How to make your first online sale

How to make your first online sale

If you’ve already set up your online store, congratulations! You’re ready to start selling. We’ve come up with a few ways for you to get your store out there and make your all-important first sale.  

Haven’t set up your store yet? Take a look at how easy it is!

So, whether it’s in real life, with social media and online communities, or through advertising, here are a few ideas to help make your first sale…

How to promote your eCommerce store in real life

Even though your store is online, there are lots of ways to share it offline too:

  • Friends and family – Once you’ve set up your online store, tell your friends and family about it. Ask them to spread the word and share it with their own personal and online networks.
  • Sign-written vehicle – A little unusual, but stick with us! This is especially good if you have a strong online presence – which you will do now your beautiful site is ready! Have your web address, unique hashtags or social media handles made into a sticker. Put it in the rear window of your vehicle and you’ll have an easy way to direct people to your online presence.
  • Physical presence – If there are local places where your ideal customers regularly hang out, why not drop off some flyers? Leave them there for people to find and they can navigate to your store in their own time.
  • Pass on printed material – If you’re already attending things like makers’ fairs, local events or marketplaces, have business cards printed. Include your store details and hand out cards when somebody makes a purchase. That way, customers can share your store with their own friends and family. Who knows, they might even come back online and make a repeat purchase!

Leverage the power of online communities and social media

It couldn’t be easier to share your store online. However you choose to connect, be genuine and make it easy for customers to find you.

  • Share a link to your store on social media – Once your site is set up, you can share it to your online channels directly from the store itself. Click the social buttons and off you go!
  • Keep a link to your store in your bio – Whether you’re an Instagram person, a Twitter devotee, or you’ve set a Facebook business page, the bio section is prime real estate. The text ‘about you’ at the top of the page is highly visible. Put your store link there. If people are looking at your social feeds and they like what they see, they can explore your eCommerce site with a click.
  • Online communities – Join small business groups or residents’ groups local to you. There are communities of makers, side hustlers and business owners across the internet. A small word of warning: be sure to genuinely engage. Often communities will have rules about when, or if, you can post promotional material. Not only will people remember you better if you’re genuine, you might find that the support of a community is valuable in its own right.
  • Write a blog – Your blog is a great place to keep your followers up to date with everything that you’ve been up to. Sharing your store on your blog can be particularly useful, especially if you’ve got an engaged following. So, let your readers know your store is ready for business!

Don’t be afraid of online advertising

It might sound scary, but don’t worry! With the tools available to small businesses today, it’s easy to start advertising.

  • Google ads – You can drive traffic to your store in a few simple steps. Land the right customers on your website with clever targeting or take people to whichever product page you want to promote.
  • Facebook ads – If your ideal customer is on Facebook, then Facebook’s targeted advertising allows you to reach them.
  • Competitions and giveaways – These are different to the structured advertising on platforms like Facebook or Google. Social posts, where you offer a giveaway or hold a competition can help raise awareness of your products. Even if your followers don’t win the competition, you will at least have made them aware of your store. And you never know… they may go on and buy from you anyway.

 A quick word on advertising…

The key thing to remember with any kind of advertising is to know your audience. Have a clear idea of the kind of people that buy from you, where they like to spend time, what appeals to them and what doesn’t. For example, don’t advertise on Google, if people won’t be searching for your products on a search engine. Or, if you know that the kind of people that buy your products don’t use Facebook, you’ll probably be disappointed if you advertise there. So, bear your audience in mind when you plan your advertising.  

Good luck with your new store…

We hope this blog is helpful; these are a few ideas to help you on your way to your very first sale. Remember to be creative and keep letting people know that your store’s ready and open for business.

