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12 Online Selling Tips For Beginners
by Brett Farmiloe
January 2, 2024
Black woman working on laptop beside a sweater packaged in a shipping box

The shift to selling online can be monumental for a business that had little digital presence before the pandemic. However, setting up an eCommerce site is challenging and, at times, overwhelming.

With this in mind, we asked 12 experts, “What is your best eCommerce tip for a business just getting started?”

Check out their tips below.

Create an SEO Strategy

When selling online, you don’t have the luxury of people wandering into your brick-and-mortar store by chance and making an impulsive purchase. When SEO is done right and a strategy is set in place, consumers can organically uncover an online retailer. It sounds scary, but SEO is a sure way to make sure that your target market can find you in a search engine.
Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional

Pick the Right Ecommerce Platform

Ecommerce platforms are the backbone of any online retail enterprise, allowing the front-end and back-end of an online shop to work together efficiently. An eCommerce platform should give you all the features you need to start, scale, and manage your online business. Spend time researching your options and finding the one that best suits you and your business.
JJ Hepp, Arrow Lift

Reduce Friction

Minimizing customer friction is the #1 factor in determining whether you’re successful in selling your product online. Do everything you can to ensure your customers get the best experience possible beginning with the information customers need in order to make a purchase, like a robust product description with the right positioning, pictures, video to customer testimonials and reviews, to details on taxes, shipping, and delivery. If you clearly explain how your product solves your customer’s pain points and make it easy for them to make a purchase, you’re 90% of the way to selling online successfully.
Jonathan Pipek, Product Marketing Manager

Don’t Send Customers Away

One of the worst no-nos I see on new online stores is prominent social media links, in either the website header or elsewhere on the home page. The minute someone sees that Facebook or Instagram logo, they’ll be distracted from buying from you and enticed by the engagement that social media brings. This means even if they click a link that takes them to your social media page, they’ll immediately get drawn into their own notifications and feed and forget about wanting to buy from you. So stop sending people away. If you want to include social links, keep them in the website footer, and discreet (monotone in color and small in size).
Reese Spykerman, Design by Reese

Invest in Your Website

In the world of online shopping, people aren’t going to type their card number into a website that features shoddy images and poorly written product descriptions. Invest in a reputable web developer to help build your website that works cohesively with your eCommerce platform of choice. Make sure they take the time to find professional product images, write some great content, and upload them onto your website in a way that is aesthetic and user-friendly.
Peter Babichenko, Sahara Case

Live and Breathe Digital

The number one tip I would give you is that you need an online presence. You need to be all over the place. You need to live and breathe digital. What I mean is you have to know everything out there when it comes to running an online business. You need to have a website and social media pages. You need to be running ads, writing blogs, making YouTube videos, or posting your product at online marketplaces. This may sound overwhelming at first. But there are a lot of how-to articles to help you with your online business. As for me, I’m old-school. I prefer using eBay to sell things online. It’s a wonderful online selling platform, which may be the reason why eBay has been in the online selling business for decades.
- Shari Smith, Shari Sells

Find Your Unique Selling Point

To be a successful online seller, find your unique selling point. Whatever industry you are in, there are already thousands of other businesses doing exactly what you're doing. Some of these businesses have been selling online for years and have accumulated the kind of cachet that you simply do not have as a business that is just starting out. So, how do you compete? Analyze your competitors and discover what they don't have that you do. When I was first starting, I realized that most businesses in the VoIP space lacked verified user reviews. As a result, a lot of potential customers were skeptical about their legitimacy. We made this a core part of our model, and over the years we have racked up over 20,000 verified user reviews which have helped instill trust in potential customers so that they are willing to take recommendations from us.
- Reuben Yonatan, Get VoIP

Make Your Website Secure

When it comes to selling online, the most important aspect is security. Chances are, you will be using online payment methods to allow people to make the purchase in a simple and efficient way. Since you will be dealing with customer financial information, you need to ensure that your website’s security is excellent. Take all the right precautions to protect customer data. It is their trust that you want to keep after all. Even if it pushes the development of other aspects of your website back a bit, you need to ensure that security is at the top of your priority list when it comes to dealing with online sales.
- Will Ellis, Privacy Australia

Mind Your Margins

My best tip for online selling is to be mindful of your margins. It’s tempting to feel the need to offer free shipping because the big retailers do, but when you do, the cost of shipping combined with packaging supplies absolutely dilutes your margins. If you’re not careful, you could actually lose money.
- Bret Bonnet, Quality Logo Products

Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel

Use what's already available. Utilize Amazon to sell your best products. Let your offline customers know where they can now get their favorite goodies. Then, move to your own site slowly, after you've taken the time to figure out the best way to do things for your business. And even then, use what's already there.
- Vinay Amin, Eu Natural

Develop a Hypothesis for your Target Audience

Most of the battle in selling a product online is identifying exactly who will buy it. Ecommerce sellers should develop a hypothesis for who the target audience may be, and then rigorously test the hypothesis through interviews, data analysis, shadowing, and selling. The result of these testing methods is getting closer and closer to the “actual” customers who will buy. Too often, that process takes too long. Develop a hypothesis, test it, and pivot often to increase the speed at which sales actually happen.
-Brett Farmiloe, Pursue The Passion

Consider Your Customers’ Wants and Needs

With the market currently changing, it's important for businesses to change as well. My advice is to constantly think about your customers' wants and needs, and evaluate what's working and what's not. Best-selling products that were really popular before the pandemic might not be in high demand during these unique times. Think of ways to modify your products or innovate to better serve your customer needs.
- Grecia Olachea, Markitors

About the author
Brett Farmiloe
Brett Farmiloe is the Founder & CEO of Terkel, a Q&A site that converts insights from small business owners into high-quality articles for brands. Brett Farmiloe Founder & CEO,
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1165 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100
Herndon, VA 20170

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