Today, retailers spanning nearly every industry have an online shopping component. For many industries, though, launching and managing an online store is filled with frustration and growing pains. After all, the online shopping experience is vastly different and more complex than in-person shopping, and successfully launching an online store comes with challenges.
Whether it’s posters, mugs, graphic T-shirts or other gear, having an online store is how retailers increase their bottom line and drive profits, particularly in today’s environment when Americans are doing most of their shopping online. In order to grow an online presence and launch a successful store, there are a few things retailers should consider.
1. Installation and testing should take less than 24 hours.
It’s crucial to the success of launching an online store to source a trusted partner, whether it’s an app or software to help in the creation and management of the store itself. Installation of the software and testing out features of the online store should be up and running within 24 hours. A lengthy wait time for installation is money wasted and retailers don’t have time to wait — they need their online store up and running ASAP. It shouldn’t take days or weeks for the initial installation. It’s crucial to work with a partner that allows for a quick installation and testing before the online store is ready for consumers to visit. With a quicker installation, retailers will be able to start uploading products to the online store almost immediately.
2. Don’t spend all your money on a steep upfront fee.
Depending on what you offer, some online stores require more maintenance than others, so don’t be swayed by an upfront fee that could end up costing you more in the long run. There’s a lot of money wasted when it comes to the initial set up of an online store, so look for a partner with a nominal monthly subscription vs. an outlandish upfront fee. After all, you never know how often you’ll need to tweak/adjust the products you’re selling, and knowing how much you’ll spend on a monthly basis will allow for you to have a better understanding of your overall costs.
3. The online store has to be easy for consumers to use.
Consumers shop online because it’s easy and convenient, so it’s important for retailers to keep this in mind when setting up an online store. Don’t overcomplicate things; err on the side of keeping it simple. An online store needs to be easy for retailers to maneuver on the backend, but more importantly, it has to be intuitive for consumers — i.e., they can find what they’re looking for quickly, add it to their cart, and check out without having to jump through hoops. Simplicity doesn't have to come at the cost of great design or cutting back on sophisticated product visualization, which brings us to our fourth tip.
4. Leverage a product designer that matches your branding.
Consumers are visiting your online store because they like your brand, so it’s important your e-commerce site aligns with your unique branding. Consumers aren’t going to buy anything from an online store that looks thrown together. Therefore, find a product designer that allows for you to be in charge of the way consumers view and interact with products on your online store. Many product designers will include their own branding (“powered by X”), which can come across as unprofessional, so choose a product designer that allows for the colors to align with your branding and makes it easy to remove its logo from product designs.
When it comes to launching an online store, there's more to consider than just including an "Add to Cart" button on your website. Most importantly, retailers need to have a firm understanding of what they want to sell and how to convey their products in the best possible light. By implementing the right back-end technology to your online store, your business will have the ability to get up and running faster, offer more products, drive greater engagement, and increase revenues.
Angelo Coletta is the CEO and founder of Zakeke, a 3D product customization tool.
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In 2017, Angelo Coletta founded Zakeke to create a platform to help brands build engaging customer experiences through customization and personalization using 2D, 3D and AR. As CEO of Zakeke, Angelo leads the team’s global mission to own the visual shopping experience. By helping customers have a positive e-commerce experience, Angelo and his team work behind the scenes to make complex technology easy for any brand to adopt with the goal of increasing engagement and driving sales. For more information on Zakeke, visit https://www.zakeke.com/.