It is important to let customers choose how they shop with you, which is why it’s important to have a website alongside your first store. A website also allows you to extend your reach over a broader geographical area than you can do with your local store business.
In a report commissioned by Autumn and Spring Fair organizer, i2i Events Group, retail expert Martin Newman of Practicology has outlined the key things you need to consider before building your first retail website.
First of all identify your USP and why customers will want to buy from you. Product range is key and you’re only as good as the product you sell. Identify gaps in your local retail environment that you could fill. Continuity of supply is absolutely crucial and you need the ability to replenish stock in a timely fashion or risk disappointing customers.
Consider pricing in relation to competitors and think about what the customer convenience proposition will be. Decide what delivery and returns options you will offer and whether to offer click and collect, which will enable you to convert more customers if you already have your first bricks and mortar store.
If you’re going online, you need a web platform. This is the technology that sits behind the front-end customer experience and drives the functionality of the website. You will also need someone to design the front end of the website and build out your ecommerce proposition, whilst ensuring that your site is fully optimized for mobile devices.
The website needs to be hosted somewhere. Your web development provider, sometimes known as a web development agency or system integrator, will be able to help with this.
When you’re coming up with a name for your retail business, make sure you check the domain name availability for your website at the same time. You can acquire this from a vast number of domain name registration companies online.
You will need to produce content for your website and work on customer acquisition through search engine optimization (SEO), that your technology provider should be able to advise you on.
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