’t seems profitable. When pursuing an entrepreneurial life you need to consider the fact that the journey is to conquer unimaginable heights. It’s clubbed with a bundle of activities ingrained with a clear vision to add value to the society and at the same time a nominal sum is generously added to the bottom line.
#2 To Sell Online – Establish Around Your Customers
As a startup entrepreneur I am sure you would have done your research, Still, thought this point needs to be stressed.
Last week I was in a meeting with a prospect. The prospect seems too determined to establish a strong digital presence. As, the meeting went along, we stumbled across the usual question. Who is your Ideal customer. The answer seems a bit, confusing. “EVERYONE”.
Due respect, yes as an entrepreneur you are extremely happy to sell more. The question is whether the products on the catalogue meets the market demand. If you have established an eCommerce business and decided to sell products online then you need to have a clear idea of whom to target.
Let’s consider the example of an online grocery. You decided to start an online grocery store, the business idea seems great but don’t know where to start or who to target.
Based on your business model your target customers will vary. The business model for a local grocery store and a full fledge grocer who is ready to sell to a wider audience differs. Even your eCommerce marketing strategy need to be planned to accommodate the needs and wants of a customer. Selling products online is not that easy, it’s all about knowing your customers and creating a buyers journey that will add value to person who engages with it.
Let’s see how your business model and target customers varies, Suppose you decide to sell organic groceries online. Organic groceries comes with a premium price. So you need to find a strategic location near a residency area that can afford the premium price. It is a vapid effort to open a stall and expect people to walk in and buy organic grocery from you, to the least not that easy in the initial days. First, you expect people to trust what you are selling is organic and pay a premium price. Make sure that your online/ offline store meets their expectation.
I recommend you start creating an audience persona. A persona will help you identify the needs, wants, pain points of your customers. Making it easy for your eCommerce business to sell online. Once you have these created and set aside it help you forge customer oriented strategies. Creating an audience persona will help educate the customers. When creating a persona I am confident that you will find it astounding that the customers have a lot of queries that your business can answer.
People search for organic groceries because, people want to move towards a sustainable organic life and they are aware of the importance of living a healthy life. In a nutshell, Yes, they are health conscious.
Why not add these points to your content strategy.
Ask questions like,
- How to live a healthy life?
- What to include in a healthy diet?
- How to find authentic organic grocery stores?
When you try to understand the customer’s needs and take proactive actions to educate them, then you are adding value to the customer. By adding value to the end customer you are able to position your solution/ brand among the target customers. Once you succeed in positioning your brand you will be able to build lasting relationship with the customers. Relationship with customers will help drive business.
Let your local store be the hub to source freshly grown organic groceries. The brand value, Once you have it set deep in their mind sets then it gets easier to sell your products.
#3 Create an Exciting Digital Presence to Sell Online
In an overly exploited virtual world, try to palpitate a unique digital presence. How unique your eCommerce business is plays an important role in determining whether people should interact with the store or not.
A well planned and robustly executed digital strategy tends to add significant value to business. After all, how could a highly targeted and curated campaign fail to excite the customer. To plan a strong virtual presence you need to rely on insights driven strategies. Gather insights from the industry and persona then execute it to the target market.
Go for a holistic strategy, showcase your brand presence on multiple platforms. Create multiple touch points so that people can interact with your business without leaving the platform. One great example will be how you could create a Facebook Shop and sell products directly through the platform. Make sure that every touch point will help collect data about your customer, being ready to anticipate and accommodate the buying signals.
Most virtual entities fails to identify where they are losing, but the blind spot seems too obvious to the customers. In a hyper optimised digital world people are looking for a personalised experience. An experience that stimulates the neurotransmitter, dopamine could be the key to sell your products online.
A good online presence will help explore untapped market opportunities and find new customers.
#4 Deliver More than What the Customer Anticipates
Another great strategy to excite your customers is to deliver more than what they anticipate. Emotional/ psychological marketing strategies are greatly used in traditional and conventional marketing channels to compel the customers to engage with brands. That’s one great reason why brands started to share backstage theatricals to the fan followers. Guess what, One great brand will be the WWE.
How many of us believe that a brand is more than the product/ service they serve. Considering the total populous, what percentage of the audience expect a brand to stand for a social cause (eg: adulterated products and health issues), to become their voice. Take the fashion industry, at what cost should fashion be entertained. The textile industries with their dyes, pollutants, etc. In what sense do they colour the nature. If fashion is to augment personality, why not go for a sustainable one which favours both nature and people.
Use technology to make your customers life effortless. Disney, the brand with its magical touch has lured almost everyone to the magical landscapes. Disney wants their customers to experience the best when people decides to spend time with them. No delays, waiting time, or hassle. Disney was able to continuously coordinate the program with the help of technology. With technology, Disney was able to sidetrack people’s attention, persuade them to explore an alternate activity when a spectacle seems heavily packed. Instead of waiting people can move to another pavilion, and then revisit the spectacle when the demand dwindles.
#5 Content that Resonates with your Customers
“Content without a purpose” – What a Waste of Time.
Quality is a mere reflection of what the customer wants, or how he/ she perceives the solution. When comes to content, the principal objective should be to offer a complete solution to the user. The perks of being in a digital world is that you have the whole world at your fingertips. You get an opportunity to sell your products to millions.
We millennials seek instant gratification. Patience is not one of our virtue. Nobody wants to go through an entire research paper/ a journal to find the right solution.
One click and the answer is often made available in the knowledge graph. Or the supplementary article will provide the visitor with information that help him solve the puzzle.
If the topic is. How To Start An Online Grocery Shop. Then as an entrepreneur you need to offer a complete solution to the reader.
