Straight to business with this article! There are four typical topics that need to be addressed in any retail website design project, and below, we cover them all in detail.
The Brick ‘n Mortar Web-Clipper
One of the top ways to draw clicks to any website, retail or otherwise, is to focus on coupons.
Everybody loves discounts, and many frequent shoppers will only buy if they can get a good deal. So, retail websites and coupons go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Discount sites are popular all year-round, not just after Black Friday or during Cyber Monday. Of course, with that being said, early November is by far the best time to launch this kind of retail website design project.
Some important tips for successfully creating a coupon-oriented website:
- Make sure to give visitors a visual, or better yet a full catalog, of what they can buy with these coupons.
- Avoid sending them to another website for information, where they might be hijacked by a deeper discount, free shipping, etc.
- That is, unless you’re creating an Amazon-driven storefront or some similar affiliate project!
- Make sure coupon pages are printer-friendly.
- Use eye-catching coupon designs with bold colors, big fonts, and make sure the individual coupons have all the necessary fine print intact when they’re clipped off a page.
- Make sure tracking numbers are intact, and include other security information that helps the retail establishment prevent fraud.
- You’ll probably need a programmer to get the best results; the individual coupons will need to stop appearing on the website once they’ve expired, and you may need randomly-generated tracking for offers extended only to specific customers.
The E-Commerce Retailer
If your client is willing to either pay for ongoing data entry services, or do the data entry themselves in-house, or has the capacity to automate data entry into an e-commerce site, then it’s strongly suggested that every retailer offer a web-based storefront.
It’s a fact: More and more shoppers have outright stopped visiting brick ‘n mortar establishments. And, retailers that don’t even have brick ‘n mortar stores, are making bigger profits in many cases due to lower overhead.
The only way for a retailer to stay competitive today and into the next decade, will be to make themselves accessible to those customers, and shift some of their sales to that lower-overhead retail website model.
For smaller businesses, you’ll want to become familiar with the ready-to-roll open source systems. These systems fluctuate in quality and worthiness very quickly, so we’re reluctant to name them here. The bottom line is, make sure you are intimately familiar with these systems before you use one. Otherwise, while you’re learning-on-the-fly, you might learn you employed an unwieldy lump that both the retail client and the web designer will be embarrassed about.
The Back-Order Solution
Once e-commerce is in place, a great next step for retail website design projects is to integrate with inventory management to enable back-ordering.
This is a heavily programmer-centric project, but it’s very much worth the client’s time and money. Customers who can back-order products efficiently, are customers who wouldn’t otherwise have spent money! When demand for a retail product rises and the local supply is nil, that’s an opportunity. Back-order features mean the difference between a seized opportunity, and a missed one.
The Drop-Ship Shop
This is the type of website design project you’ll do for either a small start-up retail client that doesn’t have a brick ‘n mortar location at all, or a bigger client who operates a warehouse, instead of a storefront. They can be very lucrative, and also tend to be very fast-paced businesses.
Traditional e-commerce systems are extremely helpful to these types of retailers, but not as essential as you might think. There are other, less-programmer-centric ways to get orders from shopper to fulfillment house.
These four varieties can stand alone, or come together, in any given retail website design project. The key priority for a retailer, is to identify what the customers need most, and then determine which website features will help increase revenues or profit margins the soonest.
We definitely recommend coupon features for any retail website – even without e-commerce. E-commerce itself is the usual second priority, and then tying that in with back-ordering is another high priority, especially for businesses with less warehouse space or extremely fast-selling items.