By Ann Marie van den Hurk
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Developing an e-commerce presence, like building a bricks-and-mortar storefront, requires thought and planning. PR expert Ann Marie Van Den Hurk has a few tips on how you can get your website ready to attract and retain customers.
A shift in America’s shopping habits is continuing.
And as a result, there are big opportunities in e-commerce, or online shopping, for small retail businesses, especially those in small or rural communities. E-commerce can help specialty business such as those that sell regionally specific products or those that might not have a storefront.
For your small business, my advice is to look before you jump. Think about your business goals. Developing an e-commerce presence, like building a bricks-and-mortar storefront, requires thought and planning.
You need to start thinking about the following questions and answer them thoughtfully:
-What are your business goals?
-How does e-commerce fit into that?
-Who is your ideal customer?
-If you were your ideal customer, what would you look for when visiting the website or getting a message from you?
-When customers land on your page, what do you want them to do?
-With what methods can you reach customers?
-What products are you selling?
-If you run an online store, what shopping cart solution are you using? How do you accept payments? Charge tax? Ship?
A website is indispensable for businesses today. Remember, it’s your digital storefront that’s open 24/7. It can answer your customers’ questions and it’s cost effective. But you need to do the following to have a truly successful site:
-Be visually appealing to users.
-Share great content above the fold.
-Include a call to action, contact information, and a frequently asked questions, or FAQ, section.
-Load each website page in less than 4 seconds.