Digitalization is transforming customer experiences. Developments include creation of convenient self-service and escape from the hurdles of time-consuming transactions. As a brand, you need to strive to create a product that people would readily want to use.
Why should you read further? Maybe you have been operating in a local shop and you want to try to expand. Or perhaps you are looking to explore places that will offer your brand more visibility. Maybe you want to satisfy your curiosity on more digital channels that can be available to you even if you already have an online presence.
No matter the reasons you may have, you should read on. And if you still have no idea, I think the better question is “isn’t it time you actually took your business online”? Great digital products don’t just appear out of the blues. They go through a process and create delightful experiences that continually keep their users coming back for more!
The World as It Is Today
I will be blunt with you here. The world has changed and this change is in a big way. This is because screens almost literally surround us all. The Internet and access to it on mobile devices has fueled this, connecting us all in ways never before seen.
With this massive shift in our daily lives, it’s no surprise to note that consumers have become more empowered and informed than ever before. Now, companies not prepared to handle these changes will be at a serious disadvantage, which will lead to loss of sales.
So, if you ask me what I think about the world we live in today, I will say without missing a beat “it’s a world immersed in technology.” Gone are the days of traditional and offline selling. Today, it is clear that organizations wanting to grow to the peak have to digitalize their operations.
Offline stores shouldn’t compete with online stores. The two should complement each other instead. What does that mean? Your brand’s website can’t compare to the physical feel of your products and services, but through the website, you can gain wider reach than your offline store would have made possible.
With the click of a button from the comfort of your bed, one can make purchase decisions across different alternatives in existence. With websites and blogs analyzing products and making comparisons, your average customer engages with your store armed with information much more than your sales representatives. This is because your customers have already done a lot of research before they engage in your physical store.
For example, if your target customers are millennial, they’re likely to learn more about your product from digital channels before they make a buying decision. How then do you utilize the digital world and make your brand the one that stands out of so many competing brands?
Product Sales Rules You Should Never Forget
Your customers are the reason for your existence in business. They’re basically the lifeblood of your business and any marketing strategy you decide to adopt must be anchored around them.
First and foremost, you need to make a decision on what you want to sell. Is there any point moving ahead if you don’t have an idea of what can meet the needs of your customers? A lot of online stores have their origin from the products of their owners. This doesn’t rule out the fact that you can also sell the products of another party through your website and online platforms.
Trust me when I say that having a great product or dare I say multiple great products will lead you on the right path to success. You can also explore the option of digital products like eBooks, games, and online courses.
As a brand, you need to leverage on direct or indirect factors that are most likely to inform a purchase decision. I will explain further. There are some salient factors consumers watch out for before they select the product of a particular brand, such as product features, product reviews, price or an emotional connection. All of these can culminate in closing a sale if acted upon.
Marketing Strategies to Drive Product Sales in the Digital World
You can sell virtually any product or service online. Think of anything and check it out for yourself. Online sales continue to be on the increase year after year. Now, it won’t be wise not to take advantage of the channels you can utilize in the sale of your products and services. The selling process is pretty much the same.
Before you think of selling, you should have a customer target in mind and the customer experience should be consistent. At the forefront of your mind should be the fact that you exist to solve a problem and not merely to sell your goods and services. This is why the satisfaction a customer gets grows a notch when they get a product that is exactly right for them in the fulfillment of their needs.
With ecommerce, you spread your brand wings farther than your locality, reaching a global market, thus increasing your sales lead. Selling your product in the digital world makes you available round the clock and guarantees convenience to your customers. This is why you need to get onboard the online train fast.
The days of just building a website and sitting around for the traffic to come pouring in are over. For a brand that is just starting out and yet to amass goodwill, it will require hard work, consistency and a lot of marketing strategies to get you to the top. As a brand, you can promote your online store using the following marketing strategies.
Social Media Marketing
According to a research by Pew Research Center, 95 percent of your regular American teens use the internet. This is a whopping figure and goes to show that of your target customers are teens, you are definitely going to have to become digital to capture their attention. Youths have become so dependent on internet and digital technology in this present generation.
With many social media platforms that enhance connection, it’s no surprise to see the increasing number of users. Brands that want to stay proactive are taking their products and services to their customers in the places they’re most likely to be.
If you are in the class of people that seems to relegate the social media platforms to the background, I would strongly recommend you have a rethink. Your social interaction does matter on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you are hoping to drive more sales to your store, social media can be a huge step in the right direction.
Research shows that about a whopping eighty-one percent of the buying decision of customers are influenced by a friend’s post on social media. Little wonder why a lot of proactive companies are taking advantage of the opportunities these platforms present.
The digital world today has left a mark on in-store retail experience in remarkable ways. Through social media marketing, you can also extend your reach on a global scale. Furthermore, your followers can be encouraged to share their views about experiences had with your brand.
Social media also affords a brand the opportunity to closely communicate with their customers and build a good reputation. Imagine if a brand is quick to respond to inquiries made, what image do you think they will present to their customers? Without a doubt, it will show a brand that cares and appreciates all the inputs they make.
Blogging and Content Marketing
Blogs are becoming the in-thing these days. Through a blog, you can promote your products’ features and showcase their benefits. Want to keep visitors interested enough to stick around and become a regular visitor? Create attention-worthy content that can keep them interested enough to come back for more.
Always back your contents with visuals about your product. Product images and videos that are relevant will always engage people more than product descriptions in text only. You can attach testimonials and tutorials on product usage to your content to make them rich and appealing.
