How to Sell On the Internet

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A young man talks on a smartphone while looking at his laptop computer
A young man talks on a smartphone while looking at his laptop computer (Image: shironosov/iStock/Getty Images)

Successful selling on the Internet is a numbers game. It involves attracting as many visitors as possible to your website and creating content that prompts them to buy.The more eyes you have looking at your goods, the greater the likelihood of selling products or services. It is possible to use software and contract services to manage the work of your e-commerce property, so you can focus on developing your product line.

Some Things Sell Online Better Than Others

Standardized items like books, music and electronics sell better on the Internet than individual-taste-based items such as jewelry and gourmet foods. Price is important if you sell something standardized. If your competitors offer low prices and free delivery or in-store pick-up and you can't, try incentives like bonus points to make your products seem more of a bargain. Online retailers show low prices on items to get the customer to click through to checkout and complete the sale without considering extra costs of delivery.

Your Website Is Your Storefront

Your website must showcase your products, be easy for the visitor to navigate and load quickly. A slow-loading page or one with too many confusing elements might lose that visitor. Online selling requires an understanding of design and technology or the assistance of someone who does understand these things. Each page of your site must contribute to getting the visitor to click through to checkout by offering calls-to-action, promotional codes and easy transactions. Selling always employs psychology, and selling on the Internet is no different.

The Importance of Copywriting

Your copy has to do the selling for you. The more detailed information you give about your product, including alternative views, color charts, customer reviews, product specs and appropriate additional purchases offered as a package at a slight discount, the more likely the customer will click to buy. If you are selling jewelry, explain the quality of the sterling silver and stones. If it is a craft piece, talk about how it was made and what inspired the design. Don't just say the piece is lovely. Give full specs on electronics, ingredients on foodstuffs and personal care items, and show demonstration pictures or videos as appropriate.

Driving Traffic to Your Site

Ranking high in search engines is one of the least expensive and most productive ways to drive interested buyers to your website. Learn how to optimize your pages for search engines; Google Webmaster Tools is one helpful resource. Since search engine optimization is complicated, consider hiring an SEO consultant or at least studying the subject. Maintain an active promotional presence on as many social media sites as possible. Experiment with advertising on social media sites. Post about your site everywhere, including CraigsList. Give your visitors an incentive to sign up for your newsletter, and send it out at least once a month featuring your latest promotions. One side benefit of driving a lot of traffic to your site is you can make extra revenue by displaying advertising. Advertising networks such as Google AdSense place ads on your site and pay you for the privilege..

Merchant Accounts and Fulfillment

PayPal, Master Card and Visa are all ways to accept money on your site; they also offer shopping cart software, as do website hosting companies. Big online retailers like Amazon offer fulfillment services and might carry your products on their sites. Selling on the Internet is made easier through the use of these contracted services, and once you get all your services in place, managing your web business can be done in only a few hours a day. Such services might seem expensive, but they produce volume so you can still make accumulated profits on small individual profit margins.

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