Starting an eCommerce store can be an exciting experience. But, once the launch is over you’re probably wondering how long does it take for an online business to take off?
There are a variety of factors that’ll determine how long it’ll take to make that first online sale, as you’ll learn below.
Luckily, you can speed up how long it’ll take for you to make your very first eCommerce sale by implementing some of the tips in this post.
How Long Before Making Your First Online Sale?
There isn’t a set amount of time it’ll take to make your first online sale. There are a variety of factors that’ll influence the time it takes.
For some store owners, the sale could come the same day you launch your store, while for others it could take weeks.
There are several factors that’ll influence how long before the first online sale like, the price of your products, the types of products you’re selling, how much traffic you’re getting to your store, and the type of traffic that’s visiting your store.
Below you’ll learn about the biggest factors that’ll influence how long the first sale takes.
Factors Affecting How Long Does it Take to Get Sales
Every website is different. For example, if you already have an engaged audience and you’ve been building hype about your product, then you can expect to make a ton of sales the first day.
However, if you’re starting completely from scratch with no existing traffic, then it’ll take some time to generate buzz and sales.
Here are some of the most common reasons you’re not making sales yet:
- Product price. Are you priced too high, or even too low? Your price should be in alignment with the current market.
- Type of traffic. Are you reaching the right audience that’ll actually buy your products?
- Checkout process. Is your checkout process fast and easy? Does it work on mobile devices?
- Payment options. Do you offer enough payment options? At the very least you should accept multiple credit cards and PayPal.
- Website trust. Do visitors trust you enough to buy from you? At the minimum, you’ll need an SSL certificate and solid customer reviews.
- Product descriptions. Are your descriptions confusing? Or, do they accurately describe your products?
- Slow website. Does your site load fast? A slow-loading website can kill sales, 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance are unlikely to shop from that site again.
17 Ways to Make Your First eCommerce Sale Fast
- Identify your target market
- Design a sales funnel
- Run targeted paid campaigns on Facebook and Instagram
- Run keyword-based ads on Google
- Start blogging
- Boost your blog posts on Facebook
- Use internal banners to drive traffic to your sales pages
- Optimize your checkout process
- Hire social media influencers
- Start an email list
- Add product discounts and limited-time offers
- Create a customer testimonials page on your website
- Give incentives to customers to leave product reviews
- Setup Facebook Product Ads
- Create a Google Shopping Feed
- Answer questions on product-related forums
- Listen to your customers
1. Identify your target market
If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re going to have a difficult time converting traffic into buyers. Instead, you’ll be forever asking the question, how do I make my first sale online?
The most valuable audience often doesn’t mean the biggest, but instead, one that’s composed of people who will buy what you’re selling.
Getting 500 relevant and targeted visitors is better than 100,00 visitors who will never buy from you.
Let’s look at an example. If you sell children’s toys your target market won’t be kids, but instead the parents of kids. You could narrow this down further to parents of kids of a certain age, and even certain countries.
You should start with the most narrow audience possible, and slowly expand out into different market segments in time.
2. Design a sales funnel
By creating a sales funnel you’ll have a clear path that you want your customers to take the moment they land on your site.
Here’s a standard sales funnel process:
- Awareness. Visitors are aware of their problem and became aware that your store could provide a solution.
- Consideration. Now visitors are considering your products, researching, reading your content, and maybe have joined your email list.
- Decision. At this point visitors are ready to buy, they’ve added the item to their carts and close to purchasing.
- Loyalty. During and after purchase you can ensure customers stay with you over the long-run.
For an eCommerce store the process could look like the following:
- Your visitor comes to your site via a targeted Facebook ad
- They browse around your site, read a blog post, and join your email list
- They receive a 10% coupon that encourages them to purchase a product
- Your follow-up email sequence keeps your store at the top of their mind
3. Run targeted paid campaigns on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook has over 2.7 billion monthly active users, which means your target audience is probably using the platform.
Since Facebook owns Instagram you can run ads on both Facebook and Instagram at the same time.
The advanced targeting features let you narrow in on your exact target audience that’ll purchase your products.
Here are some of the targeting options available:
- Reach customers in specific countries, cities, and communities.
- Filter your audiences based on age, gender, education, job, and more.
- Target ads based on past behaviors and device usage.
- Filter based on hobbies, interests, movie preferences, and more.
- Include people who follow your Facebook Page, or exclude them for entirely new audiences.
You can also run Facebook retargeting ads which will show product ads to people who’ve visited certain pages on your site. This can help you pick up customers who visited your store, but didn’t purchase anything.
4. Run keyword-based ads on Google
Keyword-based ads are shown above the Google search results when people search for keywords related to your product.
Here are some tips for improving your ad copy:
- Focus on your customer’s needs. Describe how your business and products benefit your customers.
- Use keywords. Include our target keywords in your headline and body copy.
- Include a CTA. If possible add a time-sensitive CTA that encourages people to take action and click your ad now.
