Launching an online store is an incredibly exciting step for your business. But whether it is your very first time setting up an online store or your fiftieth, it can also be a little nerve-wracking. Did you lay out the product catalogue intuitively? Are your product descriptions detailed, but compelling? What will people see when they show up to buy things? Will they show up and buy things?
We can’t guarantee that your customers will flock to your site and turn one of your products into an overnight viral smash sell-out success. But what we can do is help you make sure that you’ve ironed out all the bumps so that your path to e-commerce success is a smooth one.
(Note: some of the specifics in these tips are geared toward setting up a Shopify store, which we highly recommend, but they are applicable no matter what e-commerce platform you choose.)
There are few things that can interrupt the browsing and online purchasing experience of a customer more than a broken link. While some customers will be dedicated enough to find a way around these errors if possible, and others will kind enough to let you know, there is just as much chance (if not more) that your customers will just become flustered, frustrated and angry. If people coming to your site to make purchases are instead throwing their hands up and heading elsewhere, then that’s a lot of wasted time and effort on your part and a huge missed opportunity. So, double-check (or triple-check!) any and all links on your site. This includes site navigation, page links, product links, social media links, even email address links. Just checking to see if everything looks correct isn’t enough. You should click through each link once or twice to ensure it functions as you expect it to.
Spelling and Grammar
We know that this is part is about as much fun as middle school English class, but when you think about it, your online store is absolutely covered in words. You’ll want to go over every word, sentence, and paragraph on your site with a critical eye to make sure spelling and grammar are correct, and that all information is clear and easy to read. Typos on your site aren’t the end of days, but they do look rather unprofessional. Your customers will almost certainly notice, and definitely pass judgement. Don’t give them the chance.
Run Browser and Mobile Tests
You want your site to be a welcoming atmosphere for all users of all ages, shapes, sizes and browsing preferences. As many browsers and devices as you personally have access to, you should use to load your online store and browse around to make sure the look, feel, and functionality is accurate and consistent. Mac, PC, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, iPhone, Android, Kindle, and so on. If you have a close friend or family member with access to devices you don’t own, you might want to ask them to assist you in this task.
Oh, and just because you are using a service like Shopify which takes care of cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility for you, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time to do this kind of hands-on testing. You still should have a good idea of how your store looks and feels in the hands of different users.
Set Up Sales Channels
While some people only want to sell through their own website, most of us are eager to take care of the connections that platforms like Shopify supply to other sales channels. Whether that means online marketplaces like Etsy or Creative Market, or social media channels like Facebook and Pinterest, make sure you’ve set up any additional channels to integrate with your main online store, and that all payment, product and inventory information is synchronized and accurate.
Speaking of payment information, you’ll want to take a careful look at all payment gateway and account information to make sure that it is all accurate and set up the way that you want. Are you accepting multiple payment processors? Do customers have access to all of the payment gateways that they need? Are payments going through on both desktop and mobile? Do you have the ability to process refunds if necessary? These are all questions you should make sure you have the answer to. After all, if customers can’t pay for things on your site, your store isn’t going to do very well.
Tax and Shipping
Different states have different requirements for collecting sales tax from your customers. Make sure you know what your state and local requirements are, and that your online store is set to collect the tax you need to in order to remain in good standing with your franchise tax board.
If you send out physical goods to your customers, you’ll also need to make sure you set up clear and accurate shipping options. Maybe you offer free shipping, and that’s great, but maybe not. Even if you do offer free standard shipping, many customers will want the option to order expedited shipping at an additional cost. Your system should be set up to handle these requests logistically, but the options should also be clear to your customers on the product page. And if “calculated shipping” is available (as it is in most Shopify accounts), we recommend taking advantage of that.
If your company is looking for a company to help build out your online store, reach out to us at 10twelve today!