It is not enough for retail stores today to only operate on a physical level. Retailers need to have a great online presence as well. A lot of the same principles that are used in the interior design of a store can also be applied when building a website. Retail websites are unique. They need to be designed differently than online publications or a photographer’s online portfolio.
When a consumer comes to your website, they want a store that is easy to use. The brand message of your business has to come across immediately. Without a good first impression, your store’s site could be scaring away potential customers.
You would not design the visual merchandising of your store’s physical location in just any way. A store needs to adhere to certain organizational principles. The simpler your layout is, the better it is for your online store. Although you have the possibility of using complex Flash graphics and compounding a lot of information into a small area, it is not recommended for a retail website. Consider researching some popular Internet retailers, as well as your favorite online shopping websites, and see how simple their layouts are. With this in mind, use a website builder with a simple template to set up your retail shop online. Pre-existing templates make it easy for anyone to organize their site.
Display Your Brand
Just because you are keeping it simple on your site does not mean you do not need great images and other visual content to entice consumers. Keep the front page of your website up to date. Just like in an actual store, the freshest products and newest promotions are displayed at the front of the store. Do the same on a website. Make new stock and current specials the first thing that customers see when they arrive on the site’s homepage. If there is anything else that makes your store different than competitors, make it visible on the page. Your business’ website should be streamlined with its branding image. Aspects that make your business unique are an integral part of your branding. For example, this could be something like free shipping or a gift with purchase. Keep the most relevant information of your brand and business on the forefront of your business’ online image.
Although you want to keep your website user-friendly and in line with your brand, there are some aspects that cannot be overlooked. Every website needs a search bar. It helps customers who are looking for something either general or specific. If your website’s navigation design is lacking, a search bar can prevent the person from leaving your online retail site. In addition to a search bar, every site also needs an easily navigated and organized criteria/category bar. This makes it easy for visitors to navigate through your products in an organized way.
A well-designed online retail site is as important as a store’s brick-and-mortar location. Do not underestimate the value a customer-friendly website will have on your business.