As bizarre as it seems, there are still companies today that regard websites as just one of those ‘things’ they’re supposed to have. But having one isn’t enough. Some people consider a website a front for their ‘real’ stores, but it’s so much more.
More people are shopping online than ever before and the numbers are growing all the time. Websites are globally accessible – for a lot of people it’s the only store of yours they’ll ever see. According to eMarketer, retail e-commerce sales in Australia will rise 14.4% in 2015 and pass the $10 billion mark.1
High-street stores can encourage shoppers by having a great vibe and free coffee or wi-fi. They can discourage shoppers with bad ambience and customer experience. If you get your website wrong customers will dip in, be discouraged and then never come back. If, however, you get it right you will develop a continually growing, brand-loyal, group of customers. Your website must capture and deliver the soul, the personality, of your business. It must be responsive, mobile friendly, have great search engine optimisation and a robust website strategy which evolves to meet your customers’ needs.
Knowing how to get it wrong is just as important as knowing how to get it right.
Whatever you do don’t:
1. Lose Perspective
As important as a website is, it’s not a business. You wouldn’t put up a billboard and consider that your business, so don’t think of your website like that. While e-commerce is on the rise it still only accounts for 4.5% of total retail shares. Your website is a part of your business strategy.2
2. Develop a Lack of Focus
Your website needs one clear message and everything else – the design, functionality, copywriting – everything should relate to that one message. If your message is fuzzy, people will get confused. It’s two short steps from confusion to annoyance and then to someone else’s site.
3. Have an Out of Date Design
There’s retro and there’s out of date. Make sure your web design suits your brand. They should be one and the same thing, not competing with each other. If your design is ‘so last decade’ customers will believe you are as well.
4. Don’t Waste Good Real Estate
As we’ve said, your website is a store. It’s valuable real estate. Make it work for you. You wouldn’t have naked mannequins in otherwise empty shop windows on the high street would you? Don’t do it on your website.
5. Don’t Have Confusing Navigation
A website menu needs to be short, sharp and to the point. If your customers can’t make sense of your menu they won’t bother with the rest of your site.
6. Have a Mobile Unfriendly Website
You’ve got a great website but it doesn’t work on mobile devices? This is a major error. Nearly 2000 million people worldwide shop via their mobiles according to comScore. Apart from laptops and smartphones people will be trying to access your site through tablets, game consoles, smart tvs, smart watches and smart wristbands.3
The whole world is accessing the internet and more people are shopping online make sure that their experience of your website is one that they will enjoy and that will be profitable for you.