Excited? So are we… 😄 🎉

Set up your store today! Register for a free 14-day trial and you’ll be one step closer to selling your products online…

How to overcome common obstacles to selling online

How to overcome common obstacles to selling online

Being able to satisfy your retail therapy needs from the comfort of your own home is one of the joys of the modern age. This is why having an online business is now of high importance: selling online reaches customers worldwide and thus your potential target market is endless. If you’re nervous about selling online then read on – we’ve shown you how to overcome some of the barriers to starting an ecommerce business.

You have visitors to your site but they’re not buying!

A problem with selling online is that you are setting an expectation for your product. This means customers cannot tell the quality or fit of your product until they have purchased it. If what you’re selling is highly-priced, then some may be worried about handing over their money to your business. 

However, offering free delivery to new customers or free returns is a great way to soothe these fears. According to research by Barclaycard, 47% of shoppers said they wouldn’t order an item if they had to pay for the return and 30% admitted to deliberately overbuying products, knowing they would return the unwanted items. Not only does this stress the importance of having a free returns scheme, but it also means you’re able to send out more products. Even if items are returned, your visibility is improved.

Similar products to yours are already sold online 

This one is a toughie, as whilst it shows your product is in high demand, it also means that there are a lot of other business competitors out there. However, don’t let this sway you away from online selling: offering discounts is a great way to draw in users to your site, as the consumer will often look for the most cost-effective item. 

Putting a time limit on your discount is also an effective solution, as it pushes the customer into making a decision about whether they want to try your product. If you make these discounts seasonal then it is likely that you will create returning customers, who can then improve your online visibility by leaving good customer reviews. 

Setting up an ecommerce site is too tricky

Whilst the internet may seem like a daunting prospect, it is important to remember that setting up an ecommerce website is not as difficult as it used to be. Nowadays, website builders like ours can do all the hard stuff for you, making that transition into selling online all the more smoother. Our free 14-day trial allows you to create a website in minutes, and even have extra ecommerce features if you do decide to take the leap. Give it a go today!

How to start selling things online

How to start selling things online

Have you been thinking of setting up an online shop but not sure where to start? We’re here to help, with a handy guide on what you need to think about before you take the plunge into e-commerce.

Decide on your niche 

This is the first hurdle – what are you going to sell, and who are you going to sell it to? It’s a good idea to start with your niche, or the area that you are interested in. Think of this as an area rather than a product; ‘gardening’ rather than ‘trowels,’ and be strategic in your choice. 

The best niches are ones that sell expensive products (£80-100 per product), that occupy a sector that is steadily growing in popularity and hasn’t already developed a lot of brand loyalty. Do your market research to get information on your competitors and understand how the industry functions. Most importantly, don’t go into a niche that you know nothing about!

Choose a business model

This depends on whether you are selling items that you have created yourself, or if you are going to use a supplier. If you are using a supplier, you can choose between dropshipping – where the supplier holds the stock – or holding your own products, where you have to pay for warehouse costs and packaging. 

Holding your own products that you’ve shipped in or selling your own unique handmade items gives you an advantage when you’re looking to create and grow a brand. You are in full control of the customer experience, so you can design your own packaging, send it yourself and handle returns and customer enquiries personally.

If you are a small, local business that is just starting to sell your own products, capitalise on your ability to make each item personal. Include hand-written notes thanking them for their purchase and asking them to follow you on social media, and make sure your customer service is both personable and competent. Creating a great customer experience makes it more likely for them to recommend your service to others.

Choose a supplier

You’ve got your niche, and a good idea of what you want to sell; but if you’re ordering in your products or materials, how do you choose what products to stock? Search the best-sellers in your niche on Amazon and Ebay to compare prices, and look to AliExpress and AliBaba for good supplier sites. If you don’t want to start shipping in products internationally and you don’t need a huge supply, do some research in your area to see if you can create any deals with local suppliers instead.

Create a website

Now you’ve got the foundations laid, it’s time to craft a beautiful website! Choose a domain name that aligns with your brand, upload your products and start advertising your site. Go Sitebuilder is one of the best ecommerce website builders, and offers a 14-day free trial where you can make an easy-to-use and professional website, even if you have no experience in web design!

