Establishing an online business selling digital items has never been as easy as it is today. An amazing thing about digital products is that literally, anyone can sell them.
If your strength is creativity, why don’t you sell digital copies of your creative work? Being tech savvy gives you an opportunity to create tutorial series on certain topics. And these are just the examples that popped into my head within a few seconds, the list goes on.
Knowing what you would like to sell, you should also decide how you would like to do it. You have two options. You can sell via your own website, under your brand’s name, on your domain, in your own shop, or via an existing marketplace platform, such as eBay or Amazon. The solutions have strong supporters, there are also those who combine them having a website and using a marketplace, enjoying the benefits of both. However, this time I’m focusing on selling your own brand, through your own independent website.
Now, you know what you want to sell and how you want to sell it. So you can jump right into business, right? Well, hold your horses, here are key issues you need to address first.
6 Requirements For Successful Online Sales
It’s a website you sell on, essential for an online business. It’s probably the best way to grasp a lead’s information and move them further down your sales funnel.
If you don’t have a landing page, well, you’re not taking full advantage of the power you have at your disposal. If you are a bit resistant to use it because it seems difficult and time-consuming, remember, you don’t need to do it from scratch, all by yourself. There are several ingenious landing page builder tools, e.g. Unbounce, that enable you to create a great landing page in minutes.
Terms of Service
First of all, Terms of Service is a must-have of any SaaS website, it’s obligatory by law and anyone visiting your website should be able to find it (a footer, usually), read it and understand it without too much effort.
Secondly, it’s in your best interest to have well-written and transparent Terms of Service since it protects not only your customers but also you. Here you establish rules your visitors have to follow, limit your liability in certain events, e.g. if your product fails, and state what to do in case a conflict arises.
You secure your business intellectual property and save the right to cancel accounts not complying with your ToS.
If you would like to know more about ToS, have a look at my previous posts:
- What should be included in the terms and conditions of an online shop?
- The ultimate list of 8 Must-Haves for Terms of Service in your SaaS business
It goes second after ToS of your online shop and it’s also a legal document. It should make perfectly clear what information your website collects and how the information is being used.
Online payments are the lifeblood of your SaaS. If you fail to properly take payments online, you have no business. And likewise, the ability to grow internationally can be increased by your accepted payments choice.
That’s why, take your time to do some research and comparison before choosing the solution right for you, whether it’s a payment gateway linked to a merchant account (SecureNet), all-in-one solutions (PayPal) or credit card processors (Stripe).
To learn more, see:
- Different types of online payment providers
- Implementation of Credit Card Payments for Your SaaS Business
- Third Party Processing
Email Delivery Service
Keeping your customers informed (and delighted) by sending emails sounds like an easy task to do. All of us send emails, even a dozen of them at the same time, a standard Gmail account enables you to send even 500 emails a day.
However, imagine a situation when you need to send hundreds of messages within a minute – now we’re talking. As a SaaS or e-commerce business owner, you need to send a handful of emails to your clients instantly.
Fortunately, there are solutions that save you time and hassle, e.g. Mailgun or SendGrid. Such tools can take care of all types of emails: purchase confirmations, shipping notifications, order status updates, policy change notices, even special offers and newsletters. Enjoy!
Keeping a tight grip on your finance is everything in online business. You have a choice how you would like to keep track of the money and create invoices.
You can do it on your own on your computer, which is painstaking, time-consuming and not recommended by us, or you can use the invoicing software available on the market (highly recommended), like FreshBooks or Hiveage.
Remember that even billing your customers is a part of your brand image, invoices need to look professional, be easy to pay and always on time. Before purchasing an invoicing software, have a glance at my research here:
3 Extra Things You Want For Your Sales
Reach out to your customers and tell them what crops up in your shop. People like to be informed about new products or classes, giving them a little bit of an insider’s view proves to be beneficial for your sales.
In order to be able to send your customers such newsletters, remember to keep their email addresses in your database.
However, sending an infinite number of newsletters on your own, one by one (not recommended) can wipe the optimistic smile off your face. That’s why there is a bunch of amazing newsletter software ready to lift your spirits up and that’s what I recommend. These helpful tools include GetResponse or MailChimp.
As an online shop owner, you must keep your ear to the ground. It means closely overseeing the sales process. You are only a human, not a machine, that’s why it’s viably impossible to control each detail and remain alert at all times.
The market of software turns out to be helpful again and offers you an array of CRM management systems, such as Pipedrive or Salesforce. They organize business leads and allow you to tweak all your workflows while being intuitive and straightforward. You get an excellent overview of your sales and focus on the deals that are your priority.
No wonder that for most business owners such software is love at first sight.
Again, keeping your ear to the ground. Analyzing customers’ behavior and measuring the effectiveness of your website enables you to make smarter marketing decisions.
For the purpose of collecting and managing all the data, you can use free Google Analytics. You can also buy something more complex, such as Kissmetrics.
The key is to configure everything properly (not only the website codes but also the goals) and to measure it correctly (it includes views, clicks, certain customer’s behaviors, particular sales, conversion, etc.).
Starting a business online seems to be a piece of cake, especially if so many possibilities are at your disposal. However, it’s not so much about knowing what you want to sell and knowing how you want to sell it but what do you need to do it.
Keep in mind all the requirements that pave the way to a successful online shop and make it big in launching your own brand on digital products market!