You might have gotten your site up and running, but does that mean you have a store in place?
- Engaged a web designer with hosting services
- Prepared content for the site – both content and design
- Created methods of payment for your offering
- Enforced the site with security to protect both customers and data
It all looks pretty much set to go to you, but you’re not exactly raking in the clicks you thought you would. You’ve created a site, not a store.
Remember your favorite brick-and-mortar store? In the same way, you experience the purchasing process of products and services in the real world, so should your site’s online experience offer to customers.
Creating the user experience of your online store depends largely on your offering, but always keep the following in mind:
The online world moves at a face pace, as characterized by social feeds, news, and content updates. The look and experience of your site need to give the user a clear idea of what you have to offer, what you are trying to say, and its benefits to them. Infographics are a great example of how imagery can communicate statistics, instructions, and text-heavy subjects to the reader in an engaging way.
No one reads text anymore – unless you’re selling literature or the latest gossip. Keep your content lean and easily searchable. It’s like walking into a store and finding what you want to purchase in the quickest time – versus having to go through tons of stuff before finding what you want. This is more important on digital platforms – with the significance of search engine optimization (SEO)
Remember how you often visit websites to purchase something and spend at least a minute look for the “buy” option, or which payment and shipping methods are available to you? Keep these options clear to your user at every page of your online store – via a sidebar or “floating” buttons for parallax sites. Having a page for customer feedback and comments are important, but not necessary. This depends on your offering – if it would be something that customers would talk about or leave feedback. Having feedback helps improve your site and offers, and alerts you to disgruntled customers or site issues.
Brand & Equity
Other than your tone, image, logo, and overall design, creating links to other platforms to update customers of new products and updates are vital. Do not depend on organic views (by chance or web searches) to your site – it is a slow uphill climb that could put you well out of business.
Increase organic views by creating fresh content and linking them to sites that your target audiences visit. Fresh content featuring customers often does well, or new ways to use your offering – discovered by you or someone else. Support this with targeted advertisements.
Don’t ignore social media – it could be more powerful and cost-efficient than you think. Also, plan updates and electronic direct mailers carefully, so that your efforts do not end up in spam folders or in a forgotten corner of Gmail tabs.
Analytics As with managing a real store, analytics for your online store must be put into place. Statistics, such as the
- average time spent by a customer on your site
- which sites customers arrive from and where do they exist, as well as the
- the ratio of unique visits to buying helps you redesign or improve the way your online site experience should flow.
Google Analytics provides free and basic analytics for all online sites.
When all this is done, you’ve created an online store. Congratulations!