What's the best way to sell online in 2020?

Do you start an eCommerce store? Sell stuff in a marketplace? Spin up a landing page and sell directly? Post in a social network?

If you had a few hours to start from scratch and start selling stuff, how would you start your next online store?

atCharlie's avatar
almost 3 years ago

The way I do sales I think is a bit different from what many SaaS do, but it is useful to have a stable start.

I will start on the "technical" side

I use different tools like DuxSoup to automate my LinkedIn prospecting, then I use SocialBee and I have a list of posts that are published everywhere (literally Facebook profile, page, group, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest) I have different categories of posts: Long-form, Promotional, Educational, and Engagement. (Also, the post are "recycled" so I don't have to create content once you reach a certain amount of posts)

After that, I send them to a very simple funnel that I made in Webflow

1.- The prospect sees a "Video Sales Letter" that I made
2.- Schedule an appointment by Zoom
3.- After the appointment, I send them to a form and invite them to the Facebook group that I have (that helps a LOT to warm the leads)

Once they do that, the lead is sent to my CRM and I get a notification in Slack with all the information and a link to a Trello task that was created for that user.

The appointment scheduled task is very simple, I send a private message to his Facebook telling him that I am waiting for the meeting and that I am here to answer all his questions, and I try to follow him on Instagram and LinkedIn organically.

The point of the sales method I use is to decentralize your company's brand a bit and make a more personal connection with prospects.

It is not the super scalable thing that we want to hear in a SaaS or eCommerce but if you sell high-ticket it can help you.

Half of my sales are made by this method, you can hire a VA to do almost everything later.

5 points
saptarshinath's avatar
almost 3 years ago

Depends on what you are selling really. If you are selling a physical product, especially to people you do not already have a relationship with (let's assume you are not a social media influencer with millions of followers)—then the best way is to determine what you bring to the table:
1. Do you want to sell a product that isn't too unique but you can provide a good price on?
2. Is your product unique and you believe you can build a brand around it?

For #1, I suggest listing your product on a marketplace instead of trying to go it alone. eBay and Amazon are good places to start.

For #2, you might still start with a marketplace (maybe choose Etsy over Amazon) to test customer feedback in the initial days. If there truly is demand for your product, then you should consider building your own store using a platform like Shopify or Woocommerce. If you are not technical yourself, then don't jump into creating your own storefront.

It's 2020 and getting online with a store is no longer tough. Setting up a Shopify store and getting yourself up and running usually takes under 8 hours, if you do not have hundreds of SKUs to sell. Next, spread the word using channels that your potential customer base uses. Spend a little bit of money on Google if you need to.

5 points
Sean's avatar
almost 3 years ago

Given "If you had a few hours to start from scratch and start selling stuff, how would you start your next online store?" I would use Shopify.

4 points
Livenadav's avatar
almost 3 years ago

To sell, you need the get the 4 pillars right:

1. Awareness (like display or social media)

2. Consideration (paid & organic search)

3. Intent (user choosing a search result to see how much)

4. Decision ("Ok, I'm all in. Where do you type my credit card?")

There's only one format that win us over in all those 4 levels - in less than 10 seconds with less than 2 clicks: Email.

No wonder 1 millions emails are been sent every 1 second (this number down't include the spam emails we're getting. The stats with spam Emails: 3M in 1 sec!)

  • Product Hunt was born over an email.
  • Startups pitch to VC over emails (no one reads your deck. Sorry.)
  • Retailers sell more on newsletters than on their social media channels
  • Email shows youre not "selling from a van" which social media sale feels like
  • You could open an online store but you need to get traffic there. email get you into people inbox without changing their behavior (going form their feed into your store).
  • Email feels more personal than a landing page (and also you cant FORWARD a landing page to a friend or to ask advice from your life/work partner)

No brain-er.
Want to get into people shopping list? Get into the box. INBOX.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Livenadav )
almost 3 years ago

Great advice. Email has been a large part of Capiche's marketing strategy and early traction—and still a large part of how I keep up with what's happening in the community.

One thing to note here too is that it's never too late to start. If you've already sold stuff in the past and had contacted customers at all or received their email via PayPal and other payment methods (even when selling through marketplaces like eBay and Etsy), you can still reach out and ask them to join your email list later. Even at a low conversion rate, those people already bought something from you and so should be more likely to buy again.

2 points
maguay's avatar
almost 3 years ago

Wanted to add a couple apps to the discussion that are great for quickly selling items—especially if you don't already have an online store:

  • Gumroad is a super simple way to sell individual products that charges either a percent commission or a monthly fee. Essentially you drag in a product picture and add description and price, and can have a one-page store site ready in minutes (with little customization—though that can be good if the focus is just selling stuff). Great especially to self-publish an eBook or magazine (how I've used it in the past), or to sell limited edition physical goods.
  • Carrd is a landing page designer that also includes Stripe and PayPal-powered payment forms. Tad higher bar since you'd need to design a landing page and there's more you could tweak, but the good thing is you can also customize your branding far more than with Gumroad (or you could even share your Gumroad listing in a Carrd page for the best of both).

Both are how I'd likely sell an individual product, especially a digital good, if I were selling it directly to Twitter followers or an email list. Far easier than building a full store.

Oh and for full stores, Big Cartel is super easy to use—though again, harder to actually deeply customize than something like Shopify and WooCommerce. Good to quickly spin up a store, though.

2 points
NBNite's avatar
almost 3 years ago

Several of the earlier posts have touched on it but if I was looking to sell a product or service in the most cost-effective way, I'd go all in on content marketing.
Create as much content as possible, give as much value as possible to as many people as you can in that content, and have it drive back to an easy to digest and purchase landing page.

Not suggesting any specific content-marketing tool or platform - just the general concept of content-marketing as a strong method of driving traffic to your product/service. Getting a users attention is 90% of the battle - if they're coming to page and not making a purchase, it may indicate you need to revisit what it is you're selling.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @NBNite )
almost 3 years ago

Great point. If you consistently publish content that attracts the type of people who would want to buy your product, and then can rank well on search terms that they would research on their own, you've got a perpetual lead source. You'll need to maintain it, and will need to invest time in picking the topics and creating the content (or hire others to do it), but IMHO it has a higher longterm payoff than search ads.

2 points
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