Long before I started helping specialty retail stores bring their business to the web, I was considered a shopaholic by many. With the advent of online shopping, I fear my addiction only grew. I love finding new and exciting websites, cruising through new products and blogs, and of course, making a purchase here and there. So, when asked to write a new blog, it seemed only natural that I write about what I know and love – online shopping and what makes a website “shoppable.”
With new online retailers popping up every day, what is it that makes customers keep coming back to your site? Of course having the right products is a given, but if your website is difficult to navigate, slow or lacks impact, some shoppers may not even take the time to peruse your products. Here are some things that I find make a great shoppable website.
Look and Feel – Being a visual person like most people out there, the look and feel of a site is crucial to capturing the attention of your shopper.
Easy Navigation – One thing that drives me nuts is when I have to click a million times to find the product or the price of an item. Your site needs to be easy to navigate and intuitive to the user. Allow the user to see your products quickly and in a way that makes sense.
Interesting Content – Most sites these days have blogs – and I for one love to read them. I like getting the latest scoop on trends or learning more about a retailer and their community. When looking at retail blogs, I like seeing pictures. Good imagery. It’s the photos that catch the eye that then makes you want to read further. Be sure to update your blog regularly. Remember, the longer you can keep people on your site and give them reasons for coming back, the more they’ll shop your site.
Link Your Lookbooks – Lookbooks are a great way to show your products in their best light. You’d be surprised though how many sites do not offer links from the lookbook to the products for purchase. Keep your lookbooks current and offer links so your customers can easily shop them.
Make it Personal – Our focus is working with Specialty Retailers rather than the big box stores. One thing that’s so great about specialty retailers in their physical store is that they can offer that personal touch that you often can’t get from a major retailer. Make sure your website offers that same personal touch. Whether it’s in your product descriptions or your blog, tell us why you love the product or what makes you unique. Give us an insight into your store.
Easy Checkout – Just like in your store, customers want to be able to get in and out quickly with their purchases. Allow shoppers to easily view the products in their cart. Keep the checkout process simple and secure.
Keep it Clean – If your site is cluttered and busy, if a visitor doesn’t know where to look or where to shop, they will likely start searching for another site.
Match Your Products & Your Vibe –I always find it disconcerting when someone is selling retro clothes, but has a modern site. Make sure the personality of your online store matches the personality of your products.
As an avid online shopper and a project manager on e-commerce websites, some say I have a unique perspective. I know what I like when I’m shopping and I see what my clients do well (and what they can improve on). In the end, every retailer should put themselves in the shoes of the shopper and they’ll likely create a website that is highly shoppable and extremely profitable.