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Congratulations! You have successfully put up your own online store. Now what? I am sorry, I don’t mean to spoil the fun. But the reality is, no one would generally go to your website at this stage to buy your products — unless, of course, you are Nike or Apple. Selling to people physically is already difficult. Making them buy online is a hundred times more challenging.
It took me years of trial and error before I concocted the right formula to make people buy my products online. They are simple methods I use that allowed me to become a full-time work-at-home dad for my family. Read on if you want to apply this formula to your e-commerce business as well. But as a disclaimer, this is not a one-size-fits-all approach to online selling. While it has worked for me, it does not necessarily mean it will also work for you. So follow at your own risk.
The 4 Ingredients To Make Someone Buy Your Products Online
Traffic. Value. Trust. Call to action. These are the four ingredients to make someone buy your products online. Sure, there are times when you can live without one of them. But it won’t be as effective. If I have to put all these ingredients together in an equation, it will look something like this: Traffic + Value + Trust + Call to action = Online sales
Now let us take a closer look at each ingredient.
Ingredient #1: Traffic — drive visitors to your website.
Online selling is a borderline numbers game. Based on statistics, the average e-commerce conversion rate is 3 to 4 percent. It essentially means you, more or less, make 3 to 4 sales for every 100 visits you get on your website. Of course, you have to take this with a grain of salt as there are other elements like web design, type of products, and brand reputation that come into play.
Personally, I think 3 to 4 percent is a bit high. 1 for every 100 or 200 visits is more realistic, especially for newer sites. Some who are more conservative will even think this rate is still a stretch. In any case, the point is you will not make any sales if you do not make an effort to drive traffic to your online store. People will not accidentally find your website. You have to lead them there yourself.
Below is a list of the popular ways to drive traffic to your site:
- Search engine. The majority of people go to Google when they are looking for something. In fact, 81% of internet consumers conduct online research before purchasing a product. Search engine marketing or SEM is by far the most effective way to get quality traffic in my experience. 80% of our visitors come from it, and they are not just random people. They are visitors who have the intention to buy.
- Social media. Facebook Page works for me as well. I heard Instagram is also not bad. Yet it requires a whole different strategy since you cannot put links on your posts to lead people to your site. Social media marketing in general is good when you have clout. It is better suited for “influencers” or people who are part of a large community.
- Email. I have tried email marketing, but I guess it is not for me. It’s high work, low reward in my book. I have only included it here because there are lots of successful entrepreneurs who swear by it. They said email marketing remains the best at converting visitors into customers. I don’t know, my numbers tell me otherwise. Perhaps you can try it out and see it for yourself.
- Paid ads. Traffic takes a long time to build. That is why for a newly launched website, paying for ads is something I recommend. It will give you the initial push to keep going. As business owners, our motivation is vital. It can spell life or death for our businesses. My two go-to paid ads are Facebook Ads and Google Ads.
Ingredient #2: Value — offer something your customer needs or wants.
Now people are already visiting your website. What will you do with the traffic? Unless you offer the products or services they are looking for, you will not convert them into sales. Our mission as entrepreneurs, in general, is to add value to our customers’ lives. At the very least, we should be presenting a solution to a problem they may have. Here is a list of products you can offer your customers online:
- Skincare products
- Fitness equipment
- Water bottles
- Smart home products
- Jewelry and fashion accessories
- Baby products
- Blue light glasses
- Auto accessories
- Gardening supplies and furniture
Pro-tip: You more likely want to stay away from products that require different sizes such as shoes, shirts, and pants. This will save you from a lot of headaches. You will thank me later.
- Web-based application
- Graphic and digital art
- Spreadsheet templates
- Stock photos
- Production music
- Survey and research paper
- Virtual assistance
- Graphic design
- Freelance writing
- Business consultancy
- Social media managing
- Video editing
- Web development
- Content creating
Ingredient #3: Trust — make your customers feel secure.
You have traffic, and you have something valuable to offer. Yet online consumers are cautious buyers. They don’t just make a purchase until they are sure you aren’t a bogus seller. If your store does not emit trustworthiness, they will not make an effort to convince themselves to buy from you. They can always go to your competitors. It is our duty as online entrepreneurs to project credibility to the businesses we operate. Listed below are some adjustments we can do to make our customers feel more secure in dealing with us:
- Put yourself out there. People want to deal with real people. There are several ways to do this. First, you can create an About Me page on your website where they can see your photo and brief background. Here is a sample from my online store. Second, have your contact information available such as phone number, email address, or a chat button where they can reach you anytime. Third, you can start a blog or vlog, where your customers can get to know you a lot deeper.
- Ask for customer feedback. 80 percent of consumers trust the advice of friends and family. The online version of this is they look at what others have to say about your business. Having a page where potential customers can see reviews from past customers will increase your trustworthiness incredibly. This is one of the must-haves if you want your online business to succeed. If this feature isn’t available on your e-commerce platform, you can collect reviews via a Facebook Page or Google My Business.
- Keep your social media profiles up-to-date. Most potential customers will conduct background checks before they push with the transaction. This means they will also look at your activities on social media. Be sure to keep your profiles updated. A timeline with the most recent post being a month ago may diminish buyer confidence. This is the reason I subscribed to social media management tools like Social Champ. It helps me schedule and automate my postings.
- Be clear about your product’s warranty and customer support. Another way to boost your customers’ confidence is to be proactive about your warranty policy and customer support. Make a page where they can see what happens when the item they got is a lemon or needs repair. This will make your customers feel you care for them, and that you value high-quality service. Here is a sample of our warranty policy.
Ingredient #4: Call to action — tell them how they can buy from you.
You have traffic. You have something valuable to offer. And your visitors trust you. Now is the time to ask them to make a purchase. It is not uncommon for e-commerce businesses to lose a sale simply because the customer does not know how to proceed. Guiding them through your sales process will increase your conversion rate. Here are a few things to take note of:
- Make it easy for people to make a purchase. Be sure your “Buy Now” or a “Call Us Now” button can be easily seen on your website. Do not make it hard for your customers to buy from you.
- Offer several payment options. Not all your customers want to pay via credit card. Your customers will appreciate it if you can offer them different modes of payment.
- Make it easy for them to contact support. If for any reason their payment won’t push through, make sure there is a chat or contact us button where they can report a bug or ask for assistance.
- Simplify your sales process. It is also important to note that not all your customers are tech-savvy. It will help them if you can limit your sales process to two to three steps as much as possible after they hit the buy now button. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm them and lose the sale.
Putting up an e-commerce site is one thing, and making it profitable is another. Overall, driving traffic to your website, offering something your customers value, projecting trustworthiness, and calling them to action are all necessary elements to make people buy your products online. E-commerce business is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is a real business that requires time and effort to develop.
Check out these tools I personally use in my online businesses:
- SpreadSimple — The platform I used to build my online store.
- Social Champ — The social media management tool I use.
- Income School — Where I learned how to drive traffic to my website from Google.
- Zoho Mail — Where I host my custom email address.
- Fiverr — Where I hire freelancers to help me with my businesses.
- Is Online Business Good Or Bad? (My unbiased take)
- What Are The Examples Of Online Selling? (Here are 7)
- Is Online Business Safe? (Not as safe as you think)
- Are Online Businesses Real? (And how do they make money?)
- Why Are Online Stores Successful? (5 of many reasons)