Tag Archives: customers in direct sales

Making an Online Sale Personal

In the age of information, when everything is at our fingertips, it makes sense that more and more people are starting to favor shopping online versus shopping at the mall. However, a computer screen can’t replace human interaction, especially when purchasing big-ticket items like jewelry and electronics. Having the opinion of a customer service representative or personal shopper can be priceless and have a huge impact on whether or not you will make the sale. When running an online direct-to-consumer business, here are some ways to keep it personal to help out your bottom line.

Shop online

Shop online (Photo credit: Daniel*1977)

  1. Be present: Just because the sale is happening over the Internet doesn’t mean that there aren’t two parties on either end. Taking advantage of great tools like live chat, where customers can ask specific questions about a particular product or ask for advice can be the difference between a consumer buying an item online or going into a store to check it out.
  2. Have a good return policy: Your return policy is key for customer service, and often plays a direct role in whether a customer will give repeat business. If one of your clients isn’t satisfied with her purchase, having the ability to return it hassle-free will help her keep her faith with online business.
  3. Communicate often: Your website offers a wealth of information about your business, but the difference between a good and a great FAQ page can affect your bottom line. Don’t have control over you’re employer’s website? Facebook and twitter are great tools to help address customer concerns and inquiries. Think about it – if you were shelling out mucho dollars for a set of pearls with diamonds, you would want to know that you were getting great bling for your buck, and constant contact would play a big role. Focusing your store on customer service instead of sales breeds repeat customers.
  4. Socialize: Social media is a huge opportunity for consumers to interact with merchants, so keep it personal when utilizing social media. If someone airs a grievance, use discretion in determining which posts to keep or delete, and don’t be afraid to comfort a customer on a public forum. If other potential clients see that you care, they may bookmark your site.
  5. Be creative: As a business owner or operator, you are certainly creative, so put your brain-wheels to work to figure out the best way to achieve making relationships with your clientele. For some, offering the option of an interactive “dressing room,” where customers can upload an image of themselves and “try on” products may be the way to go; for others, it may mean offering a “Free Try-on Period” where you send home a few items with the understanding that the customer will get charged for the items they don’t send back within a few days of receiving them.

In the age of information, it seems like everything is done online: dating, college classes, and of course, shopping – but that doesn’t mean that these should be impersonal experiences. Keeping these tips in mind can ensure that your customers are happy with their shopping experience enough to return time and time again.

Carly Chodosh is the Social Media Manager at Pearl & Clasp, a pearl jewelry company that specializes in restringing pearls, pearl clasps and custom designed pieces.

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Talking the Talk: Six Musts When Trying to Reach New Prospective Clients

To thrive among stiff competition, your business needs to always be reaching out to new prospects and winning them over. There are several good methods that should be incorporated into your regular marketing efforts.   billboard-advertisement

Stop Promoting to Anyone

Promoting to anybody with a pulse often wastes marketing dollars. Realize that everyone that sees your message is not going to be a customer. Develop an ideal customer profile of people that truly have a need or desire for what you sell. Adjust your marketing to focus on this target group.

Educate Prospects

People are often hesitant to buy when they are not familiar with your company or products. Provide prospects with lots of detailed information about the benefits and uses of your products and services. The more someone knows about your company’s offerings, the more they will know whether your services apply to them or if what you have to offer is really something they want.

Get Customer Reviews

Ask your current customers to write reviews. Customer reviews are a powerful way to attract new customers. People often read reviews first to discover all the pros and cons about a company’s products or services. Existing customers can provide unique insights that are helpful in this regard.

Establish a Relationship

Offer an online newsletter and encourage prospects to sign up. Use this opportunity to build trust by providing beneficial information about your company and products. When they like you, they will turn in to buyers. This also creates customer loyalty because they will actually feel like they are a part of something.

Give Away Free Stuff

A favorite business marketing strategy is to give away free promotional products to customers and prospects. Each item you distribute can be customized with your logo, and may also include a short tagline along with your contact details such as your URL or phone number. Choose popular items such as custom laptop bags by HALO that are useful and portable.  Promotional products are a wonderful form of marketing in that they will remain in circulation for years, making them an extremely effective and cost-efficient form of advertising.

Trade shows are ideal for giving away free stuff. People’s eyes light up when they receive gifts like HALO branded solutions promotional bags. Everywhere their bag goes, it will be seen by countless new prospects. Your business will get lots of effective advertising from these types of highquality products.

Cater to Their Desires

Know what potential customers really want when they seek out companies like yours. Successful selling involves figuring out what people want and then giving it to them. Conduct market analyses to find out what products and services are likely to attract customers to your business.

