It’s no secret that digital channels are a big part of retail customers’ everyday lives in Ghana and Africa. From online shopping to social media, the internet is an undeniable part of shoppers’ day-to-day, so a strong online presence is essential for businesses looking to become part of their customers’ lives. With ecommerce gaining more and more importance to the retail space, we have pulled together a few top tips to help you see success online.
Pick the right platform
If you’re just introducing e-commerce now, this is a key place to start. You want to make sure your website platform (or CMS) is user-friendly for you and for your customer. Platfoms such as Shopify, Wix and BigCommerce are great for small businesses and those who don’t have a dedicated web designer at their disposal and they allow for easy navigation and payment for your customers.
Stay true to your brand
Treat your website like a digital arm of your bricks and mortar shop. You need to make sure that shopping on and offline is a seamless experience for your customers. Many shoppers now practice “showrooming”, where they will browse in store and then purchase online, so make yourself and your products as easy to find as possible. With this in mind, make sure your website address (or domain name) is as close as possible to your shop name and clearly indicates who you are as this is the first thing that your customers will come across when they’re looking for your website. In addition, consider adding pictures of your shop and your in store team to your website, to add extra recognisable factors plus that authentic touch.
Design for the customer
Anyone who owns a physical shop will know, your store layout is everything. The same goes for your website. You want your user to be able to navigate around your site with ease as well as point them in the direction of key promotions, products and content. Keep your layout simple and clutter-free, including clear calls-to-action to indicate what it is you want customers’ to do. In addition, think about your homepage design (your digital shop window), imagery, filtering options and any additional content like a blog or social media feed. Make sure your fonts are easy to read and that your copy is concise, informative and to-the-point.
Remember, your products are the main event
If a customer has taken the time to navigate to your website, it’s more than likely that they are in a purchase-ready mindset and are looking for something in particular. To help make their experience the best it can be, make sure that you have clearly marked product pages and have included all of the relevant information that a customer would need to make their decision. Think about what you are often asked in store and let this guide the descriptions you write. What’s more, ensure you have excellent imagery that clearly displays the product. As customers aren’t able to physically touch the piece, ensure that the image is as clear and detailed as possible with a selection of photographs from different angles and in different settings.
When you add your products, make sure to include the essentials:
- Product name/ title
- Category (i.e. bedding, lighting, kitchenware etc.)
- Product description
- Product imagery
Keep your website up to date
Again, treat your website as you would your shop. You wouldn’t display old pieces in your shop window, for example, so don’t do this on your website either. Make sure you rotate stock according to your buying cycle and keep your website up to date with the latest offers and promotions. Alongside this, make sure you are regularly responding to any customer queries that come through your website and update content and FAQ pages accordingly. Crucially, make sure your physical address and contact details are up to date to make it as easy as possible for people to find you should they have any questions or want to come to your physical shop.
If you want to, you can also include a blog on your website, and/ or your business’ social media handles, to give your users a much more rounded experience online as well as offline and give them even more reasons to keep coming back to you!
With all that said, the secret to online retail success is great service, just like in a physical store. Your online shop should enhance your customers’ experience, providing them another touchpoint to engage with their favourite fashion retailer.
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