As more consumers embrace online shopping, more retailers are choosing to solely cater to their market in the digital space. We spoke to a retailer who started her online business ‘Couch Potato’ and asked her what she did to sell $30,000 worth of inventory on Bartercard's online trading platform MYBC in less than a month. Her best-practice tips apply to selling online anywhere.
With over 25 years’ experience in sourcing and selling, Debby Phillips packed up her shop front and now focuses on selling in the digital space. She follows a simple formula to get the best results for her online listings.
1. Honest descriptions
Be honest in your descriptions. Sending something to a customer that isn’t what you described is not only a waste of everyone’s time, but it can be damaging to the reputation of the seller’s company. You should also sell the best features. Be concise in giving your shoppers everything they need to make the sale on the spot, including the brand, size or dimensions, color, condition and model or make (if relevant). Not listing enough detail will compromise the sale because the shopper has to take the step of contacting you.
2. High quality images
Images sell! Your buyers can’t see the inventory in person, so they need to be convinced through images. High quality images set a standard and add credibility - sourcing a professional photographer will make a big impact on sales. Think about what backdrops, angles and lighting work best.
3. Inventory selection
Quality inventory and sourcing from reliable suppliers is a given, but you should also consider shipping and the logistics of getting the inventory to the customer. Although some online retailers offer same day shipping if the order is placed by 12 noon, it’s worth taking some extra time with delicate items to ensure the packaging is break-proof. There’s nothing more disappointing than receiving a damaged item which is a waste of everyone’s time.
4. Catchy headlines
A headline will determine whether or not a customer will open the listing - make sure yours is catchy and always include the sale item in it. Don’t use acronyms – someone looking at your listing might not know what it is, and it could be a lost sale.
Keep in mind what keywords shoppers will be searching, and include those words in your description. Consider if the term is ambiguous. A coffee table could also be a side table – if this is the case include all the possibilities in the description.
6. Include your business name in the description
So if a shopper knows you already and searches your business name, your listings will come up straight away.
7. Be clear on location and shipping
So many listings only have Australia as the location. But if you’re in Melbourne, the location of the product is listed as Australia, and it’s not clear whether shipping is available, you would be hesitant to buy it. Be specific on the location and clear on whether you ship.
Take the guesswork out of postage. Offer a flat postage rate on smaller items or include postage in the price to make it easier for shoppers to make a snap decision. When it comes to larger items, list the postage costs for capital cities, so if the shopper is located regionally they’ll have a rough estimate of postage costs. If postage isn’t included in the price, send the customer a Paypal invoice to finalize the fee and give the option to pay by credit card.
9. List packages
Whether you are a retailer or specialize in a service, you can package items on MYBC which is essentially free advertising for your business. If you’re a café on Bartercard, put a listing up for event platters or whole cakes baked to order. If you run a hotel or resort, you could list a package of a two night stay and dinner at your onsite restaurant. Or if accounting is your specialty, you could do a tax pack. Listing packages will put you in front of shoppers.
How Debby made $30,000 in one month and what she did to sell
Debby sold her two retail businesses in regional Victoria, Australia and started Couch Potato where her biggest selling pieces include smaller furniture and homewares, garden décor, gifts and bedding.
Instead of targeting a local market she now supplies to customers Australia-wide through her retail website and MYBC, and said that anyone can make online sales if they think outside the box.
“The digital space is huge for shoppers and it just takes a little creativity to reach them,” she said.
“MYBC is free for Bartercard members and will attract new customers who are actively looking to spend.”
Following these simple steps increases the success of her listings online and attracts new customers to her business.
Author: Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia