This blog is for people who are totally ready to launch their online store (or maybe even have launched it). BUT even if you’re not there, go ahead and read it because seriously, you’re going to want to know this stuff. Read on to learn about the things you must do when building an online store!
The Things You Must Do When Building an Online Store!
So what do I mean by “ready to launch?” It means that you’ve got a name, you’ve got a product (or two) and you’ve staked your claim on a platform like Shopify or ClickFunnels.
Those are my favorites. I’ve used others. I just prefer these two.
Anyway, there are a lot of things you can do when building an online store to make people want to come to your site, make a purchase and love you forever.
And there are a few things that will scare them off and make them run for the hills. Figuratively, I mean.
I’m going to start with photography. Why? Because seriously, it can totally make or break how your customers feel about what you’re offering them.
Have you ever been to a website that feels like it was a project built by Bill Gates when he was still in high school? I mean, they didn’t have websites then, but if they did the photography would be really bad.
Pictures would be about the size of a peanut and they’d be grainy as heck.
This is the 21st Century, a time when we can celebrate having a crazy good camera right in our back pocket. Unless you still have a flip phone circa 2005, there is no excuse for not having clear pictures on your website.
If you don’t use it much, get that bad boy out and start practicing.
- Remember that a lot of times you don’t even need a model for your images. Flat lays are a great way to display clothing, jewelry, and other accessories.
- Come up with simple things that you can do to add warmth and interest to photos without drawing attention away from your product. If it’s fall, add some pumpkins. If it’s spring, add in some rain boots or daffodils. Just make it something that will catch your customers’ eyes.
- Make sure you take pictures of the ways your products could be used. I sold wooden blocks—but created a craft that I photographed to demonstrate what others could do. Ditto with little tin boxes. I didn’t just take one picture of a box and put it up. I showed my customers how many awesome things could be done with them.
- Don’t get freaked out over lighting. It’s amazing how great an image will look with the lighting Mother Nature has already given us. Most of my first pictures were taken on my front porch because I couldn’t afford to pay for fancy-pants lights. And guess what? The stuff totally sold.
Oh—and when you have taken a few awesome shots of the products you’re going to sell, make sure they’re sized right and so they’re shown to their best and can be shared easily. The extra time it takes is TOTALLY worth it.
So what are the other things you need to do when you're building your online store? Here we go:
Shrink Your Logo.
You may love your logo. You may have agonized over its creation and it feels like one of your children at this point. But guess what? Your customers kinda don't care about it once they're on your site. They've come on over to see what you have for THEM. How you're going to serve THEM. They don't need to see your logo take up half of the page when they land on it. Shrink, shrink, shrink it. (Need examples? Check out Apple, Pottery Barn, Nordstrom…you'll see that their website logos are teensy tiny.)
Have a Call to Action.
What that means is that you need to inspire them to shop with you. Give them that reason to engage with you. “Sign up now and get 15% off your order.” “Order today and save $10 off of your $25 purchase.” “Purchase this cupcake tin and you'll get my 15 Most-Loved Cupcake Recipes FREE.” Show them what to do, because otherwise, they're likely to head off somewhere else.
Personalize Your Site.
Templates are great, but they just so look so freaking…templated. And yes, everyone can tell. Add your brand colors to your site. Create product descriptions that are interesting, clever or funny. Just make it reflect you and your brand better.
Get Over Perfection.
It's not gonna happen. And when you try to get every freaking detail right before you launch it, you'll be blowing out the candles on your 89th birthday cake before you get it done. Make it look and sound good, then launch it. If there's a typo, you can fix it. Or a picture you end up hating, you can change it out. If you want to add in an FAQ section later, you can. For the love of heaven, just get it launched.
Remember that call to action thing up a few paragraphs? Well, make sure that you don't have so many of them that it confuses your customers. Identify the goal for your site, and make that your primary emphasis in terms of how you want people to engage with it and what you want them to do. Simplify and specify.
Have an Email Sign Up.
If you aren't collecting email addresses, you are losing money. There's no other way to say it. An email list is one of your most valuable tools when it comes to your e-commerce business. When a customer is willing to share that beautiful piece of information with you, it opens the door not just for one sale, but for repeat business. I have used my email list for specific sale events designed to boost the short-term cash flow for my business. I've used it to liquidate products. I've used it just to build better relationships with my customers.
Want a .pdf of all of these ideas for building an online store? Feel free to download it and use it as a checklist as you get your online business off the ground.