Every business is different. Every customer is different. And every time you choose to take an action, the results will be different than they were the last time.
That’s why it’s vital to experiment with ideas increase your project and sales.
Ideas mean nothing if you don’t put them into practice. But at the same time, it’s important not to take anything 100% for granted. Test everything.
This is perhaps the most important thing to know when you want to learn how to sell online, whether you’re just starting out, own an online store, or want to grow your sales.
For today we’ve prepared an intensive article with 47 basic things you want to know about selling.
I know you’re a busy man. So let’s get right to the point.
Contents The basics of online sales: 47 things you want to know
- Knowing your customer
- Emotional buying
- Objections to buying
- Hearing status
- Customer segmentation
- Product life cycle
- Star products
- Knowing the context
- Pricing model
- Single value proposition
- Evergreen content
- Trending content
- Social media
- Purchase events
- Campaign Kit
- Sales Funnel
- Customer Journey
- Downloadable content
- The money is in the thank you page
- Lead nurturing
- Exit popup
- Email marketing
- Pimple recovery
- Pre-order campaigns
- Omnichannel strategy
- Negotiation techniques
- Urgency in sales
- Recommendations in the site
- Product packages
- Gifts and thresholds
- Evidence of credibility
- Terms and conditions
- Processes and procedures
- Conversion rate optimization
- Customer loyalty
- Online and telephone referrals
- Personalize messages and offers
- Referral program
- Brand Ambassadors
- Creating a community
- Sales automation
1. Knowing the customer
Everything begins and ends with the customer.
To sell a product or service, you must first understand the people you want to sell it to. So consumer feedback is crucial.
At the same time, you need to know which feedback to listen to and which to ignore. People don’t always know what they really need. As Henry Ford said, “if I asked them what they wanted, they’d say they wanted faster horses“.
Strive to collect and measure the right feedback to discover what needs, passions and interests your ideal customers have.
This is how you shape your customer avatars.
2. Emotional buying
Customers don’t just buy your products themselves.
They buy the stories, the emotions, and the results that result from using them. They buy the admiring looks when they wear your jewelry or clothes. They buy the comfort when they build with your materials. They buy safety for their little ones when they use your car seats.
That’s why you should tell them before they buy how your products will make them feel. How do you do that? Through testimonials, case studies and content generated by existing customers.
These elements turn customers into story heroes and stimulate emotional decision making.
Read also: Psychology in sales. 30+ Emotional Triggers that Trigger Sales in the Store
3. Objections to buying
Every sale has 5 basic obstacles – the man doesn’t need, doesn’t have the money, isn’t in a hurry, doesn’t want the product or doesn’t trust you.
But these are not the only ones.
So, to make sure you equip your website and sales agents with the right equipment, identify the objections of your audience type, as well as the elements that address these obstacles.
Read concrete ideas here: How to overcome customer objections and convince them to buy [18 Obiectii in vanzari]
4. Audience status
In the sales cycle, you interact with customers in various statuses: innovators (those looking for new products, trends, etc.), early adopters, early majority, late majority, and tailgaters.
Basically, these designations represent customers at various stages in relation to your products and offerings.
For most online stores, the secret is to discover who their first users are and use their natural feedback to attract the rest of the audience categories.
Do you know who the first users of your business are?
5. Customer segmentation
Targeting offers and products according to status is not always accurate, as statuses are more about the intrinsic feelings of the audience.
In parallel with your efforts to identify by status, you should segment your customers according to specific actions and data you have about them: buying behavior, demographics, interests, objections, etc.
You can use email marketing tools to segment leads based on tags and Customer Groups application in unosoft to group existing customers.
Once you have your segments and are constantly updating them, you have the ability to send messages and target content in a personalized way for greater impact.
6. Product life cycle
Each of your products has a life cycle in your store. Basically, the stages of this cycle are: introduction, growth, maturity and decline (at which point you can introduce product extensions, if appropriate).
Some products are evergreen – the more extensions you introduce; others trend and approach decline in a shorter time frame. Some work effectively on their own for a period of time, others need accessories or are consumables.
To sell effectively, you need to know the life cycle of your products so you can identify the right times to retarget customers or know how to formulate your messages.
7. Star products
Star products, locomotive or tractor, whatever you want to call them, are those landmarks on your website that quickly attract customer attention, sell easily and pull other products after them.
It takes a process to identify your star products, whether they are unique, modestly priced, small in size or trending in a particular time frame. These are best sellers in the store, and it’s important to find them and promote them heavily.
