Selling online: A guide to making the most of a small sales business


The internet has made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to forge a successful business with limited resources. Through sites such as eBay and Etsy, people are able to create and sell their own items to such an extent that they can support themselves solely by these means.

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Online shopping is becoming increasingly important as more and more consumers feel comfortable purchasing from the web. Indeed,research from Forrester has found that European online retail sales are expected to reach €191 billion (£162 billion) by 2017, up from €112 billion in 2012. This demonstrates how there is great potential for growth for companies if they can utilise the internet in the right way.

However, even small firms should be concentrating on cultivating customer loyalty, as this is the best way to ensure success in the long-term. As the old adage goes, it is much cheaper to retain customers than try to attract new ones. One way to keep people onside is to give them promotional gifts with any purchases they make, as this should help them to remember a brand and encourage them to revisit their site in the future.

Indeed, it could even form part of a specific marketing campaign, such as for a limited period only. By doing this, it will incentivise customers to make a purchase they may have otherwise put off for a few weeks. Here are a few ideas for small businesses looking for the right branded items to hand out:

USB sticks

A handy device for any worker to have, people will always be able to find a use for memory sticks. Whether it is backing-up important information or storing data that needs to be transferred between two or more computers, flashdrives are an excellent solution. Moreover, they are small and easy to transport – they can even be put on to a keyring.


Keyrings are practical and relevant, making them an ideal gift for individuals to receive. Best of all, they represent a great way to market a brand as people will continually be looking at the item when they are entering and leaving the house. Keyrings can also come with an added function too, as they can operate as bottle openers, torches and trolley coins. If customers are making large purchases, why not throw in a branded keyring? Not only will this cement the relationship that has already been built up, it means people will bear your company in mind whenever they come to make another purchase.


Over the past few years, wristbands have become hugely popular with children and adults alike. Typically, they are worn to demonstrate support for a particular cause, but they also represent a great opportunity for branding. If your customers are wearing wristbands carrying your logo, they are acting as brand ambassadors, which could lead their friends and family to consider your business.


Whether at home or in work, drinkware is always a gift that people enjoy receiving. Perfect for the morning cup of tea or coffee, it represents a great way for businesses to advertise their brand. A lot of people have a favourite mug, so why not make sure it is your one? Adding a free mug to a transaction could be the difference between securing another sale and missing out on valuable revenue.