How to Create the Perfect Online Store: 20 Tips for a Beginner Online Entrepreneur
Creating the perfect online store with high conversions and profits is quite realistic if you follow a few practical tips
Large marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay allow small companies to earn under the roof of one well-known brand. These places limit sellers' branding to maintain their uniform image.
Owners of their own online stores play a different game. They have full control over their customers' experience. Whether it's changing the order in which products are placed or holding seasonal promotions, sellers can use the site to directly contact their customers and encourage purchases.
But small entrepreneurs cannot hire an army of marketers and invest huge amounts of money in promotion. With their unlimited freedom, online store owners do not always use modern online sales techniques 100% effectively.
We've put together a complete how-to guide on how to create the perfect online store to help you attract new customers and retain repeat customers.
20 Tips for Creating the Perfect Online Store
These tips cover how shoppers perceive each part of your online store, what the ideal design, content, technical part, and the entire sales process should be to attract buyers and maximize sales.
By following these strategies, salespeople can target the interests of customers by highlighting the benefits of their business among less experienced salespeople.
It doesn't matter if you have the best product in your niche and the best customer service. If your store's web design is backward, online promotion is doomed. According to a study by Kissmetrics, 93% of shoppers believe that appearance is the most important factor when making a purchase.
To create a profitable online store, you can either pay a pretty penny to a web designer or commit to learning how to program. Alternatively, you can simply get a ready-made template and customize it to your needs.
Fortunately, there are thousands of great ecommerce templates on the internet on the latest web design trends that have a clean design and intuitive structure.
Design elements should fascinate visitors, such as using full-width images and avoid distraction with minimal text.
Here's an example of the design that Reebok has chosen for its online store:
Clean & Simple – what else to add? Everything is simple, obvious and does not distract from the process.
Practical tips on the overall design of your store:
- Web design of an online store should be professionally thought out.
- Images should be of high quality, and the text should be simple and accessible.
If a visitor visits the "About Us" page, he is already interested in buying and gives the company the opportunity to prove that its product and service is the best.
It remains to be very clear about who you are, what you do and, most importantly, why you should cooperate with you. Positive reviews, achievements, social evidence on this page are only welcome.
Make sure you don't miss this opportunity – otherwise many customers will turn around without trusting the brand.
Your contact information should be clear and easily accessible. Do not forget to specify mail for communication, address and channels in social networks. The "Call me back" feature right in the contact page is extremely useful.
But it should be understood that the excess information on this page will negatively affect the perception. Stick to the same strategy: minimalist design and simplicity.
Contacts information is usually placed in the footer of the page, and users are used to finding it in a normal place.
Here are some helpful tips for creating an About Us page:
- Include basic information about your business on the page, including contact information, address, and social media accounts.
- Try not to clutter the "About Us" page with a lot of unnecessary information. Keep visitors engaged with minimal design.
The perfect online store of building materials gives much more than tile glue and nails. Partnership with reputable builders, transport companies or other companies needed in construction brings mutual benefits.
At a higher level, it is also the strengthening of business reputation.
Giving away your hard-earned money to a little-known company is not easy for most buyers. Strengthen your reputation by showing which companies work with you. They don't have to be on the scale of Coca-Cola or Apple, but even smaller brands can increase the credibility of your store.
The more partners you have, the better.
Here are some practical tips for partnering with other brands:
- Highlight affiliate companies on your homepage to immediately showcase your reputation to site visitors.
- If you have a large number of partners, showcase everyone. The more reputable brands, the stronger the trust in your business.
That keeps many potential buyers from purchasing this or that expensive thing. Among other things, the risk of wasting money.
Your consumers need to know that they will receive honest support after making a purchase, if necessary. Warranty troubleshooting after purchase and pre-purchase advice can turn potential buyers into loyal, grateful and loyal customers.
The most complete and useful type of support is online chat, which works around the clock and seven days a week. This tool can increase the conversion of your website by 10% or more.
If you don't have the resources to offer round-the-clock support, try providing a different service format to help people during business hours.
Here are some practical tips for providing online support:
- Offer support at all stages of shopping to encourage new shoppers to make their first purchase and repeat shoppers to continue shopping.
