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Making Your First Sale: A Guide for eCommerce Beginners

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Zyro online stores can be set up and ready to accept their first customers in under an hour. However, once you launch your store, that’s when the real work begins.

Landing your first sale means reaching the right audience, successfully inviting them to shop at your online store, and carrying them along the purchasing funnel right to the end of the payment process. 

Even these steps can be broken down further, like choosing the right marketing channels, creating an appealing user experience, and making sure customers don’t abandon their carts. 

With so many moving parts and decisions to be made, your first sale can feel a long way off. 

In this guide, we’ll help you focus on what’s important and take effective steps towards your first sale

Traffic: the source of all success

Your online store looks great and all of your products are beautifully displayed, waiting to be purchased.

What’s missing? Traffic. 

It might sound obvious that you need traffic to make your website a success. After all, traffic brings potential customers, but it represents more than just users with open wallets. 

When you’re working in eCommerce, analyzing your traffic, where it comes from, and how it behaves on your online store is the key to making the changes and improvements that will guide you to your first sale. 

Don’t expect to open your online store and for your first visitor to make a purchase; they probably won’t.

But studying the steps that visitor took can help:

  • Check how they landed on your website. Was it through Google or a social media post?
  • Which pages did they visit and for how long? This tells you which pages are doing well and which need improvements.
  • Where did they stop browsing? In other words, what was the last page they saw? Could you optimize it to make them buy?

No traffic is useless traffic. So, let’s look at the 3 main ways to generate more of it.

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1. SEO: unlock the power of search 

Honing your search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website rank higher in search results.

Why it’s always possible to buy your way to the top of search results with paid ads, organic results (i.e. ranking higher on the merits of your website alone) are more valuable for your business

One of the best things about SEO is that much of the important work can be done for free. All it costs is some of your time.

Onpage SEO

Onpage SEO refers to all the things you do on your website to ensure that it’s appealing to search engines. 

If you’ve built your website with a website builder like Zyro, many of the onpage optimizations will be made easy for you

But generally, you should be thinking about:

  • Keyword optimizing your content
  • Ensuring all of your pages include keyword optimized headings and meta descriptions
  • Making sure your website is fast and reliable 
  • Designing your pages so that important information is easy to find
  • Making it easy to navigate around your website 
  • Checking that the information on your pages is relevant to search inquiries 

Offpage SEO

Offpage SEO is about how the rest of the internet relates to your website. 

Generally, this is about link building: getting other, trusted websites to create links that lead back to your website. 

This not only means that users on these websites can find your online store more easily, but it also indicates to search engines that your website is trustworthy.

This helps improve your ranking. 

2. Paid ads: be cost-effective

Analytics Graph Upwards

While free promotion through SEO and social media can get to some attention, you’re going to have to fork over some cash if you want to reach a mass audience. 

Platforms like Google Ads, PropellerAds, Amazon Native Shopping Ads, YouTube, and social media networks all offer opportunities for you to display banner, video, or other formatted ads to billions of users. 

Before launching your first advertising campaign, make sure that your ads:

  • Are targeted. Research to understand who your target audience is, where you can reach them, and what kinds of ads they’re most likely to click on. 
  • Are compelling. You want traffic, so you need those clicks. Your ads need to stand out and speak to users. If they’re not compelling, they’re pointless. 
  • Stick to the rules. There’s no point creating a great ad that ad networks won’t publish. Understand the rules before submitting your ads. 
  • Are cost-effective. You shouldn’t be paying more for advertisements than they’re worth to you.  

3. Social media: connect with your audience where they are

The average internet user spends over 2 hours a day browsing through social media.

This is millions of eyeballs just waiting to be engaged by your spectacular new brand. 

Your brand on social media 

After your website and online store, your brand’s social media profiles are the most important place to represent yourself online.

That’s why you always have to be looking your best.

  • Start by thinking about the appearance of your profiles, making sure the images are up to date, and the graphics are consistent with your brand aesthetic. 
  • Ensure that you share all the important information about your brand, website, and contact information customers might want to know. 
  • Think carefully about the voice and tone you want to speak with on social media. You want to sound human, but still authentically like your brand. 
  • Finally, you’re an online store, so make sure your social media profiles are shoppable. If you’ve built your store with Zyro, it’s easy to add shopping links to platforms like Facebook and Instagram

Social media ads 

Ads on social media are distributed like other paid ads; they’re usually banners to the side of content, or posts and videos on feeds. 

The big benefit of investing in social media paid ads is the rich data that social media networks have about their users. 

If you’re looking to target a really specific audience that will be interested in your online store and products, social media ads allow you to pick the distinguishing features of those users. 

Influencers

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Influencers are social media users who have a large following, and whose options hold sway among their followers. 