Add accessories, cross-sell and upsell recommendations (which we talk about below) and dress them up as offers in onboarding or ad sequences. Their responsibility is to bring people to the site and drive a first purchase – because then it’s easier for you to sell to those same customers.
Read also: How You Choose Your Star Product For Sale
8. Knowing the Context
Your customers and your products are influenced by their environment. That’s why you need to keep up to date with your market, the movements of your competitors, the offers on the market and the buying behaviour influenced by external factors: when people buy, at what time, at what time of the month/year.
Google Trends, market research, store reports and your own competitive analysis will give you the data you need to form a complete picture.
9. Pricing model
How do you set your prices and communicate them persuasively to drive sales?
In principle, the basic formula tells us that we must cover the costs of the business while earning more than we need to survive. Statistically, a 70% markup helps you make enough money in the beginning for the business to be self-sustaining.
You have different pricing strategies: based on your competition, based on your costs, and based on your consumers (what they want and what buying power they have).
Ideally, you should find the middle way between the 3 strategies, because you can’t afford to sell at a loss, but neither can you sell at prices nobody wants to accept.
For detailed information and examples go to: Online Course Structuring Prices to Win More Customers
10. Unique Value Proposition
The formula for identifying the UVP is as follows:
Value Proposition = Need → Solution → Benefits + Competitive Differentiators
Basically, you should find as quickly as possible what you uniquely offer your customers that they are interested in or need, and different from the rest of the players in the market.
The UVP is meant to create a specific perception and place for you in the market. Communicate it everywhere in your media (website, social media accounts, emails, ads, banners, etc.) and highlight it with unosoft trust icons.
11. Evergreen content
The timeless beauty of your strategy.
At the core of your sales strategy is content: descriptions, images, banners, videos and other various formats. Basically, when you sell on the internet, you don’t initially sell your products – because people can’t touch them, try them, test them.
But you sell content, because it helps form the feelings and emotions needed for the buying decision.
So put time and effort into creating and promoting evergreen content: product descriptions and pages, multiple product images, videos and tutorials, Q&A sections, articles and downloadable content.
12. Content for trends
Often, people end up interacting with your material without a conscious need. They are drawn to news, to trends, to things they can do now, this year, this month.
So, in addition to evergreen content, you also need “fleeting” content, with information that is valid for a short period of time. Of course this can be used in the future, but it will need to be updated and promoted annually.
It has momentary impact and high initial power of attraction.
It depends on what you want to do with your business (for example, maybe you want to exit quickly), but most of the time a brand will help you achieve your goals more easily.
When you make efforts from the start to turn your business into a brand, with a controlled perception and long-term vision, you are likely to get repeat sales, more easily.
Branding means people trust you, have confidence that there is someone behind the company name and some values you live by. Values that are important to them too.
Moreover, they may end up loving your shopping experiences, and become your ambassadors, recommending you to other customers (for free or motivated by rewards).
14. Social media
Social media is a proven and effective method for acquiring new customers (and more). Of course, a good strategy is based 80% on interesting and informative content and 20% on content for selling.
But once you’ve established the timing and tactics for your business, social media will help you keep your community interested and trigger new sales processes, consciously or not.
Read also: 50+ Cool & Easy Ideas for Facebook and Instagram Posts – Social Media
The business side of your SEO strategy can help you attract new customers to your site who are doing transactional searches and wouldn’t have found you otherwise. People do different types of searches on the internet, and for different purposes.
Few of them are aware that they have a pain point or need, but with the right guidance, they are also the ones who more easily trigger a buying process.
Combine SEO efforts with Shopping campaigns so you can be as visible as possible to your potential customers and attract them to your store.
16. Shopping events
A buying process is triggered by an event – a reason. Events, in turn, can be predictable and controllable or not…. Most of the time, they are not.
So, to turn the wheel, my recommendation is to plan a calendar of triggering events: offer campaigns, themed campaigns, product launches, offer webinars, online fairs, etc.
These form a context for the buying decision, and bring you an increase in sales.
17. Campaign kit
The campaign kit is another thing you want to know about online sales. There are a few elements needed in your website and strategy to make sure the person sees what they need to see when they enter your store.
In general, your campaign kit includes:
- Campaign landing page
- An incentive: discount, voucher, closed content, gift, a promise, etc.
- A hellobar or popup triggered or visible on entry to direct people to the landing, regardless of where they enter from.
- Thank you page
- Mails after the landing page action.
All of these materials are needed whether you are doing a sales campaign, lead gathering, event / appointment registration, etc.
