You’ve got your website up and running, now who is going to update content and maintain it. It can be nerve racking for retailers to figure out who they should hire as the first person to help them run their
e-commerce business. Honestly, it’s a big commitment and it’s very easy to hire the wrong person.
If you partner with a company like Modern Retail, technical and programming tasks will most likely be taken care of. However, if you run an ad for a “website developer,” you may find the wrong people at your door. Instead, gear your search for something more specific to your business; for example look for someone who can help you with following:
Deciding whether to shoot your product photography in-house or using a professional is dependent upon many factors. I’ve found that most specialty retailers prefer to do it themselves – especially if they sell seasonal goods such as clothing or shoes. A busy retailer will often find it hard to keep their website current if they outsource photography because they are constantly receiving goods.
Additionally, some products – such as shoes – are simply easier to photograph. With shoes you can get some very good results by purchasing a photography “tent”. Simply put the shoes in the tent, gets some good lighting and snap away. With the right equipment and some training, a store employee should be able to create some great-looking pictures for you. Of course, if you have less turn on your inventory, you could probably hire a part-time photographer to come in 1-2 days per week.
Just like in-store, how you’re presented online makes a big difference in perception and sales. People who have retail experience or who have been in the business for a while certainly get this idea. It starts with setting up and styling the shots for product catalog images, but also includes writing commanding product descriptions, organizing the items in your catalog for maximum effect, and having an eye for creating compelling promotions for your homepage and email marketing.
At Modern Retail, we believe strongly that in order for your store to be successful, you need to back it up with some very good online marketing. For our clients, we tend to go with the “teach a man to fish, instead of feeding him a fish, and you’ll feed him for life” approach. Therefore, you need someone who’s receptive to new ideas and willing to learn. If you don’t have a partner who you can lean on for online marketing, then I would look for someone who’s knowledgeable in social media and likes to write.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but it is very hard to be successful online nowadays if you are only focused on selling. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram – and interacting with your customers – have become a vital aspect of every website. You need to constantly write about your products, trends, designers, philosophy, etc. – aka blogging. You’ll find the web rewards those who contribute and give back and sometimes penalizes ones who don’t.
Similar to the service you provide in-store, you will get customers asking you questions about the products online. Typically, stores will have the “sales floor” answer the questions coming in over the phone and their “web staff” answer questions online and coming in over email. For your e-commerce support, you’ll want to find someone who’s a good retailer, knows your products and can eloquently explain it in writing.
For most retailers, this is the easiest part of their online store because they’ve been doing it for years. Let’s face it picking, packing and shipping products isn’t hard and you probably already have someone who performs this job for you already.
So, as you move forward selecting someone to support your e-commerce business, think twice about posting for a typical website developer or webmaster. Instead, look for someone who understands retail, is good with people, is a good writer and has a marketing bent. Above all else you’ll want to pick someone who’s willing to learn and contribute to your success.