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What s the Perfect Product to Sell Online in Sri Lanka
In recent years in Sri Lanka, e-commerce websites have mushroomed as the internet penetration rate has increased. Though local e-commerce companies are still in their infant stages compared to the rest of the world, Sri Lankans now have the option to buy electronics, flowers, office supplies, clothes, and even vehicles online. For aspiring local entrepreneurs, the e-commerce business is now more competitive than ever. Local versions of popular retail websites like Amazon have outnumbered previously numerous news websites. The country also expects internet penetration rates to rise in the future. All in all, it seems like a good time to start an online business. But the biggest question online entrepreneurs face is what to sell online. Not just any product will sell well in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it will be helpful to know which products are in demand online. The popular products that non-online consumers prefer will not be equally popular online. Read ahead to find out which products have the best conversion rates online. Sri Lankan Internet Users at a GlanceFirst of all, it’s important to understand online consumerism in Sri Lanka. The internet penetration rate in Sri Lanka is around 22 percent, according to Colombo Digital Marketers. Not high enough to make a business into a multimillion rupee venture, but enough not to ignore. Unsurprisingly, close to 50 percent of web users in Sri Lanka are in the 25-34 age range, according to data published by Kaymu, the largest online retailer in Sri Lanka. A little more than 60 percent of web users in Sri Lanka are younger than 34.In Sri Lanka, 68 percent of people who buy from e-commerce websites are male. Only 32 percent are female. The conversion rate by gender mirrors this statistic, with males more likely to end up making a purchase. Also, urban users lead the e-commerce market in Sri Lanka. Sixty percent of all online transactions in the country originate from only three cities: Colombo, Kandy, and Galle. It’s also important to note that the majority of the traffic to retail websites is generated by Windows-powered desktop or laptop users. Around 25 percent of the traffic is generated by mobile and tablet users. Android is the preferred smartphone OS among Sri Lankans. Preferred Products to Buy Online According to Kaymu, Sri Lankans mostly browse the web for electronics and mobile phones. Used and new vehicle sites follow closely behind. After that, employment, clothing and accessories, real estate for sale, education, and travel searches dominate the remaining search results. Mobiles and dresses were the most searched for Google terms from 2013 to 2015. Watches are the best selling products on local retail websites. Choosing the Best Product to SellConsidering the statistics above, the best product to sell online in Sri Lanka is a watch. However, an e-commerce website can also do well selling consumer electronics or apparel items. The target audience would ideally be male consumers under 34 years with access to a computer, and perhaps a smartphone as well. Clothing items are more popular among females. Popular online search queries for clothing often include terms such as “girls” and “women”. Also, sarees are the top selling clothing item online in Sri Lanka.However, entrepreneurs should be open to innovation and breaking new ground in the local online market. How to Market the Product Once you know what your perfect product to sell will be, you will have to market it. If you notice from the statistics above, the top selling e-commerce products in Sri Lanka—watches, clothing, consumer electronics—are items with high purchase frequencies and high values. Meaning, people are likely to keep buying these items, even at high prices. Also, vehicles, another top selling category, have high item values and a low purchase frequency. People don’t buy cars all the time. The best strategy to market the product you want to sell will depend on these aspects. In general, Sri Lankans don’t mind buying items with high values over the internet. This is good news for advertisers like ikman.lk, as item prices don’t necessarily have to be set low for a buyer to make a decision. On the other hand, the purchase frequency determines how you should target your customers. Items with a high purchase frequency, like a smartphone, should be marketed to retain existing customers. Items with a low purchase frequency, like a car, will have to be marketed to attract new buyers. So, how you should market will depend on what you are selling online. If you are selling clothes or electronics, your marketing strategy should focus on existing customers. You can employ methods like emailing outreach to keep existing customers coming back to your site. If you plan on selling items with low purchase frequency rates, you should focus on tactics that pull in new users to a site. Social media marketing, Google ads, and SEO tactics increase web traffic. Facebook usage is quite high in Sri Lanka, so this would be an ideal platform to advertise on. These are the methods you should rely on for selling items like vehicles. If you want to capitalise on the current e-commerce trends for Sri Lanka, you should sell a high purchase frequency item like the ones mentioned above. Then you should build your customer base by employing customer engagement tactics to retain users. 
2016-11-17
WebXpay
How to Setup Your Own Web Domain Address

The domain for a website is the address that you can view on a browser. It’s simple enough to understand. But do not underestimate the power of the domain address. This is essentially the face of your website on the internet.

