When you run a physical retail store, it’s easy to think that you don’t need to bother much with your website.
You might think: “what does it matter what happens online? My customers are locals; people who walk by the store and decide to come inside. A website isn’t necessary for that: the store itself is all the advertising you need.”
Or you decide: “There’s no way I need to worry much about the website because the store speaks for itself. The site just needs to have a few basics, but it’s mostly just there so I have something to put on a business card– I sell through the store, not the site, so why should I put a lot of time into the website?”
These arguments may sound convincing, so let’s address why they are incorrect.
Even if you obtain the majority of your business through local footfall, there’s always the possibility of more customers if you have an online presence. What about customers who may be visiting your city and want to find a store relevant to their needs? Or customers who live in your city but have never seen your store? You’re relying too heavily on chance if you want to ensure that customers will just happen by your store.
In the modern world, a good retail website is just expected. Customers demand it; they want to see that a business has an online presence. By choosing to go without — or operating a very limited online store — you’re immediately making your business appear more old-fashioned to potential customers.
So if you’re going to bring your website up to scratch, what essential components do you need to include?
1) Store Information
You need to include details about your store on your site, as many customers would rather obtain opening hours (for example) from the website rather than calling. The information you need to on your site includes:
Specific location and directions for customers arriving both in car and on foot.
Opening times, including details for holiday closures (such as Christmas Day)
A photograph of your store, so customers know what they’re looking for.
A store locator from the likes of BrandBits is useful if you have multiple stores, helping guide potential customers to the location closest to them.
Contact telephone numbers and, ideally, social media account details. You should have these on a separate “contact” page also, but you want to avoid a situation where a customer has to hunt for information.
2) A Blog
A blog for your retail store is essential. It helps to show that your business is alive and well, and can also help spread the news about your new product lines or any sales you have upcoming. Aim to post at least once per week.
3) Cohesive Elements
You want your website to be a digital representation of your physical store. Use the same fonts, logos, and color schemes that you use in-store. You want customers to feel familiar with your store’s overall aesthetic before they have even set foot through the door.
Take the time to ensure your business store has all of the above and you can be certain your digital site will enhance the profile of your physical store.