Business Essentials
3 Steps to Increase Your Online Sales

3 Steps to Increase Your Online Sales


Selling online is critical in today’s day and age for most, if not all, industries 

In this article, we’ll break down the three essential steps to successfully sell online. Plus, we’ll give you additional resources to help you succeed. 

Before we start, we thought it was important to note that in a recent survey, 35% of small business owners said  selling online is critical to growing their business, while 50% admitted they’re nott confident in their skills to sell online.  Not to worry, we’re here to help make everyone feel more comfortable selling online. 

Here’s an overview of the three essential steps: 

Step 1: Decide what you’re selling 

Step 2: Identify the audience you’re selling to 

Step 3: Choose where you should sell

Let’s get started. 

Step One: Decide What You’re Selling 

Deciding what you’re selling sounds simple, but there’s more to it! Here’s why. 

Almost all businesses can sell online, even if you don’t sell actual products, you can still sell your services online. As long as what you’re selling aligns with your brand, selling online can work for you.

Let’s break down the “typical” online seller vs. the “non-typical” online seller. 

Starting with the typical, if you’re a retail store selling the latest fashions, selling your clothes online will give you access to a much larger audience of buyers. 

Or let’s say you’re a a landscaper.  Listing all of your services and selling them online improves your find-ability and bookings. People are “googling” for landscapers all the time – you want to be sure the potential customers in your service radius find you.

As for the non-typical, let’s say you’re a pastry shop owner. You could consider selling branded cake plates or cookie cutters online. Or if you branch out and create frozen pastries that can be shipped, you can sell those online, too. 

Or, if you’re a business that has a loyal following, you can produce and sell branded garments such as T-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers. 

So,  even if you think you can’t sell online, you can. Take a bigger look at your brand, your existing customers, and what your customers love most about your business. 

From there, decide what products or services you could sell and advertise online – because the added visibility you can gain online could make a big difference for not only your online sales, but your off-line sales, too.

Step Two: Identify Who You’re Selling To 

So, you’ve decided what you’re going to sell, now let’s decide who you’re going to sell to. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: 

  • Who is my current customer? 
  • Who is my ideal online customer? 
  • How does my current customer differ from my online customer? 
  • What’s the age range for my customers? 
  • How does my customer use the Internet?

If you’re still unsure about the answer to these questions, we recommend attending one of our Discovering Your Ideal Customer Avatar events to help you better understand who your ideal customer is, specifically for online sales. Learn more & register here. 

After you answer these questions, you’ll have a better understanding of which social platforms to sell on and which types of e-commerce tools to use

You can also join the Alignable Success Tips Group. In this group, you’ll find frequent educational events on how to identify your ideal customer and ideal referral partner. 

Step Three: Determine How You’ll Sell Online 

Now, you know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to, let’s discuss how to best sell online. Here are how businesses on Alignable have set up their online businesses: 

  • Selling via a website
  • Selling on social media
  • Selling through third-party websites 

Now let’s dig in deeper. 

Selling Via A Website 

Although creating a website seems like an obvious first step, some businesses choose to sell through social media and third-party websites. But let’s focus on selling via your own website right now.

There are a lot of pros to building a website including ease of access, organization, and customization of what you’re selling online. 

Every business requires different needs for a website. For example, if you’re a small restaurant, you might decide your website is specifically there to inform people of your hours of operation and your current menu offerings, while also allowing customers to order online.  

Whereas, if you own a retail store, you’ll likely require a multitude of features to post all of your retail items – along with a more robust system customers can use to make online purchases 

Whether you have a website already or not, here are some resources to help. 

Once you have a website up and running, the next step is to integrate e-commerce tools that allow your customers to not only view your offerings, but also pay for them via your website. Here are a few resources to help you set this up: 

Selling Via Social Media 

According to another recent Alignable  survey, 69% of small businesses use social media to sell online. This does not come as a shock considering many major social media platforms have integrated commerce directly into their platforms, making it much easier for businesses to sell and customers to buy. 

Selling on social media can be done in two different ways

  1. Social Selling: using social media to sell indirectly by focusing on networking to build relationships with your ideal referral and customer partners. Learn more about how to sell via genuine relationships via this course on how to Network to build your business on Alignable.
  1. Social Commerce: using social media to sell directly by leveraging social platforms’ commerce features. Learn more about how to sell directly on different social platforms here. 

As social media platforms embrace social commerce, it’s critical that you adapt to selling on these platforms and begin building a presence on social media where your customers are spending more and more time. This is an important point to make, because our polls also showed that, so far, 45% of small business owners at Alignable who sell on their own websites, have yet to sell anything on the popular social commerce platforms.

Selling Via Third-Party Sites 

Selling online relies on the following and audience that you’ve built. However, if you’re not interested in growing an audience, third-party sites might be for you. 

Online marketplaces such as Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Thumbtack, and many others could help you find new audiences for your products or services. Check out the top third-party sites that Alignable small businesses love to sell on. 

Here are the pros & cons of selling on third-party sites. 

The pros: 

  • Minimal investment 
  • Easy to set up & start selling
  • Large selling potential 
  • Flexible transactions

The cons: 

  • Irregular payments
  • Lack of control 
  • It’s hard to track when demand shifts
  • There can be a negative effect on your brands image, depending on the site

Selling on third-party sites isn’t for everyone. But it can help boost sales, it’s worth investigating to see if any of these sites would suit your needs. 

If you’d like to learn more from experts, join Alignable’s Selling Online Tips & Tricks Group to ask other business owners about their experience with selling on third-party sites. 

In conclusion, selling online can drastically help you boost sales and visibility – and quite honestly, it can be fun, too! 

Here are a few resources to help you along this journey:  

Beyond joining Alignable’s Selling Online Tips & Tricks Group, you should look into joining these, as well: 

E-commerce Tools: Find e-commerce tools loved by Alignable members and review those you like (& dislike) to help other business owners make informed choices.

Website Tools: Find Website tools loved by Alignable members and review those you like (& dislike) to help other business owners make the best decisions for their businesses. 

About The Author

Bailey Preusse