Retail Online Business Tips. Quite a Contrast from Information Based Websites
This Retail Online Business Tips section will point out what it takes to be successful with a website that sells as opposed to an information based website. So far you may have been reading mostly about optimizing your website content to get ranked higher by the search engines. This approach is the only approach to be successful if you are operating an information based website.
See it’s a bit tough when we are dealing with selling on the Internet. We are not dealing with our customer on a face to face basis. On the Internet, you are your website and your website is you. You communicate and persuade your visitor through your website, which is your virtual storefront. Don’t think about your website as any different from your store.
A website is just as important, if not more. On the Internet, you can’t just build “it” and expect “them” (your visitors) to come. You have to market yourself aggressively to attract visitor traffic, and it doesn’t end there. Once they are on your website, your website will have to engage your visitor and persuade them to buy you product or service.
There is a lot of psychology involved when it comes to your visitor’s decision whether to buy from you. You have to appeal to them and give them that comfort level that you are a legitimate business that stands behind their product or service.
The retail online business tips in this discussion may seem a bit contradictory to what you have already read on this website. However keep in mind that this discussion is geared toward an eCommerce website (a website that sells), not an information based niche website.
Retail Online Business Tip #1
Your website content will make the biggest impact on your visitor. Words are quite powerful; you will have to use them to your advantage. There is no better way to communicate and build trust in your visitor online than through compelling website content.
Good web content for a retail website is quite different from a concept based website. With a retail website, your content must build trust in the visitor and persuade them to make a purchase from you.
You have a tougher balance to strike with an eCommerce website because to attract heavy traffic you will still need to write content compelling to both your human visitor and the search engines. Your website must be optimized so that you are ranked high by search engines when your potential customers are searching for you. That said, your content must make the sale once they have landed on your website!
Retail Online Business Tip #2
It is said that a picture is a thousand words. This is very true. The choice and quality of images on your website will speak to your commitment to the product and service you are offering. It speaks to your commitment to cater to your potential customer. So use quality images and provide the option of viewing your images larger whenever possible.
Maybe have a thumbnail image initially and the option to click it for a larger image. Be careful not to loose resolution while enlarging your image however. Go the extra step of taking original pictures of your product. Teach yourself how to enhance them using photo editors such as Adobe Photoshop. If you cannot do this, spend a few dollars on hiring someone to do it for you.
You can hire photo editors very cheap these days through sites like RentACoder
and ELance where you can put up a project for bid and select your own service provider. The best part is that you don’t have to pay until you project is completed and you are fully satisfied.
With a concept based website, I may have very well suggested quite the opposite; making very little use of images, keeping them relatively small and away from the visitor’s view. Now this may be different if your information based website’s topic is something like Dubai City Hotels or California Beaches, where you might want to include some good looking images for your visitor to make their browsing experience more pleasurable.
Retail Online Business Tip #3
An often forgotten but very important component of a successful eCommerce website is the choice of color you make. Its effects may not be immediately apparent to you or your website’s visitor. However, it makes a big difference to your visitor’s subconscious.
A lot of times we are not able to pin point certain things but can feel their effects. The colors you use on your website are a perfect example of this. Remember, it is all about making your visitor feel welcomed, building trust and comfort. It may be hard to believe at first but your website’s colors make a very big difference to your visitor’s decision of staying on your website vs. clicking out of it.
Colors communicate to your visitor’s subconscious. Each color represents a different meaning. Just think about the different colors of roses and the purpose for each. Also think about the color of what you wear at certain events (someone’s death, wedding, etc) Do you see where this is going?
Websites are no different, and it is important to keep this in mind when designing the various components of your website’s look. The following are just some of the basic colors commonly used this website design and what they often communicate:
– Communicates darkness, suspense, sadness and seriousness. Think about Halloween websites, Murder Mystery websites, etc.
– Communicates knowledge, professionalism, calmness, perfection and relaxation. Think business websites, information websites, and websites selling books.
– Communicates wealth, environment, health and life. Think Medical websites, Banks! (LaSalle, National City, ABN Amro…they are all green)
– Communicates comfort, innovation and playfulness. Heard of ING Direct? They’re market position and image is built on innovative products!
