Tag Archives: Online shopping

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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An Online-Only Direct Sales Business – Is It Do-able?

As more and more people are online, and are more comfortable with online shopping, people are looking for ways to run their direct sales business online.   I had someone email me through this page asking if I knew of any direct sales company that could be done entirely online.

Computers Monitor

Computers Monitor (Photo credit: yum9me)

The quick and simple answer is no. 

The more complicated answer is below:

Many direct sales companies have made changes to their business mode and how they operate that you are able to offer a website where customers can shop.  Some websites do allow online parties so that if people want to shop who do not live near the host, they can and the host gets credit.  If you do not have that ability, you may have the option to input a party manually and have the product ship directly (probably a bit more in freight costs) to the customer.  This still allows the host to benefit.

Once you have established a customer base, it is possible to continue running your business strictly online.  Personally, I have not done an in home party for well over a year.  All of my customers are repeat customers who shop via email or through my website.   But that said, the majority of them were already customers (not necessarily mine) and then they found me and shopped with me.  Several actually started their email with “I don’t want to have a party but can I still order?”

That said, you can advertise in many places online to get business.  You can setup ads on classified sites, local buy and sell, social media or anywhere else.  If you do a good job, you will get shoppers who will come to your site and buy.  They may start small at first to determine if they like the product or they may contact you to try and get a sample before committing more funds, just in case.

As you build up, you can get more sales through this method and potential change all your business here.  But there will always be those who will not shop online and will want to see the product in person.

Do you disagree?

 

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