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How to successfully sell products online – Pt 2. 

If you enjoyed Part One of our blog mini series offering tips on how to successfully sell products online then don’t stop reading because there's more. This time we are going to look at the next two stages in the process – namely how to make the visitor ‘want’ to buy your product & the crucial step of building trust.

The want.

In a ‘real’ shop standing face to face with your customer; demonstrating the product; talking about your personal experience; answering questions are all easily done.

Online it’s not as easy. Products are assessed within 90 seconds and a quick initial judgment is made whether to purchase or not. Every second counts.

What are customers looking for in those 90 seconds? Two things...

Images - Pictures of the product is the main thing people look at first, offering product views and other alternative images have been shown to lead to 58% more web sales.

Description – Time spent writing the product descriptions will not be spent in vain. This is one of the main components in your armoury as it is the equivalent of a sales person talking to the customer in the shop.

How to maximise your chances.

  • Break New Ground - Churning out the standard company product descriptions might save you time but readers will spot the generic approach and search engines won't consider them as relevant as they are not original content and therefore not unique to your site.
  • Images & Video - Big online brands don’t spend a fortune on photography and video for nothing. They know that the right photos are the first step to creating ‘the want’.

For instance if a jacket looks good on the model it is more encouraging for the customer but if it doesn’t look flattering on the model then why would you buy it? Videos and photos cannot be taken on a smart phone. That doesn't mean you can't do a DIY job necessarily but just make sure that they are good quality.

  • Focus on your ideal buyer - Put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself how would you like to be treated or spoken to? With a bit of humour? Chatty or maybe in a serious and professional manner? This should come across in your description and obviously the product or service you’re selling will determine this.

A quick example - a t-shirt with an amusing picture or slogan is going to require a completely different approach to a fire alarm.

  • Benefits - Highlight the benefits of each feature in clear terms. Don’t sell just the product sell an experience.
  • Avoid the ‘excellent product quality’ line - Instead give the product details that points towards the quality – e.g. strength, craftsmanship, durability.
  • Use sensory words - Engage your readers with vivid product descriptions. Describing the product in plain terms won’t do you or the product any favours. Sell it!
  • Keep it easy to read - Bullet points, short paragraphs and clearly set out text all help keep the reader doing what you want them to do and that is… getting closer to clicking on the ‘buy’ button. You want the customer to read every last word of the text so that they get all the information possible upon which to base their decision.

Building the trust.

Trust is a massive issue when buying online, if people don’t think they can trust you then they will go elsewhere. At the end of the day you are buying something blind. You are not in a shop. You cannot handle the product. There is no ability to read the sales person's body language or look into their eyes.

In short – creating trust is vital otherwise not only will you not make sales but word will spread that your site is best avoided and your competitors will happily pick up the business.

Tackle the problem.

There are a few relatively simple things you can do to help make your site visitors feel comfortable spending their money with you. Here they are:

  • Past customer feedback - The great e-commerce god Amazon has used customer review sections to astonishing effect. Letting people rate their products in writing combined with a simple star system gives potential customers the confidence to go for a particular product.
  • Questions questions questions - Make sure they’re all answered on your website, whether it be in the product listings section of the site or in a dedicated Frequently Asked Questions section.
  • Ideally you should have an FAQ section to clear up the inevitable misunderstandings or just answer those little queries. It doesn’t matter how simple you think the question or answer might be – just include it anyway.
  • Response time target – Generally people will not want to have to email or telephone to get an answer to a question about a product unless they absolutely have to. By giving a guaranteed response time on your site of say 12 hours or 24 hours then at least if they have to contact you they know that someone will deal with their enquiry and it won’t just be lost in the system.
  • Payment time - More than 80% of consumers feel safer seeing trustworthy card logos (PayPal, Visa, Master Card, American Express etc) prominently displayed within an online store, so these are worthwhile getting hold of the official images to put within the footer of your website.

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