Never forget the importance of connections in spreading your reach. Engage in guest blogging to connect with other influential bloggers within your niche to help spread buzz about your products and services.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When you hear SEO, think of it as a technique of increasing the visibility of your website by improving its placement in search results on search engines like Yahoo or Google. Customers are quick to search for information on a search engine. Getting your website to be at the top of the search engine would improve your chances of being seen by a shopper.
As opposed to the old-school view email is looked on with, it’s still one of the most effective tools that you can utilize to generate sales lead and pass information to your customers.
With email marketing, you can promote your online store, website, or blog and communicate discounts to target customers. There are many email services that you can be use, like MailChimp, to stay in touch with your customers.
Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC)
As a result of cost implications, a lot of people avoid using this platform. However expensive it might seem in the short run, you can be assured of getting your revenue back in the long run and an increase in your Return on Investment (ROI).
When we talk of PPC, consider it to be simply advertising on internet search engine. How does this work exactly? You can pay for your ad to appear whenever a potential customer searches a particular phrase or keyword.
The prices are however determined by your selected search engine and how competitive the phrase or keyword in question is. Whenever a shopper clicks on your ad, you get charged a certain amount that is fixed. With PPC, any demographic can be targeted and your website traffic can be increased.
Please note, there are dozens of marketing strategies and this blog only discusses a few of them. There is a lot room for learning about each of them so you can select the strategies to incorporate into your marketing plan. All that matters is that you select the right strategy that will be the best fit for your products and services.
Selecting an Ecommerce Platform for Your Product Sales
If you want to take your products online, the ecommerce platform you select plays an important role. Some of these platforms are paid, some free, some simple while some downright complex. With a lot of options in the market like Shopify, WordPress, Ubercart, Magento, Volusion, BigCommerce and so many others, there are, however, some features to look out for in the selection of a platform.
How easily can it be integrated with the payment option in your country?
Often times, businesses are quick to ignore this aspect forgetting that payments need to be accepted from customers in the course of business dealings with them. It’s not every ecommerce platform in the market that is easily compatible with every payment gateway.
How easily can you create and manage your products and product content?
You need a platform that lets you easily create pages, contact form, and attention-worthy advertising copies. You also need to check how many products a platform can handle to reduce response time. Nothing can be as frustrating as an unresponsive site, thus driving customers to that of a competing brand.
You need to know the hardware and software limitations of any ecommerce platform you decide to use as well as its ease of maintenance. The easier it is to maintain, the easier you can manage your ecommerce operations.
How secure is your store?
When you hear technical phrases like PCI compliance or SSL certification, it’s enough to make one dizzy especially if you aren’t tech-savvy. The PCI compliance are standards that are applicable to websites that accept and store payment information while the SSL certificates are data files that allow the processing of online purchases as well as other sensitive transactions.
With digitalization, one can’t ignore the importance of data, which means that data security is highly important. Customers need to be confident in your store. Some ecommerce platforms offer more security features and perks like fraud protection.
Do they offer online support and documentation?
You need to keep abreast with the support facilities an ecommerce platform can offer. Support like Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), audio and video guides, Q&A segments should be checked in any ecommerce platform you are considering.
At the end of the day, you will do well to select the platform that affords you room to grow as a brand and is peculiar to your needs. You should have the flexibility to add new features and extensions to the existing platform without the hassle of migrating to a new one. As your business grows, the chance your brand will outgrow the functionalities most ecommerce platforms offer will increase. Hence, you need to select one that will offer a cost-effective solution for your expansion needs.
Establish a Secure Payment Gateway
Of course, with selling comes the transfer of funds from buyer to seller. Think of your payment gateway like the regular hardware POS terminals used in physical stores. The basic function of a payment gateway is to verify the credit card details of your customers and ensure payment for every sale made. They basically approve or decline transactions.
Before you confuse them with merchant accounts, let me briefly clarify. You already know what a payment gateway is all about, so I will just skip right to the merchant account. A merchant account holds your funds until you are ready to deposit it into your bank account. Their transactions charges are less than that of the payment gateways.
Some payment gateways like PayPal for example, can function without a merchant account and transfers the funds directly to your account from your customers.
With all these information shoved in your face, it can be a little bit overwhelming. The truth is that selling your products in the digital world is easy and not as complicated as it sounds. All it needs is one step and the next and voila! You are on your way to earning money round the clock.
For your website to occupy a distinct place in the minds of your customers, you need attention-grabbing contents and attractive images. Having your website increases your professionalism and people are quick to buy when they know they’re buying from a professional. There are numerous website designs available on the web you can customize to suit your needs or you can outsource the creation of your website to a third party.
Armed with images that just scream “look at me!” and captivating content, your website appears interesting enough to warrant attention. You can upload information on your site with regards to your product images, product description, pricing, and shipping. If you have a good ecommerce platform in your pockets, it becomes an easy step.
With this digital world comes consumers who are very strict with their demands for better service read to make the switch to an alternative brand. This has led to an increase in the messages that are all competing for the attention of the consumers. This means that brands don’t have captive audiences waiting around for brands. Instead, brands have to be extra remarkable to capture the attention of the consumers.
Brands that have this idea and have implemented practices in place to guarantee customer delight on digital platforms are already reaping the rewards in huge folds with the explosive increase in product sales.
There should be a way to measure impact when entering the digital world. This will go a long way to show you how customers see your brand. You can measure this impact in terms of downloads, shares, views, followership, ratings, and reviews.
Don’t relegate your offline marketing to the background, even in a digital world. Include your web address in all printed advertising materials as they can help generate sales leads.
Finally, ensure that any contact with your customers ends in the creation of delightful experiences that will always keep them coming back for more. Adopting a customer-centric approach in your marketing approach will earn you loyal customers. These will in turn become brand ambassadors, creating a buzz that is sure to generate huge amounts of revenue in the long run.
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