If there is one thing that the global pandemic has shown us, it is that online shopping is here to stay and may very well replace the traditional brick and mortar shops altogether. Many companies and small businesses have realized the need for an online shop and have scrambled to put something together.
The problem with most of these shops is that their websites were not professionally done or it did not leave the shopper with a pleasant experience. Nevertheless, the whole shopping journey starts with the storefront and when this is planned and executed well, the rest will fall into place.
Brand like a boss
When people arrive at your site for the first time, they should not be guessing what they will get from there. An ecommerce storefront is like a physical storefront. It is the first impression that potential clients get when they enter the shop.
It is the space that will tell them how the rest of the site will look. Branding the storefront will leave a lasting impression. People are more likely to remember a logo than the written word.
Put yourself in the visitor’s shoes
When you first start designing an ecommerce storefront, the best place to find inspiration from is the client themself. Putting yourself in their shoes will allow you to dig into their frustrations, as well as focus on the things that they find useful.
When you start learning ecommerce skills, you will soon find that when you think about your own online shopping experiences, it becomes easier to pinpoint those things that irritate you when doing online shopping. It would not be a bad idea to run a trial of the site on some of your friends and to get honest and objective feedback.
Encourage brutal honesty because a friend might be lenient and support you regardless, but they will also be able to tell you what is wrong and what they would want to see in your shop.
Try not to distract or confuse
You want the storefront to stand out but at the same time, it should not be a destring experience. The storefront cannot be too busy as it will make the navigation experience a nightmare. Although you might offer the best prices on goods and services, if people cannot navigate from the storefront, they are not going to buy from you.
Take some tips from online shopping giants and see how their storefronts are designed. The one thing that will stand out is that the storefront page is never cluttered, yet it has enough info to get you where you want to go.
Find a balance between text and graphics
People think in pictures and the temptation might be there to plaster your storefront with only pictures and minimal text. Although it sounds good in theory and we know the importance of the hero image, the practical outworking of this type of thinking will get you nowhere. Images are great at getting attention, but it is the description of the image that gets the customer to move in a certain direction.
Successful entrepreneurs know how to balance their storefronts and make sure there is just enough of both elements to keep the customer informed. The key is to convey as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time. However, this needs to be balanced out by not giving the site visitors an information overload on the storefront page.
Creating category tabs
To ensure that the storefront page is kept neat and tidy, it is always a good idea to create category tabs. These tabs are like the signs that hang in front of the different isles in a traditional shop. Your visitors need quick access to the different categories of items you sell. If they cannot find it quickly, they will move along to another store.
Together with the category tabs, also allowing the customers to be able to search for items is critical. This is especially handy when there is a hefty inventory.
Running an ecommerce store means that the wording of the products need to be on par with the jargon of the niche if you include a search option.
Horizontal and vertical alignment
When it comes to alignment of categories, this should always be done horizontally. Variety should then be categorized vertically. Many ecommerce courses will tell you that best practice dictates this arrangement because this allows a visitor to appreciate the variety without being overwhelmed by too much information.
When even the biggest online retailers group their storefronts in this manner, it should tell you that there might be truth to the practice.
Keep the categories logical
Category tabs should always be logically arranged. When you make the groupings too complicated or specific, customers might feel lost. A child should be able to navigate your storefront and get to where they want to be.
To be on the safe side, if a product or service could be listed under two categories, do not guess. Rather place the item in both categories because you do not know the logic behind every visitor’s browsing choices.
The main objective is to keep everything simple and to allow the visitors to navigate to anywhere on the page straight from the storefront page. When you start an online business, getting this balance right might not be as clear cut as you think.
The last part that every ecommerce storefront needs to have on display is a communication or comments section. The best way to know whether your clients find the website user-friendly is to hear it from them.
Placing a comment section on the storefront page will allow you to gather great insight as you develop the site further. The one thing to remember is that the site cannot stay static. It needs regular updates and when you have the input from the customers, it is easier to make sensible adjustments to the page.
Carefully consider all the responses that are written, but keep an eye on the negative ones and tend to those first. A bad reputation spreads faster than a good one, that is why tending to bad press is so important.
So when you’re designing your storefront, keep the 8 aforementioned tips in mind. Your customers will thank you for it.