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Nine ways to maximise your sales online

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In the post-Brexit world, it’s entirely possible that small businesses will be looking to new channels to help them grow. Many already trade online and through mobile channels, but a lot do not, or could do more efficiently. The following advice should help you get the most out of ecommerce: 

Make sure your site is easy to find

It’s important people looking for a particular product find your website rather than that of a competitor. Think about what they would be likely to search for on Google, and make sure your site is search engine optimised to ensure you appear high on the rankings. Remember to ensure too that your site can be accessed through mobile channels as well as traditional PCs or laptops; around half of all online transactions are now done through smart phones or tablets.

Give people a reason to come

If you’re looking to drive sales, you’ll need to encourage people to come to the site in the first place. Offering a special deal is one option, but you could also consider a subscription-based package for products which people might want to buy on a regular basis. This would work well for luxury purchases, such as toiletries, confectionary or alcohol, as well as more unusual regular purchases. You can promote special offers on social media or other sites, if budget allows.

Display products clearly

Ultimately your website is there to turn browsers into customers, so make sure it’s simple for them to find and buy products, or get in touch with you if you’re offering services.

Make it simple for them to hone in on categories of products and use pictures to show individual items. But it’s a good idea not to have too many products on there; no one wants to sift through 25 pages to find what they’re looking for.

Make it easy to buy

‘Buy now’ buttons should be located near products, and the sales process should be as simple and involve as few clicks as possible. Give customers the option to save their payment and address details, as this can help encourage repeat purchases by making it easier to buy in the future. Make it easy for them to get in touch if they have questions too; live chat can be a good option if you have someone to man it as it can help prevent people abandoning items they have added to their trolley.

Check you have the stock

One sure way to annoy customers and create a bad impression is if your website offers products that aren’t in stock, or which people have to wait a long time for. Be clear about what is available, and if you’re unable to deliver on particular items take them off the site until you can.

Ensure secure transactions

Customers need to feel sure they’re dealing with a reputable organisation. Make sure your website is PCI compliant, and offer customers the ability to pay through third-party methods such as PayPal if they choose to. Make sure you have procedures in place to handle any customer data securely, including credit card information.



Be clear around delivery

Customers are becoming more demanding around delivery, so make sure however you intend to do this that people can receive their orders in a timely fashion. Be clear – but also realistic – about how long it will take to arrive, and make sure you stick to this. It’s important too to use a courier or delivery firm you can trust, as if they fail to meet customer demands it can reflect badly on you too.

Get the right hosting set-up

Ensuring your site is available at all times is essential, and if you have a high turnover of products you’ll need to think about upload times as well so a decent broadband connection is vital. Visit www.fsb.org.uk/benefits/support/fsb-communications to find out what your membership entitles you to.

Consider external sites

Selling your wares on your own website is attractive, because it means you retain any profit that comes in. But third-party sites can offer you higher volumes of traffic so it may be worth listing your products on there too. eBay or Amazon allow private sellers to reach their audiences, while other listings such as NotOnTheHighStreet may also be worth considering for particular items.