Having a website for your business is a must in today’s ever changing dynamics. It creates an online presence and widespread your customers’ horizons. As they say, the easier it is to access, steeper would be its’ progress chart. To deliver all the services and information seamlessly, one needs to develop a website possessing all the functionality required for smoothen operations. Online shopping is on boom which makes it extra important for retailers to take their business on this platform.
Still unsure, maybe the figures will tell you better!
- 51% of the Americans opt for online shopping and 96% of total Americans have made online purchases in their entire life.( Big Commerce)
- 56% of Gen Xers and 67% of the Millennials give preference to online shopping rather than visiting the store.( Big Commerce)
- 76% of Gen Xers have shopped at large retailer sites, 49% on web stores or independent boutiques, and 37% at category-specific online stores. ( Big Commerce)
- Total global retail sales is expected to hit USD 27.73 trillion by 2020.(Statista)
- Ecommerce retail sales are expected to account for 13.7% of global retail sales in 2019( 99 Firms)
- 95% of all purchases are projected to be done via ecommerce.(99 Firms)
What are the benefits of Website for your Retail Business?
You got second thoughts, don’t worry! We have broken down the list of benefits a website is going to offer to your retail business.
#1: Credibility Builder:
Simply by being online, your company is going to gain credibility. Think from a users’ point of view, one is searching for a specific item, and they quickly goes to Mr. google. A website possessing all the relevant features with good online reviews is a big yes. That big said, ensure that your website stay updated and look professional.
#2: Cost cutter:
An online business can prove to be a great cost-cutter in terms of rent, taxes, utility bills etc. You can directly interact with the users and minimise the delivery costs. On the other hand, if you have an enterprise and have an internal forum, you can communicate easily with your staff and eliminate the need for huge travel bills.
#3: Better Customer Service:
It is clearly known that a web presence will improvise your user bandwidth. If you have a store and have huge staff, you can’t monitor each and every conversation your members have with customers. Though in online world, nothing is hidden. One can oversee their staff all the time and ensure your users are getting befitting replies.
#4: 24/7 Accessibility:
An offline store has opening and closing time. Let’s suppose your customer decides to buy a novel from Sherlocks Holmes at midnight. In such cases, the online presence do wonders. Having a website provides convenience to customers of making any purchase at whatever hour they wish, from the comfort of their sofa.
#5: Marketing Channel:
A website allows you to market your business to a greater bandwidth. By staying updated to current market standards, one can implement and climb the search engine ladder quickly. In a crowded and competitive market, staying up to date is quite strenuous. But a well built online website can prove to be an effective channel for making your business reach the masses.
#6: Builds Readership
Publishing blogs, news and information of new services and products can be quite beneficial for attracting audience. Email Marketing, is one such manner of performing so. You can offer discounts, share useful content and eventually build a strong readership.
What are the benefits of a Website for Retail Shoppers?
Everything at your fingertips, is a win-win situation for both the buyer and seller. Having talked about the benefits a buyer gets to leverage from an online website, it is time to glance through the numerous perks our dear customer enjoys form the same.
#1: The Time-Saver:
A website is a wonderful time-saver since the customers don’t have to lug the products from warehouse all by themselves. Also sorting and selecting becomes a lot feasible when you have to do it from your phone screen. Studies show that when a customer wishes to buy something, 72% of them go online as it is much more convenient and time saving.
#2: It is Convenient:
Web based business are open round the clock. This implies one can make a purchase when they are free and have a desire to shop. This becomes very helpful in case the customer is leading a very hectic lifestyle. When they can’t spare even a single minute for buying day-to-day essentials, an online site proves to be quite handy.
#3: Research it Out:
The internet era literally help you with everything needed. Just enter your requirements and you will get the relevant searches. When the topic is of buying something, you will get numerous options to choose from. The product information, its’ price, reviews, different merchants and what not. Everything from nothing but a few taps.
#4: Save More:
People buying stuff via internet have an option to pay less with coupons. Online vendors offer various chances to save money by offering various discounts. Shopping savvy people enjoy different benefits as they get wide range of options to choose from.
#5: Supports variety:
Web based business provides more variety of products. This implies, one can choose from diversified products suiting their needs. Detailed price comparison, and other such information is easily available on the online site. In total, it supports diversity, enhancing number of choices a user possess.
What is the process to build a website for Retail Business?
Now proceeding in the article, here is a step-by-step guide for building an online website for your retail business.
#1: Infrastructure of Website:
Each and every website needs an architecture- bone and back for building the system. It hosts all the site’s data and integrates with the e-commerce platform for online selling. You have to decide whether you wish to build the infrastructure yourself (called “open source”) or get a web hosting provider.
