Website Wisdom for First-Time Online Retailers
The hardest part of making your first website is simply getting started. We suggest you go online and get as much information as possible to build your site. If you do not have any technical skills for coding or an eye for designing a site, we recommend using a template from any number of providers. You can simply drag and drop files into a pre-existing design, and the coding is all done for you.
Most people who shop online are doing so with their smartphone. So, when designing your site, make sure the design is mobile-friendly. Several popular web-builder sites automatically create mobile-optimized versions for you. Referred to as “responsive” themes, these sites can detect what device your customer is browsing from and they will automatically adjust the content and layout to give them the ideal user experience.
When designing your site, you should ensure it is set up so customers can view and order your products easily. For example, make sure you can accept credit cards, other forms of electronic payment. Many templates come with this feature already coded for you, so don’t be afraid to put those templates to work for you. They are a big help for first time online store owners, and they make everything easier.
Manage on the Go.
Set your site up so you can make changes and manage orders from your mobile phone. As an online retailer, you want your site to be easily accessible so that you are able to stay connected to your site, and your customers, as much as possible. Manage reviews, add new photos, and answer customer queries right from your phone in real time.
Having plenty of photos is a great way to attract and appeal to customers because they help them understand what they are buying. Take professional-looking photography of your products to feature on your site. Be sure your photos are clean, have good lighting, are in focus and high quality. Your products should look like they are worth buying. Remember to make an amazing first impression!
Now that your site looks good, it’s time to get noticed. We recommend you create your site using Search Engine Optimization best practices. You can search on the internet to find out the details. But, the first thing to do is learn how to use keywords in your product descriptions. This will help allow your site to be found on the web. This is a very involved practice, so we suggest you take advantage of a template that easily guides you on how to do this.
To help maximize sales, keep customers happy. Highlight best-sellers and identify when items are out of stock. Feature customer reviews. Offer multiple shipping methods. Many website design programs offer services that are able to keep track of when a potential buyer stops short of completing the purchase - this is known as shopping cart abandonment. These services not only collect valuable data relating to the actual point of abandonment, they also offer opportunities to resell to the potential customer. To them, it’s a little seller love. To you, it’s maximizing your selling opportunities.
A Facebook page for your business can enhance your online presence and drive potential customers to your site. Your Facebook page should reflect a similar look to your site to keep your business image consistent. You can use the same content from your site on your Facebook page, and even update it when you update your site. Consistency is key. Interact with Facebook friends, build a following and you will see a growing stream of shoppers visiting your site.
Prepare for Bumps.
Your first website may come with a few bumps. Like any new journey you don’t know where they may show up, but they are out there. So, we suggest you travel slowly, but have fun. Selling online is a constant growth process. You will learn more as you go along and eventually get to your happy place. But, in the meantime, remember to cut yourself some slack and understand that the best and biggest online retailers were not built in a day. Enjoy the ride!