When you register with a CMS like WordPress to create your own website, you will get a prompt to type in the domain address. Now, don’t rush in and type just anything. First you must sit back and understand what the domain name is and what it entails.

Why is the Domain Name Important?

Think of the domain name like your own name, or the name of your business. If the name is generic, uninteresting, or common, people will soon forget it. The domain name should be unique to a site. There is no substitute for it.

Also, the domain name reserves a permanent place for your site on the internet. It’s like your home, but you can move the location if you like. For example, if you want to change your web host, you can take your domain name with you. You will not have to start the process of building a new site all over again.

How to Register a Domain Name

All web addresses on the internet are registered in the Domain Name System. The DNS is a hierarchical structure managed by various entities from international to country levels. You can use a CMS like WordPress, a web host like Bluehost or an authorized domain name registrar like GoDaddy to get your own web address.

When you use a platform like WordPress, you will be prompted to enter a domain name. You will be given two options: use a free .wordpress.com address or a paid .com or similar address. Do not use a free domain attached to another website. Your website will be part of that site forever. Instead, you should purchase a custom domain such as www.mysite.com. When you do so, you will be the sole owner of your site.

When you decide on a domain name, you should register it using any online domain name registrar for as cheap as 10 USD per year. Annual registration usually ranges from 10 USD to 30 USD. In LKR, the prices are generally 1,500 upwards per year. If you buy a domain name from an international company, you will have to pay in dollars. If you use a local domain name registrar, you can pay in rupees. The price difference is solely due to the exchange rate.

You can register a domain name annually, bi-annually or per decade. Plans may defer depending on the registrar you choose. Popular domain name registrars you can use include name.com, Gandi, Namecheap, and Hover.

Sub Domain vs. Custom Domain

A custom domain, as explained above, is a domain name you create from scratch. You choose the name and register it under your business or your own name. For example, www.mysite.com is a custom domain.

A subdomain is a slightly different web address attached to the children pages of your website. For example, the customer support page on your website may have the address help.mysite.com. That is a subdomain of the master domain www.mysite.com. Subdomains are not independent of the master domain address. They are attached to the parent site, though they can be considered semi-independent.

The Domain Extension

The domain extension is the .com, .org, or .gov part of a web address. It’s very important and identifies a domain name as belonging to a business, a government, or an organization.

You must carefully choose the domain extension. Do not impulsively choose a .com address. Consider if .org or .net might be more suitable for the purpose of the website. If you are a business or an individual user, .com should be the preferred choice. Stay away from obscure domain names like .biz, because web users generally do not remember them. 

The domain extension also indicates the location of a website. For example, if you see the .lk extension on a site, you know that the site is Sri Lankan. You can include a geographically-specific domain extension if you want the site to be viewed locally. For example, if you are a business with a Sri Lankan customer base, purchasing a .lk extension will be more beneficial than the common .com extension. Google prioritises local domain extensions for local searches, which will help you reach your target audience better.

How to Buy a Local Domain Extension

You can buy a .com or .org domain extension from any number of registrars located worldwide. However, a local domain extension like .lk can only be purchased from a domain name registrar able to offer you that extension.

In Sri Lanka, Lanka Host and LK Domain Name Registry are the best known authorized registrars for the .lk extension. If you are a Sri Lankan or a business located overseas, you can use a service like Gandi to purchase this extension. However, you will be asked to provide specific information as to why you need this extension.

Extra fees are not normally charged for the .lk extension. If you currently have a .com or another extension, you can convert it to a .lk extension by contacting the registrars mentioned above.

Domain Name and SEO

As explained above, the domain name is very important in identifying your website. If you have a common domain, your site will be easily forgotten or confused with some other site. Therefore, you must aim to make your domain name unique and easy to remember for web users.

In addition, you should try to make your domain name SEO friendly. SEO refers to methods that make your website easy for engines like Google to search for. Business domains should be optimised for search engines to rank high among results. The best way to optimise your domain name in this manner is to find relevant keywords. For example, if you sell flowers online, you can use a keyword like online flowers in your domain name. You will increase your chances of getting ranked at the top of search results for that keyword.

However, using keywords should not make your web address too long or too complicated. Keep your domain name short and free of symbols like hyphens. Remember that your domain name is permanent. A keyword that may trend now will most likely be irrelevant the next year. Therefore, be smart when it comes to choosing keywords for a domain name.

Closely follow the advice given above to choose a domain name, register it, and optimise it.



