The process of launching an online store can be quite overwhelming, but the cut-throat competition taking place in the e-commerce sector nowadays is making it even more challenging.
Now, major marketplaces usually have restrictive seller policies that keep the merchants’ branding within certain bounds to maintain the platform’s homogenous image. Having your online store, though, is a completely different game. You get to control everything from A to Z, but with so much flexibility, many business owners can feel confused and unsure of where to begin when designing their online store. That’s why we’re here!
To help you get your e-commerce business off the ground, here are a few tips on how to curate your store and make it a success.
Use High-Quality Photos
Humans are visual creatures; that’s a scientifically-proven fact. Studies show that we process images in only 0.1 seconds, and understand visual information 60,000 times faster than words. This natural gravitation towards visuals means that your product images will make a strong, immediate impression on your prospective customers. To leave a positive impression, make sure you use clear, high-quality photos that highlight the product’s details as well as its most prominent features.
Moreover, your images should showcase each product from multiple angles so that your potential buyers can get the full picture. Not only will this make them feel more secure with their online purchase, but it will also reflect a reliable brand image and promote customer trust. To make sure your audience has a complete visual understanding of the products you’re selling, enable a zoom feature on the photos so they can examine each item in more detail. A 360-degree photo tool will also go a long way in helping buyers get a comprehensive view of a product.
Invest in Professional Web Design
It doesn’t matter if you have the best product in your niche, you can’t possibly hope to make it in the e-commerce sector if your store’s web design is less than impressive. Research shows that visual appearance is the most important factor that affects the buyers’ perception of a brand, which means that to ensure the success of your online business, you need to engage the services of a professional web designer. If you can’t afford to pay for a full-blown website right now, you can look for experienced designers who create cheap websites that look and function seamlessly. As your business grows, you can expand and adapt your website to suit your new needs.
Alternatively, you can just choose a ready-made template that’s similar to the vision you originally had for your store, and customize it to your needs. In either case, your online store has to have clean web design, intuitive layouts, attractive images, and minimal text. It also needs to be fully responsive to various mobile devices, as the latest statistics show that mobile shopping accounts for over 30% of all online purchases. That means you should opt for vertical designs and images over horizontal ones so your audience can easily scroll through your store and view your content on their phones.
Pay Attention to Your “About Us” Page
The main purpose of an “About Us” page is to convince prospective clients that your products are the best. It should clearly and briefly describe what your brand stands for and the value you offer your clients. To reflect a reliable brand image, include client testimonials and reviews, prominent achievements, and any information that shows you’re a trustworthy seller. Additionally, your visitors should be able to easily find your contact information, including your email, address, and social media channels, on your “About Us” page and throughout your website as well.
Make Your Site SEO-Friendly
No purchases will be happening in your online store if it has no traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to generating traffic, which is why you need to incorporate SEO-friendly keywords in your product descriptions and titles. That will improve your ranking on search engine results pages, which in turn, will increase your store’s visibility, attract more visitors, and improve your conversion rates.
If you have no idea how to choose your keywords, use specialized SEO tools to find easy keywords that have high monthly search rates. You should also Google the SEO keywords you are considering before you add them to your site. If the results are major sites, then it’s best to choose less competitive words.
Offer Excellent Online Support
The tricky thing about online shopping is that customers can’t see the products in-person, which means that they’ll likely have a few questions, and you need to be available to answer them. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing many prospective clients. Your customers also need to know that they will have your support in case they have a complaint or want to provide feedback after they make a purchase. That way, you can convert first-time buyers into returning, loyal customers.
A 24/7 live-chat feature is perhaps the most convenient and comprehensive type of support you can offer. If you don’t have the resources to offer round-the-clock customer support, you still need to provide some kind of customer service to help potential buyers during your working hours.
Most small business owners grossly underestimate the amount of marketing required to build a successful online store. To put your e-commerce business on the map, you’ll need to employ a bunch of different marketing strategies and approaches, such as pay per click (PPC) and Google ads. Such paid marketing campaigns can be quite expensive, though, especially when you’re first starting. That’s why you’ll want to pursue SEO, social media advertising, and other organic marketing efforts to generate traffic at a lower cost.
From your website’s design and product images to your product descriptions and customer service, there are a lot of decisions to make when designing your online store. Focusing your efforts in the wrong areas can lead to months of wasted time and money. For that reason, it’s important to approach this next step in your career cautiously. The above tips can point you in the right direction and help you make your online business a successful one. Start with these strategies and keep a close eye on the competition to create a brand that stands out amongst the less savvy sellers out there.