Make Your Website Stand Out From The Crowd
E-commerce is extremely tempting for any small business owner. Increasing numbers of small businesses are now operating entirely online, with no brick and mortar store as a base. There are various reasons for this. Not only does operating online prove a lot cheaper than managing a commercial store, but it opens up your products to a worldwide audience with the simple addition of international shipping. This is a huge benefit when you consider that you never know where the majority of your customers will be based.
E-commerce also means that you are open around the clock, seven days a week. This can help you generate more profit as people can shop with you as and when they please, rather than having to head into a physical store during its opening hours. However, pretty much everybody is trying their hand at it. The market is pretty saturated. So you’re going to have to try to get your website to stand out from the crowd. With a little know how and insight, you can achieve this. Here are a few areas to focus on to get you started in the right direction:
An Appealing Landing Page
A landing page is where your visitor “lands” when she types your website address into a search bar or is directed to your website through search engines or advertising links. Most of the time, your landing page isn’t where you display your full inventory of products. It doesn’t contain your FAQs. In fact, it doesn’t have much information on at all.
So what is its purpose? Studies have shown that the average person will decide whether to stay on a site or exit within five seconds of the landing page opening. You want to make sure that your site stands out and encourages them to spend time there. This can be difficult, but once you’ve mastered your design, you should be good to go for a while.
There are a few things that you can incorporate into your landing page to catch consumers’ attention. A website flowchart will allow you to organize your content visually. An announcement bar at the top of the page can offer customers a small discount on their first purchase. If possible, only offer it to those that sign up to your mailing list. In turn, you can keep in touch with them, updating them of new product launches, sales, and special events.
Next, a show reel or slideshow. This is a simple way to display your favorite stock. Use professional images and consider using text overlays with buttons linking to buy the products that are being featured. Further down, you could have a link to your social media accounts and any featured blogs that you might have.
Consistent Brand Image
Branding is important in all areas of your small business, so you shouldn’t neglect it when it comes to your website. Branding is essentially what lets people know what you and your products are all about, as well as helping consumers to differentiate between your products and the alternatives supplied by competitor companies. It should convey information at a moment’s glance, encapsulating your brand’s entire image in a small snippet of visual information. It should be clear from the moment an individual hits your landing page.
Incorporate your brand’s signature color scheme into your website through banners, highlighted links, and buttons. You can also place your logo at the top of each page. If you are unsure of how to go about doing this yourself, work with an experienced web designer or agency. After a short consultation and familiarization with your goals, they should be able to bring your dreams to life.
360 Degree Images
Product photography is extremely important for showcasing your products. When people are looking to purchase items from your website, your product images are all they have at their disposal. Your potential customers will use your images to determine whether your products are what they’re looking for, whether they appear to be high-quality, and ultimately whether they want to invest in them.
A brilliant way to show off your products in a way that your competitors aren’t is to offer 360 degree images. These images allow customers to spin the image, looking at the product from all angles, almost as if they were handling the product in real life. This is a difficult skill to master, and you will likely need specialist equipment to get the job done. You can find a complete guide on the process here. Alternatively, you could outsource to a tech-savvy product photographer, who will be able to take the images on your behalf.
You may think the days of product catalogs are long behind us. However, online catalogs are a brilliant business tool that shouldn’t be kicked under the carpet. Consider the profound success of image-sharing apps such as Instagram and Pinterest. A virtual catalog can give your customers an insight into the best stock that you have to offer.
There are several ways that you can get this information across. First, you could stick to tradition and simply add product images and descriptions like a standard catalog. Alternatively, you can make your catalog look a little more editorial, like a high-end magazine. Add stylized images from photo shoots that reflect your goods in the best light possible. You could even use an E-catalog as a newsletter, filling your customers in on your brand’s progression and latest launches. Look for options that offer added extras such as mobile support, link detection, detailed zoom, and page statistics.
So many sales are lost because a customer wants to find out further information about a product, but loses interest before they get their reply. This is one of the main benefits of operating on a brick and mortar basis – you can offer immediate customer service. But not to worry if you don’t have a physical store. You can install instant messaging systems into your web page, too. If you’re on the other end of the line ready to answer, you won’t have to worry about missing sales. Generally speaking, it’s best to incorporate this as a pop-up box in the bottom right hand corner of your website. It can be easily accessed there and doesn’t interfere with the rest of your web design. Features that allow potential customers to see when you are online and when you are typing a reply are beneficial, encouraging them to stay on your website over your competitors.
These are just a few features that you might want to consider incorporating into your web design. Not only do they make your page more appealing and easier to use, but they make your website stand out from the crowd and draw customers away from your competitors.