E-commerce and the importance of showcasing your products clearly

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

An online shop has many functions to fulfil: it is your product catalogue, your display brochure, and your call to action for your customers to buy your products. Make sure it is working for you, not against you, and is easy to navigate for both customers and staff.

A full catalogue of all your products can be a large, unwieldy thing. Before you start uploading product listings, make sure you have a clear plan of how your shop works for you, rather than being a list of everything that you sell. Flexibility is one of the key benefits of e-commerce as opposed to bricks and mortar shops, but it’s easy to lose track of what your store looks like. If there is a clear structure, it will be much easier for your customers to find what they are looking for, and for your staff to assist them with any queries they may have.

Begin by drawing up a list of categories – don’t worry if you think some categories won’t have much in them. You may well have more products that apply to the category than you thought, and if they still feel sparse when you have finished, you can combine them (for example, curtains and bedding, or textiles and fabric paints). Don’t worry about choosing between categories, most e-commerce packages will easily let you add products to multiple categories. Once you are happy with your categories, go through your inventory product by product and assign them. It’s worth enabling a breadcrumb trail so your customers know where they have ended up when they are browsing!

Product descriptions are key to your customers understanding what they are looking at, and also for your staff. If you are selling the same item in different sizes, decide whether they will be sold as different items (for example, large bookshelf and small bookshelf) or multiple options of the same product (bookshelf – small/large). However well your site works, there will always be customers who have a query, or who would just rather speak to a person, and if they are quickly able to identify the product they are referring to, it will be much easier for your staff to help them. Unique product codes that are clearly displayed online will help with this, and with order fulfilment.

Having easy to understand, common-sense product descriptions also means that you don’t need to use your specialised staff on routine phone calls; so you can employ the services of a virtual receptionist who will be able to reassure and advise your customers very efficiently.

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