'Selling' has now evolved into multi-channel and retailers need the ability to sell easily through different sales channels ie in-store, face-to face, online and through marketplaces, like eBay and Amazon.
It's estimated that the eCommerce sector will have a value of more than $2tn over the next couple of years, and because the numbers show an increase in the number of shoppers researching on their mobile devices first, retailers must invest in their online presence to support their in-store sales and the multi-channel retailing experience.
But where do you start to ensure you create an online retail outlet that's a success from day one?
Take as long as you need to choose the best name for your online shop. Make sure it matches your brand and is memorable and easy to spell, so you don't lose repeat customers or new visitors.
It can even help to use a USP of your retail business or a keyword you're trying to target with your SEO strategy (more about this later on).
Choosing the best ecommerce platform and hosting is critical to the success of your retail business, so shop around and do your research beforehand. Ask for a free trial to see first hand how it can work for your products and business, or request a demo to show you around the system and ask your important questions.
What's important to you eg what features do want and what features does the ecommerce platform provide? Do you have to pay extra for these or are they included in the offering?
Ideally, you need a platform that provides the ability to sell multi-channel in order to maximise your sales potential fully, as well as one that provides consistency across all your sales channels and the ability for inventory management.
Using an ecommerce platform with an online shop builder can make it much easier for you or your web designer to set up and customise your online shop and can help speed up your time to market, rather than designing a brand-new ecommerce website from scratch.
It's very important to plan the outline for your eCommerce website before you even start on the design.
A customer wants to be able to find the products and information they are looking for, quickly and easily, and taking the time to think about the structure, features and categories, will help you choose the kind of layout and theme you want for your online shop, to reflect the products you will sell and the message you want to convey.
Your logo, your colours, your message, your story - your online shop needs to reflect all of this. It needs to be clean and it's important not to overwhelm the site. Remember it's aim is to sell your products, build loyalty and get your customers to come back to buy more.
Make sure you add elements that build trust such as product reviews or testimonials. If you're a member of an association, add its logo and this in turn can help with your credibility.
What about your favourite ecommerce websites? What can you learn from them? Can you incorporate any of these elements into your own online store?
An online shop builder that will allow you to choose a shopfront theme , along with easy customisation to meet your branding goals, will ensure that the finished online store looks like yours, is unique to you and is both inviting and intuitive for your customers to use.
If you want your customers to buy your products they have to feel confident about what they are buying and high quality images and beautiful product shots are a must to encourage that purchase. A zoom function will enable a customer to look at the finer detail.
Product descriptions should really explain what the product is about. Think about why the customer would want to buy it and try and entice them to do so. It's also a great opportunity to get in any keywords or phrases that will help with your SEO strategy.
Here it's so important to show if the product is in stock or out of stock. There is nothing worse than allowing a customer to buy an out of stock product, that's one way to get a bad review. Ensure your point of sale system and online shop seamlessly synchronises and updates stock levels automatically across each sales channel.
It's important to communicate your shipping fees early on as this can make or break your sale and once the product or products have been added to the basket, an easy, simple and clear checkout process is imperative.
Offer the ability for a customer to register their details and have their own account, but also ensure a guest checkout is available for those shoppers who don't wish to register.
Multiple payment options means greater convenience for your customers. They want the choice of how to pay so PayPal, Credit Card and Debit Card are a must. And if possible, offer Click and Collect, as it's a proven benefit with 60% of shoppers having used this form of delivery on occasion, and 28% want to use it regularly.
Put yourself in your customers shoes, what do they want to see? Browse your ecommerce store, view and purchase a product. Can any improvements be made?
Ensure your ecommerce website has been created in a responsive design or uses a responsive ecommerce template, which means your online shop will adapt and work well on mobile devices.
Your content needs to incorporate keywords and phrases related to your products and what your customers are searching for, as well as be optimised for mobile viewing.
Analysing and staying on top of the SEO for your online shop needs planning and the inclusion of relevant, awesome content in your blog can really boost those rankings and help your potential customers find you.
There are plenty of tools out there to help you identify the keywords most appropriate for attracting your target audience to your online shop, such as Google Keyword Planner.
Social Media is a great way of creating brand awareness, to share your content, as well as encouraging others to share it as well.
Where are your potential customers? If they're using Facebook and Instagram there's no point promoting your content on Twitter! Think about what platforms your customers will be using and create a strong social media presence, promoting your products, business and content.
Live chat is a great way to communicate immediately with your visitors. With a live chat module in your online shop you can provide a personalised service that enables you to answer any queries to encourage that sale.
It's not only convenient for the customer but if done right can improve your customer service and build loyalty from your customers.
With it's combined eCommerce platform and EPOS system, it's ideal for small and medium sized retailers who want an easy set-up, want to save time, don't want to worry about difficulties integrating secure payment systems, want an affordable system but without compromising on features, as well as a system that provides everything needed to sell multi-channel, then ShopTill-e could be what you're looking for.
An additional benefit of ShopTill-e.com is that it can grow with you and is scalable. For example you may wish to start with the ecommerce platform first for your online sales and add the epos system later or vice versa and that's ok, with ShopTill-e you can do just that!
ShopTill-e has been created to work with you, at your speed, to save you money and time, whilst managing your retail business efficiently.
Try the 14 day free trial or request a demo to find out how ShopTill-e.com can help your retail business.