Many influencers are celebrities for other reasons, but frequently they’re just regular people who have built up a fan base. 

For a new online store, especially if you have unique and distinctive products, getting some key influencers can be a great way to generate sales

If you are interested in working with influencers, you should make sure that:

  • Their followers fit within your target market
  • Their other content is related to your niche 
  • The influencer’s following is large enough to make a deal worthwhile 
  • That any endorsement makes it clear how to make a purchase on your online store 

Viral content 

One aim of almost all social media and content markets is to create opportunities for viral content.

That’s content that is shared over and over by users because it’s particularly helpful, or generates an emotional response. 

While you can never really tell which content will go viral, there are some steps you can take to make your content more shareable:

  • Be unique. Users will share content that’s unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. 
  • Be informative. Content that provides useful or interesting information is what users are looking for. 
  • Be funny. Humor is a handy shortcut to making your content shareable. 
  • Be impactful. If your content has a clear message and is emotionally impactful, users will want to pass it on. 
  • Be human. People love seeing brands speaking with a human voice. Something as simple as a tweet can go viral if it sounds authentic. 

Remember, your aim is always to generate traffic. Viral content is no good unless it steers users back towards your website. 

Analysis and optimization: the process goes on

Which marketing techniques brought the most traffic? Which delivered the most sales? Which represents the highest return on investment?

These are some of the crucial questions you need to answer at the end of each round of marketing campaigns and on an ongoing basis

As a new online store, you don’t know much about how your target audience perceives your marketing messages or online store. So, you must collect as much information and reflect on what’s working and what’s not. 

To see whether your marketing messages and store design are effective, here are some of the metrics you should be following:

Your click rate

What percentage of all users who saw your ads clicked on them? If this number is lower than you expect, it’s likely that your ads aren’t persuasive enough or are in the wrong place. 

If you’re new to eCommerce, research your industry’s average click rate to get a baseline

If you find that your ads are underperforming, you might try redesigning them, changing the massaging, or displaying them to different audiences. 

It’s advisable to only change one thing at a time, so you can identify exactly what was wrong in the first place. 

Your bounce rate

Tennis Ball Bounce on Court, Closeup

How many users are arriving at your online store, only to leave again straight away? 

If your bounce rate is unusually high, it likely means that your visitors don’t like what they see or aren’t finding what they expect. 

The first thing to make sure is that the landing page that your visitors are arriving at match the ads that they’re clicking in terms of appearance and content. 

If everything matches up and the bounce rate is still high, it’s time to start making more meaningful changes to the items, promotions, messages, images, or design on the landing page.

The number of carts abandoned

Depending on the industry you’re in, it’s been shown that shoppers are liable to abandon their carts mid-way through shopping at a rate of up to 75%

While some shoppers will always abandon their carts (add items in their cart then fail to complete their transaction), you can take steps to lower the rate of shoppers doing so. 

The key is identifying where shoppers lose interest.

This is useful to know both before and after they’ve added items to their cart. It will guide you to know which changes to make on your website to make the purchasing funnel glide more smoothly. 

If you’re worried about cart abandonment, you should check out Zyro’s eCommerce+ plan. It automatically sends an email to cart abandoners, reminding them what they’re missing out on.

Your conversion rate

Ultimately, the most important thing you need to know is how many people are making purchases at your online store.

The sales rate, or conversion rate, tells you how successful all of your marketing and web design efforts have been. 

You should look at the conversion rate for all of your marketing channels individually, and compare it based on different demographics. 

The best tracking tools for sales

If you’ve launched your online store with Zyro, you’ll already have access to some incredibly helpful tools which will help you analyze and understand your traffic and sales data:

  • Live sales data. Zyro’s eCommerce platform provides to-the-minute data on orders, shipments, and inventory in your online store. 
  • Google Analytics and Tag Manager. These tools collect and collate all the information you need to know about where your traffic comes from, and how users behave on your website. 
  • Social tracking. Tools like Facebook pixel, Snapchat pixel, and Pinterest tag provide you with data on the performance of your ads and offer retargeting opportunities. 
  • Heatmaps. Heatmaps show you where your visitors’ attention is drawn to on the pages of your website. They help you optimize your site for conversions. 

It may feel like the eCommerce entrepreneur’s job is never done; there are always tweaks and improvements to be made if you want to increase your sales and improve your bottom line. 

However, keeping that goal of making your first sale is the best place to start.

With the tools that Zyro makes available, that job is made that much easier. 

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Written by

Author avatar

Martina

Martina is an expert in writing about website building and eCommerce, but her real passion is helping others grow their small business online. From solid branding to punchy marketing strategies, you can count on her for the best growth tricks. In her spare time, Martina loves nothing more than a good scoop of ice-cream and a sweaty match of tennis.

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