Are you looking to move your brick and mortar store online? This may be to supplement your in-store revenue, or to replace it, depending on your circumstances.   

For example, my client Elle J Boutique has recently suffered through cyclones and now the COVID-19 pandemic, so a pivot from brick and mortar to Ecommerce has been critical.

Either way, adding Ecommerce to your business model is a great way to expand because you’re effectively adding another sales channel to your business.

This guide will help you quickly build an online presence that translates the experience of your physical store, allowing you to expand and reach a broader audience online.

Foundation & Preparation

1. Your Brand

It may be tempting to start by choosing a pretty theme and jumping straight in to building your website. But this would be a BIG mistake. You’ll end up looking generic – a sure fire way to blend into the wallpaper. 

Before you start building your online store, take a step back and think about what makes your retail store brand unique. 

Look around your store. What about your physical store do you want to translate to an online experience?

Think about your retail brand as a ‘universe’ – kind of like the Marvel universe (yes, I have teenage sons who are big fans of all Marvel movies…)

What does your ‘universe’ look like, sound like, feel like, speak like. Who are the characters? What sort of personality to they (or the store as a whole) have?

After you have an idea of what you love about your store that you want to bring online, develop your brand voice, tone, and style. The creative work you already have (i.e., your logo, signs, advertising, etc.) will inform the look of your website. 

Head to our previous post on “What’s In A Brand” for more information. You’ll find a handy free guide on there you can download as well, called “Discover Your Unique Selling Proposition”.

When you’re confident about your brand, building out your Ecommerce store and online marketing will be much easier.

2. Your Audience

After you’ve considered how you want to portray your brand online, think about your audience. 

One tip I always share with clients is that you will always gain traction faster with a niche Ecommerce store instead of going broad or general.

The reason for this is that, these days, we’re all operating in a busy competitive landscape. There are a lot of Ecommerce stores on the internet, and it can be difficult to stand out unless you have a very clear point of difference. 

Part of that point of difference is having a very defined target audience, or ‘customer avatar’. 

For example, my client A Pure Beginning sells organic products for babies and new Mums. Whilst the potential audience for these products is huge, there’s also a lot of competition from other online retailers as well. 

So they’ve honed their ‘customer avatar’ around the busy working Mum-to-be who hasn’t found the time to shop or prepare for their new baby and has left things too late. Their signature products are pre-packed baby bags with everything you need ready to take to hospital for the birth.

For more guidance on finding your audience, check out our post “Not Everyone Will Be Obsessed With You”. It includes a free guide download to help you define and document your Customer Avatar as well.

Design & Build Your Ecommerce Website

With a concrete understanding of your brand and audience, you can start building your Ecommerce site. 

While there are several ecommerce platforms you can choose from, our top recommendation is Shopify with a premium theme like Turbo

There are loads of reasons we love Shopify so much, but here are the most important ones: 

  1. Is really easy to use, 
  2. Has excellent tech support,
  3. Effectively converts website visitors into buyers,
  4. Works equally well on mobile and desktop, and
  5. Integrates with other marketing applications (such as email marketing and Facebook)

Now, when you do get started with building your site (or you get someone to do it for you), don’t just follow the prescribed layout of the theme. That’s a great guide to show you what’s possible, but it won’t be tailored to your brand or to your customers. 

1. Design a High Converting Home Page

The way you design your navigation and your homepage layout goes a LONG way to increasing your sales conversions on your website.

Having an awesome product is not enough. If your website is slow or difficult to navigate or the checkout process is clunky, then customers won’t buy.

I’ve written an extensive guide on how to design a high converting home page for your website – you can read it here

Or, you can watch a video tutorial version of this website on our Facebook page.

2. High Converting Product Pages

Once someone clicks through to a product page, they’re indicating some interest in your products but they’re not sold yet. 

Your product pages need to convince browsers that the product will suit their needs or desires. 

Here are some tips for successful product pages:

  • Images
    Think about how your customers would look at a product in-store. They want to see it from different angles, sometimes inside and outside, and see how it looks when tried on. (Depending on your product of course!) I like to include one styled image showing the product ‘in use’, plus multiple product shots on a white background to show the detail. 
  • Add to Cart button
    Keep the Add To Cart button ‘above the fold’. That means, don’t have so much text that it pushes the button down the page, forcing someone to scroll to find it. 
  • Product Information
    What does the customer need to know, understand and believe in order to want to buy the product? Use short sentences and short paragraphs to make it easy to read.
    If there’s a lot of technical information about your products, use tabs under the Add To Cart button so that you can sort and display the information in an easy and clear manner.
  • Customer reviews
    Social proof is incredibly influential, especially at the point of purchase. So you want to collect and display as many reviews as possible on your product pages. We like to use Stamped.io to automate the review collection and display process. 
  • Shipping and Return Information
    Links to or descriptions of your shipping and return policy should be on every product page.
  • Size Guide (If applicable)
    If someone needs to wear your product, include a size guide on the product pages.

An excellent example of a high converting website with well designed product pages is my client Milkbar Breastpumps, an online retail store.

Start Marketing

Once you’ve published your website and your move from brick and mortar to online is complete, you’ll want to start selling. And for that you need traffic. 

Much like getting foot-traffic inside your brick & mortar store, without visitors to your website you have no-one to sell to.

Head to my previous blog outlining the 3 different ways you can get traffic to your online store

The fastest way to get started is to pay for traffic using Facebook advertising AND to start growing an email list and sending marketing emails. 

Here’s a step-by-step overview of the Facebook ad strategy that works best for Ecommerce websites wanting to generate traffic and sales.

When it comes to growing an email list and sending marketing emails to generate sales, we hands-down recommend Klaviyo. Klaviyo is purpose-built for Ecommerce, it’s simple to use and highly effective. 

(If you’d like more detail about why we use and recommend Klaviyo, here’s a blog that outlines how to choose the best email marketing app for your business.)

Watch the Ecommerce Marketing Tutorial

I recently presented a (free) video tutorial to help Ecommerce retailers figure out HOW to generate consistent website traffic and sales.

I start by sharing some of the common mistakes I see Ecommerce stores making with their marketing ALL the time.

And then, share details of the 3 core strategies you need to have in place in order to enjoy sales growth and consistent sales in your online store.

Head on over to our Facebook page to watch the full tutorial.

Need some help?

Keen to get moving on a new Ecommerce website quickly and would rather get some help instead of spend ages trying to work it out on your own?

We work with clients on the Shopify platform to design an eCommerce shopping experience that’s intuitive and delightful for your customers.

We take your customer’s buyer journey into consideration, and we employ best practices around user experience, conversion optimisation, and search engine optimization.

My experienced Shopify website design team has the experience and know-how to ensure your website’s conversion potential.

Click the button below to schedule a time to speak with us about your website design requirements.