The online shopping landscape has been heavily developed the past several years. This means that to own and operate a successful online store, it must be continually improved. It needs to be simple, convenient and up-to-date to stay anywhere near relevant.
Even if you offer an incredibly useful product, shoppers will immediately leave your site if they see an online store that looks like it was created a decade ago in Geocities. Beyond improving the store’s design, you need to promote your overall presence so that shoppers know you exist. Below are some of the best ways to improve your online store.
Promote Your Presence and Create Confidence
Lyndon Cerejo, a writer for Smashing Magazine, a publication devoted to technology and ecommerce, states that creating a strong online presence is crucial to the success of any online store. After all, how will people buy your product if they do not know it is being sold? Cerejo suggests the best way to promote your presence is to go where the customers are online.
These days, that means social media. There are a variety of social media sites as well as social networks that have gained prevalence in the online world; you must ensure that your business has a strong presence on all of them. You never know whom your product will intrigue; intrigued people are often promoting whatever tickles their fancy on their social sites, giving your business some word-of-mouth. And everyone knows that word-of-mouth is some of the best advertising possible.
Cerejo advises that you do everything you can to create confidence once the prospective shopper has found your online store. Below are a number of ways to instill confidence in future customers:
- Have an aesthetically pleasing and functional online store. This tells your customer that you are a legitimate business.
- Install a SSL certificate. This secures your store and will place a locked icon in the address bar that signifies that any information they provide you with will be safely delivered to you, and only you.
- Create an easy-to-use registration and membership system and do not ask for any more information than you require. The longer the registration process, the more people will be put-off by it.
Enhance Product Descriptions
Product descriptions are where the metaphorical magic happens. It’s within these areas that the product is sold. You’ve brought the shopper to your site and instilled confidence, now seal the deal. Product descriptions should not be lengthy essays about the product or a meaningless list of statistics. It should be three or four concise sentences that encourage them to make a purchase.
James Chartrand, a professional blogger and professor at Solo Practice University in Quebec, states that a rousing story that evokes emotion and physical sensations is a highly effective product description. Instead of merely saying “this product smells like coconut,” try something like “after using this product you will be whisked away to a coconut-scented beach!”
Have an Obvious Path to a Single Checkout Page
The purpose of your online store is to drive the prospective shopper to make a purchase. Invest as much money and time as you can into making this process as streamlined and efficient as possible. Once they click “Buy,” take them to a single secured page that will ask for all the information you require to process and ship their order. The more pages shoppers have to go through to make their purchase, the more likely they are to leave the site altogether.
Invest in a program that will automatically generate shipping labels in the administrative end of the checkout process. There are several programs available that will allow you to print shipping labels and postage online. This greatly streamlines your shipping process, which allows your product to reach the customer faster and gives you a leg up on the competition.
Your Store Will Be Successful
You can ensure success by using the above ways to improve your online store. It is well worth the investment to hire a professional if you do not have the technical skills to implement all of these improvements.
Creating a streamlined checkout and shipping process is perhaps the most important aspect of your online store. Invest in programs that will allow you to effortlessly print shipping labels, postage and ship the product as soon as possible. Your online store can be a success with time, dedication and patience.
Chuck Martin is a contributing writer and a major presence in the world of online shopping.