If you’re wondering how you are going to make your first sale, you’ve come to the right place. Don’t worry about your sales skills. This article will break down some straightforward and simple sales techniques to help you get that crucial first sale, for free.
Facing Your First Hurdle in eCommerce - The First Sale
The global eCommerce market is growing rapidly and there has never been more opportunities. Through 2021, the number of active digital buyers in the world increased by 900 million to 2.14 billion.
With over 50% of Americans preferring to shop online, in the US alone eCommerce sales are forecast to reach $1.77 trillion in 2022. While competition is heating up, there is plenty of room for new stores to break into the eCommerce space with a new product or service.
Getting your first customers is a challenge for every online business and is a momentous milestone towards your first business success. Check out these sales strategies to make sales and gain customers without having to spend your hard-earned money.
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15 Free Ways to Make Easy Sales
1. Ask Friends and Family
Telling your family and friends about your new eCommerce store is a classic first sales technique. Even the best salespeople have used this method of increasing sales performance.
You don’t have to ask them to make a purchase directly or become sales reps. Encouraging them to share a link or two on social media can be an easy way to get your brand exposure and kick off sales with your marketing activities.
2. Make Your Store Look Pretty
A clean and clutter-free design that is easy to use and easy to understand can give you a competitive advantage. Since November 2016, mobile devices have become the most popular way to access the internet and now in the U.S. nearly three out of every four dollars spent online is through a mobile device.
You don’t have to be a sales expert to know that if your site doesn’t load on mobile devices, you are going to lose sales. Ensuring it adjusts to the size of mobiles and doesn’t lag can improve sales, especially the checkout page!
3. Start a Blog
A blog attracts prospects to your site that can become new customers. By sharing content these visitors find relevant and interesting, you can build rapport, earn the customer’s trust and start making sales.
Focus on creating content like how-to blog posts, your processes for shipping orders, or how you come up with new product ideas for showcasing customer testimonials. Sharing a behind-the-scenes view of your online business lets your prospects know the face behind the new business.
4. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your store more visible on search engines, increasing traffic to boost sales. SEO is composed of a range of factors, but here are a few basics to get you started.
5. Sell Through Multiple Sales Channels
Diversification is the key to reaching a larger audience. Multi-channel retailing is selling your products on more than one sales channel. Rather than just selling on your site, explore channels like marketplaces, social media and comparison shopping sites.
Before selling on these sites you need to make sure you’re targeting the right audience. For example, more customers with high purchasing intent will go directly to marketplaces or price comparison sites. Look at where your competitors sell and evaluate whether it is the right market for your company.
6. Collaborate With Influencers on Your Blog
Interviewing influencers can be a straightforward way to get around paying for an influencer to advertise your product. Influencers are usually happy to talk about their success and there’s no harm in reaching out, pitching them based on their personal need.
You can add the interview to your store’s blog and it’s likely the influencer will share it. This will naturally drive prospects to your store, and potential customers.
7. Send a Newsletter
An email newsletter allows you to stay in touch with past and potential customers. This study shows that 79% of consumers want to receive product recommendations by email. This indicates email newsletters are a strong way to connect with customers without being too pushy.
Here are some quick facts that showcase the effectiveness of email newsletters:
From sharing discount codes to product videos and blog posts, there is a range of email newsletter ideas in this article to help you reach the ideal customer.
8. Offer Discounts and Coupon Codes
Everyone loves a deal! Offering discounts can be a powerful way to drive sales and rapport. Here are some key promotions you can offer:
The timing of any promotion should always be carefully selected and presented at a time when potential customers are most likely to engage with it. Tying the discount to holidays and events is a classic marketing strategy. The best sales strategy is to apply urgency and make the customers buy in a narrow window of time.
9. Collect Emails on Your Website
Email remains one of the most effective marketing tools. Collect as many email addresses as you can, such as current and prospective customers, or website visitors like people interested in your blog.
To get started, you need visitors to share their email addresses with you. Here are a few ways to begin your subscriber’s list:
10. Create Exciting Product Videos
There are a range of viral trends you can take inspiration from and based on the products you offer. From unboxing and makeup tutorials to reviews and how-to guides, videos can be a powerful way to promote your new store.
Keep the video short and designed specifically with a focus on your product’s benefit. You don’t want the viewer to get distracted. Videos also allow you to bring your products to life and engage with your potential customers in a unique way.
This social media giant has grown to over 1 billion users and 500 million active daily users. This is the perfect place to get some quick early sales.
Here are a few quick tips to help you get started:
To improve the customer experience, focus on replying to all sales interactions quickly. This will make the customer and all prospects feel appreciated.
Reddit has become known as the front page of the internet. Its unique structure means that it’s very different from other social media. This study highlights the two biggest issues faced when trying to sell on Reddit:
This shows us the best way to sell on Reddit is to not make it obvious you are selling, as the users really hate salespeople. Find out where your target audience likes to spend time and participate there without making a sales pitch.
You can post your product in one of the relevant subreddits, stating how cool you think it is. In time people will be commenting, asking where you got it. Remember to be resourceful, think of creative ways to get prospects, and get users to spend money.