Open source facilitates a lot of control and flexibility over your website but the downside is, it takes a lot of expertise and time for building the application. On the contrary, opting for web hosting server is easy, fast and very cheap. It even ensures that your website gets automatic security updates.
#2: Domain Name:
If you have a brand or business identity then, opt for a domain name. A domain name is the street address for your retail business in the online world. It makes it easy for the customers to locate your business. A domain name has to clearly connect with your company and should be easy to find via web surfing. Ideally, the name of your business should be part of your domain name.
Make a list of possible domain names and then take help of GoDaddy for searching the availability. Sometimes, you will see that your first choice is already taken.
#3: Website Designing:
Goal of every retail site is similar i.e. to sell. Then, how does your site stand out? Simply by having an alluring design. All the websites, no matter how small or large they are, need to have a smooth and attractive design for capturing the attention of visitors. A good design impacts the manner your audience perceive your company. The impression you create can be the ice-breaking factor between staying or leaving the page. It aids your SEO strategy and even builds trust in the eye of users.
#4: Online Payments & Refund Policies:
Select online payment processors from Google Wallet, PayPal, Dwolla or more. Set up the processor of your choice and do it after reading the fine print and comprehending the fee structure involved.
Do not forget to establish policies for payments, refunds and returns. Jot down the policies and make them available to customers via your website. You can also find some online templates for building return policies. But make sure, they aren’t very rigid. As they can end up turning off the customer.
#5: Select shipping Modes:
One of the crucial attributes of a retail site is shipping. A fantastic shopping experience can be undone by a not so good shipping experience. If the delivery package is damaged or delivered late, then this could be the real reason behind people dropping of your site. One mistake and puff! Everything is blown away. Do your homework and find out the most suitable and affordable shipping options based on locations.
One also has to pay attention to the fee strategy. For instance, do you provide free delivery after a certain amount is crossed? Or a certain number of items come at less cost in comparison to their counterparts. A fine strategy will impact your overall business.
#6: Market your Site:
Now that you are done with designing your site, it’s’ time to market it. Choose a couple of marketing channels and then execute a variety of tactics periodically. Leverage following channels for performing the same.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) makes it easy for the search engines to locate your site.
- Email Marketing Campaigns, help in building customer relationships with coupons, special offers and discounts.
- PPC (Pay Per Click) ads for driving more traffic to your website. Also create special landing pages for all the PPC offers.
- Content Marketing, one of the most vital channels of marketing. Create a blog, make YouTube videos, start a Podcast, share Infographics and whatever you like. Sharing relevant information with customers will build long-lasting relations.
Must-have features in a Retail Website
Here is a comprehensive list of must-have features that a retail website must be consisting.
#1: Shopping Cart:
Shopping cart is an integral element of any E-Commerce site. It is where your end users store their products before making the final move of checking out. A flexible cart allows both the registered and guest user to checkout. However, a guest user need not to sign up on the site, hence speeding the process.
#2: Payment Gateways:
A retail website must have a diverse range of payment gateways give the customer a good number of options to choose from. Do not limit your choices. No matter whatever mode your buyer use, your website possess the corresponding option in exchange. This will broaden your customer base and results in higher no of sales.
#3: Order Management:
A complete order management panel simplifies the job of vendors. It has all the information regarding each and every order be it, buyer cancellation, order status, COD order verification or something else. The module helps the merchant oversee the whole system in one single panel.
#4: Advance Security Measures:
Again a crucial and can’t be overlooked feature. Security is where you get to decide whether your site is going to operate in long run or not. All the data such as passwords, credit card numbers are secured in an encrypted format. They are never saved in readable format.
“What is lost once, may never be retrieved.” This holds with one hundred percent certainty in case of users’ data. Hence, pay more emphasis on the security modes employed in designing your website.
#5: Mobile Compatibility:
There are three spheres for ensuring mobile compatibility.
Mobile view should be responsive and appropriately accommodated according to the device.
WAP, a mobile specific template which optimizes the site in size and lessen the loading time.
Last is APIs. They are used for building mobile apps since mobile usage has increased a lot.
#6: Integrating Logistics:
Integrating Logistics allow seamless shipping in addition to providing real time updates to customers and the merchant regarding the product delivery. It facilitates the vendor to operate the wholesome operation from an individual panel instead of approaching every single delivery partner separately. This in consequence betters the order tracking capability and reduce unwanted costs.
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With online retail sales rising higher with the passage of time, its’ of uttermost importance to have a website that creates a powerful first impression. Make sure that your site is mobile-friendly and offer trendy features fulfilling all the requirements that your customers may have. A robust system backed up by advanced security options will do the job. Remember it’s not about having an exquisite, artistic, expensive design with too many bells and buttons. Rather one has to build an application that is powerful, secure and easy enough to use. Keep experimenting and see what works in your favor. Happy Designing!