Online selling newbies always have to deal with an important question – marketplace or dedicated website? Creating and managing a website to sell your products online, while competing with giants like Amazon and Flipkart can be a daunting task, because of which novice sellers are advised to start slow, and stick with the online marketplace program. We think that selling on marketplaces is a great idea, but once you’re comfortable with the systems and procedures of going about it, it is good to think about adding a dedicated website into your arsenal.
Of course, the logistics of managing a sales website are not a joke, but if you shake off the initial inertia, you get to reap maximum benefits of the internet. There are many things that are involved in setting up a dedicated online store. Last week we talked about how to help you decide whether you should go for an independent website or not. Today we will talk about the basic aspects of how to manage and grow your website and make a mark in a forum that is otherwise crowded with sellers who tend to play it safe.
Managing and Growing Your Website
1. Integrate it with your inventory management system
The best part about managing your own website is that you don’t need to do anything different to manage its logistics. If you have a multi-channel inventory management system like Browntape that manages your online marketplaces, you can add your dedicated website into the mix and let all the orders and inventory funnel through one portal. This makes your job much easier, since now all you have to worry about is handling the payments and couriers – things that were managed by your marketplace before. But the major job of order management can be handled by your trusty inventory management system.
2. Pay attention to SEO
The most effective way of inducing and sustaining traffic on your website is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. The content on your website is scanned to match with keywords that the user feeds into a search engine. The fresher and more optimized your content is to the expected keywords, the better the chances are of your website showing up in the top search results. It is a very tricky thing to sustain search engine popularity. You need to put a lot of thought in your web content and website design to make this possible. You can learn a few search engine optimization tips and make small changes to your website accordingly – they go a long way. Also consider having a rolling blog on your website, giving customers general information about your products and the market. It will keep the content fresh and increase the chances of your website showing up on top of the search results.
3.Manage payment gateways
As an independent website owner, one important responsibility that falls upon your shoulders is managing payment gateways. Most online marketplaces broker the payment gateways for you, like PaisaPay for eBay and PayZippy for Flipkart. Organizing and installing a payment gateway is not a very difficult job. You should spend a few minutes comparing tariffs of different trustworthy payment gateways in India.
4. Organize product catalogues
Organize your product catalogues carefully before you publish them online. The first step is to categorize your products into relevant groups that will be appealing to the consumer. Make sure that the terminology you use to name your categories is explained. Divide your categories into further sub-categories and place your products in a way that they are easy to access. Try tagging and cross-referencing your products through different categories, if need be. Click good pictures and add all relevant details for the products before uploading your online catalogue.
5. Master social media
Since you are up against established and popular marketplace giants in your dedicated website venture, our advice is to create and maintain a niche for yourself in the online world. Many mainstream social media marketing tips won’t work for you, and you will have to be slightly more creative in managing your social media accounts. Personalization is easier and works better with smaller ventures, and you must focus more on that. Use Facebook, Twitter and even email to create personalised, organic marketing campaigns. Don’t forget to reward loyal customers and have public interactions with them.
6. Track and analyse
The final piece of advice we can give you is to keep your eyes and ears open in the market. Study your competitors, even the goliaths. Look for patterns in their schemes and offers. Analyse your own web traffic carefully. If your website design is organic, you will be able to move products and offers around according to your need. Remember, every little detail matters. A simple matter of putting the checkout button in a hard-to-find place, or having a confusing color scheme/typography puts off many customers. Look how far the customers are going within your website. If you observe any bottlenecks due to faulty design, remove them ASAP.
These were a few tips and tricks on how to make the most of your independent website. If you need more information or have any queries about the subject matter, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading inventory management systems providers, and are always eager to provide smart solutions for everyday e-commerce problems.