November 18, 2020
Selling your products or services online is a great step towards going digital. 📲
Not only does it open a whole new customer segment, but it provides a new opportunity to interact with customers and increase sales. It can be a little overwhelming at first if you’ve never sold anything online and it’s a bit of a new world, so we’ve created this guide to help you get started. 🎉👇
If you’re reading this in 2020, then you already know the first answer to this question: because of lockdown. As a small brick and mortar business, lockdown from the Covid-19 pandemic has likely had a severe impact on your revenue. Selling your products online allows you to remain open and stay in business.
Selling online also allows you to reach a wider audience, whether it’s customers in the next town, city or county over. Suddenly, the entire UK can be your target market - and you can even expand to other countries too.
Finally, selling online opens up plenty of interesting opportunities to interact with customers. You can offer even better customer service, use discount codes, and redesign the customer journey. It also brings up great business opportunities as you may find that selling online is more profitable than selling in person.
If you’re going to start selling online, it’s likely you aren’t keen on spending half of your revenue on the selling platform. There are usually two options when it comes to selling online: marketplaces and self-hosted platforms. Marketplaces are sites like Craigslist, eBay and Amazon that allow you to sell products online through their platform. The main issue is that the fees can be high and you won’t have much control of the customer interaction and journey. Self-hosted platforms like Shopify, Magento or a plug-in on your own website means you have a lot more control over the customer interaction - but you will need to do all the marketing all yourself.
As a small business, the best way to sell online is to host your shop on your own website. This allows you to track the metrics that are most important, customize the shop as you like it and adjust settings whenever you want to. It also adds authority and makes it easier for customers to find you.
This is what we offer at Pomelo Pay: your own Pomelo Shop that is completely free to use. You can customise it as you like, add your products in a flash and easily integrate it into your website through a link or QR code. The shop is completely free to set up, and we’ll only charge a transaction fee of 1.49%.
Before starting up your online shop, the first thing to do is decide what to sell. This is an important step because you may find that you can’t sell all your items online. If you’re a coffee shop, you may choose to sell your mugs and t-shirts online, rather than your edible produce. And if you do want to sell your coffee and croissants online, you could choose to offer something such as click and collect instead. If you’re a pub, your toad in a hole and pint of beer may not travel well on a motorcycle, so offering pre-orders through an online menu would also be a better choice. If this is all very new to you, start selling your most popular items and see how it goes from there.
If you already have a website, then the job is already halfway done! If you don’t have one, the good news is that you can still set up an online shop without one.
With Pomelo Shop, we’ve made it as easy as possible to set up your online shop and list your items for free. It’s an incredibly intuitive process and your shop is set up in minutes. All products are quick to be uploaded and you can use the same photos as your menu. You’ll then be able to customise your shop with your own colours, and decide the type of shipping you want to offer your customers: click and collect, deliveries, etc. You’ll be able to integrate the online shop with your business bank account and promote it as a separate menu link.
Once you’ve decided how to manage your shipping, your shop is ready to be published! 🛒
An online shop won’t create sales automatically - you first need to let customers know that they have the option to buy online. Promote it inside your shop, let your newsletter subscribers know and publish some blog articles on your website. Make it very clear on your website that you are now taking online orders. Add a clearly displayed email address so people have someone to email if they have questions to ask, and make sure you have some sort of customer service set up.
Now, you want to encourage more customers to order online. This is where it can get fun to experiment and see what works. Start marketing on social media, on your newsletter, set up Google ads and publish some search engine optimised blog articles. You can also join local Facebook groups and shop communities so people know they can order online. Many customers want to support local businesses but won’t know if the business takes online orders - so make sure to promote it and really let people know. You can also incentive people to shop online by offering discount codes, or making items cheaper online than they are in store.
Setting up an online store may seem like a daunting task, but in the age of pandemics and lockdown, it may be the only way to keep a business afloat. By taking the right steps, marketing online and reaching customers in innovative ways, you’ll be selling and making a profit online. With Pomelo Shop, you can test and try your online shop before committing any money upfront.
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