Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in late 2019. As businesses continue to seek ways to adapt while the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis changes the small business landscape, we are re-sharing this article to give small business owners another option to start selling their wares online ASAP. For more assistance navigating this uncertain time, check out our small business support kits.
If you’re a small business owner, surely someone has told you that you should be selling online. After all, 76% of US consumers shop online.
It’s possible you’re already convinced and are interested in selling online, but it’s easier said than done, right?
Starting to sell online isn’t as easy as simply posting a product and watching the sales pour in. In most cases, you need to create a website, set up an online store, and push out some type of marketing campaign to actually attract potential customers so they can make a purchase. That can be a lot of investment up top, especially if you’re just experimenting with selling online. What if you want to test the waters of ecommerce without sacrificing so much time, money, and potential stress?
If you’re looking to try out online sales, I recommend starting simple — with a shoppable landing page. You want a lightweight, easy-to-use solution that gets your product(s) online quickly. You don’t want to have to make complicated decisions about payment processing, tax rates, shipping, customer experience, and order fulfillment before you even receive your first order.
The good news is that nowadays, it’s easier than ever to try selling your products online. In fact, you can get set up and start making sales online in just a few minutes.
The new, easier way to start selling online quickly
Even if you don’t have a website or an existing online store, you can start making online sales in minutes with our new shoppable landing pages!
With our landing pages tool, creating a page to sell your product is nearly as simple as creating an email. Once you’re set up (we’ll get to that later), you can easily drag and drop elements to create a branded page where customers can view item details and complete a purchase.
This allows you to bypass the need to create a website or set up a full online store, while still creating a full online shopping experience that generates sales.
What is a shoppable landing page?
First, let’s start with what a basic landing page is. Essentially, a landing page is a singular webpage that is created for one specific purpose. Rather than a business website, which should have all sorts of information and options for visitors, a landing page focuses entirely on one thing.
Some landing page you might have encountered before could have focused on actions like:
- Collecting your email address
- Getting you to complete a purchase
- Getting you to register for an event
- Collecting your responses to a survey
When we talk about shoppable landing pages, we mean a single simple webpage showcasing a product (or a small group of products), that exists to get visitors to complete the purchase of said product(s).
Here’s what a shoppable landing page will look like when it’s finished:
How is a landing page different than a website?
When you build a website, there are a lot of different visitor actions you need to consider. Do you want visitors to sign up for your email list? How about learning more about your business? Or would you rather focus on informing visitors about your products and getting them to complete a purchase?
Probably a little bit of all of these things, right? It kind of depends on each visitor’s needs. Websites cater to different visitors who might have different intentions when discovering your business online. Maybe they want to shop online, but maybe they simply want the store hours so they know when to visit, or perhaps they are looking for your phone number so they can call with a quick question. Websites have navigation and menus to help different users find what they’re looking for.
A landing page is much more simple. Rather than aiming to cater to many different potential customer actions, a landing page assumes interest in one specific action. This assumption comes from the very fact that the user has arrived on the page in the first place.
Let me explain — A landing page is generally not something visitors will find through a search engine or stumble upon when browsing the internet. When people come to your landing page, it likely means they clicked on a specific link in an email you sent them or an ad you placed online. By clicking your link, the visitor has already expressed some interest in buying whatever it is your ad was focused on. After all, why else would they click the ad?
Knowing these visitors are interested in a particular product or set of products means the landing page can focus on that one thing. There’s no need to provide extra information like store hours, contact info, or your company’s mission statement. A landing page doesn’t even need a navigation menu. Instead, it’s hyper-focused on helping your customers complete their purchase.
How to use shoppable landing pages to sell products
To start making sales online, you’ll need two essential components:
- A place online where customers can complete a purchase (that’s your shoppable landing page)
- Some sort of advertising or outreach that points interested people to that page
For that second component, you can either place an ad on social media or Google, post organically on any of your social media accounts, or you could simply send an email out to your subscriber list (or a targeted segment of your subscriber list).
Take a look below for an example of what these ads might look like.
The landing page has everything built-in that a customer needs to complete their purchase, including product info, payment processing, tax and shipping calculation, and a smooth check out experience.
After you make the sale, you just need to fulfill the order (ship it to the customer or, if it’s a digital product, share the file).
What else can I do with shoppable landing pages in Constant Contact?
Understand how your page is performing
Like I said — a shoppable landing page has one goal: to sell your product(s). Our landing page tool has built-in reporting to show you how well your page is performing. You’ll be able to easily view data on:
- Visitors – the number of people who visit your landing page
- Conversions – We use the term “conversion” to refer to someone who has completed a desired action — in this case, a conversion is a customer who completed a purchase on your landing page
- Conversion rate – The percentage of people who visit the page that end up completing a purchase. A high converting landing page will have a higher conversion rate.
- Gross revenue – The amount of money the page has generated in gross sales
- New Contacts – the number of new customers who opted in for email marketing from your page. These contacts are automatically added to an email list associated with that specific page
Having access to all of this data allows you to see what’s working, what isn’t, and how you can tweak your ads and landing page to better suit your goals.
Use your page on multiple marketing channels — not just email!
Once your landing page is set up and you have a link to it, you can use that link in all sorts of advertising campaigns. The landing pages work just as well for Facebook (as we saw in the example above), Instagram, and Google Ads as they do for a promotional email, so experiment and find out what works the best for your business goals.
Just make sure that the landing page has messaging and a look that correlates with the ad or email. You want your visitors to know that their click brought them to the right place.
Get all the eCommerce features you need to start selling online
I won’t lie — ecommerce can be complicated. When I set up my first online store, there were so many different elements I hadn’t thought about. With our shoppable landing pages, however, the entire ecommerce experience is handled for you. When you’re setting up your shoppable landing page, you can easily:
- Add physical products, digital products, and services
- Take payments smoothly and securely through PayPal
- Set up shipping options that work for you
- Automatically calculate taxes
- Include product variants (different sizes, colors, etc.)
- Incorporate a discount
- Automatically send confirmation and invoice emails
Action Plan: Get started selling online without a website
Now that you know what a shoppable landing page is and how to use it to generate sales, why not give it a shot? You’ll just need some basic information, at least one product to sell, and a free PayPal account to get started. And what better time to test out selling online than the most popular shopping season of the year?
Check out the action plan below for the basic steps to start making online sales!
Sell your first product online in 6 steps
- Log in to your Constant Contact account.
Don’t have a Constant Contact account? Start a free trial so you can follow along with this action plan.
- Click the “Create” button, then “Landing Page” followed by “Shoppable Landing Page”
- Use the drag and drop editor to modify or insert text and images that motivate people to make a purchase
- In the product block, click “Insert Product” and choose the item you’d like to sell.
TIP: Setting up your first product in Constant Contact? Visit our Knowledge Base to learn about the online store set up process.
- Click “Page Settings” in the top right corner and make sure all the information there is relevant to what you’re selling.
- Hit “Publish” and start getting visitors to your new shoppable landing page! You can start directly in your Constant Contact account with social media posts, social ads, Google Ads, or an email to your subscribers.