2016-11-17
WebXpay
How to Make Your First Sale Online

So you havemade a great product. Now it’s time to sell it. If you are a first time onlineentrepreneur, you will know that there’s a big discrepancy betweenmanufacturing and sales. No matter how good your product is, no one will buy itunless you convince them to. Marketing is the art of convincing people to buyyour products. Marketing has come a long way since its inception. Modernbusinesses are increasingly becoming reliant on digital marketing to sellproducts.

This articlewill examine the many effective marketing tactics that you can use to sell yourproduct online. 

Before Marketing

Gather Data

First of all, you must collect data. Gatherinformation about web traffic generated by each type of marketing tactic thatyou have used. This data will show you which methods work, and which are only awaste of money. Analyse the gathered data to determine the most effectivemarketing channels for your business. Then, invest more in these channels toattract more customers and increase your year-end profit margin.


Know Your Customer Base 


Why

Before you start selling, you should knowyour customers. Obviously, not everyone online would want to buy your product.So, narrow down your customer base. For example, you can determine if you wantto sell your product to an international audience, or an exclusively Sri Lankanaudience. The location of your customers greatly matters when it comes toadvertising the product.

Statistics

Then, try to determine the demographics ofyour target customer base. Would women be more inclined than men to buy yourproducts? Is your product ideal for young people or older consumers? If you areselling your product online, you can be confident that your target customerbase will be younger than 40. In Sri Lanka, internet access is limited to the upperrungs of the working class. Therefore, you can safely say that much of yourtarget customer base will be web-savvy, young professionals.

How

Big companiesuse surveys and market research to identify the target customer base. Becauseyou are still a new company, you won’t be able to research your audience rightaway. Therefore, depend on generic statistics to know who you are selling to.Once you know the location and demographics of your target audience, you willbe able to make educated guesses regarding your customers’ buying habits,preferences, and behaviours. This information is paramount to making youradvertisements and marketing efforts effective and relatable to the customer.  


Plan a Marketing Strategy


Why

Once you havea good idea who your target audience will be, it’s time to design a marketingstrategy. A marketing strategy is simply a comprehensive plan to attractcustomers using convincing advertisements. Because your company is online, youwill need a good digital marketing strategy. Advertisements for your product publishedin the Daily News will not reach thetarget audience.

Example

When it comesto digital marketing, there are a number of channels that you can use to youradvantage. Channels are advertising platforms. The Daily News is an example of an advertising channel, albeit an ill-suitedone for an online company. Likewise, digital marketing will use advertisingchannels like Facebook and Google.

How

Generallyspeaking, there are four main aspects of a digital marketing campaign: socialmedia, search engines, content, and outreach. You can do online researchregarding the specifics of devising a good marketing strategy. You can also contact WEBXPAY forprofessional advice.

Social mediais possibly the most powerful advertising platform available to digitalmarketers today. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram giveadvertisers unprecedented access and insight into potential customers.Therefore, social media will be one of the key driving forces behind yourbusiness sales.


Facebook

You are mostlikely familiar with how to use platforms like Facebook. Using Facebook foryour business is slightly different from using it for personal needs. The Facebookprofiles you create for your products will be the face of your company. Theyhave to be relatable and interesting, and look good enough to attract potentialcustomers.

Facebook isnecessary for basically all B2C businesses. After that, you may also benefitfrom Twitter. There are also other social media sites, like Tumblr, that maybenefit your business. Identify what the best social media sites are for yourbusiness and create profiles on them.

You shouldupdate all your Facebook profiles on a regular basis. You need to engage with yourcustomers just like with any other friend or follower. You should also makeyour posts interesting and relevant to attract profile likes and shares. Youcan buy likes and shares to temporarily boost your reputation. However, in thelong run, your organic likes and shares must increase. The best way to attractyour first batch of Facebook page likes is to get your friends, family, andcolleagues to like the page. Ask all your employees to like all the companysocial media profiles, and stay active.

You can initiatea brand awareness campaign on Facebook to attract fans. Join groups that mightrelate to your business. For example, if you sell paintings online, you canjoin an artworks enthusiasts group to market to people who are alreadyinterested. You should also plan to launch Facebook campaigns to create brandawareness. These are not easy. But, you can start with a free giveaway. Freestuff usually attracts customers in droves. Use the tools provided by Facebookto gather statistics, such as the median age of your fans.


Instagram


Somebusinesses may benefit from Instagram, which is rising in popularity in SriLanka. Big names in local business like Keells, Cargills, and Unilever now useInstagram. This platform is excellent for businesses to share product images.