What are five benefits of selling online?

What are five benefits of selling online?

If you’ve already got a brick and mortar shop or you’re just starting out in the ecommerce world, selling online is a great way to expand your company’s reach. If you’re not sure whether it would be beneficial for you, we’ve put together five benefits of selling online that could help you decide.

Shoppers start online

87% of shoppers start their search for products online, to compare cost, brands, inventory levels and to check customer reviews. Even though they may end up buying the item in a physical store, the only way you can form part of this initial search is for your shop to have an online presence. 

Lower set-up and running costs

With website builders, it’s possible to set up an ecommerce platform with ready-made templates in a couple of minutes, which usually cost around £15-20 a month. Compare this to renting a physical space and paying for bills, which can easily run over a thousand pounds a month. Your budget for staff will also be drastically reduced as the sales system in an online store is automated; all these savings mean an online store is often more profitable and more scalable. 

More customers, more opportunities

Your ecommerce site will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As it is not limited by the people who can actually visit your store in person, you can expand to new demographics and reach a global audience. This maximises both your sales and your profits, as there are no restrictions for customers to purchase from your site.

Easily measurable and marketable

Analytics tools are invaluable for helping you collect data on who is visiting your site. Not only can you look at customer activity, like average cart total, cart abandonment rate and how long your customers spend on certain pages, you can also look at the demographics of your audience. 

You will be able to use this data to develop better marketing initiatives that are geared towards your target market, which will boost your conversion rates and increase your profits.

Work from anywhere

One of the greatest benefits of working online is that you are not restricted to a city or even country. As long as you are able to cover delivery costs, you can oversee your ecommerce business from anywhere!

Does setting up an online shop sound good for your business? Getting online is simple and quick with Go SiteBuilder; you can even try out their 14-day free trial to see if it works for you!

Why is it important to add alt text to your product images?

Using Alt Text on product images

Product images are one of the key components for success when selling online. Awesome images of your items will show them off in an accurate, flattering way to entice people to buy. While this is something that you may already have integrated into your routine, you may not be making the most of your product images. This is because optimising product images doesn’t end with the upload. The essential concept to understand here is what developers call ‘alt text’. But what is alt text? And, why is it so crucial?

What exactly is alt text?

‘Alt text’ stands for alternative text; the name hints what it is used for. While most people who visit your site will be able to view the images you upload, not everyone can. Consumers with a visual impairment will often use a screen reader to help them shop online. Many screen readers will block product images, and this leaves some customers with no way of understanding how your products look or even what your product is. This is not solely an issue around visual impairment either – some web browsers, may not show product images properly which makes alt text valuable here too.
Alt text solves this problem by adding a text description to your images which can be used in place of the images themselves. Once you have added an alt text description, anyone who cannot see your product images for any reason can still get a good description of how something looks – before they buy.

Why is alt text so important for your website images?

There are some very good reasons to start adding alt text to your product images. Firstly, it will help you sell more stuff as customers want to understand how things look before they buy. It will also attract more customers to your online store. Alt text is key to what is known as accessible web design; this is the process that ensures that almost anyone, no matter what their ability, can use your online store effectively if they choose to.

The other main benefit of utilising alt text correctly is the boost it will give to your SEO plans. Although search engines are constantly advancing, they still can not see images on websites as humans do. This means that they can sometimes miss a product image on your site that people might be searching for. By adding a text description, it helps the search engines to understand what the images on your site relate to.

If you don’t have an online store to upload product images with alt text to yet, don’t worry – Go Sitebuilder can help. Our online stores include unlimited product listings so you can use alt text to your heart’s content and reach more consumers. Start with a free trial and start building your online store today.


How do you create an online store from scratch

Creating an online store from scratch

Selling online has never been easier. There are numerous routes to market that will allow you to have a successful and profitable career as an eCommerce business owner. To be successful, you need to start a store from scratch and for this, you need to think carefully. The more planning you do, the better it is for your business. So, here are a few quick steps for you to consider when starting your online store.

