If you’re selling your goods in an online marketplace – such as Amazon or eBay – then you’ll be only too aware of the importance of listings. Simply put: if your product appears too far down the page then most customers won’t bother even looking at it. No matter if you’ve got the best price, the best deal and some sweet customer service guarantees; if it’s not immediately to hand, the majority of people will simply never know it’s there. With that in mind then, it’s important to understand exactly how to move your product up the rankings, and how to draw people in once it’s there:
Knowing Your Customer
Time and again, studies have shown that online customers want one very simple thing: to get in there, find a cheap, well-reviewed product quickly, buy it and get out. That’s all there is to it: most of them don’t want to spend time browsing any more than a couple of items, don’t want to have to endlessly compare prices, and don’t want to have to trawl through lots of reviews, Tripadvisor style, to work out if something is actually good or bad. So you need to try and cater to this. This means getting your listing to the top (or near the top) of the page and offering immediate, clear advantages over your competitors that will stand out from the get-go. To help you boost your rankings then, here are a few tips to follow:
It sounds obvious, but people still insist on posting products without decent photographs to accompany them. This is bad for a number of reasons: first, it discourages the customer from clicking on your listings in the first place. Second, it looks like you’ve got something to hide. Third, it’s screamingly unprofessional. Even if you’re a low-end retailer just making a bit extra on the side, you need to invest time in properly photographing your products – ideally from multiple angles, with a good camera, so consumers can peruse them at leisure. If you’re selling something like clothes or shoes, maybe consider getting an attractive friend to model them for you. By adding good pictures, you allow your customers to make an informed purchasing decision.
But pictures can’t tell you everything: that’s why we have descriptions, and the art of writing a good product description is a tricky one to master. Basically, you have to get maximum information into minimum space, along with a ‘call to action’ and a few choice turns of phrase. No-one doing their holiday shopping wants to spend ages reading either a dry, technical description or a long paragraph of hifalutin prose that doesn’t tell you anything of use. Keep your information succinct, make sure it complements the pictures and break it up into easily-digestible paragraphs. Remember to end on a classic call to action – something that will make the customer hit that ‘buy’ button now!
Good reviews are what can make-or-break a marketplace business, but don’t be tempted to start writing them yourself (or paying someone else to do so). Internet users are generally very canny, and you only need to get rumbled once to see your business destroyed by bad word of mouth. To get these much-coveted good reviews, then, you’re left with only a couple of options. The first is to (obviously) provide such incredible service that customers feel obliged to give you a good review. The second is to prompt your customers towards doing the same with things like follow-up emails (always making sure they state something like ‘we hope you enjoyed your product, if you have time and would like to share your thoughts, why not write a review at LINK’, as opposed to ‘please give us a review’) and other subtle reminders. If you handle this stage well, you’ll get all the publicity you’ll ever need: a decent handful of good reviews is worth any number of pictures or product descriptions.
Author: Victoria is a freelance editor specializing in business, marketing and social media. Working with several online retailers, including Gift-Library, she understands the importance of successfully lisitng your products and services online.