Your business needs a website. If you’re serious about what you do, a social media account or an online listing is no longer enough. It’s now expected that customers can find you online and access information about your products and services wherever they are and at whatever time of day.
But what type of website your business needs can depend on the kind of business you manage, whether you’re selling products or services, the level of engagement you want online, and what the purpose of your site is.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where can my business currently be found online?
- It may be a Facebook Page or Google Listing. That’s a start, but your own website is a step further in terms of professionalism. People often don’t trust a business if you’re only selling on Facebook, so you may be losing sales.
- Who will my website be targeted at?
- Think about your key demographics and the reasons they may find your website helpful.
- What do I want customers to do on this website?
- Do you want to inform them? Inspire them? Bring them in store? Have them shop online?
- How much time do I have available?
- A website doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, but content should be regularly refreshed. On Storbie, it only takes a couple of hours to get up and running.
- What level is my business at?
- How far has your business come so far? Where do you want it to go to next?
Once you have the answers to these questions, read through the below different types of websites. With each level up, you will receive a boost in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which means more people will find your website via a search engine, like Google.
Level 1: Brochure
Also known as a static site, this is an easy option if you are not selling online or updating content often. It is the first level of having a website and should be clean and simple. The main purpose of this site is to have a web presence that you own (as opposed to a site with your information managed by someone else) and an introduction to your business.
Brochure sites should include:
- Your business name
- Location of premises
- Contact details including social media links
- Information about your products or services and their benefits
- Your business story
- A call to action to motivate customers to do business with you
- Clear images or videos of what you are selling or promoting
- Terms and conditions
And if you have them:
- Testimonies from happy customers
- News and press articles
Level 2: Catalogue
A Catalogue site showcases your products, services or portfolio. While this level doesn’t allow for purchases online, there should be an enquiry option so that consumers can contact you about something they are interested in.
Along with the necessities of a Brochure site, individual products and services should be highlighted, including:
- Professional images
- Clear descriptions
- The full name of the product, eg if it’s a dog collar include that instead of just the colour or make/model into the title and description
- What it does
- Why people should buy it
- What it is made of
- Instructions for use
- Any relevant warnings
- Is it unique?
- Stock levels
If you provide a service with varying prices, include a price guide for what consumers can expect.
Having more detailed product information than a Brochure site can help consumers make informed decisions and can lead to an increase in sales in store. According to statistics from Google, 82% of consumers first use the internet to look for information, and there has been significant growth of in-store sales influenced by a digital touch point, up from 13% in 2014 to 83% in 2017.
Level 3: Click & Collect
The first level of ecommerce, Click & Collect allows customers to purchase online from your website and then pick up in store. With this option you don’t have to worry about shipping, and it provides the opportunity to personalise each transaction by greeting shoppers in store, as well as the potential to up-sell at the checkout.
Ensure that online information is clear to customers about when they can collect their items. Will it take an hour? Half a day? Customers need to know when they can reasonably call into your business to pick up their purchase.
If you don’t have a physical location but regularly attend local markets, you may wish to provide this as an option prior to such events.
Level 4: Full Ecommerce
Full ecommerce should include the features of a Brochure, Catalogue and Click & Collect website, but with the added bonus of allowing your customers to shop online and have items shipped to a location of their choice. This option is great for:
- Introducing your products to a wider market
- Convenience for shoppers
- Businesses with no physical location, or poor access or parking
- Sending gifts out of town
The key to full ecommerce, like anything, is clear communication. Have a think about the following and ensure your answers are easy to find on your website:
- How much will it cost the consumer to receive their goods?
- Is there an incentive to spend more to receive free shipping?
- How long will it take for products to be delivered?
- Will packages be tracked?
- Will your courier deliver to PO Boxes?
Ecommerce can give your brand a boost thanks to increased SEO as well as making your products available in more places. Read how to Create a Positive Experience with Shipping for ways to make ecommerce as stress-free as possible for your business and customers.
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