– Communicates love, pleasure, passion, caution and action. You can just imagine..
– Communicates peace, harmony, purity and cleanliness. Religious and spiritual websites
– Communicates happiness, charm, playfulness and a good mood! Outgoing individuals love to wear flashy colors like Yellow and Orange.
– Communicates luxury, fantasy and dreams. Think about mystical websites, fairies and witches.
– Communicates compassion, innocence, friendship and sensitivity. Just like Red, this color is self defining!
– Communicates geography, mass, transportation, nature, living things and earth. Think National Geographic! Think UPS – what can brown do for you?
Keep these in mind when deciding what color to make your website’s heading, text, Links, etc. The most important thing is to keep your ideal visitor in mind and then choose colors accordingly to cater to your ideal website visitor.
If you have a website to promote your funeral services, consider using a black background. If you have a website selling valentines gifts, consider the combination of pink, red and white. Look at this website. This website is about knowledge, education and information and therefore heavily uses the colors blue and white.
The other important thing to keep in mind is the use of color of text. If you have a white background, then you shouldn’t really use pink text. Unless your goal is to turn your visitor off and strain their vision, stay away from soft colors on light backgrounds. In the same way, stay away from hard colors on dark backgrounds. Can you imagine dark green text on a dark blue or black background? Yuck!
Do not ignore your color choice and believe me when I say this is one of the most important strategic decisions you will need to make that will determine the success of your eCommerce website. Use the additional resources below to assist you with your website color decisions.
HTML Color Chart – 205 Color Codes & How They Look on Web Browsers
Free Online Website Color Schemer
Retail Online Business Tip #4
Your overall website graphics must be crisp and convincing. When online, a potential customer cannot touch or feel your product. Therefore it is important to familiarize your visitor with your product as much as possible not just through your web content but also from the graphical capabilities of your website.
To give an example, it may be advisable to incorporate some flash or java technology that shows your product in various angles in its different uses. You may include a short demonstrative video on your website.
However keep the usage of advanced technology (graphical and video) very limited. Specifically, Flash is often ignored by search engine spiders and therefore does not add value to a website from a search credibility standpoint. You will have to balance all the important attributes of an eCommerce website and ensure that your site content is optimized to attract search engines spiders and rank you as high as possible for your targeted keywords and phrases.
Retail Online Business Tip #5
Overall Site Layout
Your website’s layout shows how much you have your visitor’s purpose in mind. With an eCommerce website, you want to make sure your site visitor knows exactly what you are offering. So ensure that at least a few images of your product or a description of your services is offered on the home page of your website.
Further, make navigation of your products and services easy for your website visitor by displaying a menu of offerings on the top or to the left hand side of the web page. These are the two most common places website visitors look at for information.
If you have a website selling designer fragrances, where you might have over a thousand different perfumes and colognes to offer, it makes most sense to include an alphabetical menu on your home page through which specific products can be found. Further, make sure to include a site map and search function so that your visitor can quickly navigate to what they are looking for.
Again, this is quite different from an information based website, where a clean, well spaced out site layout is much easier on a visitor’s eyes than a convoluted layout with “very little room to breathe”. A colorful and crowded website might appeal to the eyes in some form of art (like an abstract), however the thought of its use and navigating through it can be dreading.
On the other hand, a clean website (not too crowded) with a lot of white space (room to breathe) can be much comforting and less overwhelming to your site’s visitor. Remember, web browsers don’t have too much free time and want to get the info they are looking for as quick as possible.
The bottom line is quite simple. Understand that the components that make a successful retail website (a website that makes the sale) can be quite different from a successful information based website whose primary goal is to provide free information to web searchers and hopes to make money from advertising such as Google Adsense.
That said, an eCommerce website also has to be highly search engine optimized, yet at the same time recommending more advanced use of graphic technology which may be ignored by search engines.
Keep learning more about whatever type of website you are interested in and your knowledge and growing experience will assist you in making the right decisions along the way. You have to strike a balance between all aspects of your website that will make you successful online.
I hope this discussion on 5 retail online business tips was helpful to you