Check out your most successful competitors and see what they offer. Find ways to put a unique twist on your offerings to stand out from the crowd.

In order keep business flowing in any economy, it is essential to market to prospects in ways that turn them into loyal customers. Use proven marketing strategies like these to spread brand awareness and increase sales.

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What Are Your Consumers Saying? 5 Tips for Online Customer Engagement

When using social media and websites to connect with your customers, it’s important to not just look at those tools as places for disseminating information. They are not just “push” centers for promotion of your products and services. While it is important to advertise and share new information with your consumers, people will only be responsive if you engage with them in your online marketing activity. 

In this day and age, everyone should be their own online marketing company, and there are a few tips for making your ongoing campaign successful by increasing your customer engagement.

Make Yourself, Your Company, and Your Content Accessible

One common mistake vendors make is exclusively promoting their products and services, and they exclude interesting supporting content. Consumers are savvy, and they need to be able to relate to you as a company or person. If you post pictures of your clients using your products, or enjoying your services, people can relate through common experiences that they have shared. Additionally, featuring related quotations, tips, or photos makes perusing your Facebook page or Twitter feed fun. It’s important to sprinkle non-product related content via social media, too. Besides offering special sales, or outlining services, make the content informative, light-hearted, and not just about your business in a blatant way.

Conduct Surveys and Polls

Any time someone has to click on a multiple choice question or give their opinion, it makes participants feel like you want to listen to what they have to say. Polling and surveying increases follower interaction. There are many website plug-ins and services you can use, like Polldaddy, to set these up, capture, and categorize collected data. These tools can also give you valuable feedback about what your consumers want. Beware, though; long surveys put people to sleep, and most won’t bother to finish them if they take too much time. A 2-3 minute survey is ideal.

Reply to Customer Requests, Responses, and Comments

If I’m a customer or client, and I take the time to write a comment or post a response to you, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any social media site, I have the expectation that someone will take the time to read what I have to say, and respond as well. Remember, if someone takes the time to react to you, you should do them the same courtesy. Individual responses are great, but time consuming. At the very least, thank people for their time in a general sense. If people feel like they are posting to a black hole, they won’t come back and interact again.

Post Customer Reviews and Ratings

When someone submits a review or rating, bring it to the forefront. Again, this is about acknowledging interaction and demonstrating that there is a live person behind your online presence. Many times consumers email recommendations or compliments to business owners. Public display of your praise makes you look good, and the person writing the commentary feel good, too. It will encourage others to spread the word and follow suit. Everyone likes a few minutes of fame.

Hold Contests/Giveaways

People love prizes. No matter what you sell or serve, it pays to give away. People will try to win products and will enter contests where you can dictate the terms. By doing so, you will increase traffic to your website, or social media outlets, and ultimately increase your customer base. Entries can be obtained using services like Rafflecopter, which require people to “like” your Facebook page, Tweet about your business, or perform other audience exposure tasks.

Opening dialogue with consumers, is a two-way street. If you ask for engagement, be sure to respond in kind. This will produce attentive followers, who will share your information with their friends and family, and enable your business to grow its online and in-person presence.

A Unique Method to Gain New Customers

I do a lot of reading and searching of the Internet to come up with ideas to post here.  Some of these are things I already knew or had heard of, and some are new to me.  That said, maybe they are not new to you.  Not all ideas that I post will work for you or will be things that you want to do.  That is fine.  These are just that, ideas, to help you out and possibly be ideas that you had not thought of yourself.

This is one I read about a bit ago.  I’m not sure that I would personally be comfortable doing this, but maybe you would be.  You can use this scenario when you have a captive audience such as a cashier, waitress, receptionist or anyone else you interact with for a minute or two.

Say: “You look familiar, have we met at one of my parties?”

Likely reaction: “What party?”

Your response: “Oh, I sell ABC item” and hand over a business card, brochure or whatever you carry with you.

From here, the conversation likely will continue on naturally and you may have a new customer, hostesses or even consultant.  Of course, you may have to follow up later if they are thinking of signing, but you made the first contact.

Another variation I have heard is taking the phone book, opening it up to a random page, and calling that person.  Similar situation.

You:  “Hi, is this Jennifer?”

Them: “No, you have a wrong number”

You: “Oh, this isn’t Jennifer that hosted a party with me last week?”

Them: “No, it’s not. “

You: “Oh, my apologies.  I wanted to make arrangements with her to deliver all her free product”

Hopefully at this point, the person you are speaking to will pick up on the free product and ask for more information.

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