The coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures rendered high streets and shopping centres closed for business – a catastrophic blow for retailers. However, this has presented an opportunity for bricks-and-mortar retailers to branch out into online retail, opening up a new element to their brand offering.
Venture Forge can work with you to get your retail business online in as little as four weeks, building and optimising your site so you can continue selling through the current restrictions and beyond.
Choosing a Platform
Following years of experience creating successful ecommerce sites, the team here at Venture Forge decided upon Shopify as our platform of choice. We are now one of only a handful of certified Shopify Plus Partners in the UK. As a market leader in providing high-level functionality and innovative features, Shopify currently powers over 600,000 stores online. They offer a reliable and consistent service that allows us to create the very best ecommerce sites for our clients.
Branding and Image
Think of your online retail site as your virtual shop storefront. Just as you carefully plan and design your shop window to reflect your brand and entice passing footfall, we put the same level of thought and care into creating your site. It’s vitally important that your new ecommerce site is an accurate reflection of your brand. We work hard to achieve this by getting to know your brand values, target market and existing branding to make sure we create the perfect site for your business.
Your website will consist of a series of pages that work together to showcase your brand and your products with maximum impact.
The Home Page
Your Home page acts as your virtual shop window, displaying current offers, communicating essential messages, and directing visitors to product pages. We use proven techniques and strong branding to grab your visitors’ attention and encourage them to explore more of the site.
The About Page
Typically, one of the most visited pages on a website, the About page is where we share your company story – an important step in building a trusting relationship with your customers.
Returns and Delivery Pages
Returns and Delivery information have been particularly relevant during the coronavirus pandemic as customer concerns over difficulties in receiving and returning their order influenced their decision on whether to make a purchase. If you show how you are handling these processes, your visitors are more likely to buy.
Cart and Checkout
Before building your Cart and Checkout pages, we will discuss which payment solutions will work best for you and your business. Credit card transactions can be processed through Shopify’s own payment systems at no additional cost, or via a third-party provider for a small transactional fee. You may also choose to offer other payment options, including PayPal, Apple Pay and Amazon Pay. We can talk you through all the available options and fully integrate the payment systems of your choice into your new site.
The design and functionality of your product pages can be the deciding factor in whether someone makes a purchase or not. We work with you to create compelling product listings that convert.
Professional looking images are a necessity. Despite social distancing measures, it’s still possible to outsource product photography. Simply ship your product range to your chosen photographer, who then takes the photographs in their studio before returning your items and your set of professional photographs ready for us to upload.
You’ll also need to supply written product descriptions to use alongside your images. Product descriptions should consist of high-quality, tight copy that provides the relevant information your customer looks for before making a purchase. Venture Forge has many years of experience creating product descriptions that convert, so if you need some assistance with this step, we can help.
During the Covid pandemic, most delivery companies have been warning of slower delivery times than usual due to reduced staffing levels, or changes to operational practices to comply with social distancing measures. Next-day delivery is difficult to guarantee at present, so many online retailers have removed it as an option. We will make sure your website provides delivery information to your customers, informing them of current measures and assuring them that you are doing all you can to keep wait times down where possible. We can even include a doorstep collection option from your physical shop for your existing local customer base if you choose.
Marketing Your Website
While your new website is under construction, you could start to generate some interest through your usual marketing channels. A ‘Coming Soon’ social media campaign means that when you’re ready to launch, your existing customer base already knows about your new online store and will go and check it out. Consider a launch competition or special offer to create a buzz around your new site. If you have an email list, let them know about your new online store and offer a special incentive for making their first purchase. It’s a good idea to display details in your physical shop window too, so your local passing customers know about your new website.
The face of retail has changed beyond recognition over the last few months, and businesses must do all they can to remain viable. Moving into online retail gives your customers a way to keep buying from you and opens up a whole new marketplace for your business. Venture Forge can guide you through the process, creating a beautiful, high-performing ecommerce site that reflects your brand personality perfectly.