As social sales expert Jill Rowley puts it, “Think ‘jab, jab, jab, right hook’ as ‘give, give, give, ask.'”
13. Facebook Groups
eCommerce businesses can use Facebook groups based on specific topics or niches. Listen to conversations with potential prospects, contribute in a positive way, answer questions, build reciprocal relationships and provide useful info with posts, blog posts, videos or articles.
Sales expert Neil Patel, the founder of Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg, described selling into Facebook groups in this Youtube video:
“With your Facebook group you are building connections with people. As you help other people out and create more engagement, what you’ll notice is the community is there; they’re going to support you, and they’re much more likely to go to your website, visit your article, share it, promote it, and even buy your products or services.”
Facebook is still the largest social media site, with a reported 1.8 Billion users per month. You can find the groups your target audience likes to hang out in, or even create your own to encourage sales and exclude competitors.
Launched in 2016, TikTok has rapidly become one of the most popular social media platforms, with over 1 billion active monthly users and over 3 Billion downloads.
To encourage sales on this video streaming platform, aim to keep the user engaged and don’t apply undue pressure. According to this TikTok press release, content based on these factors are recommended by the algorithm:
A TikTok trending products compilation video, also known as a ‘TikTok made me do it’, can be the perfect place to start. You can place your products within the video and direct people to go to your store to check out the products they saw.
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How to Get Sales on Popular Sales Channels
Etsy and Shopify are two of the most popular platforms to launch your store when you are getting started. Both offer great features but have their own challenges.
One of Etsy’s major draws is the platform’s huge buyer base of over 81.9 million customers. In 2020 these shoppers spent over $10.28 billion, so there is less effort on your end to attract customers. However, your listings will compete with 4.4 million other sellers.
While marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon and Ebay have high search volumes, customers won’t find your store on Shopify. They need to search for your site specifically, so you are responsible for driving traffic yourself.
While conversion rates on Shopify stores are generally lower than Etsy listings, you own the traffic being driven to your site. On Etsy, the traffic you get is loyal to the Etsy marketplace and not to your brand.
With Shopify, you are more independent and can apply some of the previous tips, such as building up an email list, creating a community around your brand and increasing sales.
Check out these quick tips on how to make sales on both platforms:
5 Quick Tips to Get Your First Sale on a Marketplace Like Etsy:
1. Be Approachable
Your shops ‘about’ section gives you the opportunity to build a story about your brand. Develop a personal connection with your customer’s and don’t be afraid to use images or video. Show off what makes your company unique or you as a person, and why you do what you do!
2. First Sale Coupons
Coupon codes are a powerful way to entice customers to make a purchase and return to your store. Rather than sending emails, you can send them a coupon using Etsy’s own system of “thank you” coupons.
3. Ask For Feedback From Abandoned Carts
You can reach out to potential customers and ask if they would be interested in letting you know what they think of your store and your designs. Alternatively, Etsy also has a feature where you can send out a coupon code to buyers that abandon their carts before checkout.
4. Stay in Touch
Despite never meeting face-to-face, your personal communication style with the seller helps make your Etsy shop unique. Encourage your customers to keep up to date by following your store through a newsletter, blog or your preferred social media platforms.
5. Contact Information
Make it easy for your potential customers to reach out to you directly about an item on Etsy. On the listing page, buyers can message the seller within the Etsy platforms messenger service, once they are logged in. You can also set up a business email address for further customer inquiries.
5 Steps to Make Your First Sale on a Web Sales Channel Like Shopify:
1. The Importance of Targeted Traffic
Driving traffic to your new store will push you to improve your Shopify site. Without traffic coming in you won’t be able to gauge whether your target audience is interested in your products, if prices are too high, or whether they connect with your brand. Higher quality traffic is achieved by focusing on the most relevant traffic you can find.
2. Save Time and Go for Low Hanging Fruit
Pick out your favorites of the above 15 tips to get free sales and start going for some low-hanging fruit. Free traffic is the best and is available for every store owner. This will allow you to drive sales from the start.
3. Spending Money to Increase Sales Numbers
Create paid advertising campaigns that target the right people. Paid ads always top the search results. Bid for some keywords you want to be included in and just pay for the clicks you get. As long as you are making more than you’re spending, it’s a good way to drive traffic.
4. Reach Out and Connect
Successfully building relationships with existing brands and getting them to promote your product enables you to build your business’ credibility with their client base. When partnering with bloggers or influencers, remember to emphasize what is in it for them!
5. Look Back and Analyze
Once your traffic starts growing and you are successfully selling, you can work to build on this solid foundation and improve sales. Assess the available analytics and feedback you have received about your store. Based on this, you can start making informed decisions to push continuous improvement.
If you are in the mood for more ideas to increase sales, check out: 17 Best Ways to Increase Sales Conversion in Your Online Store.
eCommerce sales are snowballing every year, with worldwide retail eCommerce sales over USD $4.28 Trillion in 2020. Start working on these tips to get sales for free and get your first customer today!
Which of these is your favorite way to get sales? Did we miss some free ways to increase sales that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.
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