Many merchants have to partner up mostly because of a tight budget, but there are other reasons too. As a business projects upwards, merchants reach a point where they have to develop an online store and market their brand using email or social media.
We’ve compiled some ingenious tips for merchants who don’t have a partner and want to reach more clients.
Tip Number one
Aim for what you can achieve. It’s easier to set up an online store, but it is even harder to have it look the way you envisioned it – an organized and user-friendly e-commerce website. If you can imagine something but aren’t able to turn it into something meaningful, Pinterest is a great mining place with loads of useful pictures and hints you could use on a later date to add meaning to your retail. Take notes of gaps and opportunities and add them to your vision. However, the implication here is if you have already enlisted a partner, it might be possible that in the long run, you will not realize your full potential. For now, that’s OK and shouldn’t bear you down, your business must nevertheless stay afloat and exponentially grow.
Tips for choosing the best store theme
While a website, just like any other physical structure like a house needs immense planning, there are key differences that play a central role. To develop a website, you need to know how you want it to look like – its interior design – before other details are added on to it. Of course, you know what products and services your website seeks to deliver and how to sell ideas to customers. The theme is most integral for any website because it makes it possible to merge all sectors of the online retail into one functional unit. So, your theme is just like a hallway that has multiple doors into different rooms – a way to guide users around the website to important parts.
One wrong move merchants make when structuring the website is to have all decisions pegged on what it should look like. On the contrary, it’s better to have support and documentation for the theme. And if you are going to pour money into the venture, then you must have enough resources to see the operation through. Not all themes come with written support or written documentation. All these prerequisites, although you may not have all of them initially, will come in handy when your operation hits a snag and give you a new lease.
You could enlist other people or services to have all the hard work done for you but you shouldn’t pass the chance to learn something new about eCommerce software. WooCommerce for example comes with various theme styles and packages all which are free and can be fine-tuned to suit your style.
Selecting a Pre-Designed Theme: Basic Site Designs
The main advantage of using pre-customized themes is that they are cost-effective and are not as hard to edit as one would from scratch.
As you skim through theme libraries, two basic designs become evident:
- A design that uses the whole page to showcase a product or service
- A “box” style design that has more content underneath the featured product or service or in sidebars
The “featured” theme design is suitable for eCommerce websites that seek to make only a limited choice of services or products stand out. It allows modification of features while giving you the option to leave all other functions of the website untouched. It’s a viable method for showcasing trendy and highly anticipated products.
Responsive Themes Are Adaptive in Smartphones and more devices
The ongoing exponential development of smart devices such as smartphones means that they will be used more to access websites. It also means that mobile eCommerce has drastically grown and is continually rising. Therefore, your page should adapt seamlessly when used both on smartphones and computers, and have important navigation features embedded into the page.
Statista projects that in 2017 close to 83% of online customers used their smartphones to buy something while only 35% shopped this way. Making your theme mobile responsive and adaptive should be one of your goals. Currently, Google’s search algorithm can rank websites based on their responsiveness.
Use a Theme That Engages Your Customers
This is the most basic. You want a theme that is not only aesthetic (has a great presentation on both smartphones and computers) but also easy to navigate.
Navigation depends on how well you know your customers and the competition. Competition is great because it’s a chance to know what you are doing wrong and how to use captivating themes to increase site traffic. For example, blue is a colour that symbolizes safety and is common in healthcare sites.
Go for Themes That Support Search Engine Optimization
Great content is the reason why your page ranks better on a simple Google search. Web-crawling bots can identify keywords that resonate to what is in the search bar.
Many writers also use HTML to link certain parts or pages of a website with each other. In eCommerce websites, HTML is used to link similar products to one another, hyperlinking images to content, creating metadata for each image, and meta description for each page.
Choose a Theme that is Open to Customization
Themes are not rigid and give you absolute customization. You can include a site identity tool that lets you upload a thumbnail size version of your log or icons and tagline. Most themes give you freedom when it comes to the selection of background images, header and footer content.
Even though there are special features to be added, they shouldn’t be non-responsive when accessed by mobile users. Slides, images, videos, and banners sometimes come as a unit in some themes and add to the overall aesthetic of the website.
Just be moderate with your colors and additives – do not add too much glitter to your website. Think about it, adding too many features to a website slows it down and affects the ultimate user experience (UX).