- Make sure that customer support features, whether it's a phone line or a chat box, are visible from the homepage, and that buyers are aware of the service.
No online store can exist without payments.
Every person who could not pay you through YM or another, personally convenient system for him is a lost money. Offer your customers the widest possible selection of popular payment methods so they can make purchases quickly.
Study the needs of your target audience in order to choose payment systems.
Here are some practical tips for paying for goods:
- Allow customers to create an account in your store and save payment information to make future purchases more convenient.
- Offer the widest selection of payment methods so that every customer can easily make a purchase in your store.
Social media advertising is a powerful way to connect with many potential customers in a creative and engaging way. Social media ads can be anything from a simple Facebook post to expensive Youtube video ads.
Use Google Analytics to track which channels your target audience is using most often and focus your marketing efforts on these platforms.
Here are some useful tips for social media advertising:
- Social media marketing allows for more creativity, so try to incorporate the personality of your key buyers into your ads.
- Use social media analytics to track the success of your ads and develop strategies to improve future promotions.
Blogging is the ability to generate more online store traffic.
Publications that contain keywords for SEO and useful information for consumers can rank high in search results. High-ranking articles encourage people to visit the site and are a stepping stone to building a trusting and long-term relationship with your brand.
A blog is also a means of communicating with an audience on a deep level.
By seeing how customers respond to published content, you can adjust your strategies to meet the needs and desires of buyers.
To get the most out of a blog, you need to engage a professional SEO copywriter who understands your subject, as well as occasionally publish articles or interviews with opinion leaders – recognized gurus.
Here are some practical tips for blogging an online store:
- Use SEO tools to estimate monthly search volume and keyword difficulty in terms. Conditions with a high monthly search volume and a high level of complexity are more difficult to analyze.
- Use Google Analytics to track page views of blog posts. When planning for future content, consider the past posts that received the most views.
Reviews and ratings of your products significantly increase customer confidence.
On the Internet, buyers cannot meet sellers in person, so they rely on reviews from other buyers to assess reliability. Ranking on product pages saves time by quickly showing what others think of the selected product.
Product reviews become more compelling when there are dozens or hundreds of them.
To get more comments, feel free to ask your shoppers to leave reviews after making a purchase. Customers who are completely happy with the purchase usually don't waste time on reviews because everything is already fine. Give them a light push and they may share positive experiences with others.
Here are some practical tips for using reviews:
- Specify the rating and number of reviews at the top of each product page and at the bottom where you display the content of the reviews to increase their visibility.
- Encourage people to leave reviews by offering shoppers a small discount after making a purchase or other nice bonuses.
In the world of global competition, the most important sign of an ideal online store is thoughtful, consistent and effective search engine optimization (SEO).
Your online store needs to get more traffic to increase profits.
The key to generating traffic? Search engine optimization. By including keywords in product names and descriptions, your site is more likely to get to the first lines of Google and Yandex search results. The difference in the number of clicks between the first and tenth line of search results can be 10, 20 and even 50 times!
The higher you raise an online store in search, the more customers you will get.
If you do not know how to find SEO-friendly keywords and how to add them to your website, contact the specialists of denisov studio for a free consultation.
Here are some practical tips for SEO optimization of an online store:
- Use SEO tools to find keywords that have reasonably high monthly search volumes and low complexity.
- Enter the SEO keywords you plan to add to your pages to see which sites you'll be competing with. If these are large companies, consider changing the query to a less competitive one.
Mobile shopping accounted for 30% of online purchases last year.
This figure is increasing globally – Business Insider predicts that by 2020, mobile purchases will account for about 45% of all e-commerce purchases.
With the growing use of phones for online shopping, sellers must ensure that website design is mobile-friendly so that shoppers can easily shop on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop PC.
If you have technical knowledge, you can check the requirements for the operating system, for example, official recommendations for iOS. Studio DENISOV will develop for you a mobile version of the online store, comfortable for any devices.
Here are some tips to make your website mobile-friendly:
- Choose a vertical design instead of a horizontal one for more convenient scrolling and viewing of content on phone screens.
- Check the portability of your online store by downloading it to your smartphone and browsing it yourself to find errors. To provide a more systematic approach, you can conduct testing.