Choose a niche

The first thing you need to do is to select a niche market that you would like to sell into. This will have to align with the product you’re creating as well. It has to be something that you’re passionate about. Something that you could talk about all day. The more passion you have for your product, the easier it will be for you to sell it.

Choose the products

Some niches will have a wider selection than others. Or you might have developed your own products. It is important to aim for a profit margin of between 40-70% with the higher amount being better. Be sure to benchmark your pricing against your competitors to ensure you’re not overcharging. For instance, if you’re selling a product for £20 but everyone else is selling it for £10, then you might struggle to find customers.

Buy your domain

Next, you need to buy a domain name. This should be something that resembles the branding for your store, allowing you to build long-term relationships with customers. Having a domain name that represents your brand efficiently will help you with your marketing and in most cases is very cost-effective. Connect your domain/brand name to something that is meaningful. For instance, if you sell teddy bears, having this in the name or something to do with cuddles could be important. Go Sitebuilder offers a free domain name with every subscription.

Build your website

The next step is to build your website. You want to create several pages including pages for home, about, contact, terms and conditions, delivery and more. Building a website is very easy and you can get started for free with Go Sitebuilder.
Your website should be optimised for search engines and conversions to help you generate more revenue. However, you shouldn’t expect success straight away. While search engines may have some restrictions for new businesses within the first 6 months, this will allow you to put some time into other important areas such as perfecting your storefront and building out your launch plan.

Add your products

Now you need to add products. Products should have a great description and lots of high-quality images and videos to help them sell. You should also concentrate on writing descriptions that sell the benefits and not the features of your products.
Finally, always include a call-to-action in your product descriptions, encouraging visitors to buy your items.

Building a new eCommerce store is easy, especially with Go Sitebuilder. Discover how you can create an online site today for as little as the cost of a coffee a week.

How to take great product photos

Product photography tips

Following on from our blog on how to write great product descriptions, we’ve rounded up our top tips for taking great images to match. When you’re selling products online, it’s absolutely vital to show them off with professional-looking, accurate images. A well-taken set of photos will immediately instil trust in your customers and make them more likely to purchase. While descriptions are great for explaining the ins and outs of a product and winning over customers, 90% of the information we absorb is visual. More than that, 93% of consumers consider appearance to be the most important thing when making a decision!

Choose your camera

The good news is that you don’t need to splash out on a big, swanky camera to take great product photos! Most modern smartphones have great cameras these days – and if yours doesn’t, you probably know someone whose does, who’d be willing to let you use it for an afternoon in exchange for a cup of coffee/chat/evening of babysitting. For more tips, Hubspot have a great guide to taking good photos on your phone.

Name your images

Give your product twice as much chance of showing up in search results by giving it a relevant title. It’s unlikely that many people will search for ‘image123456.jpg’ – and if they do, they probably aren’t looking for your image! Use concise, clear terminology to help people to find you. This will also help search engines to index your image, as well as providing a backup description if your image doesn’t load for some reason.

Consistency is key

The key thing to consider is uniformity; always try and shoot your images in the same style. This will ensure that the customer has a clear idea of what the products look like, and make your online store front look really professional.

Pick your light

Avoid fluorescent overhead lighting – nobody looks good under this, and that goes for inanimate objects too! Natural light is normally a safe bet, so try to shoot in this wherever possible. The light changes dramatically throughout the day, so pick a time when you like the light and try to always shoot at around the same time.

Use multiple images

Just as you need to make sure your written descriptions help customers to really get an idea of your products, you should also include enough of the right images to help people get a feel for them. You’ve probably noticed that most online stores include product shots from multiple angles and this is why – the majority of customers need to know that they aren’t missing any details by not being in a physical store and seeing a product for themselves. This also applies to product variations: if you have a product in multiple colours or sizes, always show them all!

