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How Your Customers Can Help You to Sell Online

Author: Bian Salins  |  Category: Sales
Published: November 30, 2008

It is a fact that word of mouth advertising is one of the most effective ways to market a business’ products or services. Indeed, the influence consumer opinion can exert over that of a corporate message is surprising. However, thought about logically, who would you trust: a company that tells you its product is great, or a customer that has actually tried it?

Not only is word of mouth useful for attracting new customers, but it’s also an extremely cost-effective method of generating new interest in your business. Simply put, if a customer is happy with the level of service your business has provided and feels that you have offered them something extra, they will take it upon themselves to spread the word. But remember, if that word is negative, this will serve to have the opposite effect.

Consumers have always voiced their opinions, and as such word of mouth is not a new concept. However, the introduction of the Internet, along with the rise in such phenomena as social networking sites, has meant that their voices have been given a whole new level of authority. Indeed, not only is the web global, but it has over one billion active users, many of whom are keen to discuss their shopping experiences!

The rise in ‘social shopping’ – the act of referring to others’ feedback when making purchasing decisions – has, therefore, been a natural consequence.

As such, recent trends show that the large majority of online shoppers consider customer reviews or ratings on a retailers’ website to be important in their decision making. Additionally, it was found that many believe reading product reviews is more informative than carrying out in-store research.

One of the best ways for your business to join the online revolution is to become part of one of the many virtual marketplaces that have sprung up over the Internet. Providing businesses with a platform to advertise their wares, they also include a number of features that engage the consumer, such as discussion forums or the ability to let customers rate and review their products.

Not only that, but being part of an online community means you are actively encouraging word of mouth advertising. Indeed, since you are a part of a network, you are helping your business to maintain an active web presence, as well as meeting relevant people: these are key elements to its success.

Small businesses can particularly benefit from joining an online marketplace. Unlike many of the big players, they usually lack the financial resources and technical know-how needed to create an effective web presence. Subsequently, social shopping networks can really boost their impact for a comparatively small amount of money.

If you’re smart about it, it is easy to get your customers to help you sell online. However, it is imperative to ensure you back any claims up with the right level of customer service. After all, it won’t be the shopper who loses out in the long run!

Bian Salins is the Managing Editor of BT Tradespace – an online community where businesses can advertise and sell products & services and everyone has the opportunity to shop, chat and share their opinion.

Author: Bian Salins

This author has published 14 articles so far.More info about the author is coming soon.

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