Conquer the online retail market with these seven basic principles

(4) Great customer service

If feasible, offer free shipping as a basic principle. If not, be sure to charge what is reasonable in accordance with your product. Using a tracked service gives the customer confidence they will get their product without any hiccups, and offer PayPal as a payment method will cover both you and buyer from fraudulent transactions, for more peace of mind and a seamless customer journey.

Part of the customer service element should always include follow-up – usually via email. Always make sure the customer is left happy that safe in the knowledge that they bought from you. Don’t be afraid to always ask for customer feedback in a public domain.

(5) Content is king

When selling on eBay for example, having an optimised keyword rich title is hugely important to help your product stand out on a crowded platform. Be sure to utilise eBay’s 80-character limit, for a start. Make sure you associate your brand with hardware or other compatibility, so that it can be found easily. Consider what a buyer would type in the search bar when trying to look for your product and your brand, and for an extra fee it is often worth using the sub title feature that eBay offers.

Images can’t be overestimated – they should include product shots as the main image, packaging shots and lifestyle stills, if the product fits that purpose. Descriptions can easily be upgraded with some basic HTML which also helps with SEO. A wider point on SEO is knowing how to position your product online without blowing your finances on AdWords!

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(6) Stock management & forecasting

It may seem basic, but plan ahead to ensure you are never out of stock – the best way of doing this is to ensure you sell only what you have. Overselling can be detrimental to feedback across all online retail, so making sure you stick to a structured approach will mean your customers will receive what they ordered in the timeframe they were promised. Collecting money and then not delivering on time is a cardinal sin for online distributors.

(7) Work with or via Amazon

Consider working with or via Amazon. Across the industry there is a collective understanding that brands cannot ignore Amazon as a channel, even if they think they can go it alone with their own website, simply due to its sheer reach across multiple countries. Use it to your advantage!

Have a strategy where Amazon is part of online and controlled to your advantage. Amazon is a good way to expand your reach across Europe with a great partner programme in FBA. Brand representation on Amazon is paramount and if nothing else, brands should use it as a marketing tool.

Vijay Kanda is online brand strategy manager at Activ8

Management of angry customers by Missguided is like waving a red rag to a bull.

Image: Shutterstock

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