Another great feature of running Google Ads is that you can set up dynamic campaigns. These ads differ from traditional keyword campaigns in that instead of using actual keywords, the campaigns are based on your website or product feed.
Google will automatically match user input keywords with the type of products you sell. The result is hard to distinguish from standard ads, but easier to set up and can bring a great result, since they’re more product-focused.
5. Start blogging
Content marketing is the process of creating articles that provide value and information to your visitors. Usually, this is more top-of-the-funnel content, since you’ll be addressing user problems and more-so speaking to lifestyle issues.
For example, if you’re selling workout supplements the majority of your blog content will focus on workouts, healthy eating habits, tips and tricks, supplement breakdowns, and more.
Another purpose of your blog is to provide educational content surrounding your product. You can publish case studies, answer common questions, demonstrate the features of your product, and show how your product can help accomplish certain tasks.
Creating a successful blog strategy begins with keyword research. Finding the right keywords will help to guide what blog posts you create and which keywords are bringing your competitors the most traffic.
6. Boost your blog posts on Facebook
If you’re looking to attract more top-of-the-funnel visitors to your site, then consider promoting blog posts on Facebook. This lets you show your blog posts to new and current readers.
Boosting your blog posts has other advantages as well:
- Exposing your blog post to more readers means more social shares and a chance for backlinks, which improves your overall authority
- Allows you to get your content in front of new targeted visitors in your market
- Build greater brand awareness. You can retarget people who visited your site via the blog post and your ads will “follow them” around the web
- Share in-depth case studies to show that your products work, and elevate user trust in the process
7. Use internal banners to drive traffic to your sales pages
Every page of your site should be pushing visitors to your sales pages. No matter if it’s a blog post, about page, or even your contact page you should be pushing visitors into your funnel or product pages.
Ideally, you’ll want to view your entire website as playing a role in your funnel. Whenever someone visits your website your ultimate goal should be for them to become a customer.
Here are some common ways of getting visitors to become customers no matter what page they’re on:
- Use exit-intent pop-ups to get subscribers as they’re leaving your site
- Include forms and internal banners within blog posts and pages
- Keep your navigation simple and only include valuable pages
8. Optimize your checkout process
Purchasing items in your store needs to be a seamless experience. If you have any points of friction during the checkout process this can lead to cart abandonment.
Think about how ordering items from Amazon is so seamless, you want buying products from your store to be this easy.
If you have an existing cart sequence you can use a free tool like Microsoft Clarity which will record your existing user sessions, so you can see where your users are abandoning the checkout process.
Here are a few quick tips for optimizing your checkout page:
1. Don’t ask for too many details
Ideally, you’ll want to ask your customers for the minimum amount of information. All you need to effectively process payments are name, email, address, and payment information. If you want to collect additional customer information you can do so on the backend.
2. Allow for guest checkout
Don’t require your users to create an account before they make a purchase. A user account will save their login and purchase information for future purchases, but some users might not want to fill out all that information from the start.
3. One-page checkout experience
Your checkout page should never go on to multiple pages. All of your purchase form fields need to be entered on a single page. This setup also performs better on mobile devices.
4. Multiple payment options
If your visitors preferred payment option isn’t listed, they won’t complete their purchase. You should offer multiple credit card options, along with PayPal, which most people have.
9. Hire social media influencers
A lot of massive eCommerce brands got their companies off the ground by using influencer marketing. For example, the watch brand Daniel Wellington utilized micro-influencers on Instagram to grow its brand to a powerhouse that’s worth over 200 million today.
You don’t need to pay massive fees for social media celebrities either. No matter your budget you’ll be able to find a handful of influencers who are willing to promote your products in exchange for a sample or free product.
If you do decide to go the social media influencer route make sure that you create unique tracking codes for every influencer you work with. That way you can track the influencers who have been the most effective, and improve your conversions with new influencer campaigns in the future.
10. Start an email list
One of the best ways to create a relationship with your customers is through email. Again and again, email is proven to have a very high ROI.
To get people onto your list you could offer an incentive like a free coupon. Even a simple 10% coupon for first-time buyers will convert a lot of visitors.
Here are some tips for improving your email marketing:
- Create great subject lines that entice your reader to open the email. This also includes your preview text that’s shown to the right of your email headline.
- Personalize your emails with user information. This includes using your subscriber’s name where possible, tagging users based on actions they’ve taken, and more.
- Create abandoned cart sequences. These run when users fail to complete a purchase and you gently remind them they have items remaining in the cart.
- Use coupons. Reward your most valuable subscribers with coupons and deals that are only for them.
Finally, make sure that you test your emails. By split testing, you can test different subject lines, links, CTAs, and more so you can learn what converts best for your audience.
11. Add product discounts and limited-time offers
Creating urgency around your products is a great way to generate sales fast. There’s a reason that Black Friday sales generated around $9 billion in revenue this year. People can’t resist a good deal, especially when there’s a deadline attached to it.
