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Published On: Thu, Aug 7th, 2014

6 Commonly Overlooked Elements of an Online Store

Setting up your own online store has become increasingly popular with enterprising people, and the Internet has made it very easy to do. If you have an Internet connection and a product or service that you can sell, then you already have everything you need to get started. However, if you want to be able to sell a lot and make a good profit, you’re going to have to do more than just set up shop.

If you’re planning on starting your own online store, make sure you don’t miss these commonly overlooked elements.

1. Store Design and Landing Page
Some first time store owners will find any website that supports selling and use the default design and layout. This usually leads to a very generic looking site. As an owner, you want to grab the interest of your visitors. You also have to remember that all other elements of your shop will depend on your web design. If your online store’s website isn’t functional, potential buyers can be instantly discouraged from exploring and seeing what you have to offer.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for?
  • Is your font easy to read?
  • Are the colors of your site easy on the eyes?
  • Does the design reflect your brand?

Keep these in mind when you make your design. Much like how department stores have clear floor plans and decorate their store front windows worthy of Pinterest, you want to entice your visitors to take a look around.

Give them a reason to click.

Public domain photo/OpenClipart via Wikimedia Commons

Public domain photo/OpenClipart via Wikimedia Commons

2. Product Photos
Once visitors have decided to check out your store, you need to give them something to look at. Pictures are your first step to selling whatever you have to offer. Most store owners know enough to put photos of what they’re selling, but often make the mistake of using few and small photos with low resolutions. Show your merchandise for exactly what it is, and use large, high quality photos of the item. You should also provide several shots from different angles. Let your potential customers be able to zoom in, too.

While you’re at it, make sure that the photos aren’t too big in terms of file size. Such photos will make the loading time of your website slow down, and can discourage visitors from further checking out your products. These days, no one wants to wait too long. Your photos should be large enough (in resolution) to show detail, but small enough (in file size) to load efficiently.

3. Descriptions
The next step to sealing the deal is to tell them about the product. This is the part where you sell, sell, sell. The standard description would have details like the item’s color, what it does, what the features are and what an item is for. But the secret to having engaging descriptions is to give them the answers to these questions in a memorable way. For example, ThinkGeek uses funny yet informative descriptions to sell their products to their target market. If you’re a fan of medieval and fantasy merchandise, then you’ll appreciate the tone and voice of the description that ThinkGeek used. Take advantage of the description area to talk to your customer and convince them as to why they should make the purchase.

4. Options
Sometimes, buyers will like a piece of merchandise, but will want it in a different color. Many online stores overlook linking to different styles or similar or related merchandise, and miss out on the chance to make a sale. You want to advertise what options your buyer has so they can choose what they want. Aside from this, putting similar things together makes clients think of purchases in bundles. There’s a reason why grocery stores place bags of chips next to the soda shelf. Amazon displays similar or related merchandise on its product pages, and doing so increases the chance that users will buy more than one thing. Doing the same on your online store could help increase sales and promote other items you have too.

5. Pricing Information
Finally, your customer has decided that they want to buy something. Tell them how much it is! You want to make it as clear as possible. If there’s a discount, show them the complete computation for the final price. If you’ve made sure to pay attention to the previous elements, then your buyer won’t care too much about the price. Also, make sure the payment options and procedures are clear and secure as well. Your customer already wants to pay, so make it as easy as possible for them to give you their money without risking their personal information.

6. Customer Service
Customer service is probably the most overlooked element of an online store. You’re mistaken if you think having a store is all about selling and making money. Aside from doing the administrative work of running the store, you also have to talk to visitors, answer their questions and help them when things go wrong. And don’t think that things won’t go wrong, because at one point or another, they will. The best way to deal with this is to be prepared. Provide clear methods of how you can be contacted, and make a refund/return policy. SaleHoo discusses some of Amazon’s customer service protocol that you should follow. Having a good customer service will guarantee that customers will come back to you for repeat business.

A good online store isn’t just about prices. To make a store that attracts visitors and sells its products and services, you have to make sure that all elements are up to par. Each element has its importance, so make sure you invest in each one. You’ll have a difficult time creating a successful store if one is lacking.

Guest Author: Gabby Roxas

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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