Every year, the e-commerce industry grows worldwide. Driven by a rise in individuals utilising technology and the increased consumer desire for convenience, the market is projected to grow to a total of £177.72 billion in 2023. This means that failure to adapt could be devastating for your business.
Simultaneously, the UK has one of the most advanced e-commerce markets in Europe, with an expectation that nearly 60 million businesses were retailing online as of 2022. But this hasn’t only been driven by consumer demand – there is a multitude of benefits to going online for retailers too.
From selling your products to a wider market, showcasing key products and decreasing reliance on an expensive physical site, opening an online store could transform your business. And, by collaborating with influencers and utilising social media, you can even have products go viral, leading to spikes in sales and brand recognition.
However, there are several things to bear in mind when creating your digital shopfront, with the retail experts from UK Shopfront providing a handy guide, as below.
Technology has made creating your own digital shopfront easier than ever before. You can start by designing and editing your own logos and product images with ease via the use of Adobe Photoshop, which will help you to brand all areas of your business for a recognisable identity.
Next, you should create your website, utilising a website builder such as WordPress, Squarespace or Weebly. These offer templates and easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to create a personalised yet seamless shopping experience.
Once your website has been set up, you can invest in popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento. These sites offer customer relationship management (CRM) software that allows you to control your store, track metrics and conduct online sales, meaning you can oversee all functions of your new e-commerce digital shopfront.
Prioritise User Experience
Users need to be able to discover products and purchase items on your online store. If a website’s design is too complicated, or aesthetics are prioritised over functionalities, your sales and subsequently your turnover could be negatively impacted.
Instead, conduct research into your target audience when creating your website. For example, if you primarily cater to an older demographic, consider using larger text, easy-to-use navigation tools and menus. You should also consider creating some user personas so you can help address the needs of your key demographic and find answers to any problems you could face along the way.
No matter how complex or design-forward your website is, remember to always offer a simple and optimised checkout process. This is one of the most important pages on your website, and the main place online shopping carts are abandoned. You should ensure pricing information is clear, alternative payment methods are provided and all fields are easy to fill out.
Keep It Simple
Tying into prioritising the user experience, remember to always keep your website simple. This allows consumers to navigate your website, checkout and browse with ease. Fewer images and text on a page also mean that your site will load faster, especially on mobile devices, which is important to consider for accessibility purposes.
A simple website is moreover cost-effective, as less initial work is required when creating, updating or designing new features or pages. This usually means that you are able to run the site yourself, instead of having to hire or invest in external design resources, a simple way to slash costs and boost profit.
And remember: there is a reason that the majority of world-renowned brands, such as Nike, Apple and Mcdonald’s have all moved to simple logos in recent years – they offer a timeless and iconic brand identity.
Targeting any users with disabilities, people that can only use mobile devices and individuals from all different walks of life is essential. There are many simple and low-cost ways to achieve this, which relate to ensuring your website can be accessed in several alternative ways compared to the traditional means of reading.
One of the most important ways of doing so is introducing alt texts for images. This is simply a short description of the images on your site that can be viewed using a screen reader, meaning any prospective visually impaired consumers can ‘view’ your products. You should never rely on colour online to sell your products, so making sure to provide sufficient contrast using colours, textures and other visuals can help to sell products in unconventional ways.
Testing your website from an accessibility perspective is just as important as checking its normal functionalities, as you might be missing out on a significant amount of business by failing to do so.
Keeping your digital shopfront up to date is important for several reasons, including search engine optimisation (SEO), security and consumer purposes. For example, by keeping the information up to date, you can target trending keywords to keep your products ranking number one, meaning you will generate increased sales for similar products to competitors.
Similarly, there are 560,000 new pieces of malware detected every day, and 17 million new instances are registered each month. Keeping on top of your website’s cybersecurity has never been so important, and failing to regularly update the software you use or reinforce your website could make you liable to hacking. This is particularly important for larger retailers, but any smaller businesses with viral products or internet fame could also be prime targets.
Finally, consumers want to be excited – your website should not stay the same for years on end. Instead, you should be adapting to the latest trends, whether by introducing AI chatbots or new colours to the site or frequently adding new and exciting products.
Integrating all of these measures into your website will allow you to appeal to as many consumers as possible and transform your business into a powerful, secure and trusted online retail brand.
Marina Vassilopoulos is a writer for UK Shopfront, a highly reputable and professional retailer and installer of shopfronts, shutters, signs and much more.