Tip Number Two
Get your clients email as soon as possible. No matter the third-party service you use, it's important to store your clients’ emails in a central location and ask if they would opt to receive email notifications. Do not wait until you have the means to market via emails to start collecting them. Waiting until it’s too late for clients to opt-in increases the risk of being listed as spam notifications in future when you send the email, or unknowingly upsetting a customer, or otherwise result in a bad marketing strategy and a sour relationship with clients. Exporting or uploading emails is not recommended. From the start, you can enlist services form Klaviyo, Omnisend, or Shopify’s email marketing options.
There are many ways you could use emails to your advantage. You can send promotional messages, offer discounts, hot deals, or remind them to checkout.
The best way of using promotional emails to entice customers towards a certain product, discount, or deal is by using deadlines. If there were no deadline, your potential customer can say, “That’s a nice deal, I’ll check it later.”
With deadlines, the odds are in your favor.
A simple email can drive a customer to visit your website or store because they want to use coupon codes, and this gets you more sales.
Emails are a way of keeping your brand constantly on the minds of your customers.
When some clients see emails as annoying, you can switch to friendly and occasional newsletters. Include company updates, reminders, notifications about upcoming events, and your product catalogue, and remember to assure clients that you can solve all the problems they may be facing.
Tip Number Three
An occasional dash of photos strategically on the website goes a long way. Be sure to check out the Nicely Built blog post on Tips for sourcing photography for your e-commerce website.
While photos are mostly used to showcase a myriad of products and their quality, you can use style editorial photography on the landing page of your website. It will tell a story about your brand as well as on product pages to share more info about the merchant they are purchasing from.
Tip Number Four
Don’t always use discounts to entice customers to try out your brand. This way, you will get them used to purchasing products or services only when there is a discount email notification.
Tip Number Five
Google services, especially Google Analytics and Google search console, should be part of your website’s framework. At first, you might have no idea of how to analyze data but as time goes by you will get better at what you do. In the meanwhile, you should collect as much customer information as possible. When you scale up operations and enlist a partner, you will need this cache of information to make better decisions and recommendations for how to improve the magnitude of your website. Adding these essential services and connecting to your brand is not hard and takes about thirty minutes to have all systems running.
Google Analytics and Search Console are bot vital tools for any SEO strategy. Their setup is straightforward and as soon as it is integrated with your website’s system, it makes it easier to collect and analyze tons of data and get accurate conclusions. These tools are pivotal in keeping all operations on track and that your website is properly audited and that it gives only meaningful and useful information.
A lot of data in itself is meaningless, and this is where Google Analytics is pivotal. With it, you analyze website traffic using specific points and variables to give you all the important aspects of your operation and offer hints at what you can do to increase conversion rates.
The true success of Google Analytics is embedded deep within its capabilities. Without it, it would be harder to know what data links to set; for example, channel performance and customer behavior across multiple platforms. The long-term impact of GA is you making better decisions from detailed reports because what you want in the end is to keep your operations afloat and get more sales.
Google Analytics provides options to understand both online and offline channels, encapsulating call centers, points of sale and simplifies large and complex sales information which is used to make sound decisions and innovative marketing. A unified system of data analysis means you don’t have to store data that you do not need because this produces skewed results that influence the long-term outlook.
Google Search Console
Better ranking pages rely on more than just SEO. Google Search Console lets you know how your website has been ranking over time and all details about what web-crawling bots see in your content and how to beat them and rank better. Understanding the wide range of resources and how to use them guides us towards the right changes that result in better ranking content in not only Google but other search engines.
Search console is like a guide that explains what the page is all about and makes it stand out in a good way.
Whenever you create content you hope that it gets visible and shows in the first page after a search result, and this is relevant to what was keyed in the search bar and be suitable to your audience. The search console allows you to add newer content for crawling while at the same time remove information that you don’t want to be displayed in the search engine result pages (SERP).
When married together, Google Analytics and Google Search Console gives us a wider scope of the digital landscape and perform an in-depth marketing analysis.
Your website’s metadata is what communicates with the search engine so that it better understands the intended audience and what the content is about and place it with similar results. For example, if the page listing is about upcoming events, Google’s algorithm can identify this and show date, time and location alongside the event within search results.
Google has codes that let it know what each page is about and logically structuring your website is imperative. The presentation should be spot on and valuable to the intended audience. If you can make it easier for the search algorithm to know the idea on the page, it ranks better and the page content will appear in a suitable page keeping to SERP protocols.