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5 Tips for Getting Started Selling Online


Grow your business and your profits by stepping into the world of e-commerce

By Bayne Dangerfield

1.  Pick a Product that Sells

Brainstorm product ideas related to weddings, special occasions and gifting events. Consider what people are often shopping for! For instance, if you make paper products, think about first birthday party decorations. If you personalize gifts, sell things perfect for Mother’s Day. If you sew, consider baptism outfits. Sometimes, just tweaking your idea a little bit to match what a target audience may already want to buy can expose your item to millions more shoppers.

2.  Choose the Right Platform

You may think your first step is creating a website, but maybe not.  Platforms like Etsy, Amazon and eBay, among others, already have millions of shoppers built in – no advertising spending required. These sites provide convenient tools to make it simple to list, sell and ship your items. They offer quick opportunities to test ideas and products to see if they will sell well. A website is also a great idea, but it’s hard to drive traffic there. One way to dip your feet in is to buy your domain name and redirect it to an Etsy or Amazon shop until you can devote more time to it.

3.  Take Great Pictures

Photography sells online! If you can choose one thing to perfect, make it photography! Experiment until you find a location with the right light, use a neutral background, and take clear and focused photos. Your phone will work fine if you have the lighting and setting right. Nothing is less professional than photos of products sitting on your floor or kitchen counter. For most new sellers, stepping up your photography game makes the biggest difference. If you just can’t master it, consider paying a product photographer or joining one of several Facebook groups where you trade products for professional photos.

4.  Learn About SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the art of getting eyes on your products! SEO may be a little different on each platform and on your website, but typically, the key to great SEO is using the right keywords all over your listing. Keywords are short terms and phrases that buyers type into a search engine bar to find your listing. Practice thinking like a buyer: What are they searching for? It may be more likely they type in “flower girl dress for toddler” than “cute embroidered tulle spinny dress,” so name your product accordingly. You will benefit from using keywords everywhere: on your images, title, tags and product description. “Long-tail keywords” are worth consideration, too. These are very specific search terms that help you match up with your perfect buyer. For instance, using the long-tail keyword “customized address stamp for newlyweds” may work better than a broad search term like “wedding gift.” Coming up first in a very specific search is more beneficial than showing up on page 800 of a broad search.

5.  Provide Amazing Customer Service

Those first few reviews are hard to come by, and so valuable. Typically, only 10% to 20% of buyers review an item, so your service and product have to really stand out. Ship your item faster than promised, and reply to every buyer’s question in a friendly way. If you do end up with a poor review, follow up with your customer and see if you can make it right. Reviews can make or break a new online business, so it’s worth trying extra hard to please those first customers.

Happy selling!

Tips on e-commerceBayne Dangerfield owns Soda City Sewing, making children’s clothing for special occasions. She also enjoys coaching new Etsy sellers via online and in-person classes.

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