Give an idea of scale

Hopefully you’ve provided the technical specifications of your products, but unless your customers have a tape measure to hand, they might want a more tangible idea of how big something is. You can help by providing a point of comparison: if your product can be held in your hand, think about including a photo of this; if it’s designed to be worn, show it on a person; if it’s something you put in your home or garden, include a photo of it in situ. This will help your customers to make an informed decision and help you to avoid having to deal with complaints when a product arrives and is a different size from the one they were expecting!

Create professional backgrounds

You can create a sleek, uniform background for your products by taping a large sheet of white paper between the wall and the surface your products are on, to form a curve or sweep. This creates a really professional look, and gets rid of any annoying unwanted background marks or shadows!

If you keep these tips in mind and get into the habit of following them, you’ll be on your way to having an online store to rival the best of them! A little effort and consistency goes a long way, and will ensure that you’re never selling your products short. 

If you don’t have an online store yet, you’re in luck: a Go Sitebuilder subscription includes an online store (with unlimited product listings!) and much more – for less than the price of a coffee a week. Sign up for a free trial today and put your newfound product photography skills to use!

How to write effective product descriptions

When shopping online, your customers are relying on you to give them a clear, informative and persuasive picture of your products, as they can’t get a feel for them in the same way as they might in a bricks-and-mortar store. We’ve rounded up some top tips for creating effective product descriptions to help your products sell and make your store a success.

Define your target audience

Who are you trying to win over? In an ideal world, you would have customers from all demographics and all walks of life, but chances are there’s one group of people who are more likely to buy your product. Think about what kind of language they would and wouldn’t engage with, and keep this in mind when you’re writing. For example, if your target audience is people over the age of 50, they probably aren’t going to be overly receptive to slang words or excessive familiarity; however, if you’re targeting millennials, they’ll be more receptive to this style of language.

Tell a story

Did you decide to create a product because you needed it and realised it didn’t exist yet? Did you already make it, and decide to start selling it because it was your grandma’s favourite? Many products have a story behind them, and this is a great way to gain customers’ trust and engage them. It doesn’t have to be long, but a personal touch in a product description can go a long way. 

Explain the results and benefits

Rather than just explaining what’s good about a product, explain why it’s good. If you’re selling a travel mug with a rubber sleeve, for example, what does this sleeve do? Chances are, it makes it easy to carry the mug on the go! Wherever possible, include this kind of justification so that your customers know exactly how they can benefit from the features you’ve put time and effort into!

Create evocative descriptions

Sensory words (e.g. ‘feels’,’ sounds’, ‘looks like’) are really effective when it comes to making sales. Always use these where you can – although don’t fall into the trap of using them where they’re really not relevant!

Don’t forget the product specifications

It’s easy to get bogged down in the stylistic elements of creating a product description, but don’t forget to include the basics! Make sure you supply product dimensions, care instructions and other details as applicable for each product.

Use relevant keywords

It goes without saying that people need to be able to find your store for you to make sales. Using relevant, SEO-boosting keywords will help your website to show up on Google, so that people searching for products like yours will end up in the right place (on your website!).

Include reviews

Nothing breeds trust like trust. Wherever possible, include positive reviews on your product listing pages – either with the tried-and-tested star rating system or just as quotes from satisfied customers. If you don’t have any reviews to hand yet, try asking customers for feedback – although make sure you’re complying with GDPR and only contacting them if it’s okay to do so. This article has some great tips on how to get reviews, so you can start building that trust straight away.

Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll have a simple format to follow for all your product descriptions. As with all creative business activities, you’ll find your own style, but these are things you should always try to include. A little effort will go a long way, and you’ll soon find your products flying off the virtual shelves!

If you don’t have an online store yet, you’re in luck: a Go Sitebuilder subscription includes an online store (with unlimited product listings!) and much more – for less than the price of a coffee a week. Sign up for a free trial today and put your newfound product listing expertise to use!