Read also: To DO List when you want to launch an online store (or product)
AIDA is a flexible formula in marketing and eCommerce. You can use it as a benchmark for the stages of a sales funnel, as a storytelling formula, as steps to form a campaign, etc.
Basically, the acronym stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action, and it helps you to procedure the way you communicate with customers.
19. Sales Funnel
A sales funnel or sales funnel is a graphical representation of the stages people go through, from strangers to customers of your business – from your perspective. It can take many forms and include more or fewer stages.
As shown in the GoFunnel chart, we usually use the funnel model in three stages: Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel and Bottom of the Funnel.
This representation allows you to have more control over how you communicate with people, taking into account the stage they are in, and predict the potential directions they will go.
Read if: How to triple your profits with a Sales Funnel [Infografic]
20. Customer Journey
Customer Journey is the sum of the interactions a customer has with your business, from brand discovery to purchase and beyond.
Basically, it’s still a sales funnel, but from the customer’s perspective.
A sound strategy involves adapting the sales funnel to the Customer Journey, so that you can go out to the customer and trigger the touch points to urge the buying decision.
Understanding your customer journey requires analysis and testing, including studying the journey of existing customers – you can draw on their cumulative feedback to uncover different paths and devise new strategies.
21. Downloadable Content
An important part of sales strategy is lead generation. A savvy entrepreneur knows that buying is rarely done at the first point of customer contact and that, in order to get profitable sales, they must invest in lead generation & lead nurturing.
But because we’re talking online, lead generation can become a streamlined process through automation.
For example, you can create downloadable content – guides, vouchers, tutorials, catalogues, checklists – accessible by entering your email address into a landing page.
Test for your store using downloadable content.
22. The money is in the thank you page
After the man has given you his email address or after he has completed an order, it must go where, right? In the website, I mean.
This is where the multi-selling page comes in, which you can optimize with cross-sell and upsell offers, an offer for the star product, teasing messages for a pre-order, etc.
The money is here – because you’ve already gained the consumer’s trust, the chances of them acting the way you want them to, increase. So don’t ignore the thank you page. Optimize it to get an extra action or even an order.
23. Lead nurturing
Ok, the man has entered your email address database.
What happens next? Of course, you have to keep his attention and interest, and guide him step by step to the first sale (or a new sale, if they are existing customers).
Newsletters and welcome sequences work excellently for this purpose.
Strike while the iron is hot, send out informational and transactional messages constantly and aim to awaken the instinct to belong to a special community – let them know you’re offering exclusive access, special codes, first-time offers, etc.
Read also: 5 Ways to Increase Online Sales
24. Exit popup
Not all people who enter your store will buy right then. But the good news is that there’s a trick you can trigger to intervene the moment they want to exit.
An exit popup appears in front of the visitor when it identifies their intent to exit the site. You can use various tools to trigger one, including collecting their email address.
Or, if you trigger it with PopUps module in unosoft, here you can add a commercial message, which includes an extra discount if the visitor chooses to complete the order now, to stay on the site.
Try it out and see how it works for you; some of our customers have told us that this has helped them recover many potential orders.
Of course PPC ads are necessary to support online sales. Today we won’t go into detail except about remarketing, a must have strategy in the areas of interaction with leads and existing customers.
Remarketing ads help you capture the attention of people who have visited your website at least once, and keep their interest, including with personalized messages (content of the basket or last page viewed).
26. Email marketing
Email marketing, done right, is one of the most effective ways to convert leads from your base into customers.
Send out regular newsletters, with informational and transactional areas, post-subscription and post-order sequences, personalized offers, announce your campaigns and trigger events.
Use GoBotii to automate email communication and personalize offers based on identified behavior of existing customers.
Read if: 3 Steps to grow contacts and email lists in your online store
27. Pimple recovery
Even a little effort in this direction can help you optimize conversions. You can use basket recovery emails if you have the email address of consumers who abandoned the cart, and remarketing.
All online stores are facing this “epidemic”. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do anything. Test different variations and see what works for you.
28. Pre-order campaigns
The pre-order stage for new or limited edition products is a type of trigger event.
It’s vital to aggressively promote this opportunity, especially to existing leads and customers, to stimulate emotions like FOMO and belonging.
Use powerful words like exclusive, only for …, offer expires…, limited, and action verbs.
29. Omnichannel strategy
Omnichannel is a way of doing business that combines all the possible channels you can interact with and sell to your customers, both online and offline. Ideally, their experience should be seamless, so that there is continuity when moving between channels.
