36 Ways to Make Your First Online Sale Part - 2


Making your first ever online sale is a turning point in the career of every budding entrepreneur.

If you haven’t achieved this milestone yet, don’t get worried -- get to work!

We’ve come up with a list of 36 practical, actionable tips to help you get the ball rolling.

We hope you have all mastered Part 1 of our guide so here is Part 2.

13. Inspire on Pinterest


You’re likely already on Facebook and Twitter, but what about Pinterest? According to Nielsen data, 93% of Pinners shopped online in the last 6 months, and a separate study of women on Pinterest found that they are 30% more likely to shop or buy online than average! In fact, they spend more than twice the average amount on online purchases. In business, go where the money is, go where your clients go. Go on Pinterest.

14. Make sure your products are priced correctly

Pricing is a delicate balance between costs, worth, and what people are willing to pay. In general, people will pay more for things that are perceived as:

  • ‘Cool’
  • Luxury
  • Scarce, limited in quantity
  • Unique

Read more about pricing, including how identify hidden costs that you might not be factoring into your product prices, here

15. Use coupons


Coupons can do anything from enticing a new customer to make a purchase to bringing an old customer back into the fold. The promise of a discount can make people click ‘follow’ or ‘like’, or even give you their coveted email address. Don’t forget to list your coupons on popular sites like RetailMeNot!

Read all about how to promote your coupons, the pros and cons of using coupons, and much more here

16 Ask vendors for some love

This may seem unorthodox, but think about it: who wants your business to succeed? Your family, your loved ones and your vendors, who make their living through their through your success! Ask for a shoutout on Twitter, a feature in their next newsletter, or even a simple ‘share’ on Facebook. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get them to help promote your new online store.

17. Keep tabs on what’s working and what isn’t


You’re starting an SEO campaign, Pinterest account, YouTube Channel, or any number of other things in order to do one thing: drive traffic to your store and increase revenue. You want to make sure your efforts are all working towards your goals. Track the fruits of your labour by simply looking at your SupaDupa dashboard to see visits, sales, and your most popular items. If you link your store to Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see a slew of advanced analytics statistics that will help you further omptimise your efforts.

18. Participate in forums

Online forums are a goldmine in terms of getting your online store in front of people who are already passionate about your industry. Do a Google search for your industry, or a particular product you sell, with the word “forum” or “message board.” Often these people have been active on their forums long before social media took over the internet, so their particular community will have its own particular set of quirks. Spend time reading through threads and find out what the community likes and what turns them off before posting. Remember, you’re in their house, and you want to build a good profile for yourself and your business. And remember:

  • Don’t spam. This is incredibly important. Forum participants are passionate about a niche subject, which makes them your ideal customer, but they don’t want their space invaded by someone who is just selling something. Don’t post ads and links to your online store everywhere, as you could get shunned by the community or banned from posting altogether.
  • Participate in ongoing discussions instead of trying to sell people things. Help people solve problems, and give your own unique viewpoint about the topic at hand.
  • Once you’re no longer an outsider, you can go back and put a link to your online store in your profile, start talking about your experience with your business in posts, and create a signature that links to your website.
  • Helping people by adding actual, valuable contributions to the conversation is what will get you accepted by the community of enthusiasts, and it’s what will get them to support your brand.

19. Run online ad campaigns

A lot of digital marketing is free, but sometimes it pays to drop a little cash up front in order to drum up business for your new online store. Paid advertisements can push loads of new traffic to your online boutique, as long as you choose relevant social networks to your consumer group. That just means don’t pay for Pinterest ads if your target niche is mainly men, don’t advertise on Instagram if your target niche is older.

20. Buy banner ads on relevant blogs


For example if you are selling kid clothing a great blog to appear in is Babyccinokids

Influencer marketing works because people trust their favourite bloggers and YouTubers to tell them how it really is without trying to sell them anything. In our first set of 10 tips to make your first online sale we discussed how to identify influencers in your industry and offer free ‘samples’ of your products in hopes for a write-up or shout-out. Consider buying a banner ad on these influencers’ blogs, since you know that your target audience reads, interacts with, and trusts these websites.

