It starts out as a great adventure. You’re building your website, and excited about the possibilities of selling your products online, and struggle free. With all of the hard work you have put into creating the items, why wouldn’t everyone jump at the chance to make these purchases, right?
Ecommerce can be tricky. Everyone expects that once they launch a store online, that the orders will come flooding in. The problem here is, people don’t realize that it takes time and money to market their online store, just as much as it does a physical location. Having a basic store structure, marketing, and proper user interactions are very important in gaining sales with your online store.
But where do I start?.. I figured this would be a simple process, and fail safe.
Let’s answer that by going over the basics for your store structure. This is simple, if you can follow some basic steps and advice.
Basic Ecommerce Structure
Building the website is great. That’s a good start. But lets emphasize on the products a bit more, and display them in a way that will encourage your visitors to make a purchase. There are 3 main aspects to focus on here.
1. Photography. Your products are a result of your hard work. You need to display these products in a professional way that will have your shoppers interested enough to make that purchase. You’re on the internet, not in person, which means your shoppers can not physically touch your products. You need to provide them with visual stimulation enough to make them want to purchase the product.
2. Description. This is as important as the photography. You need to use your words to actively describe your products as best as possible to make your shoppers feel as though they have interacted with the product and make them want to make that purchase.
3. Security. Single handedly the largest reason for not purchasing products online. Your visitors are not comfortable with using a company they have never heard of before to take their credit card information. You really need to focus on the larger options for payment processing such as Paypal, Stripe or Google Wallet. These options are secure and insured for loss or fraud. They will help your shoppers feel comfortable with making a purchase, and it will help you in the long run with not having to worry about conflicts or liability in the future.
As I mentioned, your online store is a business. Not much unlike a physical storefront which allows customers to walk through your door. These retail establishments put a great amount of time and money into creating awareness of their brand, and they start early.
You need to make a valiant effort in establishing your brand. Don’t skimp on the important items such as a design for your logo and a colour scheme that shouts out “LOOK AT ME”. You need to put a great deal of effort into planning what your message is, and having a great strong brand behind your company is what is going to do this. Many people don’t realize that the costs in this are completely justified. Branding is not an area you should cut costs if you’re looking to be successful.
So, now you have a logo which accurately represents your business. You need to move forward with spreading the word of what you’re doing. Taking the time to put together a social media marketing plan is your next step. Make sure you brand your platforms with your new logo, a good strong description of your company, and use your colours as well. You want to give a good example of who you are, and this is where you start. Don’t start off by tweeting useless information. Introduce yourself, introduce your business, and maybe even give a small sneak peek of what you have to offer for product. Be smart about it, leave something to the imagination, you want these followers to make their way to your store once it is ready.
This is it. You’re building your store, you have plans in place for how to proceed. But make sure all of the elements are here. You want your website to aggressively portray your brand, you want it to show what you have to offer in the best way possible. Here are a few must haves to your website, to help you wrangle in those customers.
1. Product Placement. This is as much a big deal to your online store as it is to a retail storefront at the mall, or elsewhere. You need to place your products where people can see them, where they can select the product to get more information as easily as possible. Using professionally designed banners with that important photography I mentioned is a great place to start. Having a display of items that are available listed on the home page, front and centre for your visitors to see. These are all basic when it comes to ecommerce.
2. Call to Action. You want to draw your visitors eyes toward certain areas which will encourage them to take action. Having a ‘add to cart’ button which has a colour that contrasts the rest of the site will help push the customer into selecting the product and taking action with adding it to their shopping cart.
3. Mobile. It’s 2015, you need a mobile option for your website. With responsive development allowing all sizes of devices to access your website, you can keep your products available for purchase from your customers tablet or smartphone allowing them to make purchases on their lunch break, or during a boring family function.
4. SEO. This is as important as marketing your website, and a large part of it. You need to optimize your images, descriptions, and content within your website to help people find what they are looking for when searching online for a new t-shirt of Earthworm Jim, or slippers for their loving wife or husband. Take the time to learn the best practices, and hire a company to help you with this; it is not something you will regret.
To sum up. You need to put time and effort into your online store. You need to focus on your branding, and spreading the word about it through multiple marketing channels. Send out a press release, tweet your heart out, and talk to everyone you meet about what you are offering. Hand out business cards or flyers if you feel the need, and create awareness of your brand.
You need to put time and thought into how people are going to interact with your website, test out the procedures yourself and get family and friends to test as well. It is extremely important to make sure everything is working exactly the way you intended it to.
My final word of advice. Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
~ Niteowl Creative