Setting up an online store can be quite simple, though it is important to pay careful attention to customization and avoid the boilerplate shortcuts. Create a website that is attractive, that brands you and your company individually, and that incorporates shopping cart software to make the checkout process straightforward and fast.
Get Ready to Set up Your Online Store
Technology, existing templates, and boilerplate shops have made it easy to set up an online store in just a few minutes. But the question is whether you should use these ready-made online stores. The best shops are those that are created with care, made in a unique style and with attention paid to product selection, design, and shopping cart implementation.
There are many steps involved in creating a truly powerful and profitable online store. The first decision to make is what to sell. Unless your store is a well-known brand, it is best to focus on a niche area to gain the greatest focus on specific keywords. Over time you may vary your product line to keep your customers’ interest, and also to compete against other vendors who are coming into your market space with similar offerings. Paying careful attention to your product mix will ensure a constant flow of customers.
Make It Easy for Customers
Most important is making the shopping experience easy for your customers. The buying process needs to be simple and straightforward, so once your customer has decided to buy, it’s your job to make the process easy. The shopping cart software you select will make a big difference to the customer’s shopping experience. This piece of software, whether it is a hosted service or run on-premise on your own secure server, reflects on you and your store. When your customer checks out, the shopping cart software is what helps them gather their products in one virtual location, total their purchases, and make their payment. Reassure customers by providing a secure shopping cart implementation, which accepts credit card information over an encrypted connection.
A shopping cart that gives you a good degree of customization will help you improve the customer experience and retain more customers. The shopping cart should give you the ability to create a checkout page that incorporates the look and feel of your main site, with your company name and logo. It should also give customers choices in payment methods.
Keep Your Store Organized
Before your customer even gets to the shopping cart, you need to organize your website to make it easy and fun for them to shop. This starts with the design software. Make sure to include a search facility to allow customers to search your site. Present your products in categories, and do not make too many layers in your site organization. A customer should never have to click through more than two or three layers to find what they want.
Customer Service Comes First
Customer service starts with keeping the customer in mind when you create the store and when you choose your shopping cart system. Beyond that, customer service requires you to be visible in cyberspace. The web site should have contact information available. When an online store lacks contact information, or any information about the shop and the owner, customers will resist purchasing from that site. Be responsive to customer problems, complaints and returns, just as you would in a brick-and-mortar shop.