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How to get prepped to sell online

In today’s increasingly digital economy, it’s more than just a good idea to sell your products and services online. More consumers are shopping online on their smartphone, tablet or laptop for everything from shoes to furniture to groceries and more. The internet is one massive shopping centre. 

With over 70 percent of consumers’ researching online prior to making a purchase, those without a website or those with only a basic one have a strong opportunity to increase awareness and sales. And yet, only 38 percent of Australian SMEs have a website.

A website can help significantly boost financial performance and means a business can be more competitive, locally and globally. In the latest MYOB research, SME operators with a website were 53 percent more likely to experience a revenue increase in the past year. More than one third (37 percent) reported their website increased customer leads and 34 percent said it improved their customer interaction. Some 33 percent said they enjoyed better conversion of leads to sales, 32 percent grew their revenue/income as a result, and 30 percent said it enabled them to compete more effectively.

Here are MYOB’s top tips for getting ready to sell online:

1. Utilise high quality images on your website: Online shoppers heavily rely on images to determine the quality of your products and services. If you’re unable to commission professional photos, you can still take great shots by following these simple steps:

  • Ensure your camera is set to a high resolution, even for websites. It’s much easier to reduce the size of a photo than it is to increase it without losing quality.
  • Use a plain background. A neutral background without distracting visual elements will place the focus solely on your product/subject.
  • Get closer. Zooming in until your subject fills the view finder can really bring out the details!
  • See the light. Ensure there’s plenty of light around your subject, but know the range of your flash as shiny surfaces can bring out a reflection in your pictures.

2. Content is key: How you describe your products and services is very important. What is your customer looking for? Write clear captions for each item with relevant information such as key features, benefits, uses, dimensions and weight, and make sure you include price. Think about utilising social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to help direct traffic to your website. Including website functionality to rate and provide feedback on your products and services can create positive word-of-mouth and can potentially attract more shoppers.

3. Display your best products on your homepage: A simple website builder such as MYOB Atlas lets you easily display your favourite items on your homepage, so put your best foot forward. And just like a traditional shop window, regularly updating this section will keep shoppers interested and coming back for more!

4. Plan for shipping: One of the major deterrents to shopping online is shipping costs. Although it may mean taking a cut on short term profits, offering free shipping could increase sales and seriously boost your mid to long term success. Either way, ensure the delivery process is simple for shoppers and provide plenty of information on your website such as costs, estimated delivery times, courier options etc.

5. Make it easy for people to get in touch: Not every web visit will result in a sale. The majority of customers research online before they purchase and some want to make an enquiry first. Make sure your contact details are up to date and can easily be found on your website, then reply in a speedy fashion to keep your lead warm.