Selling Online Shouldn't Be Complicated. Here's How To Do It Simply and Easily

/ marketing
Stephen Altrogge

In theory, it should be easy to sell products online these days.

After all, the internet has come a long way since the days of AOL and MySpace and pouring out your teenage angst into your Livejournal.

We have smartphones that make it easy to shoot high-quality videos. We can blast out messages on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and whatever else the kids are using these days.

(Back in my day all we had was Instant Messenger...and we were happy!)

If you want to set up a website dedicated to knitting sweaters for Persian cats, you can do that with just a few clicks.

But for some reason, selling online still isn’t particularly easy. I mean, compared to ten years ago, it’s a piece of cake. But if you want a really simple way to sell products or services, you’re not going to find it.

At least, if you do it the way most people do it…Why’d You Have To Go And Make Things So Complicated?

Let’s say that you’re a vocal instructor, and you want to give singing lessons online. To make this happen, you need to:

  • Create a website using Squarespace, WordPress, or any of the other website builders such as Wix, Weebly or Webnode.
  • Create pages specific to each service you offer, and then include the necessary information (text, video demos, photos, etc.)
  • Figure out how to accept payment for services, which usually involves creating buttons or forms in PayPal or Stripe and then embedding them on a website page
  • Create an appointment system so that someone can enter their information and have it sent automatically to you

And this is all for something as simple as giving online vocal lessons.

If you want to sell actual products online, you’ve got a lot more work ahead of you. First, you need to build a website that is specifically geared toward eCommerce. You’ll need to evaluate different options like WooCommerce, Shopify, Weebly, etc. You will then have to connect your product database to online channels using a solution like SalesLayer. Because these platforms have to accommodate one-man operations all the way up to multi-million dollar brands, you’ll have to determine which features you want and which are overkill.

Once you’ve chosen your platform, you need to actually build your site. You need to pick a theme that fits the tone of your business. You have to set up your homepage and product pages and payment gateways. You’ve got to establish and manage inventory levels on the backend and you’ll probably need to use at least a few plugins to increase the functionality of your site.

If you don’t know how to do these things yourself, you’ll need to hire a developer, which can cost thousands of dollars.

And while all these things might be okay for a large, proven company with a big budget, if you’re only selling a few products, want to test out something new, or sell a relatively simple service, you don’t want to go through all this rigamarole.

You don’t want to spend hundreds of hours developing a massive eCommerce site if you’re in the early stages of creating products or only have a few to sell. And you certainly don’t want to spend thousands of dollars hiring a developer if you’re testing out a new idea.

And while you could sell things on eBay or Etsy or Gumroad, you have to give a cut of all your profits to them in exchange for using their platform. Also, you can sell services on those platforms, just products.

If only there were an easier way.

Selling With Paperform

We designed Paperform to make it incredibly easy to create beautiful web forms. These landing forms can be used for dozens of purposes, including selling products and services.

Rather than spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars building a complicated online store, you can use Paperform to massively cut down on the investment required.

Here’s a simple walkthrough on how to do it.

Step #1: Create Your Page

With Paperform, you have the option of starting with a blank page or using a form template. For the sake of ease, we’ll start with a predesigned “Brand and Product” template.

The template is set up as if a coffee roaster were selling products, but because the editor works like a simple document editor, we can change everything in a matter of minutes.  

Step #2: Customize Your Design

For this example, we’ll pretend we’re the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. We’re in the early stages of development, so we don’t have a massive product line at the moment,  but we’re growing and we’re ambitious. We also have a fantastic Regional Manager and Assistant to the Regional Manager.

We’ll change the title by simply deleting the existing text and typing in a new title. We’ll upload a new photo and copy our own mission statement into the form.

Step #3: Add Your Products

Next, we’re going to start adding paper products. It really is as simple as adding a field, selecting “products” for the field type, and then adding as many products as we want. No need to navigate a complex inventory management system or download a WordPress plugin.

Did we mention that Paperform is like using a document editor?

Adding product names, descriptions, photos, SKU numbers, and additional info about each product is as simple as typing it in. We literally can add a new product in less than a minute.

We can even take payments directly through the landing form. We simply need to connect our PayPal, Braintree, or Stripe account.

If you are missing certain categories like SKUs, GTINs or additional info, a feed management tool like WakeupData can crawl these for you in no time.

We can also add coupons and custom pricing rules (like processing fees or shipping). We simply create the rule, determine when we want it to apply, and then activate it. This is especially helpful if we want to offset the processing fees that PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree (and every other payment gateway) implement.

We can continue to add as many products and fields as you want. Literally, any information that we need in order to make the sale can be included.
If we wanted to sell paper delivery subscriptions, with recurring fees, we could do that as well.

And don’t forget that at any point in this process, we can customize the form design further. If we wanted to add a video from our latest ad campaign (“Limitless Paper In A Paperless World) underneath the form itself, it’s just a matter of embedding the YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia code.

Step #4: Add Analytics

When it comes to eCommerce, few things are more important than knowing your numbers. You need to know how many visitors you’ve had, your conversion rate, etc. You also want to be able to retarget visitors on Facebook using the Facebook Pixel. After completing our form, we can add Google analytics, our Facebook Pixel, any page load scripts, as well as conversion tracking scripts.

Using Paperform’s in-house form analytics, we’ll also be able to see the points where people abandon their carts and partial submissions of data (like name or address). If necessary, we can also give refunds directly from the Paperform dashboard.
And, perhaps most importantly, we can send thank you/confirmation emails directly from the Paperform dashboard.

Step #5: Add Integrations

If we want to copy all our orders into Google Sheets or import the customer email addresses into MailChimp, we can do that as well by using Zapier. This ensures that all the data from the landing form is sent to the proper place.

Step #6: Publish and Sell!

The final step is to publish the page and start selling your products! Your page will be live at a Paperform URL and can also be embedded directly into your website.

The beauty of this is that if you don’t have a dedicated website yet, you can still take product orders directly through the form itself. It’s a super low bar when it comes to selling things online.

And if you do have a website, you don’t have to create an entirely new eCommerce section. You can simply paste the embed code directly into one of your web pages.

Go Forth and Sell

If you have a valuable product or service to sell, you shouldn’t have to build an elaborate eCommerce site in order to make money online.

And thanks to landing forms, you don’t have hire a developer or spend hours trying to navigate the complexities of WooCommerce in order to sell online.

In less than an hour, you can create a landing form that allows you to sell any products or services you want.

So what are you waiting for? There are people out there just dying to take voice lessons from you. Get to it!

Ready to start selling online?

Let's Sell Stuff!

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