How to sell, the things that sell, online?

One year after Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet in 1990, the American National Science Foundation allowed commercial activity via the web. The first registered webshop, De Pizzahut (a Dutch Pizza deliver company), went online in 1993. Two years later, from 1995, an enormous boom in online stores started (e.g. founding year of Ebay and Amazon). Now, we are more than 20 years later, but still too many webshop-owners do not know how to sell their products successfully online. Retailers fail to put their customer central on this web, are impolite and awkward. In this blog, I will give practical tips to become a great online retailer: enabling you to sell, the things that sell, online!

Shop-owners are impolite and sometimes even offending their customers online. This is mainly due to ignorance. Retailers are often solely educated for selling products is physical stores. Selling products online is an entire different world. However, certain rules can still be applied:  “The customer is king”, be polite towards your visitors, offer help proactively and ensure personal contact to let the customer feel comfortable to buy. In 4 basic practical tips, I will help you to translate these general rules to online practices.

  1. Never say Welcome!
    People visit your website with a certain action in mind, which is most of the time getting information or buying/downloading a product. Since a visitor want to act as quick as possible, you need to make all the space of your front-page as useful ass possible. Main questions you have to answer on your first page: What is this website for? and Why should I visit this website and not any other?amazon
  2. Add a Call to Action button.
    Visitors want solely one thing, and preferably very quick. Therefore, you should identify the main activity on your website (e.g. make an appointment or buy a products). On your front-page, you should add a large button (that stands out) with a link to your main activity. For example, Amazon want visitors to sign in as soon as possible, hence the button.
  3. Write readable pages with the internet-style.
    Traditional writing styles do not work on the internet: they are impersonal, have a wrong structure for the internet and has to long sentences. Visitors want to see the most important information at first. It frustrates people to get through an introduction or a too polite welcome-word. Hence, use short sentences, bullet points (easy to read), clear page-titles, bold highlighted words and hyperlinks (people like to click). As guideline you can use the story-telling style. People remind things better when text is accessible and personal.
  4. Cut the deal with a trustworthy page
    Your entire website should lead to the action-page: a form to sign up, a product to buy or a piece of information. Make sure that this action-page seems trustworthy, since this is the page where you want your customer to e.g. buy your product. Hence, show personal information, clear sentences, customer-reviews, logo’s of your partners and everything else that could make your customer feel comfortable to make the transaction.

The tips I gave in this blog are just about the basics. If you want to know more about how to make your webshop more effective, I recommend you to read the following book: “Don’t make me think by Steve Krug.” Moreover, you could visit for more information. The video below will also give you some more practical tips. If you want to track your progress, please ask your webmaster to install Google Analytics to monitor your improvement!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s