While having an online store can increase sales and generate more interest in your company, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Ensuring you have several fundamental elements in place before you launch can eliminate headache and save you time and money.
1. Search Engine Optimize Your Products
Taking the time to evaluate every product can be the key to success for your online business. Each product will have a unique page on your website. Each product should be optimized to include the following:
2. Update Your “About” Page
Your About page should be more than a formal description of your company. Use this page to talk about the culture, people, and brand that make up your company. Tell your story. Customers love to know why they should be doing business with you and how you got started. Be genuine and write in a tone that doesn’t feel like a sales pitch.
3. Make it Easy for Customers to Contact You
Every online shop should have a Contact page on which customers can easily ask questions. You should have a link on every page, either in the header or footer, to your Contact page. Don’t make a customer search for a way to contact you. Make sure you include your physical mailing information, telephone number, a generic email address, and a contact form.
Your Contact page should include a form with limited fields. Don’t use multiple check boxes or unnecessary form fields; customers aren’t going to take the time to complete a long form for a simple question. Make your Contact form user friendly – limit required fields, allow flexibility when entering telephone numbers, don’t request sensitive information, and allow customers to write their own messages.
4. Make Your Shipping Policy Clear From the Start
Shipping costs can play a major part in abandoned shopping carts. With major retailers offering free or next day shipping, you should clearly show your shipping and handling fees. Determine if your shipping and handling costs are calculated by a minimum purchase, based on money spent, or on product weight. Make your prices clear, in easy-to-understand language. Inform your customers of any related fees on returned items such as restocking or reshipping fees.
5. Make Your Return/Refund Policy Crystal Clear
Are you willing to offer a refund or an equal exchange for products? If so, how long from the date of purchase will you accept returns? Be concise on your requirements for accepting a return – should it be in unopened packaging, and include all tags and a receipt? Whatever you decide, your policies should be written clearly. Your return or exchange policy should make it clear who will be responsible for the original and return shipping costs. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, consider allowing customers to return onsite. If you have a no-refund policy, make sure you state it before a purchase transaction is complete. Most customers may be concerned that you don’t stand by your products if you offer a no-refund policy.
This post was originally posted on SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.