You've just opened your brand new online shop, but nothing happens... Insert crickets chirping sound here. How will you ever make your first sales?
The first sale is always the hardest when starting a new ecommerce business. But once you get that first sale, the momentum starts to build and it becomes easier and easier to get more sales.
Harley Finkelstein, the President of Shopify, asked that question on Twitter:
Entrepreneur Twitter: If you were to start a brand new business today, and had zero existing audience to sell to, what would be the first thing you’d do to get your first 10 sales?— Harley Finkelstein (@harleyf) April 29, 2022
We thought some of the answers to his tweet were very interesting and wanted to share them with you here, along with a few of our own ideas. Follow these 12 tips and make your first sales!
12 tips to make your first sales
- Create valuable content
- Talk to your friends and family
- Talk to customers, one on one
- Set up a pop-up shop
- Build up buzz and anticipation on social media
- Build a landing page
- Run a Google ads campaign
- Run Facebook ads
- Leverage Pinterest
- Hang out on Facebook Groups and Subreddits
- Collaborate with other businesses
- Create a Kickstarter Campaign
1. Create valuable content
If you don't have an audience, you need to start creating content that will attract them. This could be a blog, a Youtube channel, or even just an Instagram page. Whatever it is, make sure it's high quality and helpful. People will start to take notice and follow you.
As an example, let's say you are planning to sell e-bikes. Before you even launch your online store, you could start a blog where you review different e-bike models, or do helpful guides on how to choose the right e-bike or how to maintain your e-bike. Next thing you know, your posts will start ranking on Google, people will start subscribing to your newsletter and follow you on social media, and you'll have an audience to sell to.
Creating content really is something you should be doing on a regular basis, and as early as possible, even if you're not planning to launch your online store for a while. The sooner you start, the bigger your audience will be by the time you're ready to launch. The easier it will be to get your first sales!
2. Talk to your friends and family
If you have a product that you think would appeal to your friends and family, then don't be afraid to reach out to them and offer a discounted price. They are the people who know you best and will be most likely to support you. This is an easy way to get your first few sales and more importantly get some crucial initial feedback. Make sure that they are honest with you and tell you what they really think. Want to learn more about selling to friends and family? Check out this blog post by the author N.K. Carlson.
3. Talk to customers, one on one
Talking to your customers. Who would have thought, right? This is one of the most important things you can do when first starting out. Talk to people, find out what they want and need, and craft your offering around that. Sometimes, picking up the phone or meeting someone in person can make all the difference. It shows that you're invested and willing to go the extra mile, which can be very appealing. Simple, but effective.
4. Set up a pop-up shop
Where do you find those first customers to talk to? It's often a good idea to put some efforts offline in order to gain online traction. Fairs are a great place to do talk to real humans, and get them to talk about your brand. You can find all sorts of fairs to participate in, from art, design, and fashion fairs to farmers' markets. Don't forget to collect email addresses so you can follow up with people after the pop-up shop is over. If you would like to learn more, Shopify created a complete guide on how to set up and run a successful pop-up shop.
5. Build up buzz and anticipation on social media
If you want to make a big splash when you launch your online store, start building up buzz and anticipation beforehand. Tease some of the products that will be available. Give people a peek behind the scenes. Post about it on social media, and get people excited for your launch. The more buzz you can build, the better chance you have of making a big impact when you finally open your doors. This post goes over the basics of launching an app, but much of it can be applied to ecommerce launches.
6. Build a landing page
Building a landing page is super important to get people interested in what you're selling and get their precious email. It should have a strong headline, images or videos, and a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages people to sign up for your email list. Once you've launched, send out emails to those who signed up.
7. Run a Google ads campaign
One of the best ways to get in front of your target market is to use Google Ads. You can create targeted ads that appear when people search for keywords related to your product. This is a great way to reach people who are already interested in what you're selling. If you want to learn more about how to use Google Ads, there are tons of good tutorials on Youtube. You can even take advantage of some free credits for new businesses.
8. Run Facebook ads
Facebook ads are a great way to reach a precise audience. You can create an ad campaign that targets a very specific group of people based on their location, and interests. Your ad can be served on Facebook, Instagram, and even Messenger. If you're not sure how to get started, here's a guide to help you.
9. Leverage Pinterest
If you are looking for new customers, Pinterest is a great social network to leverage because it's a place where people go to find inspiration. Pinterest recently surpassed 400 million monthly users worldwide while reaching 47% of US internet users. It's a visual search engine. If your posts or ads match the relevance of the user's search, there is a good chance that they will click on them. Make sure to check out this article listing many great ways to use Pinterest as an ecommerce seller.
10. Hang out on Facebook Groups and Subreddits
Find a Facebook or Subreddit where your customers are hanging out. Start building a relationship with them, don't try to sell them your product. Instead, ask them for feedback. Find out what they want and need, what pain points they have, and how you can help. Then craft your offering around that.
11. Collaborate with other businesses
Reach out to businesses in complementary industries and see if you can do a joint promotion. For instance, if you sell candies, you could reach out to a local ice cream shop and see if they want to do a joint promotion. You could do a giveaway, or offer a discount if people buy from both businesses. This is a great way to get in front of a new audience, and it's a win-win for both businesses.
12. Create a Kickstarter Campaign
Creating a Kickstarter campaign is an excellent way to get people interested in your product and obtain your first group of customers. You'll need to create a video and write a compelling story that will convince people to back your project. If you can successfully launch your Kickstarter campaign, you'll have a great head start because you have essentially pre-sold your product. Just make sure that you can deliver on your promises.
There you have it! These are some of the best ways to get your first online sales. Remember, the most important thing is to get started and to never give up. With a little hard work and determination, you will be on your way to a successful ecommerce business.
Thanks for reading! Now go out there and get those first few sales! You got this! :)