Top Tips for successfully selling Greeting Cards Online
Digital Strategy is a new concept to the world of paper greeting cards and since when do you even need one? Well the answer to that has become all too evident this year as we have faced a global pandemic and traditional retail store channels have been permanently affected. Our advice is to embrace this brave new world and seriously consider your Digital, or often referred to e-commerce Strategy.
Our top tips are designed to steer you through the key decisions you will need to make to sell successfully online.
Create your Digital Strategy; it’s not as hard as you think.
This first step asks you to think about how you would like to sell your cards online. Do you want or already have your own website or do you want to join an Online Marketplace? And how will you use Social Media to drive customers to buy online? Knowing what you want to achieve is the first step into getting started. Our top tip is to think how you would like to experience buying a card online and make it happen for your customers.
Want your own Website? Think about these things first.
Having your own website is a great start and we recommend you find an e-commerce platform that is secure, easy to administer yourself (load new card designs and manage the sales cycle) and customisable to promote your cards to look their best. This will require a lot of time and investment into designing a website to reflect your brand and entice buyers to your cards. Well known platforms include BigCommerce, SquareSpace, Shopify and Shopwired. But find the right fit for you and make sure that the secure payment options available for customers makes it a dream buy experience for buyers. Ensure that your website makes it appealing for customers to press that buy button and then have as few clicks as possible to complete the purchase.
Our top tip for websites is to spend time making sure that you load your product images and listings with the right descriptions. This is important as they are used by search engines and presented to potential buyers making a search for a specific term. If you want your product to appear in a better ranking on a search result page, then make every effort to get this right. Your website visibility in search engines is a key factor in driving customers back to your site. This is known as SOE – Search Engine Optimisation and if this is not bringing enough online traffic to your site, then consider SEM – Search Engine Marketing, which is a paid for service to promote your website and products above other results. Be careful to manage your budget closely on this as the costs can be sizable and on a low value greeting card selling for under £4, this can become costly.
Fancy that Online Marketplace? Make it work for you.
If you choose an Online Marketplace (e.g. Amazon, Etsy, Folksy etc.), then it is advisable to consider the costs involved of signing up and using their platform, the audience type they attract, the number of customers they bring, what existing competition exists for similar products to your own and the ease of administering your products on their site. Costs will range from a signup monthly or annual fee, a listing fee per product and even a fee as a percentage per sale.
The up-side of the existing Online Marketplaces is that buyers are already using them, trust their payments security and returns policy. On a marketplace the key is to get your products noticed and you will usually have to either entice buyers to the marketplace through your social media posts or use the marketing tools of the marketplace you have chosen. Some are more sophisticated than others and Amazon is a leader in this field. Ultimately if you load your products and carefully manage the product descriptions and search terms, this time taken upfront will benefit you manifold when you buyers get to view your card and because it is what they were looking for, actually buy it!
Make Social Media Easy
When putting together your Social Media Approach, remember that the idea is to integrate your presence on the various social media platform to the marketplace or website you have chosen to sell your cards. Be clever with every post and make sure they all have an embedded link to a website page that sells the card you are posting about.
Out top tip for this section is use a tool to both assist with the design of posts for specific social media as well as the scheduling of your posts across all social media. Many inexpensive Tools exist online (such as Canva, Crello, Snappa or Hootsuite) to help you plan your social media marketing campaigns up months in advance. They usually have up to 30days free trial so you can try out few out to make sure it meets your needs. They will provide templates, images and more to enable you to create professional looking posts in the correct format required for each social media platform; be it FaceBook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. This will leave you to spend more time creating and planning posts that will happen when you are off doing something else.
Get sales fulfilment right and timely!
Sales fulfilment is often not mentioned in the context of online selling, but it is almost more important as it fulfils the trust placed in your by buyers that the product, greeting card, WILL be delivered as per agreed terms, not ifs or buts. No one wants delays in receiving an online purchase and make sure that you are responsive to every purchase and online query.
Lastly, have fun and read your online reviews
Running a business online is serious business but the reward you feel when reading a positive review is like none other. Of course if the review is negative, it’s an opportunity to learn from mistakes in either design or your internal processes. We have accidently sent a customer the incorrect greeting card and this meant that they didn’t get the card they wanted by the date they needed it and no one wants to be in this position. Make sure your customer service is excellent to ensure they remember how you fixed the problem, rather the problem itself. Our last top tip is to invest in a Postage Franking machine, not only does this save on postage costs but speeds up the fulfilment process with no need to stick on stamps or stand in line at the post office.
Remember in the world of online selling, TRUST is the imperative that will persuade customers to buy or go to another website, make sure they choose you!