21. Use LinkedIn

Most of us don’t utilise this social media site nearly as much as we should, but it’s a great way to keep in touch with people you meet at networking events. Don’t forget to send messages to interact with and gradually build relationships with key players in your industry. Send messages periodically to build and maintain your relationship with key industry players.
LinkedIn is basically the only social media network where it’s perfectly acceptable to ask someone to meet up for coffee so you can ‘pick their brain.’ LinkedIn users are professionals and want to give advice, as they want to be seen as an authority in their field. Take advantage of this anomaly of the internet world in order to learn from people who’ve built profitable businesses similar to yours.

22. Start a blog


Emmeline Pidgeonuses her blog to share share her illustrations, inspirations and creative tips

There are dozens of reasons why your online business needs a blog. Valuable content that people actually read adds value to your brand and boosts your Google search rankings, boosts your authority in your industry, boosts traffic to your online store, and helps establish your new business as a legitimate brand.

  • Think of every unique link that leads to your online store as a ‘door’ to your storefront. Each time you post on your brand’s blog, you’re adding a new door for customers to find and walk through.

23. Write a guest post

Maybe you don’t have a lot of readers on your blog yet if your brand is new, so submit some of your best work to influential blogs in your industry that accept submissions. You’ll get your name and online store’s link in front of potential customers, build relationships with influencers, and build trust with people who are interested in your industry by providing them with useful information. Always take actions, like this one, that set you up as an authority in your field: it inspires confidence in your brand, which takes away some of the hesitation when it comes to clicking the ‘buy’ button.

24. Spark conversations on Twitter

Twitter isn’t just a place for you to post links to your products. Twitters users report breaking news stories, watch big television events together, critique politics, and much more. Engage in a trending hashtag by using it in a tweet, send replies to posts you find interesting, and mention people with their handle when you fire off a tweet you think they’ll find interesting. If you retweet someone else, consider adding your own short comment before the RT so that you’re not just repeating someone else, you’re also adding something of value. Everyone’s trying to promote something on Twitter, so don’t be shy about posting links to your online store, of course! Once you’ve sparked a conversation, people are more likely to look at your profile, where they’ll see your products and a link to your online store. From there, your first sale can’t be far!

25. Write a punchy description


What exactly does your business do? Who is your business perfect for? Why should customers pick your business over someone else’s? Find out how to write the perfect business description in just 140 characters here

26. Feature testimonials

Testimonials need to come from someone who has actually used your product, so be prepared to give a few of your pieces away if you haven’t yet made your first sale. After that, you’ll have to ask for the perfect testimonial! The cost of giving away a bit of free merchandise will be offset by the trustworthiness that testimonials bring to your brand. There’s a reason why Amazon bought GoodReads, a site that’s all about reviewing books: reviews are capital in the world of ecommerce. Since people can’t see and touch your products for themselves, they place a lot of weight on what others with experience think. In this way, testimonials boost sales because they reassure customers and take away from the uncertainty of buying something online.

27. Optimise for mobile and tablet

This is a no-brainer in today’s world, as we spend more time browsing the internet on smartphones and tablets. SupaDupa optimises your online store for mobile for you, so you never lose a customer because your website didn’t translate to a smaller screen. Still, test your online store’s shopping experience on different browsers and operating systems; if it’s not up to par, we’re here to help.

28. Sell wholesale to retailers

Selling wholesale allows you to move more volume, which makes up for the smaller profit you’ll make on each individual piece. Many online store owners find that teaming up with retailers is a great way to add legitimacy to their brand, boost profits, and get their products in front of many more potential customers than they could do on their own. However, wholesale isn’t for everyone -- there are special pricing, sourcing and manufacturing elements to consider, as well as the impact that it will have on your brand. If your brand is built on uniqueness, exclusivity, or handcraftsmanship, wholesale may not be a good fit for you.

