Did you know that the BC government offers subsidies to local businesses to get their online stores running? Now is the time to take advantage of this amazing financing and build your dream business. First, you need to choose a platform to host your e-commerce store, but then it’s all in the details. Below are 15 tips on what to include on your site to ensure you have the best online store!
1. Prioritize web design
The best e-commerce stores focus on web design
Think of it this way. Do you want to shop in a store that is too cluttered, or difficult to navigate, or uncomfortable to be in? Chances are the answer is no. The same goes for online shopping. A well thought out, nicely designed website and online store are deal-makers, while poor web design is a deal-breaker. Good products and competitive prices are expected, but what really sets you apart is having the best web design.
2. Engage with your audience
Your online store is more than just the store
Make sure the rest of your site is engaging to your target audience. Involve your ideal customer with your “About Me” page, and consider having a great blog and an informative FAQ to help guide your customers. Online buyers often have many questions, especially if they are not completely familiar with the product. Provide enough content to ensure your customers have everything they need, including a sense of your brand and your company’s mission.
Build a great customer service team
Build the best customer service team to match the best online store
As we mentioned above, good products and reasonable prices are expected, but your online store needs to go the extra mile to differentiate it from the competition, and a first-class customer service team is one way to do that. You should implement fast delivery times for emails and an employee who is always available to answer questions. Provide a user-friendly “Contact” page complete with a customer form, a phone number and an email address.
4. Streamline payment
Easy payment options provide more sales
Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the end of a great online browser session, only to be greeted with a complicated or confusing checkout process. Allow customers to check out as guests or members, accept multiple payment options, and allow customers to easily enter promotions and discounts. It may also be a good idea to consider including a review order option, it allows customers to feel confident about their purchase while keeping them in the right direction.
5. Invest in marketing when it matters
The best online stores invest in marketing
Marketing increases the traffic to your site and the overall reach of your business. You may have the best online store, but if no one knows about you or what you sell, you are doing your business a disservice. Social media sites like Instagram and Facebook have great, simple paid advertising opportunities to help get your e-store out there to the people who need it most.
Learn about free marketing
Awesome marketing does not have to break the bank!
There are so many great hacks to maximize free marketing for your online store, some of our favorites include, campaigns and contests through social media, email marketing, deals on deals and asking your target audience to share their testimonials and product reviews.
7. Learn about SEO to build the best online store
SEO ensures that you are found
SEO or search engine optimization is the process of how your site is found and becomes more visible and accessible to those who search for it. One way to increase SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of your content. You want to be sure to add insightful and accurate descriptions of the products you sell, while adding buzz words and highly searched words, such as “best insulated water bottle”. A great way to increase SEO is to include a blog on your site, it allows you to not only add value to your customers, but it increases the content of your site, which increases your searchability.
8. Make sure you get good product reviews
Building the best online store may require you to trust others
Product reviews help increase the legitimacy of your e-store and help your customers know what they are buying. Reviews also help you as a business owner because they can show you where and how to improve to ensure that everything you offer your customers is the best it can be!
9. Invest in mobile responsiveness
You will have your e-commerce store available from any device
Today, most people turn to their cell phones first. Make sure your online store is compatible with both Android and iPhones. The best web designers will make this a priority when building your website, so do not hesitate to hire out for web design if you find yourself struggling with this step.
10. Consider free shipping
Free shipping encourages customers to spend more money
Can you offer free shipping? If not, do not sweat, the cost of running a store can be high, but consider having promotions where you offer free shipping once in a while! This really encourages shoppers to shop. It may also be helpful to include information about your shipping charges somewhere visible on your site, such as “free shipping on orders over X amounts” or “fixed shipping for X dollars”. This increases sales and improves the shopping experience, where customers know what to use before reaching the checkout. Surprises are great for sales and promotions, but not so great when it comes to unexpected shipping costs.
11. Do you want to build the best online store? Offer exclusive members
Make customers feel important because they are!
A great way to build your email list for marketing is to encourage shoppers to become members. Give members exclusive access to sales, additional discounts or the opportunity to earn points for their purchases. Get creative with how you encourage your customers to shop! This helps build a loyal customer base and helps you give your customers added value.
12. Highlight product display
Fantastic product displays enable you to succeed
We all act with our eyes first and your screenshots are really important. This is an area you need to invest in! Always take your pictures using high-resolution, well-lit cameras. A good product display makes the customer want to buy your product, and it all starts with a good image.
13. Suggest similar products
A good e-commerce store streamlines the shopping experience for you
Consider having a feature that shows shoppers similar products that they might like. This is a great way to encourage shopping and show off your inventory.
14. Make your return and refund policy clear and fair
Avoid confusion when creating your e-store policies
Make your return and refund policies as crystal clear as possible! As a shopper, it can be really frustrating to misunderstand a return policy, and as a business owner, this can lead to many back and forth and potentially unhappy customers. Take the time to write down your policies and double check if they make sense and are fair. FAQS is a great place to repeat your return policies and redirect your customers to a more detailed page if they want to learn more.
15. Simple provides the best online store
The simple is best, every time.
The key to good web design and the best online store is simplicity. Do not overwhelm your customers with lots of pop-ups or wild color schemes. Your site should highlight your products and brand, no need to go overboard. A clean, modern aesthetic is the most appealing, most user-friendly and most timeless.
Bonus for building the best online store!
Your online store needs to work
This should go without saying, but make sure your backend runs flawlessly. Yes, a beautiful website is important, but functionality means more. You may be offering the best e-commerce store, but if your site does not work, no one can see it. Functional websites provide customers with the best user experience, increasing the likelihood that they will shop with you again. If web design is not your forte, it’s ok to rent, the best web design agencies in Vancouver specialize in making sure your site works as great as it looks.