Digital Guyana

Specialism – Ecommerce

Posted on: August 8, 2009

In this session we gave a brief overview of online marketing and selling, finishing with an exercise where the students presented a quickly-devised online marketing plan.

Ecommerce flip chart

There are many ways in which the Internet can be used for selling goods and services. We looked at some basic online marketing techniques and then examined ways to sell directly to customers online.

Getting leads

It is possible to use the Internet to increase sales of goods and services in ‘real life’ without selling anything directly via the Internet. For instance, by publishing your location and the products you have for sale you can encourage people to contact you or visit your shop.

Establishing reputation

Businesses that sell services may not be able to sell them over the internet. However, when purchasing services (especially tradespeople – electricians, plumbers, handy-men, etc) reputation is important. By writing online about their experience, recent work and successes, people can find out whether the person is likely to do a good job for them.

Advertising

If you are writing regular content about a certain topic then it may be possible to serve adverts next to that content. Google Adsense is one method for doing this, whereby you will be paid a small amount each time someone clicks an advert on your website.

Affiliate sales

Via the Internet you can make money helping to sell other peoples’ products. An affiliate scheme is one where, if you link to a product in an online store and you send website traffic to it, you will be paid a percentage of any profits.

Amazon Associates is the affiliate scheme for online store Amazon.

Auction sites (ie eBay)

The first step to selling online may be to use an auction site. eBay doubles up as a pre-existing marketplace – people know they can go to eBay’s websites and browse through many different sorts of products.

Marketplaces and 3rd party shops (ie Etsy and Big Cartel)

Etsy is a marketplace in the same way that eBay is – people go there to browse items of all sorts. Rather than having to establish a shop elsewhere, you can take advantage of the fact that people know and trust the Etsy brand and will visit the website.

Big Cartel will give you an online store that you can customise and sell items through. You may pay a commission on any items sold. They are very simple to set up and

Direct sales (ie Yahoo Merchant Solutions)

When you reach a certain size it may be worth considering owning your own store. This may be more expensive but you will save money on paying commission and will have more control over the look and feel of the website and aspects such as SEO.

Subscriptions

Some businesses provide regular content in return for a regular payment. For example, magazines and online courses. Threadless is a T-shirt website with a subscription service.

User Generated Content

Websites and services like Lulu (self-publishing books) and Cafepress (branded cups, bags, t-shirts, etc) allow you to upload words or a design to be turned into a product and sold remotely. You will receive a commission on any sales.

SEO

We gave a brief overview of the basics of SEO including:

  • On-site – header and meta tags, well-written code and navigation
  • Off-site – incoming links

Taking payment

People may be wary of sending money, especially overseas. However, services like PayPal, Google Checkout and WorldPay have an established reputation and will operate like an effective middleman.

Consider also

Online business directories and review websites (ie TripAdvisor)

Mini marketing plan

After the presentation, we split the group into three teams and gave them fictitious businesses to promote via the Internet.

We asked the teams to decide:

  • What they would be selling
  • Who their target audience will be
  • Where they will find their customers
  • What methods they’ll use to take payment

Team 1 – Sweet Nothing/After Dark, a nightclub in Georgetown

The club would sell products at the venue and use the Internet for marketing. They would publicise the website using offline tools (billboards, posters and flyers).

They would also use Facebook and GT Vibes to publicise the club as young people use those websites. The website would link to other similar services, with a view to building a relationship and links to other communities.

Team 2 – Spanish Jumpstart, a company selling Spanish lessons

The service would target students, adults and travellers. They would start a blog to demonstrate their expertise in Spansih lessons and advertise via directories and adverts on social networks.

The business would sell online courses, translation, seminars and video conferencing, taking payment online via PayPal.

This is a good example of taking a core product (Spanish lessons) and repurposing them for selling online.

Team 3 – Magic Touch Craft Shop

The shop would sell jewellery, footwear, belts and accessories.

They would give customers the URL of the website as welll as collecting email addresses and other contact details to keep customers updated with new products.

Potential customers would be contacted via social networks as well as having a shop on eBay.

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1 Response to "Specialism – Ecommerce"

I am just learning the basics of SEO, Was a little shocked by how it was so
in-depth-glad I was sent some good blogs though
I have added you in my weekly website list, keep up the good posts!

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