29. Sponsor an event


Akin to paid advertising, becoming a sponsor for an event is a ‘traditional’ marketing practice because it works. Of course, you’re on a limited budget, so you’ll need to choose your events wisely. Prioritize events that draw large numbers of attendees and caters to people who would be interested in your business. This is a step you should take after going to events yourself, both as a participant and a vendor, so that you get the feel for which events will be best for your brand to associate itself with.

30. Distribute flyers


Yes, your brand is based online and therefore global. Still, a good old flyer in the hand is the best way to know that someone has received the information about your new online boutique, and a great idea if you’re having a launch party or open house. Plus, handing out physical flyers allows you to strike up conversation, answer questions, and gives you a break from promoting yourself on the internet. If digital marketing sometimes feels like shouting into a void, distributing flyers can give you the tangible, physical results you need to boost your confidence.

31. Find sales reps

Find fashion for example provides access to independent fashion sales representatives, retail fashion buyers, international distributors, sales agents and more to help you grow your new business and make connections in the fashion industry.

32. Enter awards

Nothing says ‘trustworthy’ like an award from your industry. This builds value in your brand and boosts the perceived quality of your product. All of this makes it much easier for a new customer to click the ‘buy’ button on your product page, as they’re assured in the quality of your work.

33. Submit your products to shopping feeds


The Fancy in the image above is a great place to submit products

As a new online boutique, it’s very unlikely that a Google search for ‘maxi dress’ is going to land your particular maxi dress on the first page of search results. No matter how much you focus on SEO, a keyword that broad is always going to be dominated by the Amazons and ASOSes of the world. It’s much easier to get your maxi dress seen if you submit it to shopping discovery and comparison apps like Fancy, Nextag, Google Merchant, Wanelo, Silkfred and more. Just like with your blog, each product you submit to one of these websites adds another door for a potential customer to stumble upon.

34. Host giveaways and contests

Giveaways and contests promote awareness of your brand because they give people a reason to tell their friends about you, follow you on social media, or any number of actions that you want them to take. Design your contest by deciding what you want: do want more Facebook engagement? Post a picture of your product in several colors and have people enter to win by liking your photo and telling you which color they want in the comments. That’s simple, and apps like Gleam make it even simpler by letting you plug in your product, platform and desired actions. Tools like that let you set up a social media contest in under 5 minutes, so there’s no excuse not to use them to build a following!

35. Be patient


Nothing happens overnight! Making your first sale requires hard work, persistence, and lots of trial and error. If you’re feeling overwhelmed when implementing multiple tactics to boost sales at once, remember to approach everything with this trial and error mentality. Each move you make is an experiment. Document the results, replicate what worked, and throw out what didn’t. Don’t let your store languish in obscurity: put in the work to get your webstore in front of the people who are most likely to be interested in it, and be persistent. There’s no magic formula, just one experiment after another.

36. PR stunts

A publicity stunt is a planned event designed to attract the public's attention to the event's organizers or their cause. PETA pulls publicity stunts with celebrities in the nude, with the caption ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur.’ In 2014, petfood brand Purina opened a pop-up cat cafe, bringing the rising Japanese trend to North America for the first time. Even the dating app Tindr got on board with a publicity stunt, partnering with a dog shelter so that their app could match prospective Tindr users with the perfect pet. If you’ve ever seen a video of a flash mob, you know these events don’t have to be pricey! Partner up with another brand if you need more resources, and start by thinking about the message you want to convey.

  • Do you make ‘upcycled’ jewelry? Imagine a public art display with a heap of recyclable goods that would have ended up in a local landfill. You and other local artists could be there completing challenges to turn ‘Trash into Treasure,’ but even just the sight of your community’s wasteful habits will bring attention to your cause and awareness of your brand!
  • A publicity stunt needs to bring attention to your cause, so it needs to be: funny, out of the ordinary, outrageous, play with societal taboos, or unusual to get people talking.
  • Remember to always ask the question: ‘Is this good for the brand?’ Publicity stunts can go wrong, so make sure your idea isn’t offensive, dangerous, or otherwise something that will turn people off to your brand.
By Fede