For more than a decade there has been a lot of attention being given to the benefits of running an online storefront. Not only will there typically be less overheads, but your market reach is huge in comparison to operating a local brick-and-mortar shop. However, one of the details which many new entrepreneurs overlook is in just what it is they need to do to set up their website for optimal performance. At the very minimum, there are 5 indispensable elements of an online storefront to be aware of if you hope to be a success.
1. A Responsive Design
If you search around the web for ideas on running a successful online storefront, you may come across a lot of content that fails to include this particular element. You should know that the information you are being given is probably at least one to two years old because Google didn’t institute Mobilegeddon until 2015 and before that time, websites weren’t ‘punished’ for not providing a good UE for mobile visitors. Google notwithstanding, there are so many people shopping from mobile devices, it would not be a good idea to provide them anything less than a great way to view your merchandise when landing on your site. If you want to sell products, a responsive design viewed well on mobile devices is perhaps the most important element of an online storefront.
2. Reliable Web Hosting
Probably equally important is reliable hosting. If your site isn’t up and running at least 99% of the time, you can expect to lose a good deal of business and a great number of customers to the competition. How many times have you gone to a store or restaurant only to find them closed early? Did you go back another time? Probably not! That is what you can expect if your site is down an inordinate amount of the time and the only way to guarantee against that is with reliable hosting.
3. Focus on an Engaging Design with Important Pages
Talking about design could take up several volumes of an encyclopaedia, but suffice to say, an attractive and engaging site is a must. Also, your landing / home page must be easy to read and your site should be easy to navigate to those all-important pages. You definitely need an About Us page and perhaps an FAQ as well as a Contact Us page so you never lose a customer due to an unanswered question.
4. Links to Your Social Media Pages
Today’s consumer is not only highly social but they are extremely focused on checking out a brand’s honesty and reliability. A Millennial is much more likely to shop with a merchant they have a social ‘relationship’ with than a huge corporation that is a blank behind the logo. Today’s consumer wants to see your ‘face’ and the best way to do that is with social media. Your storefront should lead visitors to your social pages because if they don’t buy now they may come back via your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Never let a customer leave without inviting them back.
5. Emphasis on Customer Service
Finally, your storefront should emphasize your focus on providing excellent customer service. Consumers will buy more readily from a merchant that values them than from one in which they are just a number. Study after marketing study has indicated that customers want to matter. They want you to appreciate their business. And you know what? They have every right to feel that way because without them, the customers, you wouldn’t stay in business long at all.
Keep these five indispensable elements in mind and you are on your way to building a successful online storefront. Just remember, it’s all about the customer so no matter what you do, make it customer-centric and you’ll win every time.