When you’re selling on-line, you have to stand out in the crowd. And that crowd is getting bigger by the day. You sell boutique premium coffee? So many do! You have an apparel outlet? Look around you: it’s a crowded sector. And don’t forget to look on the web, because that’s where you’ll find your real competition.
So you have to show your customers what you’ve got, and do it in an eye-catching “buy me” way. Just as with an actual store front, your website must warm and welcoming, and invite people in. There are four basic start-up rules to remember:
- Make your website look professional: it can still be homey, but it’s got to look top-notch.
- Find a website designer who can build you a professional virtual shop front: it needn’t be expensive and if you’re technically savvy you can probably do a lot of the work yourself.
- Time-tested: Use a tested software product, one that suits your personality and the presence you want your store to have.
- Simple: Make it simple to use – and seamless so your customers have an easy time spending their money with you.
- Make sure you have the right ecommerce software package: it must suit you, be easy to operate and upgrade, and customer-friendly.
It’s Your Window, Dress It
You don’t have to make it look like Macy’s. Tiffany’s it is probably not. But your virtual shop window needs to dress well and get a change of clothes every now and then, so that repeat visitors and regular customers get a new experience. When you’re looking at design options for your website, factor in the need to make changes when wanted or needed. If you’re working with a web designer on an on-going basis, make that part of the management plan. Changes need not be major, but you must look dynamic.
You’re selling a clothing range, maybe your own designs? Give your website a seasonal makeover. It’s easy to switch virtual material around on a web page. But here’s a tip: if you are selling seasonal goods, remember some of your potential customers may be having winter while your local buyers are running around in sundresses.
Web pages are also great for:
- Promotional sales packages: a hard-to-shift line may sell like hot cakes at a “special discount”.
- Your own store loyalty program: so you can offer rewards to regular or repeat customers. This doesn’t need expensive plastic cards: you may never actually see your best customers, who you will know only from their email address and delivery location.
- Giving visitors to your site news of what your store’s been doing: new products coming on line; additional services you can offer; what’s hot; and other information.
- Color, Color, Color your store website is your catalog. And there’s no doubt color sells – and that website color quality gives you the equivalent of a glossy magazine in which to display your wares.