You see, if you already sell online or offline, and you want to expand your sales, it doesn’t hurt to adopt an omnichannel strategy from the start.
An omnichannel approach to business requires technology, but also an understanding of customer behaviour.
30. Negotiation techniques
Even when you only sell online, you will have direct interactions with the customer, on the phone or live chat. Or rather, at some point, your team will.
So invest effort in optimizing your negotiation techniques, on the phone, on email and on support areas.
The most popular are technique of choice (feature x or y? 1 piece or 2?), emergency technique, pattern technique (comparison or satisfied customer example), consistency technique (get multiple YES answers before final proposal) etc.
I’ll let you read up on it here about: 5 Negotiation Tactics To Use In Sales.
31. Sales urgency
FOMO or fear of missing out works perfectly in eCommerce as a method of customer persuasion. Limited time, limited editions, limited stock – these are all ways to speed up the buying decision and ensure profitable campaigns.
My advice is to achieve real urgency, whether you limit the campaign time / discount percentage to a certain period, or announce limited stock by promotional bookmarksautomatically with Merchandiser Bot.
32. Recommendations in the site
Upsell and cross-sell are two classic selling tactics. The first involves recommending a more expensive and more accessorised product or variant than the one initially viewed.
Cross-sell, on the other hand, brings complementary products, such as accessories or products that complete the “package”, in front of customers.
Every product page in your store should be equipped with such recommendations. And if you choose NOT to present them on the pages, you can activate a popup displayed when adding to cart.
You can also display recommendations directly at checkout via the One-Time Offer app.
33. Product packages
Another way to increase the value of shopping carts and give customers a boost is by presenting product bundles.
Now with unosoft you have two options to do this.
You can activate product packages displayed as recommendations on the product pages, showing the value of products bought individually vs. the discounted price.
Or you can activate bundle products, and in this case you create a new page for a product consisting of existing items in the shop. And here you can display the components of the bundle individually, at full prices.
The bundle package requires a bit more effort, in that you will have to create new description and images for it. But it’s a good way to sell and reduce stock for harder-to-sell products, especially if you put them together with star products.
Read also: How to sell more with bundles in your store
34. Gifts and thresholds
To boost sales on your site, you could try offering various gift products, depending on the value of the baskets. By value thresholds, for example.
The higher the basket value, the more consistent the gift. You can choose gift products from best sellers or general products that meet a customer need.
35. Evidence of credibility
Besides telling you valuable information about your customers, feedback is also a proof of credibility for your shop when you display it on your website.
Constantly collect testimonials and product reviews from your customers. Collect content created by them, from Instagram (you can give them a custom hashtag to use) – by InstaApp, for example. Organise giveaways based on posting content in comments or by email.
You have various ways to gather this feedback. Then publish it on your website, on your social media channels and by email. Use it in ads.
In addition to feedback, you can add other evidence of credibility: the story about us, logos from your partners, brands sold in store, mentions in the press, etc.
Read also: Learn to generate strong testimonials – Get reviews from your customers
Online and offline sales are influenced by seasons and holidays – and we have many. Christmas, Easter, 1-8 March, Valentine’s Day, holidays and holidays, weather changes between seasons – all of these cause fluctuations in sales volume.
The vast majority of businesses see a substantial increase in the last quarter of the year, generally the Black Friday – Christmas period, and depending on the niche, the rest of the events and seasons affect the campaigns, sales and profits of all entrepreneurs.
So, when planning your strategy, take the seasonality factor into account and prepare your campaigns in advance to achieve maximum profitability.
37. Terms and conditions
When you say business, you necessarily need contracts. And when you say online shop, you need Terms and Conditions, the page that represents the distance selling contract between you and your customers.
This page saves you a lot of trouble, so pay attention to it and fill it in correctly. Here you set out the terms of sale, your rights and responsibilities, your customers’ rights and responsibilities, how you do things and ask for agreements – including for the use of reviews resulting from the purchase of your products.
My advice is to look closely at other businesses doing things right and take inspiration from them – for ideas.
However, at the end of the day, a lawyer or specialist is worth every penny when they help you create a complete, custom T&C page for your business and online store.
38. Processes and procedures
In general, procedures are only realized and systematized after some time has passed since the opening of the business. This is normal, because in the beginning they can change from day to day, from one order to another.
Procedures help you get better organized and identify gaps and wasted energy so you can fill them, to increase your and your team’s productivity and get better results.
