If you're reading this blog post, you've probably not only considered eCommerce as a way of making money online but may have already started selling. Either way, you're in the right place.
Selling online is not easy. The amount of time and effort required to sell an item online could possibly lead to five times the sales if you were selling offline. It's easier to convince people face-to-face to buy from you than it is to convince strangers on the internet who might not trust you yet. As a result, you need to learn the basics and the intricacies of selling online if you want to make any money from the internet.
What Are The Challenges of Online Selling?
Selling merchandise (physical goods or digital products) has evolved over the years and has proved to be increasingly difficult. Here are the reasons why;
Very High Number of Sellers: When eCommerce first started, not many people were selling online. There were fewer players in the industry and competition for consumers’ dollars was less intense. The collective millions of eCommerce and dropshipping businesses on the world’s eCommerce sites are proof of this increasing competition. Whatever it is that you want to sell, lots of other people are already selling it.
Cyber Fraud: We live in an era where online fraud is at an all-time high. Cheap, easy and ubiquitous access to the internet means that anyone has the potential to either defraud or be defrauded. Before people buy anything online, several questions run through their minds. Is this product real? Is the seller real? Is this a scam website? Are there positive reviews of this company or seller?
Logistics: While there may be little to no need for logistics when selling digital products online. There's a lot of work to be done around logistics when selling physical products. They will require inventory, packaging, and shipping. For sellers who trade large or heavy products, there's the challenge of convincing buyers that these products will eventually be delivered to them.
And the list goes on. In the end, those who get it right often find it preferable to sell online than offline. In the absence of the right knowledge and effective sales strategies, selling online could be a nightmare. It won’t be for you, as I’ll show you some hacks shortly.
The Psychology of Selling Online
The entire process of wooing your prospects into buying your product on the internet can be represented in the following simple steps.
- Choosing the right niche
- Choosing the right product
- Choosing the right audience
- Establishing familiarity
- Pitching without pitching
On the psychology of selling online, it's easy to notice that the first three-step concern the seller directly. Those are the things you must do for yourself (and for your own good) even before getting to work on the customer’s mind. The other two refer to how you can work on your potential buyers.
Step One: The Right Niche
Choosing the right niche is where it all begins. You'll naturally want to look out for niches that aren't too competitive, but which have enough traction to be profitable for you. Of course, it's not as easy as it seems. There are hundreds of niches and sub-niches. Each niche is unique with its own pros and cons. You don't have the time to study the pros and cons of countless niches. Simply identify your interests and passions, then search for niches that are closest to them. Then narrow it down to ones that are profitable but not too competitive. Get this right and almost half of the challenges of selling online are solved. Miss the mark and you’d have to start all over again.
Step Two: The Right Product
In your chosen niche, there will be dozens, hundreds or even thousands of products to choose from. I'll assume you want to sell on Amazon (You can use this technique on all platforms by the way). The idea here is to find a profitable product that's not being sold by everybody else. It's much easier to sell people products that are new, unique or exciting than everyday products. Learn more about how to find the best products for sale on amazon with Amzscout.net.
Step Three: The Right Audience
In this context, the term “audience” will refer to the source of traffic. The product you sell will determine the kind of Facebook group you join, the Quora spaces you join, the type of subreddit you join, and the type of places you hang out online. Maximize your time on social media and the blogosphere by making sure your activities will on your specific platforms to generate traffic to your landing page, store or website.
Step Four: Establishing Familiarity
This is where it gets interesting. You can't set up a storefront, start with zero reviews or interaction and expect sales to pour in at once. If you're in a Facebook group, for instance, you have to contribute to the group frequently. Submit posts, reply to people’s comments. Hit the “like” button a lot. Do all it takes to get the people’s attention. Do the same on the online community of the platform you're selling on. Repeat on your favorite social media accounts. Let them know who you are and show them you're real and authentic.
Step Five: Pitching Without Pitching
Suggest without asking. Sell without selling. This is an art on its own and is the pinnacle of great sales. What some internet marketers don't realize is that most people on the internet are not principally looking for stuff to buy. By an impressive margin, people on the internet are either trying to entertain themselves through social media, interact with people, find jobs, sell stuff or do some research.
Buying is usually the case when these people go to eCommerce websites like Amazon. Otherwise, they have to find a reason to buy. It, therefore, makes perfect sense that in order to sell to your audience – especially if you met them on social media or anywhere other than your landing page – you should gently suggest your merchandise or services. Don’t tell them to “Buy Now”. Tell them “I recommend this tool for anyone who wants to find good products fast without spending a fortune”.
Platforms to Use
You can generally sell on your platform or on third-party platforms. Your platforms are those ones hosted and designed by you to complete your sales process.
They include but aren’t limited to the following:
- A landing page (Also squeeze or sales page)
- Your website or blog
Third-party platforms include but are not also limited to the following:
- Your social media profiles such as LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile, etc
- Social media pages such as Facebook business page
- Social media groups such as Facebook groups, Linkedin groups, Whatsapp groups, Quora spaces, etc
- Online forums such as Reddit, Black Hat World, etc
- Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Aliexpress, Oberlo and many other platforms
The platform you choose isn't as important as the offer or products. Good products will sell well any day and time so long you apply the right sales strategies.
Things to Note
Keep in mind that in 2020 the competition is fiercer than ever before. Unlike the earliest days of eCommerce when entrepreneurs were too skeptical to dive right in and consumers too afraid to trust sellers. In 2020, buy and selling online is the norm and standing out within the “norm” is difficult.
Unless your product is some sort of new, unique, fresh and high-in-demand stuff that few sellers have access to, you must be willing to exercise some patience.
Selling online is a process instead of a one-off activity. For instance, the sales techniques that worked in the earliest days of mini-importation (for instance) may not work well in 2020. Way back, people would pay upfront and get their items delivered to them in their desired destination; and that was enough. Later, the concept of free shipping came mainstream and sales drifted in favor of merchants who joined the train really fast.
Beyond physical products, you can employ these sales techniques to any activity you do online that requires sales of some sort. These could be your published books on Amazon, your online service-based agency, your consulting business or a freelance side-hustle.
Disclosure: This is a contributed post