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How to Become an Online Merchant

Small business retailers know that you have to keep things fresh and adapt to changes to keep your customers engaged, and coming back to see what you will have next.

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You learn to tailor your products to your customers’ needs and interests over time.

As a merchant you learn what your customers like, and you tailor your products to their interests.

Maybe you change your product displays every few weeks, run a sale the first week of each month or put your best selling umbrellas at the front of your store on rainy days. As a merchant, you do whatever it takes to keep your customers’ interested in coming back.

Being an online merchant really isn’t really that different – it’s about keeping your customers’ attention so they come back again, and again.

It’s a good idea to keep in mind that people generally browse faster online since it’s not as far to go to the next store. If a customer buys something from your online shop, and comes back to your store after a week or two and it looks the same, they are more likely to just move on to the next online shop.

To help keep your customers interested, try to rotate your featured items in your online shop at least as often  (if not more often) than you might in a retail store.

Keep a regular schedule for sales and events. It can be as simple as having a sale at the same time each month, to having a different sale each day of the month.

Maybe have a coupon day once every month, but post your coupons online. This helps keep your local customers engaged with your online store-front too. The opposite works too – give your local shoppers coupons for online items. They will think of it as getting a bonus for stopping in, and you will be rewarded by the extra sales you generate.

Consider keeping a calendar of events to help keep your online promotions running like clockwork.

Consider keeping a calendar of events to help keep your online promotions running like clockwork.

Encourage your shoppers to sign up for your newsletter (you can set up your own free MailChimp newsletter and easily integrate it into your NuggetWeb Merchant Shop).

Sending out regular updates is a great way to keep your customers engaged with your business. Keep the emails to three or four each month to begin with, and make it easy for them to opt-out so you don’t end up with frustrated customers.

Don’t overlook social media. Having a Facebook and Twitter page help boost your website’s credibility. There are many social media options these days, so be open to trying new ways to expand your business through online networking.

Another advantage of social media is how helpful it can be to learning what your online customers’ needs and interests are. Knowing how your online customers  differ from your local customers can help you tailor your online business and attract more customers.

Consider posting a regular blog article – once a week, or more if you enjoy writing. It can be about anything related to your business, from tips on using your products, to the history of your company. Not only is this a way to connect to your customers, but it will boost your visibility with search engines. We’ll be talking more about blogging in our upcoming articles.

However you decide to keep your customers engaged with your online storefront, try to be consistent. If you start a recurring sales event, make sure follow through with your schedule and start and end your events on-time. Keeping a separate calendar for your online promotions can be a great way to stay organized.

Your goal is to keep your customers just as engaged with your online shop as they are with your local store. When you accomplish that, your customers will reward you in return.

Do you have ideas for keeping customers engaged with your online business? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

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