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eManual to Sell Products Online

Date of Publication: 2 May, 2020

• With bouts of isolation and lock-downs, a new normal is redefining the trade landscape, the brick motor models slowly being displace with alternative models, custom fit to the geographical requirement. Business houses especially in the B2C category are shifting to D2C in the changing landscape. Lets us understand the basics dynamics and best practices for a successful D2C model to sell products online.

All businesses thrive on the experience it delivers

Anirban Guha

Anirban Guha

Digital Marketing Expert | Media Strategist | Entrepreneur

Table of Contents

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With bouts of isolation and lock-downs, a new normal is redefining the trade landscape, the brick motor models slowly being displace with alternative models custom fit to the geographical requirement. These have led to lot many companies moving to the D2C (Digital to Consumer) platforms to sell their products.  Regardless of the industry type, there are basically three types of products to be sold online:

  1. Mass Products
  2. Mass-tige Products
  3. Niche Products

Mass Products:  They are essential, high demand, or popular goods that can be physical or digital products. These are products that everyone needs. These make for majority of sales online in terms of volume. however, they are price sensitive.

Mass-tige Products: It is the term for products with attributes similar to both mass and prestige brands. The word is derived from a combination of mass and prestige and has been described as “prestige for the masses”. For brand extension, product ranges are developed which carry “feel rich” factor but are seen as attainable with a little push to their pockets. They work on imagery and esteem.

Niche Products: These are, on the other hand, goods or services that serve a specific customer base and product category. In most cases, these are unique, one-of-a-kind, or handmade products, making them some of the most sought after items bought online. These are generally made in small batches or on demand. these include items like unique costume jewellery, artifacts, specialized leather cases etc.

 

For a stable profit line, online store owners should ideally sell the best suited combination of mass products, mass-tige products and niche products. Offering only mass items, especially if they are popular products sold on major online marketplaces like Flipkart & Amazon, will make it extremely difficult for the store to become successful. Larger online retailers and marketplaces can buy items in large quantities, which makes for more profitable products. But, being a start up or a new entrant converting yourself from B2C to D2C, it could be a challenging proposition. Setting up the right product mix, segregated further focusing on three offer modules, viz, Core Product, Digital Products & Services is important, while delivering an on-brand experience successfully sell your products online.

Core Products: It is main line of  products that is most directly related to the online store. It is the line for which people are most likely to visit your website. For eg. for Myntra it is the garments.

Digital Products: For a online store, digital products are the ones that can be sold virtually. It may compliment your core products and help to drive traffic to your store.

Services: It is the most critical part of building integrity and trust for your buyers. Quality of pre and after sale services determines the success of a web store.

In generally, e-stores have high bounce rates compared to other websites. Conversion is a difficult metric. Hence, to reach a break-even it takes years even for the top e-commerce giants.

Did you know Flipkart and Amazon are yet to reach break-even?

Well, the only possible way of reaching the objective is to get more traffic to land on your e-store, creating multiple avenues to sell the products online.

Registering to Google Merchant Centre or Manufacturer Centre, could be extremely beneficial for your products to appear in search results. Besides, being present in various online marketplaces, social media and third party sites can lead to a increase in sales. Another interesting way of selling products is by launching affiliate programme. Portals like Amazon have been having humongous gains through affiliate programmes.

Advertisements play a very important role in online selling. It takes up the maximum pie out of the total business budget. Failure to execute well targeted advertising could nose-dive the platform. There are various forms of advertising that can be used to create the route for traffic inflow.

 

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The Online Store
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We all want to become a success story and profitable sell products online — similar to some of the most popular D2C brands today.
 
But let’s face the reality, today there are huge competition in the online selling space. When you go online, people judge you based on the benchmark set by top players. So either you invest crores to be at par or find innovative approach to be perceived at par by your target audience. It is easier said than done. More so because people in developing economies still find it hard to trust and put their financial details on portal they know little about, especially, when online frauds like Jamtara, are happening at large.
 
Following are 15 directives that can help your e-store take-off:

If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea.
You just have to find a solution for a problem in your own life. — Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb

Scan your product line and to identify the problem they solve. If possible fill the gaps with new products. When you’re brainstorming ideas for a products, it’s essential for you to look into the problems in your daily life.

Product opportunities can also exist in a few other areas:

  1. Improved product features
  2. A new market not explored by your competitors, or
  3. Unique product positioning and marketing.

Emotional investments into a product deliver a higher perceived value. A good story-line behind the product makes it stand out in competition.

Do you recall the Paper Boat commercial?

A Boat of drinks, memories, and storytelling – Paper Boat advertising journey has been a resounding one where the brand went on to achieve the extraordinary letting us breathe our past merrily, one ad a time.— social samosa

Understanding of your target audience is the key to crafting a recognizable and memorable brand. This can only be done through extensive research. Your brand should speak the language to your potential customers that both resonates and compels them to come back.

