5 Brick & Mortar Tips for Your Online Store
When you walk through the mall, think about the sights, sounds, and smells that greet you as you pass by a store.
What makes you want to go in and look around? That awesome pair of shoes displayed so nicely in the window or a gigantic, red “50% Off” sign? What turns you off? Loud music or merchandise piled everywhere without any organization?
Many of the lessons learned in physical stores can be applied online too.
Walk through this checklist of five brick-and-mortar inspired tips and see how your online store measures up.
1. Keep Things Neat and Clean
Ever seen a store with stained floor or ceiling tiles, a dirty bathroom or dusty merchandise? That’s how shoppers perceive your site if the details aren’t taken care of. Make sure that you:
2. Make Your Store Pleasant to Be In
- Have a clean, appropriate, updated design.
- Have an About Us, Security Policy, Contact Us and other text pages that look and feel like the rest of your site.
- Have a custom 404 error page that looks like your site and, most importantly, helps redirect customers to a useful page.
Do you enjoy stores with aisles so close together that you can’t walk past another shopper without knocking merchandise off the shelf? Banish this claustrophobic feeling in your eStore by:
3. Make Your Products Easy to Find
- Allowing whitespace on each page between design elements.
- Logically placing your products in categories and featured product listings. Add enough information to get customers interested, but not so much that it clutters the page.
- Removing all design elements that don’t serve a purpose. If it doesn’t have a purpose, it doesn’t belong on the page; it’s only adding to the clutter.
When you’re looking for something specific in a large department store, what’s helpful? Signs? Store associates? Logically grouped products? Add all of these things to your eStore to improve the shopper’s experience by:
4. Guide Customers Through the Shopping Process
- Including a quality search option prominently on your site. Make it accessible from all pages.
- Grouping your products into logical categories and sub-categories and making these top-level categories easily accessible from all pages of your site.
- Building your navigation structure (and information architecture) so that your shoppers know where they are and how they got there. Breadcrumb trails are a great way to do this! Make sure that your navigation includes common category and product names. Get into the mind of your shoppers, and design your site in a way that makes sense to them.
- Offering customer service in the form of live chat, a phone number, email address, and contact form. Make these options easy to find just in case the shopper needs them.
Have you watched a store associate behind a messy counter try to provide a quality checkout experience? This major turn-off can be avoided online by:
5. Make Checkout Easy
- Ensuring that the checkout process is smooth and as quick as possible.
- Adding any helpful tips and navigation tools to guide the shopper through the process.
- Removing ambiguity over what the shopper should do next. It should be obvious what button they need to click to continue!
- Including a process status indicator (i.e. Step 1: Shopping Cart, Step 2: Shipping, etc) to help shoppers understand the checkout process, know how far along they are, and increase their follow-through.
When you go into a grocery store for a week’s worth of groceries and can’t find a cart or basket are you ever tempted to just leave? Make sure that your eShoppers don't have the same problem by:
- Placing “Add to Cart” buttons in highly visible, intuitive positions – wherever a shopper might want to add an item to their cart, let them!
- Ensuring that your site loads quickly and has enough bandwidth to handle your traffic volume. When people see that there aren’t carts out in front of a grocery store, they think it must be packed! Keep your lag time down and customers won't know that your online store is getting slammed.
Have any pet peeves that really drive you nuts at the store (online or off)? What do you see in brick & mortar shops that you apply to your online store? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tags: brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, eStore, Marketing, online sales, physical store, tips