Instead of going the brick-and-mortar route, many aspiring shop-keeps are choosing to take their business ventures online – and it isn’t hard to see why. Online stores are cheaper to operate, easier to get off the ground and have the power to reach a broader audience, making them ideal for cost-conscious retail entrepreneurs. However, setting up a website and offering enticing products is only half the battle. You’ll also need to offer your customers a convenient, user-friendly shopping experience. Fortunately, building this type of site is far from daunting – provided, of course, you know which features to include. When putting together your online store, make a point of including the following amenities.
1. Easy Checkout
If there’s one thing modern-day consumers hate, it’s a cumbersome checkout process. This is particularly true of online shoppers, who value speed and succinctness when it comes to making purchases. Research has shown that a fair number of smart phone purchases constitute impulse buys, and as the name implies, the more time someone has to reflect on such a purchase, the less likely they are to follow through. As such, simplicity should be foremost on your mind when deciding on how your customers should check out.
In addition to utilizing a cutting-edge online shopping cart system, the actual checkout process shouldn’t eat up a lot of time. After a customer enters their financial info and shipping preferences, they should be good to go. Bombarding them with pop-ups or forcing them to take surveys will only serve to annoy them and diminish your chances of receiving repeat business.
2. Function over Aesthetics
It should go without saying that every online store proprietor wants their site to be aesthetically pleasing – and there’s nothing wrong with this. At the same time, however, attractive visuals should never come at the cost of hampered functionality. Regardless of how pretty your site is, shoppers are going to become frustrated if it’s slow to load and/or cumbersome to navigate. Since online shopping is supposed to be all about convenience, it’s in your best interest to prioritize functionality over aesthetics. Of course, this isn’t to say that visuals should be a complete afterthought, but how the site runs should take precedence over how it looks.
3. Mobile Optimization
For any online store to truly succeed in this day and age, it needs to be optimized for mobile devices. A sizable majority of online traffic now comes from smart phones and other handheld accessories, so if your store hasn’t been optimized to run on these devices, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Fortunately, a fair number of DIY site-building companies make mobile optimization a piece of cake.
A well-managed, user-friendly online store stands to turn a handsome profit. However, in order to bring this about, proprietors need to entice consumers to visit their establishments and get the word out. No matter how much money you put into promoting your enterprise, it will ultimately be meaningless if the store itself is cumbersome to navigate or offers a subpar shopping experience. With this in mind, the previously discussed tenets should be high atop your priority list when creating your online store.