The golden rules for your online shop

by Andrea del Campo, 26.02.15

An online shop provides a great showroom for potential customers to find you and get to know your business, but selling online involves much more than offering just a couple of products or services. Here are the top eight rules to help you on your way.

1. Design your shop as if you were your own customer

Try to make shopping as easy and pleasant for your customers as possible. How would you like to shop on your site? The idea is to present your business with a simple, clean and professional layout that will be attractive to your customers. How? You can, for example, organise your shop into different categories and structure your home page with the products or offerings that you want to present more prominently. By doing so, your products will be distributed logically into different sections, making it easier for your customers to scan your shop and understand your selling proposition. Keep in mind that when it comes to shop design, often less is more. So it is better to show only your best selling products on the home page, than trying to present everything on one page.

2. Your products, your models

As we said above, your shop is not only selling products, but also presenting offers to your potential customers and trying to convince them of their unique and special value. That is why product pictures and descriptions mean a lot to your shop. High quality pictures make a huge impact on potential customers and they should allow your customer to have a “full experience” with your products. Think of it this way: as your customers cannot touch or feel your items, your pictures need to showcase their qualities, properties and sizes. Your product pictures should be clean, detailed, clear, not too dark, appealing and show different perspectives of the same item. After a customer takes a look at all of your 3-4 product pictures, they should feel like they have picked up an item and looked at it all over. For further information, they have your product descriptions. They should explain to the customer all of what could not be seen in the product pictures: How big is that item? What material is it made of? What are the technical specifications? Does it need additional accessories? Etc.

3. Do not overprice your product

How much does your product really cost? This question does not mean either “How much you want your product to be sold for” or “How much it costs to produce”, but rather: how much are your customers willing to pay for your product? As you may know, the price is one of the factors which may convince or demotivate your customers to buy your products. So take into account: how much it costs to make it, how much time, how much it costs to ship and at what prices your competitors are selling similar sorts of products.

4. To offer or not offer free Shipping costs? That is the question

When it comes to shipping, you will have to ask yourself the question: Would you prefer to offer free shipping, lower the prices of your products to compensate the additional costs or add the shipping costs on top of your normal prices? Whatever you decide, be transparent with the costs. Customers do not want surprises at the checkout. But, if you do choose to offer free delivery, then make it seen! There is no other thing consumers like more than free shipping when buying online. Additionally, if you have a physical store, then get people in there by offering store pickup. Merchants living nearby your shop would really appreciate this free option.

5. Keywords: the key of improving your SEO

As simple as it sounds: Potential customers look for products in search engines like Google. You want these customers to find you. Then you should allow Google to find you. Logical, right? How? Keywords, keywords, keywords! Ask yourself the following question: what will my potential customers be typing in Google when looking for products like mine? “LED blue light bulb?” Then use them all over your online shop content: product descriptions, title of your pictures, about us page, etc. But, do not forget to check how many people are searching for that term monthly and whether the keywords you’ve chosen are good enough to improve your SEO optimisation. To do so, you can check the value of a certain word with the Google Keyword tool. Keep in mind that a highly searched keyword may also mean very high competition.

6. Allow your customers to use more than one payment method

If possible, try to offer your customers at least two different payment methods to give them the possibility to choose what suits them best. If you force them to choose only one payment method and they cannot finish the checkout, you would not only lose a purchase, but also lose an ongoing customer.

7. Think of your shop as a brand

This does not apply only to your shop design, but also to your products and packaging. You should have a clear vision of what you want your brand to be and stick with it. Having a fully integrated brand through your communication channels, website, packaging and so on, means basically that you care about your business and your customers. Because this extra effort and personal touch of creative packaging or unique wrapping will be appreciated, you are likely to earn a loyal customer.

8. Support your customer-(relations)

Additional to how you present your products, is the point of how you present yourself to potential customers. This is key to not only building trust with potential customers but to maintaining customer relationships. If a customer trusts you and your product, they are much more likely to promote your store to their friends through word of mouth and other networking channels.

About the author

was an editor at ePages. With passion for merchant advice, practical tips and commerce news she enriched our Spanish and English blog.

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  1. 10.06.2015

    Really these are the golden techniques to built up a popular online shop. We should follow her rules for any online shop.

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