Online store owners cannot implement effective development strategies without periodic analysis of the site's performance and tracking the effectiveness of campaigns.
The best way to track sales and customer behavior is to use a free and reliable tool like Google Analytics. This program provides clear metrics such as the percentage of product sales, the number of page visits, the number of abandoned carts and so on.
You can set up Google Analytics for your online store or a similar tool from Yandex by following the instructions of our technical consultants.
Continuously track your sales metrics with Analytics to form a long-term view of how to effectively engage customers and drive purchases.
Here are some useful tips for working with Google Analytics:
- When you set up Google Analytics for an online store, enable advanced ecommerce tracking to get the full range of details about your business's activities.
- Create segments in Google Analytics to form an accurate data-driven understanding of key categories of online shoppers.
Thanks to Amazon Prime, millions of people now expect free shipping.
The added value of standard shipping can easily dissuade buyers from making a purchase. Sellers who can afford to offer free shipping find themselves in the most privileged position.
While the initial cost of free shipping may seem huge to a business, many sellers get a corresponding return by increasing sales.
Make sure customers are aware of your generous policy by highlighting free shipping with flashy messages in their online store, just as U.S. Target does:
Here are some practical tips for free shipping:
- Offer free shipping to reduce overall costs for shoppers and encourage further purchases.
- Loudly tell the whole world about the possibility of free delivery of goods so that buyers are motivated to continue shopping.
It takes more than customer service to grow e-commerce – you need to reach out to people in your industry who can help you attract more buyers and expand your target audience.
Contacting the right partners allows stores to find the best deals and expand their reach by connecting with the largest number of customers.
Consider the four categories of online store partners:
- Traditional reporters are authors of publications who specialize in your subject and can create content about your products.
- Industry bloggers are writers who write blog content about your topic and showcase products like yours.
- Social media influencers are bloggers who comment on the industry on social media and have a large number of followers.
- Other entrepreneurs are online store owners, like-minded people who are engaged in the same business and are familiar with your products.
These four groups of partners can quickly spread the word about the store, so it's worth making connections and sharing your benefits with the world.
Business owners who do not have programming experience should think about the professional development of a online store with the help of special technical solutions Shopify for a quick start.
The online store module from Shopify has all the necessary functions for online trading: accounting and movement of goods, order management, configuration comparison, delivery management. Therefore, sellers can easily customize the site and adapt it to the needs of a particular activity.
Customers browse online stores in search of the lowest prices and the best shopping experience. To attract buyers, sellers are forced to compare their business with more successful colleagues.
What warranty period do competitors offer? Do they provide free shipping or only paid options? A detailed analysis of what makes a competitor more profitable will help you find and fix weaknesses in your own online store.
Here are some practical tips for evaluating competition:
- Look for similar products on large trading platforms, and not just in independent online stores. Sites like Amazon are the best indicator of the competitiveness of your products, prices and services.
- Look at the design of competitors' websites, not just their product offerings. Note that it may be more user-friendly than your own, and pricing has nothing to do with it.
Experienced trade workers know that humans are visual creatures. To increase the chances of buying, the product needs to be twisted in front of the buyer, help to fall in love with him.
We process images in 0.1 seconds and perceive visual information 60,000 times faster than verbal information. Thanks to the peculiarities of the human brain, the competent visual design of an online store really works wonders.
Beautiful photos of goods in high resolution, where you can see every thread and seam, make a strong psychological impression on buyers.
These pictures better than a thousand words confirm the quality of the thing, allow you to mentally imagine it on yourself or in the interior of your home, enjoy the style. Can a text description do something similar? Unlikely.
Shoppers won't be able to touch the item, but will feel safer when shopping online, having a complete visual representation of the product.
Here are some tips for using images:
- Include a 360-degree photo viewer on product pages so shoppers can view it from all angles.
- Turn on the zoom feature on product photos so that customers can learn in detail about the small details.
If you traded in a traditional store, then remember how many deterrents are present in communicating with customers. Starting from limited areas for displaying goods, and ending with precious time for each client.
