The Top 5 Creative Ways to Make Your First eCommerce Sale

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Making your first eCommerce sale is hard. Setting up the store is a breeze, especially with all the amazing eCommerce software options available today. But making that first sale? Sometimes it seems impossible.

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You may already be following everyone’s advice about how to make your first sale. You’re all over social, you’ve started a blog, and you’ve got your ads running. So what do you try next?

Here’s a list of 5 creative ways to make your first sale.

1. Go meet your customers in person.

I know, you’re an online business. You’re not supposed to talk to people in person. But hey – you wanted creative methods.

There’s so much going on online that it can be very easy for your audience to tune you out. However, if you take your products directly to them in person it’s a lot harder to ignore you.

Depending on your products you could try setting up a booth at a local farmer’s market, or partner with a complementary local business and set up a pop-up booth. The key is to figure out where your audience is physically already going, and meet them there. Then, once you’re selling your wares, make sure you’re collecting email addresses so that you can follow up with your customers and make sure they discover your online store. Have some paper flyers or cards with your domain address on them as well, to hand out to customers who are reluctant to give up their email addresses.

2. Use innovative content marketing strategies.

Content marketing no longer just means that you start a blog and move on with your life. New tech surrounding content marketing is popping up every day.

For instance, a company called VendViva is working with technology that allows a retailer to create transactional articles wherein readers can purchase your products directly from the article. A service like VendViva writes an article for you, places it with an appropriate publisher, and only charges a commission once you start making sales. That means that at the very least, you get free PR to your audience, and in the best case scenario, you get tons of new customers.

3. Get controversial.

Thinx, a period underwear startup, has exploded in the past few years because they decided to take on the taboos surrounding women’s menstrual cycles head-on. They were refused ad space in the New York Subway system because they wanted to display ads that used the word “period” and displayed a photo of a suggestive grapefruit and a runny egg yolk. This ignited their ideal customer base (socially conscious millennial women) to action. Within days, any woman who would be interested in breaking down taboos knew everything about Thinx and had become crusaders for the brand. Thinx now has their ads up all over the Subway and a deeply committed customer base.

Now getting politically controversial may not be your cup of tea, but there is likely an angle you could take. All you have to do is figure out why your customers would care for your products over another type of product and run with it. Consider writing an article and boosting it on social to get some traction. Some ideas:

  • A dress company could write: “Dresses Are Better than Pants – Here’s Why.”
  • A wine seller might want to write: “Millennials Have a More Developed Wine Palate than Boomers: How It’s Affecting the Wine Business.”
  • A cigar company could write: “Cuban Cigars Are Overrated: 10 Reasons You Need to Be Smoking Dominican Cigars.”

4. Leverage influencers in your space.

You’ve probably already heard this one, as it’s so commonly tossed around that this is starting to become a buzzphrase. But if done correctly, this can really work.

First, you’re going to want to do a lot of research. You want to find someone who not only targets your same audience but actually reaches them and is able to influence their decisions. This person may write a blog, have a YouTube channel, or may just exist on Instagram. Check out how their fans interact with them – do the fans seem to really care about what’s happening in this person’s life? How much effort does the influencer take to reach their audience?

An example of ideal influencer is Jaclyn Hill. She’s best for makeup and clothing brands. Jaclyn is a well-known beauty YouTuber. She makes makeup tutorials on YouTube and has expanded to blogging about fashion. She is active on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat as well. What makes her especially ideal is that she has worked to create a large fan base that truly cares about what’s going on in her life by sharing personal details and “being real” with her followers. When Jaclyn is promoting a product, she also tends to cross promote on different social channels. An influencer like Jaclyn can cause a product to sell out within hours.

And while it’s unlikely that you can afford someone of Jaclyn’s fame, you can certainly find influencers in your space who share the same qualities, particularly if you occupy a niche market.

To work with an influencer effectively, don’t just give them your products and let them take it from there. Work together to develop a strategy. Maybe you want to sponsor a giveaway which will include your products. Maybe you want to get them review your products. Maybe you’d like them to write an article about you and your products and use tech like VendViva’s to allow their readers to purchase right from the article.

5. Work with the people that you already know.

Even if you can’t find an influencer in your space, you have influencers who can help you. Turn to your family and friends. Ask them to share the word about you. Offer them free samples of your product to share with the world. Certain products lend themselves better to this than others, like small, inexpensive products.

One thing you may consider doing is offering a referral program to those customers who purchase from you after hearing about you from your friends and family. This allows you to continue growing through a single network.

More?

What other tips and tricks do you have for stores looking for a creative way to make their first eCommerce sale? What’s worked for you?

Looking for eCommerce software? Check out Capterra's list of the best eCommerce software solutions.

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Cara Wood

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Cara Wood is a marketing associate at Capterra and a graduate of Mary Washington! When she's not hard at work at Capterra, she can be found horse-back riding, reading and just generally having a good time at life.

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