For this to work you’ll need to accomplish the following:
- Use the fear of missing out trigger (FOMO)
- Add an active action-based CTA
- Use time or product-based scarcity
For example, you could create stock-based scarcity by showing the stock levels on your products. Or, you could create a time-sensitive 24-hour coupon or even a 3-day sale where products are discounted 50%.
12. Create a customer testimonials page on your website
Create a dedicated page on your site to host reviews, this will show up on google when people search for your company name + reviews or testimonials
Social proof can be an incredible way to sell more products. Some of the most popular search terms include “product name + review”. Third-party reviews are well trusted by consumers.
You can take advantage of this for your site by creating a dedicated page for reviews and testimonials. Having a dedicated page can increase the chances of this showing up in Google, so you could pick up some additional traffic.
Plus, this will help visitors convert into customers as nearly 92% of online shoppers look at reviews before making a purchase.
13. Give incentives to customers to leave product reviews
Product reviews can make or break your business. Negative reviews allow you to improve as a business, while positive reviews can help improve your sales process.
Getting customers to leave reviews about your business can be tough. Most satisfied customers won’t say anything, but unhappy customers can be very vocal.
Here are some tips to encourage positive product reviews:
- A simple ask. Often, all you have to do is ask and make it easy for your customers to leave a review. Something as simple as an automated email with a link to a review platform will suffice.
- Follow-up for reviews. Part of your monthly workflow should be sending a quick email asking customers for reviews. You can tag customers in your email marketing provider
- Give coupons for reviews. One of the quickest ways to get more customer reviews is to offer coupons to people who leave reviews on past products.
Here are some third-party platforms you’ll want to encourage customer reviews on:
- Trustpilot. This is a community-driven review platform that helps companies collect user reviews. All the reviews are verified and can go a long way towards boosting consumer trust.
- Amazon. If you’re selling products on your site and Amazon, you need to encourage Amazon reviews. The number and rating of your reviews will set your product apart.
- Choice. If you have customers in Australia, then you can encourage users on this platform to leave reviews about your products. Members can test a product, create comparisons, and buyer guides.
- TestFreaks. This platform helps companies collect reviews. It also includes a question and answers section where customers can post questions, and your support team can answer.
14. Setup Facebook Product Ads
Facebook allows you to integrate your eCommerce products into ads.
This can be advantageous for customers since they can learn more about your entire range of products. These ads are more geared towards the top of the funnel prospects since you can show a wide range of product offerings. This also allows you to be a bit broader with your targeting as well.
After you’ve uploaded your products you can let the Facebook algorithms choose which products to display based on the consumer and their past behavior.
15. Create a Google Shopping Feed
Google Shopping feeds, also called Product Listing Ads, appear above the organic search results and include a product image, title, and price.
When a user searches for a term that’s related to your product, there’s a good chance one of your products could be listed.
Benefits of Google Shopping Ads:
- Build brand awareness. Having your product or products listed when people search on Google makes your brand stand out.
- Get more quality leads. People searching for specific types of products on Google are already past the awareness stage and looking to buy or compare prices on products.
- Easy to implement. Google product ads are easy to manage on the backend. Once you upload and optimize your products, Google will automatically show products based on the user’s search. No need to set keywords, or create specific product ads.
Creating a Google Shopping feed can also be useful with retargeting. Once a user visits your product page and doesn’t make a purchase, your product ads will automatically show up in the search results for products and related terms.
16. Answer questions on product-related forums
Chances are there are dozens of different platforms where you can answer questions related to your products and provide value. If you’re growing in popularity, then there’s a good chance that people are talking about your business online.
This could be in forums, Facebook groups, Reddit, and even question and answer sites like Quora.
Or, you can take the alternative approach of joining relevant groups and answering questions.
For example, you could spend time answering questions related to your niche and providing value. You don’t have to link out to your products specifically, but have links to your store in your author bio and profile. As you become a known resource people will follow your link and you’ll have highly qualified visitors coming to check out your store.
17. Listen to your customers
One of the keys to improving your sales process is to listen to what your customers want. Maybe it’s a new product feature, something you could fix, or even comments that you can add to your product copy to make it convert better.
You can use your existing email marketing provider and link out to a Google Form, or even create a series of questions you send out via email if you only want 1-2 questions answered.
You can also incentivize your customers to participate in the survey, by adding their name to a giveaway if they send you their survey answers.
By now you should have a better understanding of how to make your first online sale.
Things like your existing audience size, traffic levels and targeting, product pricing, site speed, and more will all influence how long your first sale takes.
However, there are a handful of strategies you can implement to sell your first product and scale your store.
The process begins with knowing your target audience and creating a sales funnel that guides them from first-time visitors to customers and satisfied buyers.
You can then start testing out different strategies to see what works best for your store including:
- Create targeted ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram
- Promote our products with micro-influencers on social media
- Create an email sequence that entices customers to leave reviews
- Optimize your checkout process to reduce buyer friction
- Start blogging to rank in the search engines and get more targeted traffic
Getting your first sale might take some time, but once you find that first ideal buyer, you can scale your store infinitely using the strategies above.