Online store owners should not worry about time frames that limit the content of pages or communication with the buyer. Such freedom cannot be ignored. Offer promotions, bonuses and new benefits.
Whether it's a pop-up discount on your store's homepage or a promotional email about current sales, sellers should actively reach out to buyers, pushing them in a variety of ways to make purchases.
Sellers should use data-driven tools (tip #11) to segment customers and develop different incentives for different groups of buyers.
For example, you can send an email offering a discount on the first purchase to visitors who viewed the product, but did not dare to buy.
Our practical tips for stimulating buyers:
- Use discount pop-ups from time to time, not often. Bombarding site visitors with pop-ups is likely to irritate them or turn away from an overly annoying seller altogether.
- Track down which coupon codes are used most often to determine which stocks are the most successful and should be used again in the future.
Organic word-of-mouth social media marketing can boost your business.
Public discussions of your brand and products on social media will serve as social proof. This is a well-known psychological phenomenon, suggesting that the behavior of other people ("crowds") reflects the correct pattern of behavior.
Online shoppers can't see your products in person, so they consider what other customers are saying about your Facebook and VK business when making a purchase decision.
Encourage social media communication around your product, encourage shoppers to share information. The principle is simple: the more and better people talk about you, the more trust your business inspires. But this is by no means easy.
For example, an online store can offer customers to participate in a contest if they leave a comment on a social network or share with a friend.
Here are some tips for encouraging social media sharing:
- Do not limit communication for buyers! Reach out to partners you've partnered with and offer to share information about your business or tag your brand on social media.
- Don't break the chain of exchange. If someone mentions your brand on a social network, try to continue using tactics like texting on Twitter or commenting under a post.
Email marketing is an easy way to build relationships with customers.
Merchants can send finely crafted messages to specific segments of shoppers, playing on the specific needs of each group.
Appealing to the live interests of buyers, email marketing will become a powerful tool to stimulate sales and increase your revenues.
To begin with, you need to collect customer opinions and analyze what they want to receive from your company and whether they want to correspond with you at all.
There are many opportunities to study the opinions of customers, including at checkout or in a pop-up window while browsing the site.
Not every buyer will agree to give an email address, but customers who do so often turn out to be active buyers. With a positive attitude towards your brand, they are likely to respond well to email marketing.
Here are some practical tips for using email marketing:
- Use software tools such as Campaign Monitor to track the success of your messages. For example, how many times it was opened or which links were most often clicked.
- Use the software to track which customers are unsubscribing. Using other information from the buyer's profile, try to determine why they unsubscribed and how you can use this information to prevent future opt-outs.
When asked what the ideal online store should be, from 20 to 40% of online shoppers answer – safe. People want to know that you guarantee the quality of your goods and a calm refund if the goods for some reason do not fit.
Buying online with a limited return policy is risky.
The buyer cannot see the goods in person, so he must hope that the goods really meet expectations. And people's expectations are very different.
Sellers can gain the trust of buyers and encourage purchases by offering crystal clear exchange policies and money-back guarantees.
Permission to return the goods, especially if the customer has changed his mind or the goods do not meet expectations, forms your impeccable image in the eyes of potential buyers.
The money back guarantee is very important. This does not mean that people will always send parcels back. Of course, some will – but the rest will begin to trust your business and willingly buy from you. The latter usually outweigh.
People by nature do not like risk, so a flexible payment policy will be attractive to them. As a result, you'll get more customers than if you didn't have a money-back guarantee.
Our practical tips for exchanging goods and returning money:
- Create an "Exchange and Refund Policy" page on the site to describe the specific terms of acceptable returns and money-back guarantee claims. Your customers will appreciate the transparency of the page when making further purchases.
- Consider free shipping on returns. Providing buyers with free refunds is an additional loss for sellers, but the business will receive a bonus in the form of brand loyalty for impeccable service.
Online shopping gives you complete autonomy and freedom regarding the customer experience. Instead of following market policies, anyone can create their own online business on unique terms, ensuring long-term success.
Online entrepreneurs with the freedom to own an online store can build an outstanding company – if you know the customers and know how to work with them.
If your store meets the 20 points outlined in this article, you can count on a significant competitive advantage over other market players.
Need advice and practical help? You can always contact us