Try to angle the article from multiple views.
- What licence is required to start a startup?
- How to apply for the licence?
- Best practices in setting up and running a startup?
- How to create a business plan for your online retail shop?
- What strategies can be used to commercialise your business model?
Most marketers fail to consider the customers position on the buyer’s journey. Once the buyer’s journey is plotted, it gives the author a plain field, where he/ she can decide what strategy will invigorate a sense of interest among the readers. In the awareness stage why not be a bit quirky. The quirkiness and fun part can help attract new customers and impel them to interact with the platform.
Ignore the fun part? Who doesn’t want to laugh. Let’s give them a good time, if it’s good enough then people will be happy to share it with their followers. More they share higher the chance for a sale.
Refine your content, every platform has their own innate characteristics. What you post on Facebook may not seem fit to the audience on Twitter and LinkedIn. When Facebook is a casual platform to share tittle tattle, LinkedIn is a professional platform for gauged conversations.
In the virtual world quality inbound traffic can build or burn your business entity. Inbound traffic comes with a perceived need, that’s one good reason why organic traffic is given great importance. It is hard to find a business entity that talks about digital transformation and fails to invest in quality content. Even brands started to use quality content to instill their value proposition among employees. Often dedicated platforms, software suits, and channels are created to for internal communications.
#6 PPC Strategy – A Wild Chase
As Google has become one of the best channel to drive quality traffic to eCommerce business, marketers and entrepreneurs started to slowly prioritise their focus to this channel. Marketers with their twisted ideas started to game the system and rank on SERP (Search Engine Results Page). This forced Google to moderate webpages, and to make sure that pages with quality information (pages that tend to add significant value to the reader) based on the context of the search will rank higher. As competition increased it gets harder for marketers to compete on SERP.
Ecommerce business entities that are rooted with the concept of GBF theory (Grow Big Fast) found it a painstaking task. Most of these firms are looking for instant results. Thus, Paid Campaigns become the ruling strategy. The challenge with a paid campaign is that you will be charged every time when someone interacts with your campaign. Usually for a paid campaign you pay for every click.
Paid campaigns can become a cost when its not planned and implemented with due consideration. What I would recommend is to create a keyword matrix out of the buyer’s persona. The keywords should be filtered based on the position on the buyer’s journey. No need to put too much effort or wit to decide where the keyword falls, use you instinct. When you place the keywords, sprinkle some context to it.
For example; Keywords like “buy grocery online”, “grocery stores nearby” usually reflects a context where the customer is looking for a grocery shop to buy groceries.
Go through multiple online resources, learn the best practices in running a paid campaigns. Don’t go with a wild chase. You may lose money. WIth PPC it’s quite easy to bring a volume of traffic, but as a business, traffic is not your primary objective, SALES is. Be prudent, know who you are targeting and who you are bringing to your website.
#7 Is Dropshipping the Right Solution To Start With
I recommend you start with dropshipping.
Zero inventory, minimal investment business model. As a test run try this business model. It will help you get deep insights into the digital marketing world. Young entrepreneurs who are in college can start with this business model. You only need two things to start dropshipping.
- An eCommerce website to list the products
- Genuine dropshippers who will fulfill the online orders
When planning to start a drop shipping business. Once must give utmost importance to select the right product. Not that every product is profitable. It’s better if you try to list products that are unique. Think about it this way, if the same product is available on Amazon, then why should someone buy from you. As a not so familiar brand, people are a bit sceptical to buy from you.
One great strategy to seed confidence among customer is to speak in their native language. To sell a mug with a sailors print on it, you need to curate your message in such a way that it should resonate with a sailor. People prefer to buy from people think, They know.
Your eCommerce store should have an exceptional way to sell itself. Most entrepreneurs fail to pin a genuine reason for the products they sell. Think about it this way, is it a regular discount offer or a discount tagged for a reason. If it’s a regular one, then the visitor might think why should I buy it now. The eCommerce store seems likely to run discounts on a frequent basis. “Buyer – I will place an order the next time I visit”. It lacks the trait to entice the customer, nor to reflect the urgency to avail the discount with an effective end date. The more you immerse yourself into the customer’s shoes, higher the chances to convince them.
Keep your lens wide open, find what the customer wants, and makes sure that your digital venture will be able to accommodate and tender their expectation.
#8 Ecommerce Business – An Army of Brand Advocates
A good experience last a lifetime. One good example will be, an airline offering you an opportunity to overlook the pre-flight checklist. Wow! it’s a dream come true for an avid aviator. To be in the cockpit and see what operations are carried out by the pilots. A simple activity was able to add immense value to the customer. I admit that it seems like a typical example, no way an airline could invite all their customers to the cockpit and give a demo. What if the customer is a passionate aviator who owns a blog, now you see the value. The blogger will be happy to mention the experience on his blog. Share the same with his social followers.
There are no set guidelines and paths that you can follow to create a bunch of brand advocates/ loyal followers. The best strategy is to add value to the customer, build value based relationship. Let your customers add value to the business. Leverage on the trust and confidence that the customers have on your business. You cannot buy brand advocates and loyal customers. It’s hard to fake an authentic response.
Make people believe that they are part of something big. An example will be, make people participate in a campaign that you initiated. Educate people about the health benefit of living an organic life, one close to nature. Be genuine when you stand for a social cause (don’t make it a public stund for media attention).
Parting Note:- An ideas is great, a plan looks feasible. once executed the results will tell the story. Trust me, it is simple. When you drag it, magnify the process in the mental realm of morbid thoughts “How To Sell products Online”, will look a bit perplexed. My advice is Plan, Prepare, Start, and Optimize.