COVID-19 driving your shop online?

The thumbnail version:

  • COVID-19 is forcing businesses online
  • There are 10 tips to keep in mind if your shop is going online

The full version:

Simple, clean website to attract and turn viewers into customers

Perhaps you’ve joined the many small businesses that have adapted to the COVID-19 world by, among other things, taking their business online. Perhaps you’ve diversified in order to go online.

In either of these scenarios, Marshall Atkinson, writing for Images Magazine, has offered 10 tips for maximizing the success of your online venture. Here they are with a little embellishment and additional comments:

  1. Limit the number of items you offer. Don’t clutter the site. Remember the old 80/20 rule that holds that 20% of your offerings yield 80% of your sales. Of course it’s a fairly rough rule, but it’s essentially true in many circumstances; and it probably holds true in your shop too.
  2. You’ve seen those “people also bought” items on Amazon. Atkinson says it accounts for a third of their sales. Consider it for your site.
  3. This is an obvious one that should barely need mentioning . . . use high quality images.
  4. Keep the text uncluttered. Clean and simple is far more appealing to customers.
  5. The old odd-number trick still works. Customers know it’s being used, vendors know that the customers know what it’s all about, but everyone still plays along. So, instead of $20.00 make it $19.99.
  6. Keep the checkout process simple. Like everything else, “simple” should be your design mantra.
  7. People have questions. Make it easy for them to ask and get quick answers. Atkinson recommends a “live chat” facility. This might be a bit ambitious. I don’t know too many Canadian textile screen shops with the time to keep an eye on a live chat app. But you can answer a phone and you can monitor emails regularly.
  8. A “search” feature is also as obvious as high quality images. Even basic website templates include them nowadays.
  9. Offer free shipping. And again, it fools nobody; they all know it’s in the price. But everyone is happy to play along. So make a point of mentioning the free shipping (frequently).
  10. Atkinson recommends an “abandoned cart” facility. Again, like a chat line, this might not be particularly relevant to your shop’s site, but consider it anyway.

That’s it. Ten pretty good tips.