Updated: Apr 14, 2020
This time of quarantine is completely unique. Are you needing to shift your business online quickly? Well, I've got some pretty grand news: you can do it!
Retooling an ENTIRE business with essentially no warning is no small feat. I've been so heartened seeing the creative spirit of business owners tackling these unprecedented challenges. Working together. Being clever. It's AMAZING.
Let's break down some key methods for getting online sales up and running super fast:
Build a Website
If you do not have a website yet, now is a key time to get it up and get it in front of your audience. Start with the basics: what do your customers need to be able to do on your website? And what does your business need to sell? People are spending more time than ever online during quarantine, so it's a great time to launch a website and get it seen by your followers. Some top hosting platforms for designing e-commerce sites are:
All of these sites have pros and cons and different start up costs. Do some research, read reviews, and make a choice on what is best for your company's needs. Some key points to consider:
1. Do you need any special shipping services/functions? Does the hosting platform offer those services?
2. Are there any special marketing features that the host offers?
3. How easy is it to add to your inventory using that host? Forum posts and reviews from other users will help you get an idea on this. I find lots of great feed back on (surprise!) Reddit forums about different e-commerce sites.
4. Does the host have the ability for you to be able to update inventory from your phone/tablet? Is that a function you need?
5. What are the transaction fees?
6. Does the hosting platform's e-commerce functions integrate with your POS and/or accounting software?
Sell on Your Existing Website
If you already have a website but no e-commerce functionality yet, check what options are available from your host. Here are some resources for e-commerce on:
If your website already has e-commerce features, beef them up! Spend time:
1. Adding to your inventory
2. Updating product descriptions
3. Taking new photos
4. Learning about all the promotional features your store provides
Sell on Another Sales Site
There are some really great sites already built that have great audiences already. Take advantage of sites that people already shop on and open a store or sell your services on:
If you already sell on these sites, spend your time:
1. Adding inventory/services
2. Writing product descriptions & keywords
3. Taking/updating photos
4. Utilizing marketing & referral tools
Sell on Social Media
If you already have an active and engaged audience on social media, selling on those platforms can be a super great way to quickly shift your business online.
Things to boost social media sales:
1. Follow all platform rules regarding selling (don't want to get your account deactivated!)
2. Clearly state the price, shipping, and how to place the order. Do you want emails? Direct messages? Phone calls? Comments on the post?
3. Make sure your contact info is up to date on all your social platforms so you can easily be reached regarding orders!
4. Start a spreadsheet to track social media sales. Include things like: Item(s) ordered, price, buyer name and account name, shipping address, tracking info, date shipped.
5. Take awesome pictures that show your products in use. Shots that demonstrate how your goods or services fit into your customer's lifestyle are a great selling point!
6. Make it LIVE! I've seen some hilarious, wonderful, and effective live videos where businesses are selling or auctioning off their services and products. Take advantage of the face that everyone is online more than usual, start a live video, and sell your goods in real time! Make sure you have a plan for collecting payments (PayPal or Venmo can work great) and plan to double (or triple) screen your experience so you can be filming and reading comments/orders at the same time.
7. Share! Share your posts on your personal page at least once a week. Share your new Instagram and Facebook business posts to your business Stories. And, when appropriate, share your posts to related groups on Facebook or groups that you think would benefit from your product/service/event. Do be courteous and considerate when posting to groups, follow all group rules.