Tips for online shop owners and contributors

By | December 17, 2012

This blog post provides a juicy selection of tips for people who run online shops.

Online shops are everywhere these days! You turn a corner on the internet high-way and someone is trying to sell you something! A major problem, especially for small business owners, is properly presenting their products and services in their shops, and providing the read details and features. I hope this blog post gives you some useful tips, which you can apply to your online shop.

 

Use high quality product or service descriptions created.

Often copywriters are hired who have no clue what they are writing about, and rely on limited information such as a brochure, or even resort to searching online for details, to help them understand the sector, and produce the sales material! You don’t want to end up with some nonsense. i.e. MadMax X two-stroke ISO-L-EGO synthetic oil, brings 21st know-how to 20th century technology, that is akin to nectar for your lawnmower engine. That was a fictional example, but you should get my point.

Instead make sure the descriptions have been written for the typical customer, providing the details they require.  Speak to your sales and distribution teams, and look at prospect enquiry emails. Then without breaking data protection laws, support the person who is producing the product / service descriptions, by providing them with information they require.

 

Use high quality images.

I don’t know about you, but once I leave the major online shops, I struggle to find half decent product photos. Often product photos are too small, don’t show enough detail and due to lighting issues or photo manipulation, the colours are not correct.

I appreciate not everyone can afford to bring in professional photographers. However simple techniques such as using a tripod, taking a photo when there is enough light, using suitable locations, and making sure you take a photo using the camera’s higher possible quality setting, can help. Then when you need to crop and resize a product image, you should still end up with a decent product photo.

 

Create useful FAQs for your prospects and customers.

Another major failing of many small business eCommerce websites is a lack of FAQs. Simple questions are often not addressed: Do you ship to my region? Can I arrange delivery on a Saturday? Can I track my delivery? Anyone who has been involved in sales, even for a short period of time, should know a handful of questions that are regularly asked. These questions should be in your FAQs, as well as addressed in your product descriptions.

 

Keep your online shop updated.

A person visits an online shop at nine at night, and they think they have found a product they wish to buy. However the site looks dated, no blog posts for a year, and no way to check stock level. If that person is eager to buy, they might head elsewhere as they could be unsure the business is still trading, let alone has their product in stock. You need to make sure your online shop, as well as your website in general looks fresh, and is kept updated.

 

Don’t be afraid to migrate to more feature rich solutions.

Many business owners try to take a short-cut when setting up an online shop. Often the ‘quickest’, ‘least complex’ and ‘cheapest’ solution is most appealing. Only to discover later on that coupon codes, stock levels, different shipping types and many other features that they wish they had, are missing from their current setup. Make sure you are using an eCommerce solution that meets your requirements, rather than limping on with a solution not right for you.

About the guest author: David is a website expert, and especially enjoys setting up online shops.