Whether you are getting ready to launch a new online store or are simply wanting to improve the one you have already, retail always is evolving. What worked well for a retail store ten years ago is certainly no guarantee that it will bring you success today.
For most retail businesses now, having an online store is a must. But it isn’t enough to simply catalog what you have for sale online. To really be successful with an online store there are some simple key things you need to be aware of that make it a different business from traditional retail. Whether it is learning to master the online payment processing services functions on your site or finding the best way to market what you sell online, retail online has its own rules.
We asked some of the more successful retailers online what they had discovered was their most important element or rule for selling online. Here is what they had to say to their fellow explorers of the online retail world.
The Fundamentals of Good Websites
Many of the retailers we spoke to agreed that without the basics of easy navigation on your site, great imagery to bring your customers in and great product to sell them in the end you can’t succeed. While these may seem like a given, don’t take any of these three basics for granted.
- If you don’t have a designer for your website who understands the flow of retail business, then your site will not work on an intuitive level. It will make it hard for your customers to find out how to navigate to what they want to see and that will in turn just leave them frustrated and cause them to leave.
- Great images are part of great design and can either make or break a website. Because you are in the business of selling, you need to be sure that every product looks beautiful on that site.
- And of course, in the end, if what you have to sell doesn’t meet with your customer’s expectations, then you will quickly gain a bad reputation for shoddy goods and will soon find your traffic flow and sales are down.
It’s All in the Data
Even if you have good traffic to your site, you may not be getting the sales you need. You can’t begin to know how to fix this if you don’t know who is coming on the site, where they are coming from and why they are leaving. Your data will tell you this, but only if you learn how to read it.
While we all claim that we are not in the business of reading statistics, we want to be sellers of our amazing products, you need to gain this knowledge to succeed. Measure everything on the site, analyze it to understand it and pay attention to changes in what you are measuring. Numbers are our friends, if we listen to them correctly.
Connect and Build Community
These days the web is a great place to really connect with your customers and listen to what they have to say. Take advantage of the interconnected nature of the web to build community with vendors, customers and other retailers. You will gain so much, and some of it will have nothing to do with the bottom line.