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June 15 – BBB Business Tip: 3 Ways to Increase Sales Using Local Online Marketplaces | Columnists

Over the past few years, a huge shift in consumer behavior has taken place, with more and more online shopping. It is estimated that by 2040, e-commerce will facilitate more than 95% of all mobile purchases. Virtual storefronts sell a wide range of products and services, providing consumers with a seamless and convenient shopping experience. These online marketplaces sold over $3.23 trillion worth of goods and services in 2021.

Online marketplaces are lucrative because people using these platforms are often ready to make a purchase. And there’s a huge opportunity for your business if you can show consumers that your product or service is a solution to their needs.

Making your product or service stand out in some of the best online marketplaces can be daunting. While there is a way for businesses to reach a large customer base, there is so much competition that it’s hard to rank high enough in search results for potential customers to find you.

But, focusing on activating local online marketplaces can be a great opportunity to boost sales. These storefronts focus on local communities and you can create a more direct relationship with customers at a lower cost. Here are three ways to reach new consumers through local online marketplaces.

Humans are by nature visual. The care you take in selecting attractive images that showcase your product or service has a huge impact on consumers and their buying decision. Local markets are usually full of people trying to sell items they don’t want. As a result, the photos and layout used to showcase the product often look unprofessional. Using high-quality images that trigger an emotional reaction gives consumers extra trust in the seller, making them more likely to buy.

But make sure your image doesn’t look too fancy, so people don’t perceive it as advertising. If you’re selling products, consider filming the image the same way it would display on social media. Use techniques such as flat lay photography. If you’re selling a service, try creating an action or lifestyle plan so customers can imagine how your service would fit into their daily lives.

2. Improve your SEO and keywords

Effective use of SEO and high-value keywords on your website can also help boost sales in local online marketplaces. Some of the larger marketplaces even have their own keywords that affect how products rank in a search. Choose relevant keywords that match both your location and your product. This will help you be seen when consumers are actively searching for the types of items you sell. You can improve your overall reach without spending more money on marketing and advertising.

You should also make sure your product or service is listed on Google Shopping. Google holds 93% of the global search engine marketing share. So while it’s important to improve your overall SEO, ensuring your product is listed in Google Shopping can improve your search engine rankings, leading to more discoveries and, therefore, more sales.

3. Build an online connection that becomes an offline relationship

If a customer finds you through a local marketplace, it’s important to let them know that your business has physical space in their area as well. This can be done via the product description or via direct messages. Even though online shopping is growing, many consumers still prefer traditional retail experiences and real shopping experiences. And 71% of consumers spend more money in-store than online. Find customers online and invite them to come visit you in person.

Try to match the look of your online marketplace to that of your physical retail space. Doing this will create a sense of trust in the brand, which is essential for loyal customers. Once they’re in store, you’ve also opened up the possibility of them sharing your business on their own social media accounts. This action can provide additional social proof and open your business to an additional group of new customers.

Think local when it comes to online marketplaces to drive growth while providing a personalized experience for your customers.

Rick Walz is the president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Indiana, which serves 23 counties in the northern part of the state.