With hundreds of Internet businesses popping up every day, it can be difficult to be successful in this infinitely large virtual shopping mall. Virtualization technology has come a long way, and online stores have moved from being web pages to web places. Mixing shopping carts with search bars, the key is to make your store a viable platform for selling your product and creating high customer satisfaction all without a face-to-face interaction.
While many people can see the benefits of a virtual storefront, it is how you use those benefits that matter. Here are three things to consider when opening an online store.
1) The blank slate: In a brick and mortar store, you are confined to the space you can afford and your creativity and opportunities for growth are limited to real estate. Online, you are able to create your shop the way you envision it. As your business gains success, you can expand as needed without constructing additional space. Much research has gone into what colors, fonts, and organizational structure is the most pleasing to the eye in the online world, and this can be tweaked to fit your personal style. Even though website design and implementation can be expensive and difficult, many programs are popping up that make opening up a digital store even easier.
2) The search bar: If you walk into any store, you will either browse until you find what you need or you must ask an employee. It can be frustrating to search for exactly what you need, without knowing if the store your in even carries what you want. The most important thing you can put on your online store is a search bar. This lets customers customize their shopping experience, quickly directing them to exactly what they need.
3) Customer service: This may be the trickiest part of running a non-traditional store. Customers may be struggling to navigate through your store, having difficulties with finding products, or even having trouble determining what the product is or how to use it. Having a live chat function, if you are able to have personnel online for a business day, can be a good way to bridge the digital gap. But a huge part of customer service is providing your customers with all the information they need. Accurately describing products, offering tips on how to use the products, and additional information can make a huge difference between a simple website to an elaborate, complete online space.
A prime example of using these three points together well is this online store. Being in the DIY pest control industry, they have been able to combine a large selection of products, easy navigation, and a wealth of information to offer customers a complete shopping experience. No matter what industry you are in, these three areas of focus are key and have to be given the proper amount of attention.
There are many sites online that do these things well, but there are many that could use a little work and understanding the impact of these three main areas can make a huge difference in whether or not an online store succeeds.