Tip of the Week
Many small business owners are hopeful that offering their products online will increase their bottom line. But the digital marketplace is increasingly crowded and it can be hard to stand out from the pack.
The good news is that being a small business can actually give you an edge over bigger brands — if you know how to use your size to your advantage. Here are the do's and don'ts you need to take your business to the next level:
• Don't build your own online shopping platform. While you may believe that having your own website will attract new shoppers, website development and maintenance is expensive and time consuming. Unless your brand already has the visibility needed to attract consumers without advertising or marketing, traffic to the site will be hard to generate.
• Don't expect your products to sell on a large online marketplace. While big online marketplaces, like Amazon or eBay, attract a high volume of online shoppers, unless customers are searching specifically for your brand or chance across your products via search, they will likely never see your products.
• Do partner with a retail platform. A social shopping marketplace, such as OpenSky.com, will help you engage with your customers. The free service provides you with your own customized online store, a new business toolkit including tips and support and a built-in community of more than 2.5 million engaged social shoppers.
• Do market your products in a one-of-a-kind way. Create eye-catching content, making sure all your photos are high quality and shot in their best light.
• Do establish yourself as an authority. Consider creating tips, recipes or behind-the-scene snippets. Sharing relevant and relatable content will keep your customers coming back.
• Do use your size to your advantage. While big retailers are busy playing the price-cutting game, you can work smartly to connect with a community of loyal followers who really appreciate what you do. Harness the personal relationships you've made with customers through social platforms where you can strengthen connections by sharing product news, relevant content and personal reminders about new items you think they'll enjoy.