Remember thatyou cannot sell products directly on social media. This platform is best usedto create brand awareness and engage with customers to retain them. Socialmedia is also the best place to announce promotions and deals to generate interestin your product. However, avoid directly pitching products on social mediasites like Instagram.


LinkedIn


Customerswant to buy products from businesses that they can trust. Therefore, you mustaim to make your website and company credible and trustworthy to customers.Your professional network, including your work friends and colleagues, may beable to help you in this regard. Use a social media site like LinkedIn toidentify important work contacts. Reach out to these people and connect with themonline. Once you have built a credible professional network online, yourreputation as an entrepreneur will improve. Along with it, the reputation ofyour business will improve as well.

In addition,your professional contacts will be able to give you tips and tricks formarketing well. They might even be willing to showcase your product or mentionyour business name on one of their sites as well. Cross references like thiscan boost your company’s traffic stats and brand recognition.


Google Marketing


If you want to pitch your products directlyto your customers, then the best platform is a search engine. Here, searchengine marketing largely refers to Google ads. There are other search engineslike Bing, but they are less frequently used. Your focus right now should bemainly on Google ads.

Google ads appear among Google searchresults as “sponsored” content. You can also buy Google ads to post on othersites like blogs. However, the most effective Google ads are the ones thatappear at the top of organic search results. As a new company, you will notrank high on Google search results. Therefore, the best way to get attention isto buy an ad that will attract the attention of a web user almost instantly.

Google Adwords is currently the mostimportant advertising platform in the world. Google will give your companyaccess to billions of users. However, Google ad campaigns will only beeffective if you know how to get your paid search advertisement to the rightkind of user. There’s little point in throwing a hook into the pond and hopingthat a fish would catch it. You need to bait the fish. In the paid search advertisingworld, SEO is the bait that lures the right kind of customer to your website.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation.It employs tools like keywords to make content more relevant to a search query.For example, say you sell flowers online. If people search a lot for onlineflower sellers, you can use that phrase as a keyword in your ad. Google will beable to instantly connect you to people who search for flowers online. You canmake your keywords even more specific by including a location, like Colombo,and targeting trending keywords.

Advertising on Google really is an art. Itwill take some time for you to master Google Adwords. Meanwhile, you can usethe guides and analytics provided by Google to perfect the ads you publish. Ingeneral, the text on your ads should be concise and specific to attract users.Keywords should be used in the title and the body of the text. Include a relevantlink back to your site or a product page. Use action verbs like “buy now” toprompt users to click.

Once an ad is online, you can use GoogleAnalytics tools to see how many users click on your ad and visit your website.If the number is too low, you should try to determine what is wrong. You couldbe using the wrong keyword. If the traffic directed to your website by an ad ishigh, keep doing what you initially did. 


Content Marketing


Posting on Facebook is not enough to getpeople to buy your products. You must also market it online in an indirectmanner to build trust with customers. Content marketing is the term given toblog posts, articles, videos, and infographics posted online that create brandawareness for your products.

Content marketing pushes products tocustomers subtly. Customers do not necessarily realise that they are consumingadvertising material when they, for example, read a blog post. You can alsopublish sponsored content on popular and credible websites to attract newcustomers. Sponsored content is like the television advertorials of the past.They generate interest by providing customers with detailed informationregarding a product.

The content you post online should beunique and interesting. It should be well written, factual, and free ofspelling or grammatical errors. You should incorporate SEO tactics into contentas well to boost search rankings. Try to make content visually appealing withattractive graphics and videos. Post your content on popular and trustworthywebsites to benefit from the high traffic numbers these sites enjoy. When youare posting a sponsored blog post or an article, you can add a ‘shop now’button at the end to provide a direct link to the product.


Email Marketing


In addition to the above mentioned marketing methods, there’s one marketingtactic that can provide immediate sales for your business: email marketing.Email is considered an outreach marketing tactic. It means that email candirectly connect your business to a customer. If you can get your productstraight into the inbox of a potential customer, he or she is most likely toclick on the link and make a purchase. Email marketing is considered to be moreeffective in this manner.

From day one at your business, you muststart building an email list. Gather email addresses of customers who havealready bought from you, because these are the people who are most likely tobuy from you in the future. Develop an email marketing campaign, and regularlykeep in touch with customers by sending out emails about promotions, specialnews, and holiday greetings.

Once you aggressively begin marketing yourproducts using the above mentioned methods, it’s only a matter of time beforecustomers flock to your website. Your marketing campaign does not stop afteryou make your first sale. You must research new ways to market your product andboost sales numbers. 

2016-11-17
WebXpay