From your basic mom-and-pop stores to major retail chains like Sears, Toys R Us and Claire’s, a large number of businesses declared bankruptcy in 2018, with the rate steadily growing.
For some companies, the issue was not moving with the times; failing to create online platforms for their business or not being able to make their customer experience any better.
But for others, the closure of their retail stores was a step in the right direction.
In an online world, more and more companies are shifting their business from a physical structure to an online one, using the ease and accessibility of the internet to attract even more customers, some from around the world! This has not only helped them in increasing sales, but has also given them a solid standing in the online retail world.
Given that they’ve completed the move to a different platform while retaining the quality of their products and services, these companies already have a head-start against other small businesses.
And as a business owner with a brick-and-mortar store, you need to take advantage of having an online presence.
The Basics of Developing an Online Store
¬ Know Your Customer Demographic
This is the first step in your plan-of-action. Before even starting on your website design, learn who your customers are and what they’ll want from it. Does your company cater to vegans? And if so, what’s the age demographic, are more of your customers male or female? Doing so will allow you to learn about your weak points, as well as about your primary customers.
¬ Figure Out Your Domain Name
Your online presence will be identified by this name. And in such a vast digital environment, your domain name needs to be either catchy and SEO-friendly or utilize your brand name to capitalize on existing awareness.
Keep in mind that if you choose a new domain name, you might need to start from scratch, or might need to focus more on marketing so your clients know that it’s the same business as before.
¬ Offer Some Top Sellers
Given that you’re starting out, you’ll need to offer products that appeal to a wider audience. If you’ve got a big selection, it’s best to stick to the top 100 items as well as products you get special requests for. This will give you time to sort out and organize your product list so they can be listed based on their demand.
¬ Scout Out the Competition
There’s nothing like healthy competition to get those creative juices flowing! When starting out, check out your competitors’ websites and see what they offer. Discounts, free products and samples, newsletters and free shipping — these are just some of the essential factors that attract customers.
¬ Focus on Your Meta Descriptions and Titles
Generic content just won’t do. Even if you’re launching your online store ASAP, you’ll still need to find a company that can provide you with informative, engaging product descriptions for your whole catalogue. They don’t need to be full-length, but they must offer all the essential details that customers would want. For example, if you’re selling shoes, the product description should include details on colors and sizes etc.
¬ A Picture is worth a Thousand Words
If you want to get an SEO boost, having professionally-taken photos of your products against a white background will do wonders for your website. And keep in mind; this is not just limited to products from the fashion or beauty industry.
Even if you offer alternative medicine, you must provide your customers with some visual proof of what they’re ordering. The e-commerce industry is aesthetically-driven. So the better your photos are, the more your customer will be likely to stay.
¬ Up Your Online Security Details
According to a study conducted by IBM, customers value their online security more than convenience. But that’s not surprising considering how vulnerable the online community can be, especially in light of the many online attacks on websites in recent years.
Online protection for your digital store requires some basics such as an SSL certificate. But for other factors on web design and security, it’s best to get in touch with a company that actually has experience handling e-commerce sites.