Did you know the B.C. government is offering grants to local businesses to get their online stores up and running? Now is the time to take advantage of this awesome funding and build the business of your dreams. First, you need to choose a platform to host your e-commerce store, but after that, it’s all in the details. Below are 15 tips on what to include on your website to ensure you have the best online store around!

1.    Prioritize web design


best e-commerce store
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The best e-commerce stores focus on web design

Think of it this way, would you want to shop at a store that’s too cluttered, or hard to navigate, or uncomfortable to be in? Chances are the answer is no. Well, the same goes for online shopping. A well-thought-out, nicely designed website and online store are deal-makers, whereas poor web design is a deal-breaker. Great products and competitive prices are expected, but what will truly set you apart is having the best web design.


2.    Engage with your audience

Your online store is more than just the store

Make sure the rest of your website is engaging to your target audience. Draw in your ideal customer with your “About me” page, and consider having an awesome blog and an informative FAQ to help guide your customers. Online shoppers often have many questions, especially if they’re not completely familiar with the product. Provide enough content to make sure your customers have everything they need, including getting a sense of your brand and company mission.


3.    Build an awesome customer service team

Build the best customer service team to match the best online store

Like we mentioned above, great products and fair prices are expected, but your online store needs to go the extra mile to set it apart from competitors, and a top-notch customer service team is one way to do that. You should implement quick turnaround times for emails and a staff member who is always available to answer questions. Provide an easy-to-use “Contact” page, complete with a customer form, a phone number, and an email address.


4.    Streamline payment

Easy payment options make more sales

Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the end of a great online browsing session, only to be met with a complicated or confusing checkout process. Allow customers to check out as guests or members, accept multiple payment options, and allow shoppers to easily enter promos and discounts. You might also want to consider including a review order option, it allows customers to feel confident in their purchase while keeping them moving in the right direction.


5.    Invest in marketing when it matters


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The best online stores invest in marketing

Marketing increases the traffic to your website and the overall reach of your business. You might have the best online store around but if no one knows about you or what you’re selling then you do your business a disservice. Social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook have great, simple paid advertising options to help get your e-store out there to the people who need it most.


6.    Learn about free marketing

Awesome marketing doesn’t have to break the bank!

There are so many great hacks to maximize free marketing for your online store, some of our favourites include, promotions and contests through social media, email marketing, offering trades, and asking your target audience to share their testimonials and product reviews.


7.    Learn about SEO to build the best online store

SEO ensures that you are found

SEO or search engine optimization is the process of how your website is found and becomes more visible and accessible to those who search for it. One way to increase SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of your content. You want to be sure to add insightful and accurate descriptions of the products you sell while also adding in buzz words and highly searched words, such as “best-insulated water bottle”. A great way to increase SEO is to include a blog on your website, it allows you to not only add value to your customers but it boosts the content on your website, which increases your searchability.


8.    Be sure to get great product reviews

Building the best online store can require relying on others

Product reviews help increase the legitimacy of your e-store and help your customers know what they are purchasing. Reviews also help you as a business owner because they can show you where and how to improve to make sure everything you offer to your customers is the best it can be!


9.    Invest in mobile-responsiveness


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You want your e-commerce store to be accessible from any device

In this day in age, most people turn to their cellphones first. Make sure your online store is compatible with both androids and iPhones. The best web designers will make this a priority when building your website, so don’t hesitate to hire out for web design if you find yourself struggling with this step.


10. Consider free shipping

Free-shipping incentivizes shoppers to spend more money

Can you offer free shipping? If not, don’t sweat it, costs of running a store can be high, but consider having promos where you offer free shipping once and a while! This really incentivizes shoppers to shop. It might also be helpful to include information about your shipping fees, somewhere visible on your website, such as “free shipping on order over X amount” or “flat rate shipping for X dollars”. This boosts sales and improves the shopping experience where customers know what they’re going to spend before reaching the checkout. Surprises are great for sales and promos, but not so great when it comes to unexpected shipping costs.


11. Want to build the best online store? Offer member exclusives


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Make customers feel important because they are!

A great way to build up your emailing list for marketing is to encourage shoppers to become members. Offer members exclusive access to sales, additional discounts, or the ability to earn points for their purchases. Get creative with how to incentivize your shoppers to shop! This helps build a loyal clientele and helps you provide added value to your customers.


12. Emphasize product display

Great product displays set you up for success

We all shop with our eyes first and your display pictures are really important. This is an area you should invest in! Always photograph your pictures using high-resolution cameras and great lighting. A great product display makes the customer want to buy your product, and it all starts with a great picture.


13. Suggest similar products

A great e-commerce store streamlines the shopping experience for you

Consider having a feature that shows shoppers similar products they may like. This is a great way to encourage shopping and display your inventory.


14. Make your return and refund policies clear and fair


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Avoid confusion when creating your e-store policies

Make your return and refund policies as crystal clear as possible! As a shopper, it can be really frustrating to misunderstand a return policy, and as a business owner, this can lead to a lot of back and forth, and potentially unhappy customers. Take the time to write down your policies and double-check that they make sense and are fair. FAQS are a great place to reiterate your return policies and reroute your clients to a more detailed page if they want to learn more.


15. Simple makes for the best online store

Simple is best, every time.

The key to good web design and the best online store is simplicity. Don’t overwhelm your customers with lots of pop-ups or wild colour schemes. Your website should highlight your products and brand, no need to go overboard. A clean, modern aesthetic is the most appealing, the most user-friendly, and the most timeless.


Bonus for building the best online store!

Your online store has to function

This should go without saying, but make sure your backend runs flawlessly. Yes, a beautiful website is important, but functionality matters more. You might be offering the best e-commerce store around, but if your website doesn’t work, no one will see that. Functional websites provide shoppers with the best user experience, which enhances the likelihood that they will shop with you again. If web design is not your forte, it’s ok to hire out, the best web design agencies in Vancouver specialize in making sure your website functions as awesome as it looks.

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