The do’s and don’ts of selling online
Whether you are selling a product through an online business, or you are selling unwanted items through Amazon and eBay (other platforms are available), there are some basic do’s and don’ts that you need to adhere to.
Consider the following:
Do price your product fairly
…as you will restrict sales if you don’t.
Mark your item at too high a price, and your customer won’t bother buying from you if they can find the same product at a lower price elsewhere. If you mark your item at too low a price, the customer may ask themselves why. They may think it’s defective, for example.
Offer a fair price that suits both you and the customer, researching similar items online to ensure your pricing is competitive.
Do choose your eCommerce platform carefully.
If you’re simply selling your unwanted items, then Amazon and eBay are the obvious places. However, if this is a part of your business, then you need to choose a shopping platform that reflects your budget.
While you could set up your own website to sell your product, you may find it simpler and easier to use virtual storefronts such as Shopify to display what you are selling.
Do know who you are selling to.
By knowing who your potential customer is going to be, you can tailor your marketing around them. You can alter the wording in your product description to suit your target demographic, and you can advertise the product in places beyond the ecommerce site you are using, going to those places where your potential customers are likely to visit.
Do gain the customer’s trust.
When using sites such as Amazon, customers are able to give reviews and leave star ratings. If you are using these sites, encourage happy customers to share their positive opinions.
If you are selling from your own website, then do the same, but have a testimonial page on your site, with quotes from your satisfied customers.
Do use a courier service.
Sending a parcel out through your usual mail service can be hazardous, as there’s plenty of opportunity for damage to take place as it’s passed around the postal chain. If you don’t utilize a tracking option, it may also get lost, or your customer may cheat you by telling you it hasn’t arrived.
Your best bet is to use a dedicated courier service like DPD. Parcels can be tracked, and you have the peace of mind that there will be less chance of damage in transit.
Do be fair in your shipping and returns policies.
It’s about making a promise to the customer. You are giving them an idea of how long it will take for your product to be shipped, and the cost in doing so.
If you can offer free shipping, then you are likely to sway the customer’s decision, but even if you can’t go that far, at least price your shipping costs fairly. Your customers aren’t stupid, and they will buy from another source if they aren’t happy with what you are offering…. and the same applies to returns.
You need to follow legal guidelines, so don’t do anything that will upset the customer who has chosen to buy from you.
Don’t cheat your customers.
And by this I mean don’t post inaccurate or stock pictures of the product you are selling.
Don’t include hidden fees within your shipping costs, and don’t sell a product that you know is defective or unusable in any way.
Honesty matters, as you may face legal consequences if you lie about what you are selling, and your reputation as a seller will take a nosedive due to the negative word-of-mouth that will be generated by your poor customers.
Don’t ignore customer questions.
In any part of the sales process, before, during and after shipping, ensure you respond to any questions or queries your customer has. They may want to know more about the product before buying, for example, or they may have a query once the product is in their hands.
If you don’t respond to their questions, you are restricting all future business with that customer, as well as lowering your reputation as a seller.
Was that quite a lot of do’s and don’ts?
Selling online is a tricky business, but by adhering to these basic do’s and don’ts of selling online, you’ll make the process easier for both yourself and your customer.
Over to you…
I hope you’ve found this advice helpful, but if you have any advice as an experienced seller, then please share it in the comments below!