Selling Online – Slow & Steady For Success

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Many people are looking for an extra source of income. Perhaps you already have a product you can sell, or maybe you don’t. Either way selling online is going to be your best bet. Aside from the fact you can sell globally in most cases, you can manage it from home. It is always worthwhile to remember that in most cases, selling online takes some time to get going. There is usually less risk involved because you don’t need to have storage for products in most cases, you aren’t paying the rent on a shop, and there are many options for selling. 

Let’s dive into some tips for success!

Products 

Although you might be having dreams of laying in bed with a coffee watching the cash roll in from your online store – that isn’t going to happen unless you know what you are going to be selling. You need to think about the profit margin you are looking for – and always remember that you will be up against the much cheaper competition. If you don’t already sell anything specific, then the world is your oyster here. What do you have a lot of knowledge in, access to or can produce yourself? If you choose an item that you are passionate about, it won’t feel so hard on the long days. 

Name

If you are freelancing already, then you probably have a brand name that you can work with. If you don’t, then think about the future and not just now. If you have plans to expand one day, you are going to want to make sure the name will fit with that growth. It also needs to fit into a domain name and all of your social media channels. Easy to say, easy to read, gives a lead (into what you do). 

Where

This is where many people get a bit lost. You can choose to have your goods only on your own website, but really you are going to be looking for those big audiences that you can get from Shopify, 3dCart, Amazon and more. Though it doesn’t hurt to have your own site too. But you should always remember that each of those points of sales has rules, and if you break them, you are going to be looking to get help at appealasap.com. Be sure you know what you are signing up to, what the costs are and what the benefits are for you. 

Promote

Once you have all of the basics set up, you are going to need to promote your store and products often. Using the very same social media accounts, we just spoke about. Learn about social media marketing, email list building, SEO, and paid advertising to make the most of what you can do. It is the promotion that is going to do the heavy lifting on the growth of your business….

The other large chunk of work is going to be from you always delivering on time, always responding to customers (consider chatbots for this if you are working alone). And really leverage that email marketing list for the upsell.

Managing The Speed Of Your Customer Interactions

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To keep your business moving, you need to be able to act instantly. There has never been a better time to be able to do that than right now. Technology speeds up so much of your business needs, making you more efficient. But customers may not react at the speed that you need them too. 

Have More Channels Of Communication Open

If the problem that you’re facing is waiting for your customer to respond to your messages, then chances are they are not talking to you using the best tools for them. Having as many routes for your customer to get in touch with, you will speed things up dramatically. Using messaging services such as Facebook Messenger, offer your customers a great deal more convenience than emails. Often, when talking through emails, exchanges can take a great deal of time. There is a general tendency to write longer messages, and very often, emails are not replied to immediately. 

By utilizing the quick reply functions on messenger apps, you’ll get shorter, but more prompt responses- allowing you to get straight down to business. 

Keeping The Cash Flowing

Waiting for your customers to pay their invoices can often mean that you’re left waiting in limbo. With some companies keeping a tight grip on their own funds, they’ll push payment back as late as possible. Often to the due date, which could be anything up to ninety days after the invoice was sent. You can’t afford to wait that long. 

Your business has needs, and if you’ve completed a large job, your staff need paying for it. You may need the capital for the next project too, and if you’ve not got it to hand, you might find yourself turning down jobs. 

There is a way around this. Using factoring services such as BCashflow Positive you can effectively use an intermediary to claim your invoice immediately.  And, for a small percentage, they will wait to receive the money from your customers.

In-Depth Team Training

Customer service issues may take some time to resolve, and your team will no doubt want to get them dealt with quickly. But often, the way that your team handles an issue might not be the best way. Making sure that your team are well trained in all aspects of customer handling will ensure they do not get stuck on cases for longer than is useful. 

Specific and Measurable Targets

Time is money, and you need to set limits on how long things should take. Obviously, this will depend on the type of business that you are in, but you need a specific and measurable target to set your customer service representatives. These might be based around how quickly they respond to an initial query, to the total time that a ticket should be open. 

Customers expect a quick resolution, but importantly, it is in your best interests to deal with these in a timely manner, allowing you to move onto the next query sooner.

Are Chatbots Destroying Customer Service?

When’s the last time you visited a site and immediately greeted by a chatbot?

We do the majority of our shopping online and prefer not to be bothered by a salesperson.

Chatbots seem very impersonal, but the last thing you want is to be hounded by customer service while you’re browsing.

This is much different than the retail experience where employees usually greet and ask if you’d like any assistance. Since retail has been dying stores have taken a different approach and tend to let shoppers browse on their own now.

The bottom line is: customers are educated and want the freedom to do things themselves; they’ll initiate support if needed. Between reviews and recommendations online platforms such as Amazon and Walmart are self-service e-commerce sites.

There’s evidence that Millennials spearheaded this movement, but with the convenience of home delivery it’s generation-wide accepted.

As a business owner the shift that needs to happen is creating a sales free process. That doesn’t mean eliminate customer service completely, but make the buying transaction as efficient as possible.

For example, with the online SAT/ACT prep company I own, this student profile form collects the same information an initial phone call would. It offers parents the opportunity to input the information on their own time without having to talk to anyone.

Chatbots aren’t destroying customer service, in fact they are enhancing it by allowing the shopper to reach out when they are ready. Self-service is the wave of the present and companies must adapt or die.