Building a successful store has always taken a lot of time and patience. Although, the internet has made everything simpler to get your store off the ground, there’s still a lot to do. You have to figure out what you’re going to sell and then figure out how you’re going to market said product and, unfortunately, this isn’t any easier online than it is in person.
Anyone who has worked retail knows that shoppers can be finicky. One small detail about your store could make or break a sale and it’s difficult to know what is going to appeal to the majority. This is one aspect of building a store that has gotten easier with the Internet and the rise of eCommerce. If there’s something about your online shop turning customers away, it can be fixed with some coding or a few mouse clicks depending on your preferred platform.
If you are looking for a few ideas on how to improve you online shop then check out these five tips.
Clean Up Your Navigation
An online shop is still a store and needs to be treated as such. Think about how annoying it would be to walk into a Macy’s and nothing was organized- everything is just scattered and it takes hours to find the one thing you want. That wouldn’t be a fun experience in real life, so why would it be any different online?
When building your online store, your navigation features are some of the most important aspects to include. When someone comes to your store they already have an idea of what they are looking for, so it’s up to you to design a navigation bar that will help them find it. Make sure you put your products in the appropriate categories, so that when someone goes to your “pants” section they won’t be greeted by twenty different pairs of shoes. It’s a simple concept, but a lot of online stores do have problem setting this up.
Many hosts with easy-to-make websites, like WordPress or Squarespace, make it easy to create a site navigation system (see graphics below). One navigation feature you might want to consider including is a “Recently Viewed” tab like Amazon and online clothing shops now include. The “Recently Viewed” tab can allow visitors to go back to items they viewed in the past to reconsider whether or not they want to make that purchase–without wasting time trying to find it again.
Don’t Forget About Mobile Users
In the current year 80 percent of people browse the internet on their smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Android, or even Kindle. Therefore, responsive web design should be among your top priorities when building your online store.
It’s gotten easier because hosting websites, like WordPress, have themes that already have the coding enabled. However, if you’re planning to make your site from the code up, you have to include the correct media queries into your coding. When creating your media queries, don’t omit any mobile device and make sure the coding works on every system someone might visit your shop with. Don’t inconvenience your users by making them browse a store that doesn’t fit their device screen.
Embrace User Feedback
You can’t improve your online store if you shy away from user feedback. Even the meanest comments might have insight as to how you can improve the layout, the products you well, and how the checkout system works.
Keep reviews open on your products so customers have the ability to share their experience. If you’re concerned that bad reviews will hurt your sales, well, maybe you need to fix the products getting the worst reviews. At the end of the day, it’ll hurt you more to ignore the complaints because dissatisfied will find a way to warn others from buying from your store.
Monitor Your Inventory
Don’t waste space and money keeping products that don’t sell. Again, you have to look at your online store the way you would look at your brick-and-mortar store. If there’s a product not selling and just wastes self space in the store, that item is removed or put on clearance. You need to do the same with the products not selling on your online store.
You will also have to pay attention to what is selling and what your top sellers are. These are the items you will have to keep in stock because they’re what your customers want. Should an item go out of stock then you will have to let them know by adding an “Out of Stock” sign on the the item. If possible, include a date for when you expect to restock–this might help prevent losing sales to your competitors.
Consider Starting a Blog
Having a blog on your online store can really help increase your online presence and bring in new customers. Creating new blog posts three to four times a week can really help Google visibility as long as you’re also implementing SEO practices. As long as your blog posts contain relevant keywords, you will start generating more traffic to your online store. Blog posts also give you a new type of content to share on your respected social media accounts.
Your online store should be treated just like a brick-and-mortar store. If you have products that aren’t selling and just waste “shelf space” then you either put those items on clearance or remove them entirely. You also need to alert your customers to when an item is out of stock and when you are planning to get it back in stock.
It is also important to create a straightforward navigation system so your customers can actually find what they want. You can’t sell your products if your customers can’t find them, or get tired of looking for them.
Just because you are the owner of an online shoup doesn’t mean you get to cut corners when it comes to maintenance. Your store is just as important as any brick-and-mortar establishment and should be treated as such.
Lastly, let me know your thoughts and what other tips for your online store that has helped you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.