Buying products and services have never been as convenient as it is now. Apart from having a lot of shops available, technology and the internet has made it possible to do shopping from the comforts of your home or even at the office. Shopping can be done online through social media, online selling platforms (such as eBay or Amazon), retailer/vendor’s websites, and shopping apps.
Shopping online is indeed easy for customers, but for retailers, it’s somehow of a cutthroat and highly competitive business. Online vendors not only have to worry about competition, but also logistics, return to vendor services, and other technicalities. So, to have the edge over the others, here are tips to improve your online retailing business.
These tips apply whether you use your own retailer’s website or use a 3rd-party platform such as social media pages, online shopping apps and selling platforms:
Majority of online customers shop for both convenience and the belief that there are more deals and options online. If you’re selling the same product as tens or hundreds of other retailers/vendors online, your main edge would be pricing. Customers would search the product and often sort the list by lowest to the highest price, and those in the upper results would have more chance of buying the product. However, if it comes down to multiple sellers offering the same cheapest possible price, customers would choose the ones with the higher customer ratings.
So, to have better value, and give better value, especially if you’re a newer retailer (with less or no reviews) you could consider bundling products or having freebies. Customers are more likely to buy bundled products and feel like they’re getting more value to their money. And apart from that, when searching online, your customers would see that you’re offering something different (not just the product itself) and may even rank you higher on searches on some online selling platforms and apps.
“Free” Shipping Cost
If possible, offer free shipping. Customers are more likely to buy products online when they’re not paying for the shipping fee. Some customers would rather pay for $100.00 for the product with free shipping, than $95 for the product plus $5 shipping even though they’re the same amount summed up. The bottom line here is that customers do not want to pay to ship, and would rather have their money go into the product itself, and not have part of it in shipping. If you can, offer free (or discounted) shipping, even if it means “hiding” the shipping fee in the product’s cost itself.
Be more personal. Send a thank you letter once the sale has been finalized. Also, provide your contact information in case of any issues, as well as invite the customer to provide a review or feedback. Better/higher reviews would give you a better chance of attracting a customer.
Return Policy and Management
Although most selling platforms have their return policies and management, you should also have your return policy which should be both easily understood and convenient for the customer. Although most sellers dread processing returns, having a good return policy and management would garner better customer experience, which in turn results in higher reviews and more customers. Additionally, if you’re known to be accommodating when it comes to returns, customers would be more enticed to spend freely, knowing that they can easily return the product in case of any issues.
If there are any apparent errors in the retailer’s part such as having the wrong item sent, or sending a damaged item, apologize and inform the customer that the mistake will be corrected within a set timeline. One could offer either a refund, a replacement, and maybe even throw in a freebie; you are making amends after all. Although one might see this as costly, one negative review can do a lot more damage.
Online retailing is indeed competitive, but with these best practices applied to your business, you’d have a better edge over the others. Happy selling!