A Beginner's Guide to Creating a Digital Storefront

For many people, online shopping is the de facto way to get shopping done.
E-commerce is growing, not only in the number of shoppers, but also in the number of merchants and retailers looking to get in on the action. If you're new to e-commerce or just barely getting things set up on your website, then the words "digital storefront" might sound like an intimidating challenge. We hope the checklist below helps ease the process for you.

  1. Appearances Matter

Start with the basics. You need a logo, contact information, an About page, and a menu that can point your customers toward all of these things. Then, build upon this framework: add photos and features, and a sidebar for links to your social media pages.
If you already have some experience with web design, WordPress is an excellent option when it comes to personalization, customization and even optimization like speeding up your WordPress website. if you're completely intimidated by design, there are plenty of content management systems (CMS) available to integrate into your online store. Choose the one that best reflects your products and your target market.

  1. Easy-to-Understand Interface and Clear Navigation

If you walked into a department store or supermarket without labeled aisles and areas, shopping would be tedious aggravating.
The same applies to your website. Making your website easy to use is essential, especially with your landing page. Remember that the first page your customers encounter will make the first impression.
Don't neglect mobile browsers, either. You should also consider having a version of your website that works well on phones and tablets. Again, keep the interface and navigation in mind, since customers navigate web content on their mobile devices differently than they would on a computer.

  1. Formatting Should Guide Your Customers

If you want to emphasize the importance of certain things on your site, increase font size and place them above the fold (i.e. visible upon landing, without having to scroll down). Use icons, illustrations, and colors to make things stand out, giving clues to the user about their importance.
Of course, make your messages clear. Your customers should understand what exactly you want them to do, whether it's "Add to Cart," "Learn More," or "Visit Our Store."

  1. Sophisticated, Prominent On-Site Search

If you went to a department store that didn't have an information desk, or clerks who didn't know where to find things, you probably wouldn't come back. The same applies for your online store. Make sure that the Search window is a function that appears on every page of your website, and that it's working correctly.

  1. State Your Payment Options on Every Page

Let's say you're at the checkout counter with a cart full of groceries. You pull out your debit card only to hear, "Sorry, we can't accept that here." Aggravating, right? If you had known beforehand, you would've come prepared.
Just like on-site search, payment options should be visible on every page. This reminds your customers what methods of payment are acceptable, such as online payments, credit cards, money transfer, and others.
Most likely, your customers have a payment strategy in mind, and that strategy may be what matters most in whether they choose to shop with you. And you wouldn't want them to find out at the last step that they can't shop at your online clothing store, and leave their shopping cart abandoned.

  1. Make Use Of The Pop-Up

The pop-up is a tricky tool. It can be useful to some, and distracting to others. It's more than just a necessary evil. It's a great way to get quick information, and for your shoppers, it's a great way for them to stay connected. Don't be afraid of it.
At the same time, you wouldn't want the pop-up to deter your customers from their shopping experience. The frequency and duration of pop-up windows, whether they're messages, calls-to-action, or anything else, is up to you.

  1. Ensure and Guarantee Security

Security and data safety are not to be taken lightly; one breach could be disastrous for small and up-and-coming businesses. Use SSL certificates, and make sure that you state your terms and privacy policies clearly on every page. Be sure to assess your site's security functions regularly, making sure that everything is updated and working properly.
Once you're confident with your security checkpoints, streamline your checkout and payment process to inspire confidence in your shoppers. If they feel that their money is protected, you're good.

  1. Research Best Practices and Other Resources

There are a number of tools you can use, whether you choose to sell clothes online, peddle collectibles, or hawk used car parts from your e-commerce store.

  • Square: Square has built-in marketing tools, and integration with social media platforms to aid in marketing and promotions.

  • Shopify: With hundreds of powerful features, services and plugins to run both back-end and front-end processes, you can use Shopify to create a fully-functional online store that resonates with your clientele.

  • eBay: Building an eBay Store allows you to create a web presence and sell on mobile without having to worry about managing or hosting a site on your own.

Think of other ways your online store reflects the brick-and-mortar stores of the physical world, and let us know how you've improved your storefront. Leave us a comment below.