AUDIENCE IDENTITY > BRAND IDENTITY

Some great questions to start with here are:

  1. How does your target audience like to be addressed?
  2. How will you position your product?
  3. How will you design your website to communicate your brand and appeal to your potential customers through layout, color scheme, and calls to action?

It takes a visionary to pick up the trend even before it hits. But, most will do well to hop on the trend early.

Take advantage of an emerging market and carve out a spot for your brand. Start thinking of products that have been trending up in recent years.

Niche segments often spell out success for ecommerce businesses. It becomes the driving force to sell mass products.

The reason for niche segments comes down to resonating with a highly-engaged, and highly-converting audience. Serving a niche segment is a great business proposition because you create a product that solves an issue for a very passionate audience segment.

The path of a successful entrepreneur is the one with the ability to move fast, seizing whatever opportunity comes your way. There is a reason why Genghis Khan was the most successful among all kings and invaders. Same principle applies here, you are here to conquer or be conquered.

Site security adds trust for the online buyers. You might see people visitng your website, but when it comes to purchase they prefer amazon and flipkarts for the same products. It is because of trust. With increase in online frauds and ponzy links, people are weary about puting their cards or financial detials onto your website. You must secure your site to get that trust. A way to ensure the visitors feel secure is to show that your site is secure and verified by trusted third parties like Symantec or McAfee.

Visitors to your website or blog tend to have a short attention span, so you generally have about 10 seconds to grab their attention when they first land on your page. Don’t put obstacles in their way or make them overthink. Many visitors will leave your site the moment they hit a snag.

Three golden rules are:

  1. Don’t force visitors to register when they first visit your website
  2. Don’t make the navigation on your website or blog complicated to use. Put the navigation at the top of the page and keep it consistent.
  3. Don’t make buying process long and don’t try to collect a lot of information from buyers. The more steps and information requested, the greater the friction, and the more sales you will lose as buyers abandon their purchase.

The Store must have all information about a product your are selling. Be it the Product Description, Maintenance, Resell Options (if Applicable) or Return Policy. Note, your return policy adds authenticity and empower your customers to purchase a product from your site without worry.

Having a great website or blog alone is not enough to bring in traffic and sales. You need to attract people to your store and help them take the step of making a purchase.

Put yourself in your prospective buyer’s shoes. What will they do? Most likely…

  1. Search on Google for something they are looking for.
  2. Ask for advice on a forum or from other people on social networks like Twitter or Facebook
  3. Seek recommendations or reviews from other websites or social media

You will need to invest a considerable amount of time and energy each week to promote yourself. Try writing relevant articles or blog posts on your site, or finding guest posting opportunities on other websites that your prospective customers will visit. Get other people to review your products on their website.

Focus on getting prospective customers to visit your blog or website.

Use analytics to your advantage
Use Google Analytics to see which sources bring the most prospective customers and which convert best to sales.

Encourage social sharing
Encourage your customers to share a link or two on their social media accounts. Remember, you’re not just asking them to make a purchase, you’re asking them to share your online store with their network – personal recommendations and endorsements can be extremely valuable and will convert well as a source of new customers.

To be successful, you want to take people from not knowing about you to:

  1. visiting your ecommerce website
  2. Enquiring
  3. Ordering for the first time
  4. Buying again and again

A common slack found is that many ecommerce businesses only focus on the first order and forget all about getting the second order – which a foolish thing to do because it’s easier.

You’ll find different marketing methods to suit each of the stages of this journey. Test, analyze and change your plans accordingly.

Online is a continuous process of evolving as per the market dynamics. In a way everything is permanently in the test mode. So you must have a policy of constant optimization – find the area that is working the least well, and improve it.

Making user friendly sales funnels and easy payment options helps to get more sells. Most online stores with complex sales funnel and complex payment gateways makes customers lose interest in purchase in spite of carting up products.

I keep repeating this because no matter how good your functions are, if you are unable to create trust you are bound to fail. Today’s online shoppers are pretty savvy. An online shopper won’t buy from a website they don’t trust. You need to work hard to build the trust of your customers. It’s hard to gain, but easy to lose.
 

Trust needs to be built into every interaction the customer has with your business. Include customer testimonials and reviews on your site, deliver on your promises and make sure all the information on the site is accurate.

You can provide the greatest shopping experience, the best prices, and outstanding customer service, but it’s your shipping process that ultimately allows your customers to touch your products.

While shipping can be a powerful point of differentiation for your brand, it’s important to make sure that your company can actually act on the strategic shipping options to maximize conversion and repeats.

Some of the best shipping practices:

  1. Be sure to assemble the right team: Every department in your organization has a job in relation to making shipping work for your online store.
  2. Set clear goals: Do you want to increase margins? Go international? Define your goals and measure against them.
  3. Choose a shipping strategy: There are 4 main options, and free shipping isn’t always the best.
  4. Make the leap: Implement and iterate. That’s the only way you’ll get better.

 

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Flow Chart for Creating Online Shop

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

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eShopping Model
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