Here I’m referring to the procedures behind an online store that directly and indirectly affect profits and sales:
- Order management
- Customer support
- 1 to 1 offering
- Administrative part
Automate everything you can and otherwise systematize the processes step by step, so that everyone knows at all times what to do and how.
Read also: How to manage orders and deliveries in your online store
Another must have in the sales area is partnerships. Who do you work with to drive sales and manage them correctly?
- Payment processors
- Your eCommerce platform
- Application providers
- Product providers
- Marketing partners
- Business partners (you partner for an event, for example)
You need these partners to form the sales framework and deliver on your promise to the customer: to send them a product that will help them solve their problem or need in the timeframe you set.
40. Conversion rate optimization
CRO or conversion rate optimization is a continuous process of improving your website based on data. You can use unosoft Insights – Monitoring and analysis tool, with heatmaps, screen recordings and surveys – to formulate hypotheses to test in your website.
Basically, you look at what people are doing on your site and how they are consuming your pages, and come up with ideas for improvement.
Pay close attention to the product/landing page offers, cart and checkout pages; these are the main ones in the sales flow and should be stripped of distracting elements.
Read if: Optimizing a website with unosoft: compact guide, from A to Z
41. Customer loyalty
The sales cycle does not end once the customer has completed an order. No.
On the contrary, it’s just beginning. That’s why we say above that the money is in the thank you page.
Optimize your customer acquisition costs with a strategy to retain existing customers. You can offer loyalty points and other rewards automatically, but more important is the order and post-order experience.
Activate email sequences, including exclusive offers, and invite customers to buy again.
42. Online and telephone recommendations
In post-order communication sequences, immediately and at set intervals depending on the type of product, it is important to come back with cross-sell and upsell product recommendations.
At the time they make the telephone confirmation, instruct your agents to try to increase the value of the order before it is processed.
And in the email sequences, add complementary product recommendations, gift vouchers and tutorials with recommendations of other products on the site.
43. Personalize messages and offers
Personalized communication more easily earns customer trust and stimulates emotional decision making. After all, the most beautiful word for each of us is our name.
My advice is to personalize the messages and offers you send to customers and leads whose details you know, such as first and last names.
With Email BotFor example, you can use variables to help you in this process, from names to data about previous orders.
Read also: How to provide a safe and reliable shopping experience for your customers
44. Referral program
Although a loyalty program is not suitable for all businesses, a referral program is perfect.
You want people who have already bought from you to recommend your store and products to friends and acquaintances. Even if you offer them a small reward in exchange for the referral, you still have a lower cost of purchase than if you invested in advertising or marketing processes.
A start for your referral program can be the Invitations for friends from unosoft, where your customers can add their friends’ email addresses and invite them to open an account in your store.
For each registered account, initial customers receive a certain number of loyalty points, which convert into discounts on the site.
45. Brand ambassadors
Brand ambassadors are people who use your referral program intensively, but also customers who refer you natively, without necessarily expecting a reward from you.
It’s a tricky area, though, and you shouldn’t count on people acting on your behalf without being pushed from behind.
Invite your customers to distribute your vouchers in their community for an even bigger discount. Offer them gifts, the more customers they bring into the store.
As with other processes, you should think of a procedure for managing and optimizing brand ambassadors.
46. Creating a community
Sales only happen when there is trust between the two parties.
When you’re not at the top of the market, trust is crucial – because why would a stranger buy from you when he can buy from the best-known player he constantly hears about!
There are plenty of reasons to form, over time, a community around your business – and the above is the most important of them.
The community keeps a constant interest in your niche for active members and creates new buying frameworks for them. You can run exclusive campaigns for your community and rely on the help of members when you want your message to be passed on.
Read here about How to build a community around your online store
47. Sales Automation
The last but not least tip in today’s material concerns automation.
If you want to sell profitably, automation tools allow you to save valuable resources while performing repetitive tasks in your store processes.
You can invest the energy and creativity of your people in convincing undecided customers, creating better campaigns and on the support side. Routine activities can be automated with GoBots and other tools.
Even AI can help you in creating 1-to-1 content such as message sequences and emails.
So, to get the time and energy you need to sell, use automation in eCommerce and don’t look back – technology will make your life easier than you think.
Read also: Automating an online business: 5 ideas for your store
The 47 things we’ve discussed today directly and indirectly influence your store sales.
Some are concepts, some are tactics to test, and each could play a role in your strategy for success. But, as I said in the introduction, you won’t know how they work for you… until you test them!
So get to work – I look forward to your feedback in the comments if you have questions or after you’ve started seeing the results of your tests.
Good luck with your sales!